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I Was 12, He Was 20 — So Why Did Everyone Blame Me for Our Sexual Relationship?

March 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Jillian Lauren, Salon



 

Names and identifying details have been changed.

Over the years, I have called it an “inappropriate relationship.” I have called it “an incident with an older man.” Most frequently, I have called it “the thing that happened that summer.” As in — remember the thing that happened that summer?

I never called it sexual abuse, because it felt like an overly dramatic Oprah-ization of what happened. The word “abuse” seems to imply victimization and has always made me uncomfortable in this instance. Until now, I have been far too politicized to admit the chief reason I never called it sexual abuse in spite of the fact that it would be considered as much from both a criminal and a clinical perspective. The real reason is because I believed I asked for it.

The summer I turned 12, I went to sleepaway camp. I shaved my legs for the first time, dumped Sun-In in my hair and tanned with baby oil. I had my first boyfriend — a skinny, freckly arrogant kid a year my senior who took me for two paddle boat rides and then broke up with me, declaring me a prude and, I was sure, ruining my romantic life forever.

I turned from real life to fantasy, and eschewed the hazardous boys my own age in favor of a secret crush on Nathan, the 20-year-old swimming counselor. Nathan was sarcastic and slouchy and unusually stylish for a camp full of spoiled East Coast Jewish kids. His dyed black hair spilled over one eye and he wore his shorts low on his hips. Trumping all, he was from New York City, mecca of all things wild and wonderful. I spent countless hours imagining myself into a future in which I strolled through Washington Square Park with Nathan, preferably on a fall day in between college classes.

Nathan didn’t quite fit in and there were all kinds of rumors circulating about him. He was bisexual; he was friendly with Morrissey; he was a model for the United Colors of Benetton. I, too, felt like an outsider, never able to summon the same gung-ho camp spirit as the other …read more
Source: ALTERNET

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