kaitlyn bradley– a story
Updated: Sep 5, 2022
i had been going out with the guy who [assaulted] me. i was 12, and he was 2 years older than me. it was our second date. the week prior, he was talking to me about things like doing things.
i told him, “i’m not really feeling this.” he brushed me off, “whatever happens, happens.”
i thought that was kind of sketchy, but [still] went to the movies with him. my parents were not in town because of business, so his brother took us [to the movie theater]. while we were [in our seats], he just kept trying to touch me and [make me vulnerable]. i was kind of laying on him, my back was against his chest and he had his arm around me. he kept trying to do things, so i kept getting up and kind of pushing him away. it was a very crowded movie theater, and it was also the day of the opening. it was a children's movie, so there were a lot of kids, [which] made it really hard [for me] to get help from other people. i sat up and he just kept pushing. i did say, “stop. no,” but it was not loud enough [with the noise of the movie theater]. i just did not vocalize it very loudly. the night that it happened, i was there with him for another 4 hours. and then his mom took us home that night. my guards were kind of up, so i didn't understand what was going on. i texted one of my friends and talked about how i didn’t feel like that was right.
it took me another month to realize because i was so far in denial.
the first person in my family i told was my mom, and she was really good about it. a lot of people in my family don’t know. just my mom and dad.
his mom came up to pick us after. i did not feel unsafe around him previously, but there were definitely red flags for him as a human being. just like the conversation before, where he was pushy and trying to pressure me. there were definitely red flags, but i don’t think i was really thinking about it at the moment. i think i would have [been more cautious if i had more resources and information]. i would have seen the red flags sooner and known more about it. i wish i had more accessible outlets online that you don’t have to pay for support and help. my school [and community] did not talk about consent at all. when [my school] found out [what happened] from people talking about it and rumors, they reached out and were very supportive. before, my school never spoke about it.
this [experience] was definitely hard to overcome because i put a lot of blame on myself.
i always think about what happened and what i did. it’s definitely affected me in relationships and with people. i am very aware and wary of my surroundings, not just emotional guards but also physical ones.