the men who assaulted me

[CW: sexual assault]

I wonder, from time to time, about the men who assaulted me.

They were boys back then (teenagers, really—old enough that they should know better but young enough that they could’ve done what they did on a dare)—but they’re certainly men now. And even though most days I am beyond glad I do not know their names, occasionally I’ll wish that I did. Not to rain hell down on their beings (though I’ll admit I wished it on them from time to time during my own teenage years); no, just to check up on them. Facebook-stalk them. Find out what they’re up to these days.

Because, by my best estimate, they were sixteen. (Give or take.)

And I, by my best guess, was three to five, but probably on the lower end of that range for two reasons: one, I was still in Pull-Ups, and I was pretty done with those by kindergarten; and two, my little brother wasn’t with me (although this gets a little fuzzy—my brain tells me he’d gone in with me before, which would put him at 2-3 and me at 4-6, but I’m not sure if that’s information I assimilated after the fact. I was little. Time passed differently). Doing the math to figure that out is . . . complicated and imprecise. But if we’re going with approximately a thirteen-year age difference, and I’m twenty-four now, then they’re thirty-seven, maybe closing in on thirty-eight since my birthday’s not until the end of the year. If they decided sometime in the last two decades that they wanted a family, they probably have kids or are trying for them. They are roughly the same age as many of my teachers at CalArts, putting them solidly mid-career. If money’s worked out in their favor, they’re probably somewhat comfortable, or at least not scrambling for the last ten dollars they need to pay their electric bill.

And in today’s era of accepting friend requests and approving follows from people we don’t recognize, I wonder if I could’ve gotten in. I wonder if I could have messaged them and told them what they did to me. I wonder if they would’ve understood why their actions show up so frequently in my art—not because I like monetizing my own trauma but because it’s the only way to talk about it that doesn’t smother me. I wonder if they would’ve cared.

For the most part, though, I’m not a particularly vengeful person once a little time has passed. Sometimes it exists in my head somewhere, but in practice, I find it’s usually a better use of my time to focus on the future instead of a revenge warpath. (Your mileage, of course, may vary.) But every so often a thought comes along that’s not malicious but still too good to dismiss. For my attackers, there’s one thought in particular that never quite goes away:

I hope they have daughters they cherish, and I hope they remember what they did.

Thanks for reading! This blog is part of my writing for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2020. If you like what you read (or got something out of it, or feel fulfilled/validated/educated), tune back in every Saturday at 8pm MST(/PDT). For more, join me on Patreon, or follow me on Instagram @ordinarilymeg.