Have you ever had a dream or well nightmare that’s so vivid you can feel it happening to you as it’s going on. I’ve been having the same nightmare for as long as I can remember. It starts the same way and the outcome never changes. When I try to talk to people about it I can’t explain the vividness of the dream. The only people who understand are just like me; trying to deal with the fact that someone they are supposed to love and trust just took advantage of them. Let me clear somethings up so you aren’t confused I am a 17 year old girl, my attacker is a 25 year old female. We are both the same sex. My attacker was my aunt she was 13 I was 5 when it started.
The nightmare won’t stop it’s exactly what she did 12 years ago.
She took me to her room like we did forever because she was my aunt and we hung out in her room instead of dealing with the family during the gatherings because I have anxiety really bad. I sat on her bed and we started to play with dolls. She then pushes the dolls off the bed and tells me to come here. Me only being 5 I didn’t know if I was in trouble or if she just got bored from playing with the dolls. I crawled over to her and she started to undress me. I asked her if it was bath time and she told me it was something like that. Once she got me naked she started to undress too. The minute she was undressed she went to her closet and pulled out a couple of sex toys. I asked her what they were and she just told me they were toys. She got on top of me and put her fingers inside me, and she said that they would be a tight fit but she would make them work. I told her I didn’t like this new game and I didn’t want to play anymore. She told me to shut up and them continued. She started to put the toy in me but with me only being 5 it wouldn’t fit. She kept pushing harder until I started to cry and she stopped. She told me this is what people do to each other when they love one another. I told her that’s not how my mom and dad show me that they love me. She got mad and slapped my face really hard and told me that if I talked back to her she would hit me even harder. I just sat there and nodded my head. Once I was quiet and quit crying she started to feel me up again but this time she was biting all over my chest and said she couldn’t wait till I had boobs for her to go at. I started to cry again and she shoved her fingers inside me again and told me to quit crying or it will hurt worse. I nodded my head and just gave up trying. I gave up trying to make her stop. I gave up on everything after that.
After I get to here in my nightmare I just wake up screaming. I told my mom after I had nightmares for about a year. She tried to press charges on her sister for everything she had done because it wasn’t just one or two attacks it was many. But the state police wouldn’t do anything about it because we were both minors. They told my mom and I to forget anything even happened. She got away with a slap on her wrist. My mom, dad, and brother know about it all and act like it never happened. My grandparents also know and I’m pretty sure that they are just trying to buy back my love and trust with clothes and shoes. I don’t blame them for it and I don’t blame myself. I wish I had told someone sooner than when I did, but I was 5 when it happened and 6 when I told. I know how hard it is to explain to my friends when I spend the night and I have nightmares. The story gets easier to tell over the years, but when I do tell it I’m scared people won’t look at me the same. I’m scared people will think I can’t handle social events, or I can’t do crowds, or that they have to baby me and protect me from the world. I can handle events and crowds, and I prefer to dive head first into the pool of life. I act like nothing happened by day but at night it’s like it never stopped.
I have spent a lot of time in therapy working on the issues surrounding the sexual abuse I was subjected to by my father. What he did is pretty clear cut. It was wrong. It was horrible. No one could (or should) ever think of saying what he did wasn’t wrong.
A bigger, more insidious issue, however, is my mother. She looks like a good person. It is hard to point directly at her actions and say there is anything fishy going on, but if you look at the totality of the picture, she is almost as bad as my father.
Two weeks ago, my mother was in a pretty serious car accident. She was conscious after the accident, but we were hearing diagnoses of “broken spine.” To me, that means paralysis. In that moment, I truly wished that my mother would die. That seems harsh, but there was no way in hell I could take care of her and I did not wish that on my sister.
Broken spine translated to two cracked vertebrae. She would not be paralyzed, but would require a back brace for 8-12 weeks, which she could not put on by herself because she also broke her arm and a couple fingers. My sister lives closer, and is her medical power of attorney, so she agreed to bring Mom into her home and care for her.
There is no way I could have done that. None. It was hard enough for me to feed my mother jello in the hospital. She was totally defenseless. And while she is not a violent person, it was hard for me to see her like that, knowing how she can be.
I found out that I’m her financial power of attorney, and the next day, I went to work getting the information we would need and notifying all the necessary people. One of the first calls I made was to her car insurance agent, also a close friend from what mom told me. I called and told the woman my name and my mother’s name and what had happened. The woman got really quiet, then said, “Do you have a sister?” I said yes, I had a sister, and told the woman her name. The woman said she had HIPPA guidelines to follow, but then said my mother had never talked of another daughter. She had told the woman of my sister, but never mentioned me.
I was shocked, to say the least. I spent quite a bit of time feeling terrible over that. After talking to a friend of mine who knows my mother, he reminded me that she, just like my father, groomed people. It was not for the same purpose, but it was grooming, nonetheless.
I am not wealthy or tremendously successful in the typical way that society values, and my sister is no slouch either, but for my mother to talk about me, she has to tell people what I do. “My daughter writes about the sexual abuse she endured from her father, that I knew about.”
She says she did not know, and she is sorry. I told her, she did know. And when I told her, she admitted she thought something had been going on. He was prosecuted, not so much for what he did to me, but he went to prison. This was not a case in which I never said anything. I told lots of people, my mother was just the first in line.
She was too scared, too in love, too worried about what others would think, too whatever to do anything.
