‘I was just raped thousands of miles away from home as a 15-year-old, and I was scared.’

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“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I had always pictured myself being a mother to a little boy. I never thought about having a girl, I never really wanted one. When people asked why, it was always ‘I just want a boy, they seem so fun… and I want a mama’s boy’.

It wasn’t until I found out that I was pregnant with a girl that I discovered the parts about myself that held the real reasons why I never wanted to have a girl. It’s easier to raise a gentleman than to always be there to protect your little girl from men who aren’t so gentle.

From a young age, I’ve dealt with sexual trauma. The first being my grandmothers neighbor, who always wanted to ‘play house’ with me. I was 8 years old the first time I was sexually molested. I was 8 years old. I didn’t even know what was happening was wrong. It was disguised as a fun game where we played ‘husband and wife’.

After that, it was just a run-down… trusted family friends who would cop a drunken feel or stick their hands up my night shorts.

A trusted family friend who cornered me in his garage when I was 15 and forced himself between my legs while I emotionally and physically disconnected from my body, trying to make myself not be ‘there’ as much as possible.

But the one that will always haunt me, is the one that took everything away from me.

When someone who I thought was my friend raped me in my ‘sleep’. I woke up and I told him no, I told him to stop. I pulled, and I pushed, but he waited until I calmed down, and he just kept going, after a fail to fight him off… I just acted like I was asleep. I’ll wake up and it will all just be a bad dream.

But it wasn’t.

The next morning his dried-up semen was in my hair. I had gone on a family road trip with him and his family, we were in a semi. I remember how disgusting I felt. I couldn’t wash my hair until we got to a truck stop, which was a day later. I kept quiet about the incident out of sheer terror and didn’t sleep much after it. I couldn’t wait to be home.

I was just raped thousands of miles away from home as a 15-year-old, and I was scared.

Even into adulthood, I experienced things like men groping me at jobs I’ve worked, thinking it was okay to slap my butt when I walked by, or tell me that I had ‘f*ck me’ eyes. The men who would stare at my chest or tell me how amazing my body was.

Every single occasion of sexual abuse lingers in my mind when raising my daughter.

My mind can’t function normally, and it never will.

As a result, I know I will be the overbearing mother that my daughter resents one day. I won’t even let her daddy take her in the men’s restroom to change her, so I can have a break, because I’m scared someone will look at her in a less than appropriate way.

Raising a daughter is scary.
Knowing one day, some boy is going to break her heart.
Some boy is going to break her trust.
Some boy is going to leave her feeling broken beyond repair.
Some boy is going to make her question herself.
Make her wonder why she isn’t good enough, or why she was just too much.

As a girl mom, I’m going to do my very best. I’m going to teach her that she can always talk to me.I’m going to teach her how to protect herself. I’m going to teach her the red flags of someone who is untrustworthy.

‘Never go down an alley alone.  If you’re walking to your car alone, keep your keys between your knuckles. But avoid an alone walk if all possible, especially at night.  Get a permit to carry. Always carry pepper spray.  If you find yourself in a bad situation, fight back. Always fight back. Scream, yell, kick, punch. And always, always scratch.  Scratch as hard as you can, and at every single chance you get…’

One day, I’m not going to be right there to have a protective arm around my baby girl, and neither will her daddy. We have to trust that we raise her to protect herself and always know what to do, but I know the power some men hold.

I know the fear that overcomes you, I know just how impossible it feels to stop the inevitable and that’s what terrifies me.

I will raise her to be strong, smart, and intuitive. I will teach her that she is worth everything and then some, and to never let anyone make her feel like it’s anything less. I will remind her that she is beautiful, smart, and will reach any goal she sets her mind to. She will know that she always has a friend in me. A protector, a shoulder to cry on. Even when she’s 30.

I hope when my daughter reaches my age, things will have turned around some. I hope women aren’t seen as objects for men. I hope that every other headline in the news won’t be about a woman telling a man ‘no’ and the consequences she suffered because of it.

Raising a girl is so terrifying when you’ve seen the ugliest parts of what being a girl has to offer at times.

This is a mental battle for me every single day as my baby girl grows, and it’s a learning experience.

Raising her is teaching me I have to be able to trust again, because I haven’t trusted anyone in a very long time.

I’m raising a strong beautiful girl.
I’m not raising an object.
I’m not raising your housewife.
I’m not raising a super bowl ad.
I’m not raising your incognito search history.
I’m not a raising a side piece.

I’m raising a Queen. A warrior who I will teach to protect herself when mama can’t.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Autumn Benjamin of Layla’s Mama – Mamahood & Beyond.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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