Sexual abuse comes in all forms and with many different experiences. Seldomly do the actions and the consequences of sexual abuse happen in the way we have been taught; the telltale signs we learn are often not there.
People who have never experienced molestation wonder why the victim didn’t do this or that. And I get it.
You can’t understand until it’s happened to you. Until you’ve been the victim. Even then you might not fully understand it.
And I can honestly say I am a person who loves to think I would fight with all I’m worth. I mean, that is what happened the second time. But not the first.
Because I promise you, every sexual abuse situation is different.
I was 13 when it first happened. Naively thinking it was going to be an innocent night hanging out with friends. I was still one of those shy girls, just starting to come out of my shell.
I remember it vividly; like it was yesterday. My best friend and I met with some friends to watch one of the Saw movies. There was no place left to sit or lie down, so I curled up on the floor with a blanket.
I was by myself at first, and everything was fine. But a little while later a guy I believed was my friend came to lay down under the blanket next to me. I brushed it off, not thinking much of it at first.
But then he started touching me.
I didn’t want him to. I kept telling him to stop and trying to pull his hand away and out from under the blanket. But he was too strong. He shoved his hand down my pants. Again, I begged him to stop and tried to pull his hand out.
I told him I didn’t want it. And I sure as hell didn’t want this to happen in front of a bunch of other people. I was humiliated. He refused, told me I would enjoy it. Told me just to let it happen.
Eventually, I gave up.
He touched me until he decided he was done, while I silently broke inside. Then he suddenly grabbed my hand and wrapped it around his shaft. I pulled away and he put my hand back.
This time I ripped it away and told him again that I didn’t want to do this. He became frustrated, got up, and took off to the bathroom. He didn’t acknowledge me the rest of the night.
He left me there feeling empty, disgusting, and humiliated.
I was sure the others knew, but no one did anything. No one said a word. I was surrounded by people, yet I had never felt more alone.
The next day at school the rumours started. Everyone was talking about me, whispering behind my back. He spread multiple rumours about me and made it out like I wanted this to happen.
No one came to talk to me or ask for my side of the story. No one showed concern.
I was a 13 year old girl who just had every shred of dignity taken from her, who felt sick about what had happened, and somehow it was turned into a comedy for everyone around me.
I stop to think about this and I realize….I was one of the popular girls….if it was this bad for me, how bad has it been for all the girls who don’t fit in, who are ignored on a daily basis?
I could eventually move forward, and I was still well liked after. But seeing how much it broke me, I wonder, how much worse has it broken them?
Dealing With Sexual Abuse
Now I realize you may be asking,
“Why didn’t you say something to one of the others? Why didn’t you yell or scream, make a scene?”
Well, let me remind you that I was very young and very inexperienced. I was shy and even to this day I will barely hold hands with or kiss a boyfriend in public (I don’t like PDA). I was embarrassed and scared.
When we go through a traumatic experience, our brains don’t work properly and we freeze. The good ol’ sympathetic nervous system kicks in.
I felt disgusting and I didn’t want others to know what was happening. I didn’t want the attention on me; I just wanted it to stop.
It’s hard to explain what goes through your head when something traumatic is happening; it took me a long time to process the situation. It’s hard to even understand why we react the way we do following the abuse.
For a long time afterward I felt like all I wanted to do was shower the filth off me. Yet I could never get it off. I was ashamed. I wore baggy clothes to make myself feel somewhat hidden.
I rebelled and did things that I look back on now and shake my head at. I dated the “bad boy” who also ended up being abusive and controlling. I started to hold my guard up and created a “hard shell” to protect me.
And I went through phases where sex meant nothing to me. Vulnerability was very, very difficult for me for many years. I distanced myself in relationships and struggled with letting people in, with letting people love me.
Learning to Heal
I didn’t talk to anyone about my sexual abuse for years. This is actually the first time I’ve ever written about it or told anyone in detail.
When I worked at a rehab centre I started getting used to telling my story, but I never relayed all the information. People would come up to me and ask how I have coped with it so well. How I’ve moved on rather than made decisions that would destroy my life.
And the truth is, I really don’t know. I couldn’t give them an answer. I guess I just found what made me happy and buried the rest of it.
I put in a lot of work on being vulnerable and allowing myself to heal in certain ways. I worked on my confidence and learned how to love myself.
But I’m realizing now that I’ve never fully dealt with the issue. I still have limiting beliefs about love. I still have troubles with relationships and releasing my emotions.
As I’ve grown on my spiritual journey I have come to learn I need to journal about my trauma and its effect on me. I need to address the root of the problem and how it has hindered my growth.
That is how we can truly heal.
Even though I am terrified, my soul has been telling me I need to share my story with you. I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Because maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else. Maybe I can inspire others to speak out even though I couldn’t. Maybe this will provide guidance for others to start their healing journey.
Sexual abuse happens to far too many men and women. It is a horrible act where the victim is left to deal with it for the rest of his/her life. We need to speak out and we need to make a change.
And please remember, you are not alone.
You are beautiful and you are worthy of the most amazing life you could possible imagine.
Please feel free to share my story and to drop a comment below if it impacted you in any way.
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Sending you love, light, and healing.