It was decades before I really understood that.
And during those decades, I found myself “consenting” over and over again to things I didn’t want to do with people I thought I loved, but didn’t really know, and who didn’t care about me at all.
For a long time, I was able to draw a direct line back to that situation with my cousin when asked to identify the source of my sexual trauma. But it took reading that one fateful slide for me to accept the title of survivor, and to understand why the experience had affected me so profoundly.
People could have noticed.
Kids talk. At certain points, even I talked. It was, admittedly, in a sort of boastful way, at a time when I thought most cool kids were having sex. And kids talked about what I had said, to each other and to their siblings and some probably even to their parents.
In itself, the fact that I thought it was cool to have sex…