Our Bodies Are Not Our Own By Leigh Lyon

It more than likely starts with the first spanking… That is one of the most innocuous incidents I don’t remember if my mother or father ever spanked me, but I know a babysitter made me stand in the corner on one foot while he threw footballs at me and threatened me (with what I don’t remember) if I let the other foot fall. So there was that too.

Feminists, and especially the crowd that preaches that we have a right to make decisions about our own bodies, are partially either living in denial or are delusional. Yes, we do have a right, but reality is that right can be ripped from us by numerous actions throughout our lifetime from things we can’t control or things we don’t choose to control.

Prior to my years in CA the first assaults on my body were from pedophile(s). I have scant memory of those early years and maybe things happened I don’t remember, but I do remember at least one incident. I was 10 years old. The pedophile molested me and three of my five sisters. It may be that this guy did molest my oldest sister, too and/or my brothers for all I know. The thing about sexual abuse is that it never fully goes away and often shapes the decisions we make sexually throughout our lives. We survivors often compare our traumatic experiences.  Saying things like, “mine wasn’t as bad” and “he only did this to me but he did that to you.” It’s the same with rape. At 13 I was raped when I ran away from a foster home. He didn’t beat me. He instead threatened to break an arm while he held it behind my back, but that was it. No guns, no knives, no dire threats to my ongoing existence. I had nightmares/have nightmares still about being subjected to sexual acts that I don’t consent to. My resolve became I will die first rather than “let” it happen again.

The violence of sexual abuse goes well beyond the body into the psyche in a way that becomes hard to recognize and therefore heal. It is multi-faceted and what isn’t caused by the perpetrator is aggravated by our own attitudes, other’s opinions, the circumstances that often prevent healing immediately surrounding the incident(s). I reassured other’s that they didn’t cause or invite it, but blamed myself.

By age 10 both of my parents were deceased. I went to live with a maternal Uncle and Aunt and experienced what I consider non-sexual abuse. Degradation, slavery, humiliation, belittling, fear, and physical abuse. A wooden spoon, a dog strap, a cold shower with my clothes on, a command to beat up my sister. The violence against my body was unending it seemed. And in a foster home with a foster father and another time with the foster brother and an Uncle. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t invite it, but later got informed by my last foster parents that they always knew I was promiscuous. Right. I didn’t have sex of my own free will until I was 18. And even at 18, was it “free will” of compulsion driven by past experiences? The wounds of being blamed for things done to me, without my consent, and often to my horror, still affect me to this day.

I know I am not alone. There are many others who have suffered from their bodies being violated many ways. There are unneeded cesarean sections and hysterectomies that have occurred and continue to occur, and other numerous ways in which we are violated, and our consent, autonomy, and self-determination striped away from us. There are even the years we abused our own bodies by “acting out” or as ways to take control that really only made us relive our abuse.

One day, sitting in an AA meeting, a man was talking about being “pussy whipped.” The words hit me in my gut, I left the room and walked outside to calm down, to figure out why my emotions were raging like a tornado. It came to me… With different behaviors and many unique rationalizations, I had become what I hated. I used sex for control, power or revenge. I used men. The first step to recovery is admitting the problem. But man, I had a long way to go…


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