He Touched Me

The male security guard at my primary school. My uncle that I lived with. The male neighbor at my aunts house. The male neighbor at Ms Elaine’s apartment, where my mother and father left me when my mom went away. The man sitting next to me in the cinema. The older boy at the park from the neighboring primary school. My Additional Math teacher in high school. The teenage daughter of my father’s friend. One of my former best friends.
They all touched me, inappropriately, without permission, violating my trust and spirit.

I didn’t start to unpack all of this until I was an adult. I delayed even the feeling of it. I just pressed pause, and came back to it at 24, when, as an adult, I began to voraciously read about sexual abuse, sexuality and sex. Around that same time, I began to cry, often…crying all the tears I never cried. I cried for myself and all the young girls that were touched. I cried for the woman I had become, and cried for all the times I hadn’t cried before. When I finally released the pause button, the river came down and it lasted many years.

I unburdened fault – it was never mine. I released shame – it was never mine.

At first it was through logic, which is where my masculine energy always wants to start. The statistics and numbers had proven that there was nothing particularly special about me. My weakness and femaleness were more perceived than actual. This happened to more girls and women than were ever reported. The numbers were alarming. 1 in every 3 women. In some countries and regions, it was higher..every woman..1 in every 2 women. 

For a while, I still blamed it for who I became. I would think for a long while that it had made me gay, back when I needed something to blame, because my sexuality was a problem I needed to solve. I healed..the tears helped, but it was really forgiving myself and being truthful with myself about the experience that helped me close the scars. I forgave myself for feeling like it was all my fault. I told myself the truth that for a long while I really did hate men and I felt unsafe. It helped me own the feminine energy within me that needed safety so that I could understand how to nurture it within myself and my relationships. I resolved my masculine energy that felt powerless to protect myself. I admitted that it did break a part of my spirit and soul, and that it would take me many years to rebuild. I could never have fixed that which I had not admitted was broken.

In the midst of this uprising, so many voices are clamoring. They’re saying, “Look at my pain.” So many of us have suppressed our pains because no-one around us seems to think that they’re important enough to stop and acknowledge it..to acknowledge us. When we see that black lives thrash around in their anger and pain, we feel the familiar hauntings that we ourselves have turned away from. We are faced with all the feelings that we have minimized. We are confronted by the regret we feel for telling the ones that have dared to speak up that they are exaggerating..overreacting.. Everyone wants their pains validated now, because ripping the bandaid off of one scar tends to make the others bleed. There is so much..pain.

I write this for Toyin. I say her name like the day I said my own name in the mirror one day, “Jan, it’s not your fault..but you still have to own the feelings that came with it.”

Feel your pain lovelies..your anger too. You are worth every moment of your abated frustrations and tears.

– JanBerry. 16Jun2020. 8.25am 

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