Being sexually abused does horrific damage.
When you resist, after your father has raped you almost daily since the age of eight, and he pulls a gun on you, you crumble. You are a thing to him. Not a daughter.
When you are studying with a guy and supposed friend in high school, and suddenly he throws you down. “You are going to enjoy this.” You are stunned. Lost. You don’t scream. You are frightened.
When you are at a bar, and someone puts something in your drink. You wake up, realizing you have been anally penetrated. You were just a guy, talking with others guys. Now you are half naked in a hotel room you don’t recognize, and have vague memories of some kind of party. It is horrifying.
Then, you tell. You tell your mother. Or your father. You go home and tell your wife.
Their response? “Your dad would never do that.” “You shouldn’t have worn that short skirt.” “I just think you went out and got laid. You probably have AIDS. Pack your shit and get out of here!”
You sink into a hole that is so devastatingly deep, it takes monumental effort to get out. If you ever do.
And you stop talking.
These people are sitting next to you at work. They are your neighbor. The mom that you see every morning, walking her kids to school. The corporate guy who has to travel for his job, who has always seemed to be a great family man, that you hear is suddenly separated from his wife.
People who have been sexually abused, and are not believed.
The first person who they trusted to tell, or maybe you trusted to tell, chose to stay in denial. They chose to keep whatever bubble they live in free and clear of nastiness, of calculated cruelty. They chose to protect themselves, rather than you.
They chose to keep their life intact. While yours fell apart.
It’s almost worse than the abuse itself. So I have been told by countless sexual abuse survivors.
You already feel shame. Now, you are given the message that you are a liar, or that you somehow asked for it. You are given the message that you are not important enough to be believed. No one cares enough to listen, do something about it and help you heal.
Most rapes never get reported. And child abuse? The figures are staggering.
I have already written about a woman I saw, only three times. She told me in the first session that she had been molested by her father. In the second, that her father, at the age of nine, had made her molest her baby brother, right in front of him. I called her back to come in for a third, because I was concerned about her.
“All I needed to let go of the shame was to be believed, and not to see a look of horror on your face when I told you about my brother. I have thought all my life that someone would think I was a monster for doing that to him. Because I have felt like that – like a monster.”
If it happened to you, and you didn’t fight or scream, it’s okay. You did what you could to stay safe.
If it happened to you, and you barely remember, it’s still abuse. And very important.
If it happened to you, almost every day of your life, it’s not your fault. You deserved to have been loved well.
If it happened to you, and you were forced to hurt others, remember you were a child. And you didn’t have any power.
If it happened to you, and your body somehow automatically responded, that can happen.
If it happened to you, and no one believed you, they are in the wrong. Not you.
[tweetthis]If you were sexually abused, and you have told no one, please risk telling. It will help.[/tweetthis]
Tell someone who has the capability of understanding. Tell someone who doesn’t avoid the painful things about life. Tell someone that has no investment in it not being true.
You are not dirty, nor a monster.
Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse.
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