My Secret Came Out

My Secret Came Out

My Secret Came Out

*Trigger warning: sexual abuse, domestic violence.

February 3, 2009.

15 years old.

My hands were shaking as I tried not to drop the telephone. Stone cold body, I didn't feel real, or alive. The world I had known was gone forever. This moment wasn't happening.

This was the life changing moment when my dark, lifelong secret was out.

"Oh, Lindsey, he molested you."

Just that one sentence was enough to kill who I used to be. The innocent 15 year old withered away. I can still hear her words to this day.

I was talking to my aunt about the toxic relationship of my mother and her on/off boyfriend. She had been suspicious for years that he was sexual abusive of me. That night she got her dreaded answer.

Numb, I tried to deny it all. I didn't realize at the time the gravity of the situation. I tried to watch American Idol as if nothing had happened, Adam Lambert would distract me from that dark day. Block it out, Lindsey, something you've learned to do this entire time. I felt like I was on autopilot.

I couldn't block it out anymore. Soon the whole family would know. Soon he would know. I was going to get in trouble. Would anyone else believe me? This wasn't a normal relationship we had?

It wasn't normal. He groomed me. From age six to 15, he spent a lot of attention on me: showering me with presents, road trips, babysitting me (only me), entertaining me with cartoon voices and funny stories.

He would massage my feet, his hands slowly working their way up. I would be naked from the waist down. It was normal for him to be exposed from the waist down as well. My first permanent memory of male genitals, I still remember what it felt like in my hands. What he did to me didn't physically hurt me, so it had to be okay. That's exactly what he had me believe; this was normal between a child and an adult male.

Everyday after that fateful night I was on edge: doors always locked, every little sound I jumped. I was terrified he was going to break into the house and kill me, or worse...rape me. I still have that fear to this day. Any vehicle that looked like his silver truck...heartbeat picked up. I barely slept, I kept thinking he was going to get me, awake or in dreamland.

I felt safe in school, the principals and secretaries knew. He couldn't touch me in school. Too bad I couldn't escape the thoughts I had throughout the day. None of my friends knew, I was embarrassed. I couldn't trust anyone, I didn't even trust myself.

Everything I once believed was now a filthy lie: sex was evil, pornography was a weapon, masturbating was a sin. Here I was, 15, and slowly becoming sexually awakened: the urges, the fantasies...they felt wrong. I couldn't separate what he did to me from what was normal. Maybe I was just like him.

I kept my distance from male friends, all my friends in general, but a special firewall was up for any male, even my father and brother. I wore a purity ring in high school, staying a virgin all four years. I embraced my innocence, something I cherished and kept iron locked. I didn't think I would ever get married, I was damaged and convinced all guys were the same and wanted one thing.

Isolated in my bedroom with my rock music was how I spent my teen years. It's a refuge I still have today. My musical idols didn't make me feel alone, they understood what I couldn't say out loud.


It's now February 2018, nine years later. February will always be difficult for me, but it seems to be getting easier each year.

I'm now 24, a college graduate that helps kids with similar backgrounds. I'm no longer ashamed by my trauma, and I know I'll never be my abuser. What he did to me and what I choose to do sexually are not the same thing, I make my choices now.

I've had three relationships, and I believe in love again. I still wear a purity ring, not because I'm saving myself for marriage, but to remind myself that I come first, and hopefully one day my purity ring will be replaced with an engagement ring/wedding ring.

I share my story to inspire others. I even put my abuser in prison for 14 months, and helped make him a lifetime sex offender on the state registry. I'm also trying to change Maine laws on how the parole system deals with sex offenders.

My 15 year old self was scared of what I was going to become. I hope I made her proud, she's come a long way.

National Sexual Assault Hotline, available 24 hours a day:


Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Daggett

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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