I have experienced sexual abuse; I have been depressed to the point of contemplating suicide. A lot of the sexual abuse I endured I have blocked out. It’s hidden in me, somewhere locked in the shadows. I have hidden the worst of it. But that still didn’t help me.
I still know it happened. I still have some memories of the trauma. It took me a long time to not be angry at myself for what happened. Yes at myself. Like many victims do, I blamed myself.
Well I couldn’t as an 8 year old child grasp that someone would inflict such pain on to a child unless that child deserved it? But what child deserves that regardless of any action right?
Well it doesn’t make sense, but back then I needed to blame someone. It was me. So on top of the abuse and the scars and trauma that left I was cruel to myself. It was a horrible cycle, a self-destructing one.
I was silent about my abuse. I didn’t tell a soul. I carried all of that pain with me. I blamed myself and he did too. Why wouldn’t another adult? He also threatened me, with harming my sister. I would never allow anyone else do endure what I was going through. I was quiet as it was but now more so. I never cried. I would internalize all the pain. It was such a bad childhood. That clouded any good that might have been around. I blocked about 90% of my childhood. I can be shown pictures of me laughing as a child or any activity and I can’t for the life of me remember any of it.
My mom noticed the changes. She would sit with me and ask me to please talk to her.” Are you ok?” “I don’t think you are, please talk to me.” I kept quiet. She asked the schools counselor to please talk to me. The change was noticed. But I never budged. I would have meetings with the counselor and I would sit there. She knew something was off, but I never allowed myself to open up. I was so ashamed and felt so dirty.
One time she held me. I broke down and cried my heart out. Some of that sorrow was released. I couldn’t help it, she held me and I felt safe. She never pushed me, but I had a safe place now. But still I never divulged anything to her.
I didn’t know how to deal with the emotional pain. I started to cut myself. I always did it in my thigh nobody could see it and ask questions. I hid it well. I would sit in the darkness many nights and cry, I cried to my dog. He was the only one who ever saw me cry. I cut myself to release some of that build up I was carrying. Many nights I sat with the blade on my wrist. Just does it, I would tell myself. It would all be over. I never had the courage to do so. I hated myself. I gained weight thinking oh this will make him stop. I tried to look how I felt.
It didn’t work. He stopped when I left elementary school. I was too old. The damage he did on me was horrible. I had no confidence, I was emerged in this shell, and I feared men. I feared life. I had anxiety.
I experienced cruelty in my own family. How would the world treat me? I had no self-love. He broke me. I felt it. I felt unworthy, I was damaged. But to the world I put on a smile and nobody asked questions. I felt used. But when it stopped I felt like trash. What did I do to make him stop? I was grateful but also terrified. Was he doing this to anyone else? But still I didn’t break my silence.
Here I was going to start high school, what was I to expect? Any time an adult male could get close my heart would race. I would stop breathing; shaking because I was so terrified they would hurt me. I was walking around in a body of a teenager but feeling like this eight year old child, defenseless.
It took me a long time to admit to anyone that it happened. I never let that define me though. Once it stopped I locked it up and kept moving forward. I never allowed myself time to heal. My mom still doesn’t know it happened, I have healed. I don’t want her to put blame on herself or to open up old wounds. It took my first relationship I had with a man for me to face my shadow, and truly admit to myself that it happened. It took years for me to heal and feel worthy of love.
Why did it happen?
I don’t know. But I know it wasn’t my fault. I know that I was stronger than I realized. I know now that it molded me into this woman that I am now. I understand abuse unfortunately. I am over protective of my niece and sisters; I know how to recognize abuse. I am a victim. I am not at fault. Realizing that alone healed a lot for me.
Many years after the abuse, I told a family member. She told me her sister had been abused by that same person. I felt so much guilt. I was ashamed I didn’t say anything. Did I keeping my mouth shut about this cause her to be abused?
All these emotions overwhelmed me. I was naïve thinking he wouldn’t touch anyone else. He was a predator. I would see him at family functions and he terrified me. I transformed back into this little girl. Every time I would see him with his daughters my heart would sink. Did he abuse them to?
He didn’t harm them. I was grateful. I don’t know how many he abused. Someone at one point confronted him. She was brave and told. He denied it. The family stood behind him. I knew. I was still ashamed knowing they didn’t believe her hurt. I didn’t say anything. They reported him to the authorities and he fled.
He was out of the country for years. I was finally able to breathe. He passed away a few months ago.
I felt nothing. I haven’t forgiven him. I don’t know if I can. He never admitted to anything. I never got an apology. I don’t understand why. But I know I won’t get those answers. I had to be ok with that.
You didn’t break my spirit. I felt torn down and I felt self-hate, but you didn’t break my humanity.
I still see the good in people. I will always see the good in the world. I don’t know why I had to go through that. Why it had to be me. I will never comprehend why any human would harm another. You didn’t define me. I chose to rise when I could have been destructive and turn to drugs.
You didn’t break me. I am thriving.
If, you have faced abuse or if you are currently please know that you are not to be blamed. Please allow yourself to talk to someone. Don’t let them control you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to family. I will listen. Find a safe place a safe person and express yourself. I wish I would have spoken up. Things would have been different. My mom would have listened. I know that now. I had opportunities but allowed fear to take control.
Please speak up.
You are loved. You are worthy.