Do Something

When I was around nine years old, my family started doing martial arts. It was a very “family friendly” dojo; not very much in the way of punching walls or carrying water, much more oriented toward healthy family dynamics and discipline. By discipline, I mean the positive sort of discipline that teaches children to respect people smaller and younger than they are. It was a year after my first abuse, and I very much needed grounding; my grades had slipped, my frustration and anger had begun to get worse. This was just what I needed.

We used to go out to eat a lot, because the dojo was around 40 minutes from our house. Because of our health, our most common place to go was Taco Bell. Yes, I know, that’s ridiculous, but it was the early 90s, and we were all convinced that Taco Bell was far more healthy.

At some point during our visits to this Taco Bell, we saw a promotional ad that offered us a CD to buy, and half of the proceeds would go to an organization called Do Something. I loved the CD we bought; it got me hooked on Sarah McLachlan and I never quite recovered from those haunting sounds of “Possession”. I quickly absconded with the disc and my parents rarely if ever saw it again, as I played it on repeat in my Sony CD player until I thought the thing might break and explode.


The other morning, I was waking up lazily and slowly and my fiance leaned over me to give me a smooch on the cheek, his forearms to either side of my shoulders. It wasn’t remotely sexual; his lower body was still over on his side of the bed and he just wanted to say good morning. I woke up and started to push and kick and punch at his arms, gasping in air to scream. Then I realized where I was and sat up and apologized and gave him a hug good morning.

I didn’t think much of it, but after it happened, I could remember something I never have before.


I was there in my room. I was eleven. I was small. My pajamas were only on one leg below my knee and he was rubbing his part up against me. He was leaned over me with his forearms beside my shoulders and I was looking away, staring at the floor of my room and trying to be somewhere else. I was trying so hard to be somewhere else that I think I went there, I think that’s why I haven’t rememebered until now.

There I was, staring at the floor, and there was my Sony CD player and I could barely see through the light streaming in my window from outside that the CD inside said “Do Something” and I started to cry because I had done karate and I had learned to fight and all I could do was lay there and be terrified. I should “do something”. It was like the CD was talking to me and I was too weak and small to obey.

When I started to cry he got off of me and told me again how ashamed my parents would be if he told them I had touched myself. He told me that it was our secret. That I shouldn’t tell anyone because then they’d all know what a bad person I was, how disgusting I was, and wasn’t he nice for helping me and keeping my secret?

Then he hurried out. He was such a coward. I felt so small and helpless and scared, but the truth is the second I gave any resistance at all, the second I cried or whimpered or made a fast movement, he ran away. He was so terrified of being caught, of being found out. I see that now. So there I was laying in my bed staring at a CD that said “Do Something” on it and I started to cry. Which, I suppose, was doing something, since it made him go away. It made him afraid that I might tell.

A book I read recently said, “When a person who intends to hurt you says, ‘don’t scream’ or ‘don’t tell anyone’, it is because that is the one thing you can do to hurt them. More often than not it is not because you will be hurt if you do. Most people who resort to such threats are hoping they never have to follow through on them. When they tell you ‘don’t scream’ or ‘shut up’ or ‘just sit still’ they are handing you your weapons of mass destruction for their life. They are telling you exactly what you can do to thwart whatever it is they want to do with you.”

So when they tell you, “don’t scream”, then open your mouth and let the heavens pour out of you.


So now when I think of that CD, of that Do Something CD that I so loved and that song that haunted me, I have a bitter memory of the child I was being violated. But I am also triumphant, because I did something. I cried. He went away.

Ironically, the Do Something organization has no branch for sexual assault and abuse awareness.


~ by oniongirl13 on July 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Do Something”

  1. This post is beautiful and honest, and I am really grateful you shared it. It makes me feel less alone.

  2. thank you

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