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The Strong Ones

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I've always hated that word.
I remember promising to myself that I would never be victim, that I would always be on top, that no one could ever bring me down. But sometimes, people make promises they can't keep.
Some people think that sexual harassment is only physical, but trust me, it's not. Words hurt just as much.
It started in early sixth grade. I had a close friend that happened to be a boy, and our friendship was well known. Since our parents and sisters were also friends, we often spent time together outside of school.
It was one boy who started it all. it wasn't bad at first, just the "sitting in a tree" song that we sang in kindergarten. It was immature, and I payed little attention to him.
But gradually, it got worse. His jokes came more and more frequently and more and more sexual, commenting on my friend and I, my body image, and anything else that he thought would hurt me. He was dark and twisted, and the things he said were foreign to the sheltered 12-year-old that I was. I knew that it was awful, however, and as I began to understand, I tried everything I could think of to make him stop. I tried ignoring him, I stopped hanging out with my friend completely, and tried to tell my parents that he was bullying me. But I had nothing to back it up with, because I could never repeat the awful things he said to me. All of it was inappropriate and awful, obviously meant to bring me down. And it did just that.
There is only so much a person can take. When he drew the last straw, it was ugly. He had said something about me and another friend, definitely not the worst thing he had said to me, but it was the straw that broke the camels back. I was sobbing when I got off the bus, my hands visibly shaking. I don't cry, and that's how my dad initially knew that something was up. I confessed it all to him, every horrific detail, and he said that he would talk to my school's principal the next morning. I, of course, protested, since I have always preferred dealing with my problems myself rather than ask for help.
However, my parents spoke with the principal the next morning, and word got out quickly. Everyone pitied me, and I hated that. Teachers, friends, everyone who had heard told me that I was strong. I didn't believe a word of it. They'd tell my, "You're a strong girl." but I would deny it, saying, "If I had been strong, why did I let it go on for so long?" They would just repeat how tough I was. "You're a good girl, too good for that."
Yup. Sure.
However, a quote from my mother's friend, who was a case worker for abused women, has opened my eyes over the years.
"Only the weak ones won't ask for help. The strong ones know that it is not below them."
So maybe I was strong after all.

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beccalynn1663 said...
Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm
great job!
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