Could they ever know what it's like? Could they ever understand? How would you be viewed if someone found out? If you were asked how would you answer? Do you ever see how someone looks away from male teachers, or backs away when a male teacher approaches? Do you know the girl who can't hold her head high, who can't speak above a whisper, who lives in a pain that you can't begin to penetrate or understand? What about the shame, the embarrassment, everything about this that the victim isn't supposed to feel, but so many do?

As a child, I was molested by an older man who claimed he was my friend. Ten-year-olds don't really understand molestation. You don't understand, at the age of ten, that someone who claims to be your friend, doesn't "wrestle" with you on his bed, especially when he's 67-years-old. He doesn't get on top of you and kiss you. He doesn't pull you onto his lap and grab your chest. At the age of fifteen, I was with a man, this time one who was a little more than twice my age. I partied with him, passed out, and woke up getting fucked.

It's hard to have a history of molestation, to be embarrassed by that, to have your family disbelieve you, and to be scared of men. Molestation, at least in some, leaves a fear of men. Throughout middle school, especially in sixth and seventh grade, I was scared of men. I didn't like to be near men, I didn't trust men. I was scared to be alone with a male teacher in a classroom, or even in a hallway. I thought that something might happen again.

By high school, ninth grade, things had started to get better. I was aware that a man might again hurt me, but I didn't panic as much as I had in middle school if I saw a male teacher or administrator. I thought that I might be somewhat safe, that maybe most men were trustworthy. Then, the summer after ninth grade, the summer I turned 15, a man who I thought was my friend raped me. I wasn't a virgin at this time, and under the circumstances, like with the first incident, I decided not to involve the police or my family. Instead, I only told two cousins who I was close to, and a friend.

Going back to school was hard. There is now an entirely new fear involved with males, particularly adults. I do not trust men. People in general, now, are very difficult to trust, because I don't feel safe. When male teachers come near me, I back away. If I have to talk to them, I keep a textbook in front of me, or I cover my face with my hands. Maybe if they can't see me they won't want me. I hope they think that I'm the most undesirable person in the school. I sweat, and I tremble, and I want to run away.

Female teachers are easier to be around. I don't expect to be hurt by female teachers, at least not sexually. Sometimes I wonder, though, if it's happened to them. I wonder if one of their children has been hurt like I have, and if they have any idea at all. I wonder if they can tell, from child abuse seminars or personal experience, what has happened to me. I wonder what I'd say if someone asked.

Why does sexual abuse occur? Instead of teaching girls what to do if they get raped, men should be taught not to rape. Sexual harassment, even in young boys, should not be written off as boys will be boys. If a girl says no, the answer is no. It doesn't matter if a guy paid for the girl's dinner or movie ticket. I can buy a guy dinner without demanding that he mow my lawn. Why can't a guy purchase a meal for a girl without assuming that he'll get sex out of it? Men complain that women think that they're obsessed with sex, but maybe men should really be complaining about men who refuse to see women for anything other than sex.

I do not dress in revealing clothing. I never had. My typical outfit is an oversized tee shirt, baggy jeans, sneakers and socks. I don't wear make up. I don't spend time making my hair look nice. It's in braids every day. I don't think that any girl, regardless of her clothing, should be blamed for a rape. It doesn't matter if she's sober or not: men can try asking. Women were not put in this world solely for men to have sex with them. We serve a greater purpose than sex.