Over and over again I hear voices from the past. I hear the voices speaking the words that cut me, heart and soul, as clearly as if they were standing right next to me. One of the phrases I hear often was spoken by several different men over the course of my times out front. The men who spoke these words didn’t know each other, never spoke to each other, and in most cases weren’t even aware of each other. Somehow they still managed to speak the same words. The words that now, something like 8 years later, still haunt me.
You have a body that was made to be used.
I have no idea how old this body was when the sexual abuse started. Memories and conversations with some people lead us to collectively believe it was somewhere between 2 and 4 years old. I don’t know what part, if any, that has to do with our body’s sexual response system. I do know we were around 9 years old the first time those words were said. We didn’t understand them. We didn’t ask.
The words appeared again at age 17 when a man in his 40’s raped us causing a pregnancy and later a miscarriage. He performed his acts on the body, leaving it bruised and bloody, while saying those words. We still didn’t understand, and we still didn’t ask. It didn’t see like the time for questions.
At 21, the man I married said those words. This time, I did ask. I asked what those word meant. He explained that the body responds to sexual advances quickly and easily, with very little effort. That the body is always ready to serve someone sexually, whether I want to, choose to, or not. He went on to explain that I was born to serve and the body was made to be used.
Born to Serve and Made to be Used
That was a tough one. I think that was the moment I resigned myself to my fate. I tried. I gave it everything I had to live up to those expectations. My body cooperated well enough, but my heart and my actions never seemed to meet his goals. Eventually I asked a male friend, someone I considered above reproach. Someone I saw as a guardian. Someone I trusted with all of my being. I asked him to tell me the truth about my purpose. He did. He told me I had the heart of a servant and that my body was made to be used.
He didn’t stop there though. He told me that I was ruining the body’s children and I was a terrible mother. He told me I would only ever be truly happy on my hands and knees crawling to serve a household. That no one would ever keep me around if I wasn’t providing them with a service or a reason to keep me. That I acted stupid, didn’t try hard enough, and the best place for me was on an island inside somewhere.
I believed them all. The body never failed to react sexually when I was scared, terrified, sick, hurt, and just plain didn’t want it to react. The body refused to acknowledge the word no, and the men in my life chose to listen to the body instead of the mouth, the eyes, and the heart.
Please… always understand that how your body reacts doesn’t change your answer. No means no. No means no. No means no. And you have the right to say no.
Now, if I can keep reminding myself of that. Because I’m back, for the first time in 8-ish years. I find that I need to keep everyone happy. I need to do the chores, anticipate the moods, and keep myself and everyone else safe by meeting everyone’s expectations of who I should be.
I don’t know who I am, not completely. For now, I’m Annie. I’m 15. I love buttons, my twin sister Paisley, and our dog Howard. My favorite authors are Mary Higgins Clark and Nora Roberts. My favorite colors are teal, purple, pink, and white. I love butterflies. I do NOT want to be used. I do NOT want to serve anyone in a sexual manner ever again, please.