It Was My Fault

It’s not like I was innocent when I was 13 years old.

I was the kid you hope your child will never become.

I was living that sex, drugs, and 90’s rap kind of life.

I shouldn’t have been at that party.

And I knew I shouldn’t have been there.

So when a 33 year old man forced me to have sex with him the morning after the party – it was my fault.

I mean, yeah, I said no… multiple times. But when it came down to it I froze.

Societal norms taught us that freezing equates to consent, so for 15 years I told myself that it was my fault - I didn’t say no enough and I didn’t fight hard enough and in the end I froze.

So it was my fault. It was gross, and horrible, and filled my life with shame and anxiety that still hurts me today, and it was all my fault.

So I told no one.


Why would I? It was my fault.

When I was 28 years old, a man was telling his own story of sexual abuse to a group of people as I sat in the audience in my shame.

Until, that is, this man stated that though his entire life he had always thought that it was his fault, that it wasn’t really rape, until a friend asked him this one question:

“If the exact situation would have happened to someone else, another child, maybe your own child, or niece or nephew, or really anyone else, what would you say then?”

For a brief second I thought of my daughter being in the situation I had put myself in years ago, and my soul was overtaken with rage. Yeah, of fucking course that would be rape. No question. Zero doubt. Nothing she could have done or not done differently in the universe would make that situation not straight up rape.

And then it hit me like a brick straight to the face.

It was rape.

Zero percent of what happened to me was my fault and every second of shame and pain I had carried from the moment that asshole touched me, is entirely his fault. All of it is his fault and none of it was mine.

And this is something I want you to hear, really hear. All of you, especially my fellow humans who have experienced abuse. NONE OF IT IS YOUR FAULT. IT NEVER WAS YOUR FAULT AND IT WILL NEVER BE YOUR FAULT.

I love you. I believe you. You are brave. You are strong. I am standing beside you. You are my hero. And nothing that asshole did to you was your fault, not even a little bit, not even at all.


Sheri Rosendahl3 Comments