Sexual Assault Victims Tell All – Part I

Victims of sexual assault are all unique. Though they are not all solely victims, it is impossible to deny the importance that the trauma has had on their lives. The Social Eyes has decided to give voice to these survivors of sexual violence. We have changed their names to protect them.

By Mélodie Nelson

“My father encouraged my brother to rape me.” – Judith, 52.

Judith suffered incest during her childhood. She doesn’t talk about it in exactly those terms. She’ll never be able to talk about it, she says, because she doesn’t want to remember it.

“My father and brother did things that weren’t right. My father encouraged my brother.” She assumes that her mother knew. But she doesn’t hate her for it. “My mother led a difficult life,” Judith says. “She was absent, not physically, but in the house, in her own head. She was like a ghost. In my mind my mother floats close to me, but she’s not really there. She made my meals. I always had clean clothes. She did what was necessary, but she never took me in her arms.”

To get away from the house Judith signed up for athletic activities, swimming competitions and ballet lessons. She has kept her first and last ballet shoes. Her performance led her to believe in herself. Until age 17, her body never weakened, pushed to its limits by sports; but it was relentlessly broken at home. “Everything just became too much to bear.”

Using her studies as a pretext, she moved out on her own. She would have wanted to have kids, but she came up against the refusal and the limits of her own body. She has a cat, likes to walk her neighbors’ dogs, and cooks for the neighborhood children so she can get to know them. Now age 52, for over 20 years Judith has worked for an organization that comes to the aid of mistreated children.

When she’s not at work she can be found at a candy store or a hospital. She’s never had a clear diagnosis for the aches and pains that often prevent her from getting a good night’s sleep. “I think it’s linked to my childhood. I’ll always be sick, and there are a lot of women like me. We carry what we’ve done inside our bodies. It stays with us, forever.”

“I was raped by a friend’s mother” – Jean-Philippe, 34.

“I’ve never talked about it,” Jean-Philippe explains. In fact, he talked about it once, with his big brother, and never again mentioned it to anyone else.

When Jean-Philippe was 12 years old a friend’s mother sexually assaulted him. “I didn’t react. I was in the bathroom. She followed me. I froze.” Afterward, he pretended that he was not feeling well and went home.

“I never went back to my friend’s place. We’d known each other for a long time. I made excuses, saying that I didn’t like playing video games or soccer anymore.” His big brother thought that he was lucky: “In his mind, I was recounting something really cool.”

Jean-Philippe developed an eating disorder, which he linked to the assault. He ate constantly, even when he wasn’t hungry.

He wanted to seek help and work things out in therapy, but he thought he was incapable of revealing everything. He knew that sexual assault help centres (CALACS in Québec) exist, but he didn’t know how he’d be received, as a man victimized by a woman.     
First seen on the Reflet de Société website, February 10th, 2021

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