Category Archives: Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any kind of non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone: men, women, transpersons, children, elderly, rich, poor, thin, overweight, every race, every gender, every age, every social status.

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Believing It Happened – Stages of Healing

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It really happened to me. The memories, flashbacks, and nightmares are real. For so long I couldn’t say the words. Now I know that I survived child sexual abuse, attempted murder, partner rape, bullying, attempted suicide, domestic violence, stalking, and more. Denial that these things happened to me served me in some ways to try to move forward in my life…until I couldn’t move anymore. There was no more forward. I had no choice but to start healing myself because continuing to hate myself and not believe my own memory was killing me. I had to stop making excuses and confront what I did not want to deal with. I didn’t want to remember or have to pause my life to heal. The rose colored glasses have been shattered much like my mind.

My brain separated the functioning part of myself from the abuse but it was always there. There were symptoms even though I couldn’t remember for years. I wanted to believe it didn’t happen. I wanted to believe it was just a dream, just weird thoughts, just not me. It matters. I matter. What happened to me matters. The fact that the rapists walk free matter while I continue to suffer. I am not disposable and no survivor is. It happened and I believe myself. I trust myself. I wasn’t ready for years to admit it but it’s my truth.

If you are struggling with this please know that it is ok to be where you are. Believing and getting through the denial takes time. According to the The Courage to Heal book believing doesn’t happen all at once. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to force yourself or push yourself to accept it all at once. Healing is a gradual, grueling, nonlinear process. Don’t let anyone else rush you either.

I would love for this process to be faster. The more I push the more disruption happens. Learning to give myself time and to believe each new memory as it arises is also something I’m having to gradually learn. It is easier to fall into the old ways of coping but the more I choose to love and accept myself and my memories the easier it is getting to get through another day.

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Comforting and Horrifying – Free Writing

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This is free-writing or that’s what I’m calling it and the English majors can piss off. This is a spill of my thoughts onto the page. I’m not interested in correcting it, its raw and my words, my truth. I don’t know why I still feel defensive about what I am doing but I do. Before anyone can bitch and moan and criticize me, I’m already explaining. I expect it. I’m used to it. I’m used to being told to shut up and that my pain is not “Appropriate” and no one cares. Here goes everything…

I am not alone. I am not alone in feeling this type of mental pain and anguish. I find the thought both comforting and horrifying at the same time. I wish I was the only one now as that would ease some of the pain of the world but that’s not possible. I am not alone in being raped as a child. I am not alone in once being a wife that her husband thought he could just do whatever with because he was entitled. I recommend NOT trying to find others online that have been through these things. Many are gone in an attempt to end their pain. Does it end it? No one really knows.

The decision to stay here and not kill myself is yet another selfless act of protecting those I love and care about from from that kind of pain. I’m preventing myself from hurting them. I gave a lot of thought to how I would do it and realized that if I completed the planning and carried out my death, I would damage the people that I cared about the most and more than myself. I came to realize that they would blame themselves and they do not deserve one once of the pain of self blame.

Others have used this love to hurt me and sometimes to hurt them. Not allowing certain acts and standing up for myself, threatening to tell, got my family hurt. This manipulative grooming and cruelty was never my fault yet I was told many times by the men who raped me. I hear echoes of this in our culture and its painful but do I speak out or try to ignore it? Ignoring it does not work. Once its in the engine it becomes part of the mechanism itself. It seeps into everything and destroys happiness until someone somewhere tells us that we don’t have to suffer. Its not our fault, they believe us, and that we can heal.

I don’t know if I can heal. I want to believe I can. I thought healing and getting past things was and end to thinking about it, remembering it, or being triggered. That’s not what healing is according to experts and other survivors. When I learned that healing is really just being able to deal with the memories when they come up and they are part of my life forever, I felt devastation. Devastation was followed by half-ass acceptance followed by denial and around this circle I went, mourning yet another lie of rape culture…that you can get over it and its gone.

I think about that stupid lie I was told and I realize more now about feelings and memories combined with my own life experience that my use of denial actually may have kept me more sane than I can imagine. Why did these people just expect me to be fine after this? Why is this an expectation of fall apart or be just fine and dandy, nothing is wrong, FUCK, sometimes I hate that I bought into the lies but what else did I really have to compare it too? I’m still working on forgiving myself and being nice to myself. I constantly have to forgive myself, my child self, my adolescent self, my adult self as a young woman. I have to forgive my older self now for quirky things that annoy me about myself. Yes, I get annoyed with myself and my sometimes neurotic feelings but then again, those are not my words either. Given the events of my life, how would someone be. What would they think.

