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We know that sexual violence is all too common and everyday. Here ‘L’ talks through repeat experiences of being targetted with abuse and sexual assault by boys and men

Warning: this article may be triggering for some readers

I am 22 and so far throughout my life, I have put up with a lot of violence inflicted on my body, which has affected the way I am.

I wanted to share my experience because I am at a point where I am acknowledging this violence for what it really was, and I am in the process of releasing anger and finding a positive outcome to those aggressions.

As far as I can remember, I have always had boys – and later on men – taking advantage of my quiet or shy nature to overstep the boundaries, and allowing themselves access to my body. As a child, I was what people might call a tomboy. I was provocative with boys, managing to outsmart them and could be as loud and aggressive as them. A few times, some boys tried to put me back to my place by reacting violently. I remember getting into a fight with a boy where he repeatedly hit me in the face whilst I just clenched my teeth and laughed in his face to show him I was not scared of his violence.

I was still shy, but I had enough confidence to speak back to boys. This came crashing down when puberty hit me. I think that I have never really assimilated myself to any of the two main sexes and that the apparition of my periods just sent me off and confused me.

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