At the age of eleven, Melissa was molested by a teenage boy who lived in her home. The abuse went on every night for a period of three months until her mother found out and immediately called the police. They filed a report, the boy was arrested, and that was the end of that. The story of Melissa's abuse ends here and she lives a normal, high functioning life now ten years later.
If only life really worked that way. Everyday Melissa wakes up and carries the memories of that summer, feeling the abuse at random points of the day and night. It affects all aspects of her wonderful life, now a college student with a bright future ahead of her. Most notably it affects the way she sees men and the way she forms intimate relationships. Though Melissa has had romantic relationships, they end poorly because the men she chooses to love do not quite understand how she chooses to show it. She can be closed off, distant, and angry for no apparent reason and so in the end it is easier to just leave her behind to fend for herself while he goes on to live a happier, healthier life with people who have never been through the things she has.
No matter how much pain Melissa endures, it never hurts any less to see the men she chooses to love walk away. She did not choose to be this way, to have days where her self-confidence is so low because all she hears is her abuser's voice saying things like "you deserve this pain." It is hard for her to accept kindness, because some days she thinks it is a trick even though underneath her outward appearance she is so grateful for gifts all her friends and lovers and family members give her.
Her partners get frustrated by the way she flinches sometimes in arguments, they say things like "I've never hit you before, why do you do that?" Because even if he's never done it before, someone else has, and her mind and body have not been able to forget that.
There are times when Melissa is too attached, because she craves to be with a "good" person all the time. Sometimes she hates being sad and thinks that being with her partner won't make her feel so alone. She is still learning what makes a healthy relationship and it will take her longer than most because she is also prone to sabotaging them when the fear overtakes her.
She reminds herself everyday in moments like these, when another boy has come and gone, that it is not easy to love a sexual abuse survivor and not everyone has the capacity, the patience, and the compassion to do so. She tells herself that it is better that she learns this now, that he wasn't as good as she thought he was. But it never hurts any less.
Melissa will always be a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it is difficult for her to wake up everyday and face the world, but she does it anyway. And that is enough for her to be loved and to keep trying.