(A different version of) this post first appeared on Feministe. Trigger warning for rape, abuse.
When I was 15, my cross-country coach was accused of child molestation. The girls he was accused of hurting looked like me–blonde, blue-eyed runners. I was confused and angry about the whole situation, and asked my mother why I hadn’t been targeted. She responded that predators can tell when a child is properly looked after, and they avoid those children. She said that Mr. Vespie* could tell that I had a mother who was my fierce advocate, and no one would come after me because they knew she would come after them.
Bullshit. I had been experiencing sexual abuse for several years by the time the scandal came to light. My mother’s “protectiveness” had not prevented me from being targeted. In fact, it was her “protectiveness” that kept me from feeling like I could talk to her about what was already happening to me – because it was my girlfriend who was hurting me.