David Bowie and believing children.
David Bowie is dead. Everywhere I look, I see people mourning his death; talking about how important his music is to their life.
I was okay watching all the media talking about what an awesome man Bowie was. I shared the information about his "relationship" with a 13 year old girl in the 1970s where she apparently "lost her virginity to him". Lots of other people were sharing this information about child rape because that's what it was. A child can never consent to "sex" with an adult. It is always child sexual abuse.
I was okay until a woman said she didn't believe me; that the evidence from the 13 year old girl wasn't believable because people lie about rape. And, anyways, she was probably trying to flog a book.
Because a 13 year old girl who spoke publicly about her experiences has to be lying about a famous man taking advantage of his power to sexually abuse her. This is the same woman who believed the victims of Jimmy Savile and Roman Polanski. But, David Bowie. His music was important so she must be lying.
I cried. For hours. I was massively triggered because I was once that child who no one believed. Who no one still believes. Who is still called a liar.
The problem is I did lie. I was only 8 and I was sent to the bus stop by myself to go to school for the first time. I was terrified of the dark and I begged my mother not to send me. But, she insisted. I only lasted a few minutes before running back into the house claiming that a strange man had come to the bus stop.
I lied about a strange man coming to the bus stop and trying to take a non-existent little boy.
I lied because I was terrified of the dark.
I lied because I was terrified to tell why I was afraid of the dark.
I lied because I didn't know how to describe what the male babysitter did to me at night; why I always hid before he came.
I lied because his father was a powerful man in the local church and I knew no one would believe me. I was 7 and he was very clear that no one would ever believe me.
My mother phoned the police to tell them what I said. They came to the school and a police officer spoke to me with the headteacher of our school who were all afraid of because she shouted. A lot. I was too afraid to talk and just kept shaking my head. Two official adults behind a desk were not exactly a friendly face.
So, the police, the school and my mother labeled me a liar. She still says I lie when I say something that she doesn't remember or disagrees with. She calls me a liar when we argue.
I was 34 before I could sleep without a night light.
It took me 25 years before I could process what happened to me. Before I could label my experience as sexual abuse. The 13 woman who "lost her virginity" to Bowie doesn't use the word child rape either. But she was a child. He was an adult.
My selective mutism started that day and I still suffer with it. People who meet me think I'm a blabbermouth who *shares* everything. But I don't. This is only the second time I've ever written or spoken about my experience. My fears.
I'm writing this because I was triggered today. Not by another example of child rape. But because the victim wasn't believed. That feeling of being labelled a liar; of attention seeking behaviour. It never ends.
#Ibelieveher changed my life. It made me think people would believe me too. Today, I got the reminder that not only rapists label women liars.
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