Back to the Beginning

I thought the post about the conman would be difficult to write, and it was, but this one will be the worst. But I have to do it- for myself first, and for anyone else that has been through the same thing and is trying to make sense of what happened to them.

I am only realizing now, through counselling, how important the early years of our lives are in shaping who we become as adults and the relationships we form. I hope that by me telling my story, someone else will be inspired to tell theirs. Isolation and fear are an abuser’s greatest tools. As soon as the silence is broken, his power diminishes.

I was sexually abused at the age of 9.

*I was a very lonely child, the youngest of three children, and my siblings are quite a bit older than me.
*I was also raised in a very strict fundamentalist Christian home, where sex was never discussed with the children.
*My brother, who is 8 years older than me, bullied me mercilessly and nothing was done to stop him.

I believe these three factors left me very vulnerable to the sexual abuse I was subjected to. It was the situation at home that led me to spend more and more time with the boy next door, who was a lot older than me. Old enough to abuse me and old enough to know better.

He gave me attention, which I craved desperately. One day he asked me if I knew how babies were made, and when I said I did not, he asked if I wanted him to show me. I was a curious child, always wanting to know everything, and that was how my lessons in Biology 1-0-1 began. It continued for over a year I believe, and although I remember feeling uneasy and knowing that something was not quite right, I kept going back.

I know now that child sexual abuse is a seduction, and he used to tell me how lucky I was that he was teaching me adult things but that if I told anyone, they would be very very angry with me. This is how abusers suck their victims into keeping secrets and telling lies, until the victim feels that they are a part of the abuse, and responsible for it.

I eventually told my sister but made her promise not to tell ANYONE, and she never did. She explained to me what sex was, and I believe she spoke to him, because it stopped after that. For months afterwards I remember lying in bed trying to sleep, terrified that I would have a baby and thus reveal everything to my mother and father.

Maybe she should have told someone, we have discussed that at length but the fact is, she kept a really difficult promise and I trust her with my life now.

Child sex abusers teach their victims a lot of things about themselves- they teach them that they are different to other girls, that they are damaged, that they don’t have any rights to any boundaries. He taught me that i was not quite good enough and also, that i was not allowed to talk about it.

The problem with sexual abuse is that the body responds to the touching etc, and because your body responds, you start to believe that you want it, that you are responsible for the abuse. The victim becomes even more scared to talk about it because they know that they are to blame. Or so they believe, anyway. At the very least, they believe that they wanted it. And they know that makes them different to other girls.

The guilt was tremendous, and although I managed to suppress it as I grew older, I believe it was always there. I felt a lot of guilt over the fact that I kept going back, that I enjoyed the attention, that I kept the secret, even though I knew something was wrong. Shame at the fact that I was no longer a virgin, and being a Christian, that was a HUGE thing. I carried a lot of fear that people would be able to see inside me and know that I was dirty inside. I was always terrified that people would find out, that they would just somehow know.

I also carried a lot of anger towards my mother that she did nothing to protect me, that she was too busy to realise what was going on. I was also angry at myself for a long time for allowing it continue for so long, even though I was a child. I am sure that every single victim of child sexual abuse goes through these emotions over and over, which is why so few abusers are charged and brought to justice.

A child sex offended was interviewed by Oprah, and she asked him if he knew how the abuse had affected his victim. He said “I killed who she could have been”. My abuser destroyed my self esteem, it is only recently that i can look at myself and see an attractive person. He killed my ability to set personal boundaries, which is why abusive men have walked all over me my entire life.

I hope that by me telling my story, you can feel brave enough to tell yours.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Megan
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 06:37:57

    Another thing we were taught as children which I believe also makes a child vulnerable to abuse is that it’s rude to refuse to kiss or hug a grown-up. When Uncle So-and So or Aunty Whatshername wants to give you a big hug and kiss, and you pull away, you’re told, don’t be rude, go and kiss him/her. So you never learn that its ok to listen to your inner warning bells, nor how to set boundaries. I think it’s better to run the risk of your child being rude to a hundred well-meaning adults, than to fall prey to just one evil one.


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