I am a young, female, and semi-well known dancer, and my sexual assault story began 8 years ago. It was a pain so vehement that suppression took those memories to my deepest, most fragmented place, with bolted doors. Suppression then met up with time, and time took those locked doors to a place of complete non-existence. Now, we speed up 8 years to the present day and I was unwittingly presented with a reminder. A world-halting, air-stealing, anger-inducing, and confusion-bearing reminder of what happened to me by the person I looked up to most.
Now, I feel that in order to tell my story correctly, I have to speak from a place that so many young dancers know of. The true reason I am sharing is so that I can type on behalf of the "dance world" in general, rather than specific to the details of my personal story. From a place of truth that comes from experiencing and witnessing what happens in the "dance world" too often.
Dance teachers are unlike another form of a teacher you may associate with. Dance is a physical art, and if at the commitment level for success, it is an art that takes you away from spending time at home, with friends, or with family. The dedicated dancer often views their teacher as much more than the title of a "teacher" and they become life-long mentors. They see you grow up, they see you at your worst, at your best, they give constructive criticism. They teach you about loyalty, respect and proper class-taking etiquette. Two factors that I consider relevant to my story are: 1) they get to know your body, and 2) they get to know your family . . . and so easily the boundaries can become unclear.
I was 12, she was 26 and I have come to recognize that she molested me at many dance-related events. It is still difficult to understand that it was not my fault. She knew the legal consequences to her actions if she had been caught, and she did it anyway. I had always taken blame because she was my favorite teacher, I loved her and I "let" it happen. But, I was much too young to make any logical or smart decisions. She swore on my life that no one could know and so . . . I have been silent for 8 years. I am not sure that too many people know what it is like to be abused into lying to your mother, your friends, and most importantly; yourself for an entire 8 years. Now that I have finally told my mom since recently having flashbacks of my abuse, I have turmoiled into a giant knot of anxiety and sickness. My mom feels as though she has failed as a mother but I know that it is no one's fault but my predator's. No one could have saved me from the reality of what happened. The only thing saving me, is typing, here, right now. It is not my intention to get any media attention, to expose any names, places, or exact incidents. It is not my goal to make anyones life worse than they have made mine.
There is always an effect to the cause and I truly hope that she finds peace. I hope that my success makes her small. I hope that I was the only one of my peers to have gone through this. I hope that one day, she can find the self-honesty to come clean to authorities. I hope that she resigns from teaching young, vulnerable, easily manipulated talents.
My last hope is that no child is forced to lie and has to carry shame into adulthood. That no adult has to come to a revelation that initiates an enormous emotional, psychological and physiological upheaval in their lives due to sexual abuse. That your hero never hurts you.