Seattle Storm forward and three-time national college player of the year Breanna Stewart said today on the Players’ Tribune that she was molested regularly by an older man when she was 9 years old.
Stewart didn’t name her abuser, only noting that he lived at one of her relatives’ houses, but she went into harrowing detail. From the article:
He’d sit down next to me, pretending to watch TV. Sometimes, he never went upstairs to sleep and just waited on the couch.
I knew what was coming next.
I don’t know how to say this part. I haven’t told many people. I’m not the most vulnerable person — I don’t talk about my feelings much — so this is uncomfortable.
I was molested for years.
The TV would flicker, and everything would be quiet. “It’s O.K.,” he’d say. He’d touch me and try to get me to touch him.
Sometimes I would try to pull my arm away, but I wasn’t as strong. I was just a kid.
There was always that smell — cigarettes and dirt.
I wouldn’t make any noise. No one else knew it was happening.
Stewart wrote that the abuse went on for two years until, when she was 11, she told her parents and the man was arrested. But the trauma still sticks with her throughout her day-to-day life.
I could be surrounded by my teammates or friends or complete strangers, living life as I normally would, and memories like lightning will strike.
I wonder how many times what I’ve been through was a catalyst for where I am or what I am doing now. Even after he was arrested, and the legal process took over, I still don’t really even know what to call what he did to me. I’m uncomfortable actually naming it.
I’ll never forgive him.
But I’m not ashamed.