Me Too: I Was Inappropriately Touched at Summer Camp
When I was 11-years-old, I was at my last summer camp activity of the day, archery in the woods, alone with “Dave,” a counselor seven years my senior.
I always had a crush on Dave, which is why, when he stuck his hand up my shirt and started rubbing my back, I didn’t think anything of it. All I did was flinch, and he quickly took his hand out.
I didn’t report the incident.
And for years, I thought that it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t get raped. I wouldn’t even say I was molested. I was inappropriately touched, sure, but what girl wasn’t?
This summer, 17 years after the incident, I was retelling the story over to my therapist and realized how backward my thinking had been.
Now I realize how messed up it was that Dave did that. All these years, I was making excuses for him. He was a horny 18-year-old. He liked young girls. It was natural for men to want to touch teenagers. The book “Lolita” taught me that. Woody Allen movies even preached that this was sexy! Maybe Dave was a little off and didn’t know any better.
I was just a chubby little girl, I thought. I was lucky to have a man touch me.
It took all that therapy and the recent rising up of women against Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and other predators to give me the strength to share my story. This weekend, I participated in the, “Me too” hashtag on Facebook, after seeing so many of my friends do it.
When I have children, I am going to teach them to speak up if anybody says anything inappropriate to them or wants a hug or to be touched without their permission.
I am going to make sure that my little girl or boy is not alone with an older person that I do not know.
I am going to make sure that wherever I send them to school, the school does background checks on workers.
I will let them know that it is OK to speak up.
If I had told on Dave, he might have gone to jail. I would hope that he would’ve at least been fired. Maybe his parents would have sent him to therapy.
But I was never taught to do these things. Maybe my parents couldn’t even imagine it or it wasn’t on the cultural radar in 1998. They might have assumed that I would tell them if something happened.
There is no going back and “reclaiming” this innocent part of me that I lost that day, which makes me sad.
But what I can do is continue to heal, teach the next generation about protecting themselves, and support my fellow women and men who have gone through the same.
Jewess is going to publish stories about sexual assault and harassment. If you have a story or professional advice you want to share, either anonymously or publicly, please contact me at JewessMag@Gmail.com.