Published on November 21st, 2017 | by Rebecca Fish Ewan1
Loose Lips: On Telling
What precisely is the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault? “It was forty years ago.” No, for me it was forty-four. Forty-four years ago, when a man lay with his face between my 12-year-old legs to “get me off.” No, wait, it was forty-eight years ago, when a shoe salesman brought me into the back room for a piece of candy, sat me on his lap, stuck his hand under my shirt, caressed my bare chest and asked me “does this feel good.” Before I left he held out a bowl of candy. I picked the red wax lips set on the top of the pile. Red lips. Loose lips. Sink ships.
Only people who have never been molested as children think forty years is plenty of time to erase a man’s pedophilic violations. Only people who have no children. Love no children. In fact, only people who hate children would declare forty years beyond the limit to hold a man accountable for violating a child.
I was thirty-seven when I had my first child. It had been twenty-three years since I was so hungry I had agreed to let a man lick my vagina in exchange for a bowl of soup. A whole twenty-three years. Surely, I should have forgiven and forgotten by then. Leave it to a woman to hang onto things. Besides, it had been the seventies. Peace, love and broken couches and all that. Can’t blame a man for getting in on the action. And there is the fact of the soup. He gave me something in return. By twelve, I ought to have known the rules of the free market economy. The art of the deal.
When I became a mother, all men became potential pedophiles and then worked their way out of this position of distrust through their actions. Or not. I didn’t want my daughter to be the one in the one-in-four statistic. I wanted her to be one of the three. One woman out of four will be sexually assaulted by the time she turns eighteen. Sometimes it’s just a kiss. Or a touch. Or a lick. Sometimes the girls are fat or unattractive, so they ought to feel lucky any man looks their way. Sometimes they wear dresses and we all know how easy it is to reach a hand up a dress. They’re asking for it, really. Practically begging in the way they say nothing as men triple their weight and height, men old enough to be their dad or grandpa, tell them to lie back. Tell them it will feel so good. As they force themselves onto, into, against the girls, they like to ask: “Does it feel good?” How kind of them to ask. See, these men are really compassionate, caring men. They should all be senators.