I was not pure, I knew, because of an incident in primary school in grade three. I was eight years old. One day an older boy asked me if I wanted to go and be dirty with him. I had no clue what he was asking me, and I just thought he wanted to play in the sandpit or in the mud behind B-block. Apparently, that’s not what he had in mind, as I soon found out. I knew it was wrong, but I was not sure why. He asked me to stroke his penis and I was not sure what to do but I knew that I was not supposed to do that. I said no. He ignored me, grabbed my hand, and instructed me on how it was done. He put his hands into my underwear and copped himself a feel as he continued to instruct me on how to please him. I was already being well conditioned into the fact that I existed for the pleasure of men. I was a good girl and did what I was told, which has proven to be as detrimental as an adult as it was as a child. But at the same time, I knew that doing what he told me to do was, on the other hand, not being a good girl.

Later, after I realized that this was a big sin, I told myself that it was a sexual assault. I’m still not sure entirely how I feel about that, because he was too young to fully know what he was doing, and I wanted to know how the hell he knew all this stuff. I mean he had to have seen this stuff somewhere. Maybe it was an assault by definition, but an assault that neither of us really understood, we were kids in primary school. But until a few years ago, I claimed that he molested me and that he knew what he was doing, because if that was the case, then maybe I was not as bad of a person as I thought I was. I lied to myself and others about him in order to try to try to make what happened between the two of us ok. This was just one of the many lies I told myself about my sexuality over the years. All I knew was that I had was not considered pure and chaste because of that incident. Even as a eight-year-old, I had “obviously” tried to lead him on, otherwise he would not have done it.

For many years I had issues with the sanitary pads, after I started my period right after my 11th birthday, but I was not to use tampons because even using tampons made me not a virgin anymore, because I had been penetrated by something and therefore would not bleed on the sheets on my wedding night. But I had been penetrated a long time before I started using tampons, by my own father. He didn’t rape me in the traditional sense as in he did not insert himself inside of me, but the trauma of his actions remains today.

I was ten years old, I think, and I had a yeast infection. The male doctor that my parents took me to had in his male brain decided that I was old enough for Monistat. I remember laying on my bed in my room, crying hard because I could not figure out how to get it inside of me and my parents were yelling at me through the door and they were mad that I couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, my father burst angrily into the room, and told me that he was going to insert it, and that it would hurt some because he was deliberately going to break my hymen since we all knew that I was rebellious and would have sex before I was married anyway and so he might as well make sure the guy has easy access. I lay on the bed crying while my father shoved the applicator inside of me, not only because it hurt but because I knew it was wrong, even though I didn’t understand why. I felt violated but tried to convince myself that he had just done it because he loved me and wanted me to get better.

He never again violated me in that way, but the damage was done. He had made me unclean. I would not be this pure virgin for him to give away on my wedding day. In 1999 when I was introduced to the True Love Waits campaign, I desperately wanted to sign a purity pledge because everyone else was doing it and after all signing the pledge would please God and I wanted God to love me so bad. My parents told me I could not sign it because they just knew I was going to break that vow and have sex before marriage anyway. I never understood why they instilled the no sex before marriage rule into my head if they never expected me to keep it.

Unfortunately for me, the sexual shame was just beginning. When I hit puberty, I began noticing how beautiful and attractive the girls were. I knew that liking girls was unacceptable and an abomination to God. I did not know why, but it had been talked about my whole life by my parents and pastors and my parent’s friends who all used slurs when they talked about the abomination of homosexuality. I wasn’t sure I understood what homosexuality was, but I got the general idea by just watching and observing

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