Breanna Stewart was molested as a child and hopes to help others by sharing her story, the Seattle Storm star wrote in column published Monday morning by The Player’s Tribune.
“’It’s not a dirty little secret,’” Stewart wrote, quoting her father. “’When you’re comfortable with it, and when you’re comfortable being open about it, you could save someone’s life.”
Stewart wrote that she was compelled to share her story after hearing powerful stories as part of the #MeToo campaign that evolved from the wave of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. People are using the hashtag as they share their own stories of sexual harassment and abuse. More than 1.7 million people in 85 countries have used the hashtag on Twitter, CNN reports.
Stewart, one of the most accomplished college players in basketball history, wrote that she was molested repeatedly by an adult male from age 9 to 11.
She said the man touched her in public and when she spent the night at the person’s house. She said she often slept at relatives’ houses when she was a child and the man lived at one of the houses she slept at the most.
“He’d sit down next to me, pretending to watch TV,” Stewart wrote. “Sometimes, he never went upstairs to sleep and just waited on the couch. I knew what was coming next.”
She said she tried to pull away.
“You know those dreams where you try to run but your body won’t move? That was me: paralyzed, silent,” Stewart wrote.
When she visited and nothing happened, she wrote, “I would think, thank you.”
Stewart wrote about being too nervous to tell her parents that she didn’t want to visit and how the abuse haunted her.
“I have so many black holes in my brain,” Stewart wrote. “Memories are sucked in and never come back out. There must be pieces of me just floating out there in the ether — pieces that were stolen from me. Pieces that are forgotten.”
She wrote that when she told her parents and her molester confessed and was arrested, she went to basketball practice that night. She never went to therapy and says she tried to forget about the abuse. She kept quiet because she doesn’t want to be defined by the abuse.
Now, she wrote, “every time I tell someone, I feel a little more unburdened.”