I was 15 years old, and in 10th grade at Simi Valley High School. It was lunchtime, and the whole school was congregating in “The Quad.” My friends and I sat under one of the big oak trees, enjoying the shade on a warm June day. Summer was upon us and the school year was about to end. Spirits were high.
We were finishing up our lunches and gossiping. I stood up to throw my trash away when I saw two older boys walking towards my small group of friends. As they approach, the taller boy looked right at me and walked straight up to me.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say, thrilled that a Junior had singled ME out.
He looks down, kind of kicks the grass with the toe of his Converse, then looks me in the eye and says:
“I’m really sorry about this, but the guys are gonna give me 50 bucks if I do this.”
And he grabs my breasts. At lunch. In front of the whole school.
I didn’t understand what was happening. It’s like everything froze. And remember I said that two older boys were walking over – yeah, well, the second guy was there to take a picture. I guess to document the incident so Mr. Hands could prove what he’d done and collect his winnings.
Let me interject here; I developed early. I was a very curvy girl and wore my first bra at the age of 10. My breasts were very, very large by the time I was 15 and there was no way that I went unnoticed by a group of horny adolescent males.
I was mortified. I could hear the “guys” with the 50 bucks laughing, I looked over, and they were high-fiving and clapped the assailant on the back as he walked back to where they stood.
I started to shake and tear up. My friends took me right up to the office where I told the secretary to the principal what had happened. The police were called. When they arrived, I assume they interviewed me (I have no memory of that). By now I’m sobbing in the office, and my father was called.
While I’m sobbing, waiting for my dad, the police arrested the boy who touched me. He was handcuffed and taken away in the police car, later to be charged with assault and battery since he actually touched me. He would also be expelled from the entire Simi Valley school district.
My dad finally arrived to pick me up and take me home for the rest of the day. But we didn’t go straight home – my father took me to see a plastic surgeon that afternoon, and one month later, after my dad’s wedding to my step-mom, I had breast reduction surgery.
Not only did this incident change my life physically; a pound of breast tissue was removed from each breast; it changed how I felt about and saw myself. I literally shrank into myself. My posture changed, I would round my shoulders to try and hide my chest. I didn’t want to be seen or noticed. I believed that men only wanted me for my body or sex – that’s all that I was worth. At the same time, if I wasn’t getting attention from men, I assumed I must be worthless.
It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to be able to counteract these negative thoughts – and to this day I can’t always counteract them. It’s a struggle every day for me to be proud of who I am and not measure my value by how I look or who is looking.
I was violated.
He didn’t just touch my breasts; he assaulted my self-confidence.