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When I Wasn’t Silent Anymore…What Happened?

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So what happens when you aren’t silent anymore? What happens when you tell people you were abused as a child and raped as a young adult? I can’t tell you how your experience will be. For me, it was so scary but I felt like that’s really the only option I had left besides suicide. Keeping what had happened to me a secret was killing me. I was thinking of ways that I would kill myself. I was done. I didn’t want to hurt anymore. As self reliant and stubborn about it as I am I was lying to myself that I could heal this pain on my own. I’ve known from a very young age that people can’t be trusted. I didn’t trust people with my truth. My fears were that they would twist every word I said like others in my life had or somehow use it against me. The reality is that speaking out just made it so no one could use it against me ever again. I was public about it, no more hiding or making up excuses to cover for my depression, anxiety, PTSD. Here is how I saw others react to breaking my silence about being sexually abused as a child and raped by my ex husband.

1. Most People Were Kind

This was the biggest shocker I had while I was tearfully and fearfully spilling my guts on camera about past sexual abuse and how it was effecting me in my adult life now, years later. There was about a 2 week period of time before the roving trolls came around to point fingers and try to poke me. The outpouring of love and support left me speechless. I worked hard to voice my appreciation and not just sit there dumbfounded by feeling of love from caring people. I cried a lot of happy tears and cried a lot of tears reading what others shared with me about their own experiences.

2. Some Blamed Me

There were the typical “you asked for it” for which my response is “3 year olds and sleeping people ask to be raped?” Since the people who raped me also blamed me for what happened (which is typical of abusive people) and used very similar wording to basically treat me horribly. They were also way more upset that I had a wishlist then the fact that I was raped. I really can’t say that I was surprised by these people. It makes me wonder how many of those people that reacted by victim blaming respected boundaries. I don’t know those people and don’t want to know them. I blocked them and left a statement saying I wasn’t going to argue with them. Little rounds of trolls still come wandering by my blog, websites, or YouTube channel and try to poke at me to see if I’ll bite. I don’t. I block and move on. Life is too fucking short to listen to bullshit anymore. I don’t need to defend myself. I didn’t do anything wrong.

3. Some Were Inspired

This is the most positive thingsĀ that has come out of breaking my silence. Other people have felt hope and encouragement from things that I have shared. They talked about mental illness and depression, anxiety, and other mental health topics that they hadn’t talked about before. When I spoke my truth and talked about what was going on with me, others realized that they did not have to carry their burden alone either.

Negatives:

People are jerks. We already knew this though because that’s the main reason that many survivors don’t ask for help or talk about their abuse at all. Typical bullshit grasping for anything in a desperate attempt to silence/blame the survivor(EPIC TROLL FAIL,HA!).

Positives:

I don’t feel like so much of an outsider now. I feel more determined to treat myself better. I have learned to not interact(as much) with negative people or trolls, just block and move on. I don’t shut up. I have more confidence to stand up for myself personally. I always stood up for myself on a professional level but now I feel like I can carry that through to my personal life. I take breaks from social media when I need too. I am on my own side now. I wasn’t for years but I am now. I’m healing. šŸ™‚

I’ve worked very hard to amplify the positive people in my life. I write down what they say that really helped me to smile that day and hang it on my inspiration wall. This wall has printouts, post-its, cards, letter, ect from people who reached out to me and took the time to tell me that I matter and that they care. I look to this wall when I need a pick me up and when I don’t just because its just a great example of human kindness. I need a reminder that those people exist. Everyone really was helpful even though I couldn’t bring myself to accept the help they offered. Knowing that they were there made a huge difference.

So, that’s pretty much what has happened from me talking aboutĀ the effects of childhood sexual abuse and partner rape has had on my life. I can’t say that if you tell someone or the world about sexual abuse you have suffered that the response will be the same but know that there are kind people in the world. There will be jerks no matter what you are doing, how you are doing, when you are doing, there always someone there to make the poo face and point out any perceived flaw. I tell myself remember those people are mostly projecting their own crap onto me. that’s really their own issues, and some people like to bitch and whine no matter what is happening(block them with the quickness, the sooner the better). It is my life and I decide how to live it, not them.

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The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis

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My copy of “The Courage to Heal” came in the mail today. My journey to find peace and to heal from the horrors of my childhood sexual abuse is still ongoing. I’m hoping to use this book and its guidance to further myself in the process of feeling better. There are tools I don’t have yet to deal with what I’ve been through.

