New feature: Breaking the circle

// 25 May 2009

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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