Every Girl Has a Story of Sexual Abuse

Olga Wolstenholme's picture


pc-1023Every girl has a story, you know the kind of story where she’s walking home and she turns a corner and she stumbles upon a man masturbating or heck maybe she’s been followed on the street by anonymous cars. Whatever the situation, we all have one, a story where we’ve felt imposed upon by someone else’s sexual wants, a story where we were scared for our lives and suddenly felt utterly vulnerable, because and only because we were female. 

If you’re the owner of a vagina, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Chances are you’ve experienced a variety of situations where you felt scared and for good reason, because of some perv. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask your mother, ask your sister, ask your friends, they’ve all got one, there’s no such thing as a girl with no past. Not only do they all have their own experiences to live with, but they’ve all heard countless variations of the same stories of abuse. Rape and sexual abuse are not solely a female experience, but the ingrained daily fear that they produce is. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked home alone at night and been petrified for my life. You think that being petrified for one’s life would imply a fear of death, but no, what I’m talking about is the fear of an event that you have no control over (no matter how many precautions you take), an event that destroys your life in more ways than one. 

Two years ago, a man followed me into a empty school building and stood behind me, while I was standing at a computer station, with his pants around his ankles and his dick in his hands. The building was deserted and I thought I was the only one there until I heard a strangely familiar sound. I turned around to see a man, who I recognized from earlier that day, standing behind me jerking-off. I felt frozen on the spot, but within seconds I was walking away. When I realized I left my purse next to the computer terminal, I turned back and was now face to face with this person. He apologized while buckling his belt and made up some random excuse. I shook it off and told him not to worry and that he had just scared me. I then got the hell out of there and walked to my friends house.

Adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I was scared to death. My friends immediately told me to call the police and campus security. The strange thing is, that had nobody mentioned calling the police, I never would have thought of it myself. I felt ashamed for making it “ok” for him, by apologizing and excusing his behavior when he was the one completely out of hand. It’s also the kind of crime that nobody can anything about, or so it seems. The man was long gone and there was nothing linking him to what happens besides what I remembered of his physical appearance. It seemed pointless of me to say anything to the cops, because what would it change in the first place. 

Reporting what he did as a crime, gave me the opportunity to say that what had happened wasn’t “ok”, that it was wrong and that a person should be held accountable for their actions. The truth is that they never did catch the guy, at least not to my knowledge, but I did something and my action hopefully made it a little easier for someone else to speak up and bring their attacker to justice. This man may not have physically assaulted me, after all he didn’t touch me, but for weeks afterwards every time I saw an older man with the slightest physical resemblance I was scared, every time I would see a man when I was walking alone on the street I would be afraid. 

And that is just one incident among many. I was never raped, but I have been in some situations where the lines started to blur and I have most certainly been in many situations where there was no other possible reaction than fear. 

My mother is paranoid about the fact that I write about these things. She’s afraid that it will get me hurt. Just now, on the phone she told me that there has always been rape, molestation and incest. That apparently the world we live is Hell and that writing about these things won’t change a damn thing, because there will always be sin and bad people to do bad things. The fact that she would say these things tells me how fucked up the world really is, because that’s not how she raised me. She raised me to stand up for myself and to speak up when something was not right, but when you live an entire life around these ideas and you never see a change, and worst of all you get hurt in the process, it can harden you.

I don’t know what kind of change I can possibly hope for with this blog, I really don’t know what it will do, if anything. I just can’t shake the feeling that talking about it all is the first step… towards something of worth.  



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I am so thrilled with your posts, Olga

arvan's picture

And this one is pure gold.

You address a critical element of distinction about the experience of sexual assault.  As it has been noted in other posts, women, children, trans(gender/sexual/vestite) persons are also sexually assaulted - and men, too. 

The experience of being assaulted and surviving it are dangerous, traumatic and lasting.  I don't know every good and correct way to deal with it.  I think that the act of your sharing it, putting it down in writing, using the words to name it - these are ways that can be used to make the event into something that happened to you rather than something that defines who you are.

I had my own assault experience and honestly, I didn't deal with it well - for decades.  However, when I finally did put it down to words, I did feel it diminish its effect of fear and shame within me.

Thanks for this and all of your powerful writing.



Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Your comment made me think about what I could have told my mother when she said writing about it wasn't going to change anything. Simply writing about sexual assault might not stop it from happening, but it does help the people who have suffered through it, I think so anyways, and that is something worth doing. 

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