The woman who knew too much

(If life disturbs you, don't read this. There's my warning.)

I had considered myself fortunate. Unlike too many other people I know, I had never been sexually assaulted. At least that's what I thought until just a few days ago. For some reason, I recalled an incident that happened many years ago. I had never forgotten it. I was just thinking about it again. And it struck me, as it never had before, that the incident was sexual assault.

Not a club I actually wanted to join.

What happened was not asked for, nor was it wanted. It violated boundaries. It violated trust.

I didn't stop it. I could have. At least I think so. But I was in a vulnerable situation, and it happened quickly. I was caught off guard, unprepared. And then it was over.

I didn't think of it as assault at the time. And I wasn't hurt, not physically. It wasn't my doing or my fault, and I never blamed myself. I just thought of it as a vaguely disturbing thing that happened. That I had allowed to happen. That might be a big part of why I never considered it assault.

Now it's in me in a whole new way.

I'm not trying to recast something innocent as something sinister. It wasn't innocent. It was not malicious, but it was definitely a transgression. I just hadn't really known what to call it. I've learned a lot since then. Now I know.

(Just so you know: We're not talking about Sweetie here. Anyone who is acquainted with us would know that, but I want to make sure it's clear to everyone.)

I'm still very fortunate, just not quite as fortunate as I thought I was. I'm okay. I don't think the incident altered the course of my life. I don't think of myself as a survivor. As I said, I wasn't physically harmed. There was nothing to survive, not like someone who escapes from a burning building or makes it home safely from a war—or lives with the memory of any traumatic experience. I don't consider that incident to have involved violence. A violation, to be sure, but not violence. That would devalue the real violence that too many experience.

Your mileage may vary. And it's not for me to say what's true for anyone else.

Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with this realization. Because I can't un-realize it. I'm not traumatized. I'm not suffering. But it's a thought that's staying with me now. I can't forget it. But can I let it go?

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