I had a glimpse of what it would be like to be OK about a week ago. There was a span of time when there were no nightmares, no flashbacks, and when a painful memory came up, I was dealing with it without breaking down or hiding from everyone. I felt strong and happy. I was laughing, dancing around my house, and sleeping great. I don’t know why but it was like someone flipped a switch and I was teased with 2 weeks of peace and joy. Now I’m not having such an easy time and its painful. I yearn for that peace again. Honestly, I’m pissed that I’m having a few down days again. I’m pissed at who hurt me and I’m pissed at myself.

Instead of beating myself up and mourning what seems to be a loss of peace, I’m going to take it as a sign that I need to work on myself some more. There’s always more work to be done but I am so tired. This is when my brain tries to disassociate, get cynical, and basically be an asshole to myself. Its hard not to when I’m so frustrated with it all. Depression keeps trying to weasel its way back and despite my best efforts, it still wins some days. The hardest part is being nice to myself and having patience.

That seems to be what many people don’t understand about survivors. We are SOOOOO hard on ourselves. There is a troll that lives in many of us that barks about fear and doubt. We have less patience for ourselves then society has for us and let me tell you, THAT is one of the saddest parts of this whole thing. As much as I try and am patient with others, I’m not very patient or nice to myself when I start to feel sad again because I don’t want to feel it again. I don’t want to hurt more. Of course, this doesn’t help anything and is very counterproductive. As much as I tell myself these things, old habits are hard to break.

So, from the reviews I’ve read about this book, many survivors really benefited from reading it and doing the exercises. Many of the comments about it mentioned that some survivors felt like the book was written especially for them. I hope I find help within its pages.Ā I’ll write more about this book after I have gone through some of the chapters and exercises. I’ll share some of what I’ve written in the exercises. Wish me luck!

 

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Overcoming Sexual Abuse

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Overcoming sexual abuse and the effects of childhood sexual abuse is not a destination but something I do daily. There are still a lot of issues I deal with but everyday I choose to live with this pain. I choose to be here on Earth another day, to stay. Some days are rough, the dark thoughts creep in, and I don’t know why I’ve stuck around this long. Having goals has greatly helped me in sticking around. I’m still very angry about what happened to me and to others so my goal right now is to outlive the people that have hurt me in my life. I’m looking forward to reading that they are dead. This is how I have to deal with some darker thoughts. I have to convert that energy into a positive goal that can steel myself in the determination to live better. I must treat myself well and care for my physical and mental well being in order to reach this goal.

Every day sometimes a couple times a day I mentally commit to not letting anyone,including me, stop me from reaching and exceeding my goals. This is tied in heavily with self worth and self esteem. Logically, I know I’m a capable human being able to achieve pretty much anything I have set my mind to do.Ā This doesn’t mean that I ignore the thoughts, push them aside, or not deal with them. I use them. I’ve created projects for this year that will help me to release these darker feelings. They will also increase my self esteem because the projects are all things I’m good at or I can be good at them with practice. I just have to let myself reach more of my potential. I have to overcome these left over shitty feeling about myself due to thing that have happened in my past. It wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t continue to pay for them but I do.I had to come to terms with the fact that “it” never really goes away, its something I must learn to live with

This past week or week and a half really, I started to sleep better. All of the sudden it was like a light switch was flipped and I was out of my slump. I had a blissful 10 days of feeling great, energized, no insomnia, no nightmares. I was happy, dancing around the house, going to the gym, and I was getting a ton of work done. Last night was my first dream in awhile about my ex. It wasn’t a scary dream or a a revisiting of the rape but it was of manipulation and pain.The Ā It hurts even now as I type this…and that pisses me the fuck off. It was a great time until that dream. I hate how he can still ruin my day…but its not ruined! Because I say its not!

Since I know dreaming about him makes for a cranky day I just have to really be there for myself. I’ll workout, eat healthy foods. Try to eat on a schedule so I don’t forget. Days like this my hunger gets turned off. Today, I have to pay more attention to what my body and my mind needs to not dwell and get sucked down the vortex of feelings. I don’t need to push the feelings away, try to ignore them, or disassociate. I need to let the feelings wash over me and if I need to cry, laugh, dance, or tear something up, I do it. I’m going to write, throw clay at the wall, and listen to pissy alternative teen angst songs of my youth.

I’m going to remember that I am a such a strong person for having not checked out. I’m going to remember that I’m not alone but its ok to want to be alone. Its ok to plot the deaths of those that hurt me to release it in creativity and disperse the pain, if only for moments at a time. How I deal and find a way to go on is ok. This too, will help me to overcome sexual abuse because I will not be sweeping anything under the rug. This is how I will process the feelings.