Telling the Truth

A few years ago Six Hens published my story, “Boundaries,” about my experience of sexual molestation by a minor. In light of the past week, and after reading the stories of so many women, I thought I would re-post the link here.


If all women tell their stories, the world is bound to change for the better.


What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.

Muriel Rukeyser


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Literary Journals, Memoir, Nonfiction

50 responses to “Telling the Truth

  1. Wow. I have read this before, but it’s just as disturbing read again. I’m sorry that preditor subjected you to such disgusting behavior. I’m sorry no one helped you. I’m glad you slapped him hard.

    • Thanks, WJ. Nothing in my life had prepared me for meeting this kid. I don’t really wish anything had, and yet it would have helped if I would have been prepared. My father always told me to poke out the eyes of someone attacking me, but I didn’t understand attack in this way.

  2. I am so sorry this happened to you at such a vulnerable age. He took away an essence of your youth and innocence. It makes you wonder what his life was like to be such a predator at such a young age.

    • It was before the days of high school with the heavy drinking, so I figure he was a sociopath or something. Yet, weirdly, a friend of mine from that era, when she read this story when it first came out and I privately told her his name, was floored that it was him. She went to high school with him, and I did not as we moved away. So did he change? Hard to believe.

  3. I remember reading this, Luanne…so disturbing. He certainly deserved to be slapped…and more.

  4. I remember this essay. “Things” happened to me as well when I was too young. I honestly don’t believe reporting or even telling an adult would have helped. Even if we were believed, adults are more likely to want to see it as an isolated incident, as something that might not have happened if I had handled myself differently. Like not gone off alone in a car with a young man several years older than me. Mind you, what happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to you. But it’s something I had nicely buried until the Kavanaugh hearings. The diminishing of girls’/women’s experience. I guess Blondie wanted revenge because you were able to push him away. Still I can’t imagine how helpless and humiliated you must have felt when he assaulted you in class. I felt righteous satisfaction where you describe slapping him. But still—he should have never touched you. And you shouldn’t have had to defend yourself.

    • Yup. I was humiliated and super embarrassed. And enraged. I’m not sure what was wrong with him. He acted like a sociopath. He was probably 13 or 14 to be in my class, and how he acted was menacing and kind of crazy. I think it would have been worse to tell an adult who would have ignored me. It was better not having to go through that. That says something, I think.

    • I’m remembering things, too, because of the Kavanaugh stuff. I was going to say nothing awful, but of course, any of these types of incidents are awful. What I mean is that I was not raped. I heard that sexual assault hotlines and such are seeing an extreme uptick.

  5. I am saddened that no one in the class reported Blondie’s behavior. It was clear his advances were not welcome and they all kept their noses in books?

  6. I’m glad you were able to fight back. Unfortunately, we all seem to be taught to ignore such things when we see them happen. Don’t make waves. Don’t cause trouble.
    When I was five, the boy next door, about the same age, caught me alone at the creek behind our houses a couple times. He threatened to beat me with a rock or stick if I didn’t pull down my pants. I never told my parents about it, though I knew it was wrong and he was a bully. I felt ashamed.
    In retrospect, I’m certain that he was probably being abused at home, but it doesn’t excuse his behavior. I doubt he became a nicer person.

    • I don’t know how I missed this! I’m so sorry, Eilene! I HIGHLY doubt he became a nicer person. Something like that is beyond the pale of what a normal kid would even think of, IMO. He wasn’t just a bully, but a particularly nasty one and too sexualized at that age.

  7. Slaps are words on fire and although shitty for you, maybe you saved another girl. Then you wrote about it, maybe saving a few more. You’re a conqueror and a healer.

    • Thank you so much for your inspiring words! I hope it saved another girl. It’s interesting that a friend of mine from that period who ended up going to high school with him (I moved away) thought I must have been mistaken and it was someone else (sound familiar? heh) because he seemed a good guy in high school. So maybe he did change. Not sure as he seemed such a freaken sociopath.

  8. Very well said, Luanne

  9. I remember reading this before, Luanne. It is so disturbing, and I’m sorry it happened to you. I’m glad you were able to push him away and slap him. I remember not knowing how to react or what to do in some situations. But I’m so sorry that you felt a sense of shame–like it was you that did something wrong. I was so happy that younger daughter always seemed to know how to handle guys. Listening to dt mock Dr. Ford is getting me so angry.

  10. Val

    Difficult to comment but I just want to give you a hug.

  11. I, of course, was horrified for you for this experience, Luanne. Being a teenager was not easy under the best of circumstances, but being victimized by a sexual predator during that already stressful time must have been a life-altering event.
    I am always amazed at the ease with which some men convey their contempt for women through sexual misconduct and am always equally amazed at the women who support those men with their vote, aren’t you?

    • I think that the impact it had on me was distrust (for me neighbors were like extended family) and self-hatred because of the shame. But I know it is far less bad than so many have experienced.

  12. Luanne. This is such a powerful piece. (I’m so glad I caught this, I’m way behind on my reading.) Very very gutsy of you to write it in all its honesty and immediacy, thank you for sharing it. You truly captured the mess of emotions in such an invasion. Been there, so I know. And look what’s happened now, all over, since #metoo. Thank goodness. I don’t think this type of crap will survive in the cold light of day, under ever-watchful eyes. I *hope* not!! Enough’s enough! Take care. <3

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