All the social media news is about sexual assault, abuse and other people’s stories. I’m not ashamed or scared to share mine it’s just I don’t feel like shoving it down other people’s throats is a good thing. Also for all that is holey we warn people about spoilers let’s give a heads up on triggers too shall we? So I wont post on social media but I will write it here. My story isn’t as bad as others and I was lucky I stopped it before it got worse.
Warning triggers ahead…
I was 17 turning 18, senior year of high school. I was a decent student, liked most of teachers, didn’t cause trouble, was a TA, Secretary in the Science Club, Danced and was 1st Cello in our Orchestra. I also was really close to a core group of friends although I talked to many different groups. I also was really close to a male teacher and his wife who were about my oldest sister’s age (11 years older)
I babysat for the couple, their little girl knew my name and I played D&D at their house in the Teacher’s group almost every Friday. He taught us how to play D&D at school and Magic the Gathering and was our Science Club Adviser. I had absolute trust in him and that I was always safe around him. Nothing in my past had shown me that I should be afraid of men or teachers or someone older than myself.
Senior year things started getting weird, as his TA (teacher’s assistant) a male student younger than me liked me and I brushed him away because I was busy and didn’t really understand that I was an attractive girl. The kid got so mad that I ignored his advances and shooed him away that he went and punched a wall in the hallway. We both got detention as “you know how you look when you wear those cloths” and that I excited the interruption. I didn’t understand, I asked how did I look, I wasn’t being coy, I didn’t want a compliment, I wanted to know what was wrong with what I was wearing. My teacher worded it in such a way that I was attractive and in the skirts I caused reactions in men. It was the 1st time I felt weird or ashamed really of my body.
(Side note I was going through my punk/ska stage in the early 2000s, not uncommon for me to wear school appropriate length plaid skirts with knee highs and plaid pants with studded belts etc. I was always covered and school appropriate though.)
Then other odd incidents occurred, from him telling me that the other teachers thought we were too close and it was inappropriate, that they thought I would turn him in. I didn’t understand, I asked for what and why. This escalated into him trying to get me alone in places like in the female science department bathroom that was used for storage and something in me just said no, I don’t think it’s appropriate especially with what everyone else was saying. He got mad. I realized now he was grooming me and it backfired on him.
Small things like that kept occurring, I started pushing the Science Club members, my main friends, away at this point and although I still ate lunch up there almost every day I didn’t chat with him as much as he started turning moody and making more comments about how I ignore him now, how he missed me, how I am not as affectionate or trusting to him and he thought I didn’t like the other guys so why am I flirting with them. It all got too weird and something in me told me it was passed time to quit the club.
My last day with the Science Club…
Physics day at Magic Mountain, my girlfriends who I had said nothing to about any of the weird issues with the Teacher kept throwing me on rides with him. Things escalated when he grabbed my thigh on a roller coaster. At that point I KNEW it wasn’t ok, I tried to stay away from him for the rest of the trip, tried to do anything to make myself not desirable to him. He didn’t like me flirting with boys, I made out in the back of the bus with an underclassman and friend of mine who liked me. He was quick to pull me aside and lecture me and accuse me of being a liar because I previously stated I didn’t like the guy. At that point I didn’t care, I was using the guy to help put up boundaries with the teacher, maybe if I was seen as taken he’d stop?
I decided I would confront the teacher and get my stuff out of his office the next school day. I was sitting in the hallway during zero period when one of my best guy friends approached me and wanted to know why I was upset. I told him everything, all the weird, all the icky feelings, all the concerns and ended with his hand on my thigh. He called me a liar, he accused me of making it up. I left the hallway and was found bawling in one of the girls restrooms and I couldn’t tell anyone else. If one of my best friends didn’t believe me, if he was so vicious in his actions and words against me I couldn’t admit it to anyone else so I didn’t for a long time. That day the Teacher took everything I had loaned him or his family and left it on my doorstep like a jilted boyfriend. My mother thought it was weird but figured I’d tell her when I was ready.
I withdrew from my core group, ate lunch with different people, avoided the science classes and building when I could. Still the teacher found ways to mess with me, he grew a weird beard, made comments to my classmates about me, said I abandoned him and his wife when she was having a difficult pregnancy, would ask people about me and tried to find out all he could. I stopped talking to people because of him.
He showed up at one of my jobs and I had to explain the situation to a manager and my coworkers who escorted me out to my car because I didn’t feel safe and was having a panic attack on my last day in the back of the store.
I didn’t trust my friends for a long time. I didn’t feel safe again for a long time. When I finally told my female friends he had never done anything like that to them, I was relieved to know that I was the odd one out that he hadn’t tried that with others. At least they were still safe.
It still bothers me, there are more odd facts that come to mind now and with all the social media posts I’ve been having nightmares again. I haven’t had nightmares in years about this. I’m in my 30s now and still I remember the feelings, the distrust the manipulation. I was lucky I got out before anything else happened. I was lucky it wasn’t worse and it hadn’t gone further.
This is why I don’t want to read everyone’s story about the #metoo and #Ibelieveher because I do believe you, it was me too, however, I also need to live a life that I am not afraid to live where I don’t dwell on the bad days, where I have moved past being 18 and scared and having panic attacks.