So, now, after 30 years since the start of my abuse and telling, she says she is sorry and she did the best she could. In the present, though, she isn’t sorry enough to tell people she has two daughters.
You’re right mom. You are sorry. Not for your actions, but you are just generally a sorry person.
The scars of child sexual abuse last a lifetime.
This is her brave story:
Hi, The Band. I’m not too sure where to start, so I’ll start here.
My uncle’s friend was a police officer. He had a daughter and we played together often; we were like a family all hanging out together.
One night, when I was I was 9 years old, I slept over at his home…everything changed..
Suddenly, I was in his bedroom, the room was dark, and he was on top of me. I started to feel him going in and out of me (sorry I’m not yet able to be specific).
It hurt so much.
I couldn’t do anything.
I couldn’t scream.
Wasn’t I supposed to do what he told me to?
I did. I turned when he told me to, I did all he told me to, and I did nothing to stop it. I just squeezed the sheets tight and hoped for it to be over. But it kept happening, like there was no end.
Finally it was over, or so I thought. Because even now that I’m 22, I still relive it over and over again.
I have PTSD with severe anxiety, seems like there’s no end to this nightmare.
Last year made it worse – my friend sexually assaulted me, I choose not to call it “rape” as it makes it seem so much worse.
I don’t know what to do or think; sometimes I don’t know how to live – I cut my wrist sometimes. Each time I promise that I won’t do it again, but it’s almost addictive especially at my low points. I don’t trust men, especially police officers – it’s ironic how those who are supposed protect us are the ones who hurt us.
I just need someone who can understand what I’m going through, someone who’ve been there, someone I can talk to, and won’t think that I’m too messed up.
I need help.
The scars from childhood sexual abuse have far-reaching consequences.
This is her brave, brave story:
I’m a senior in high school – you’d think I’d be able to control my thoughts and emotions by now.
Nope. Totally incorrect.
I hate people, well, most of them anyway. For being judgmental. For being jerks and assholes when they have no idea what I’ve gone through. No idea what I’m going through.
I feel so alone because there’s no one to help me cope with my fucked-up brain. Now don’t get me wrong: on the outside I appear to be a normal, suburban, teenaged girl. On the inside…on the inside I’m dying; just waiting for death to overtake me.
This is my story.
I have two brothers who live with me at my Mom’s house. My brothers shared a room with bunk-beds until I was twelve. When I was six, we had a babysitter named Bradley, who happened to be some sort of cousin. When he’d come to babysit, we’d all hang out on the bunk beds – my older and younger brother on the bottom bunk while Bradley and I were on the top bunk.
One time, I was laying on top of him and he reached his hands into my pants asking me “can you feel that?” over and over. He’d do this again and again to me, only stopping when it was his turn on the video game my brothers were playing. Naturally he wouldn’t have a free hand to stick down my pants.
I thought what he was doing was sex, so I for one, wasn’t going to tell anyone – I was afraid I’d get in trouble. I’ve not seen him since. I kept this secret until seventh grade, when I told my best friend and cousin, Catherine, as well as my best friend at school, Kameron.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
We saw the counselor who called my mother. My mother initially thought I was lying, but finally believe me. She took me to my Dad’s, insisting that I tell him about the sexual abuse. I called Catherine over for support.
I’d already sobbed to the counselor and my mom, so by that point I was numb. My dad continued to question me; scrutinizing every detail. At one point he asked:
“Why aren’t you crying? If this actually happened to you why aren’t you crying? Why is your cousin the only one crying?”
That ended that.
Three years later was my sophomore year in high school, and everything was going really well. I had my first actual boyfriend, an amazing guy Daniel who he was all for God. On the outside, I looked like I was okay.
However, I’d begun cutting; self-injuring – constantly slicing my wrist open for relief of external pain. I was repulsed by anyone touching me – I couldn’t handle it. Not even my brothers. I even asked Daniel if we could stop kissing and he was okay with it; figuring we’d been moving too fast. Eventually, asked me if anything ever had happened to me.
I told him no.
I told my mom that I couldn’t kiss Daniel, and she knew that I needed to talk to someone. My Aunt Nina, Catherine’s mom, died the beginning of my sophomore year and I felt too guilty to bring my problems on her.
Three months into therapy, I finally understood that there was no possible way that I could’ve wanted what happened to me as a child. Despite the cliche from Good Will Hunting: “it’s not your fault,” but those words bring closure.
We were having a big family sleepover at my house with all the teenage cousins piled together on the couch. After I fell asleep that night, I felt something on my leg. I was so confused. I realized, it was my cousin Cole’s hand trying to pry open my legs. Baffled, I tried to close them; turned over and pretended I was asleep. That didn’t happen so I gave up.
My therapist asked me why I didn’t “wake up” and confront him. I was frozen, I explained, I was fifteen and my worst nightmare was reoccurring. He did finger me and when I “woke up,” he pretended he hadn’t done a thing. In the shower, I bawled my eyes out. When people say they never feel clean after rape or sexual assault, it’s true.
My therapist encouraged me to tell my mom, however, I knew our family would never be the same again – it would be my fault. Again.
For some reason or another I stopped going to therapy. I spent my junior year empty on the inside. Daniel and I had broken up before the Cole incident so I had no one but my friend Chance to talk to. The bullying began my junior year.
First and foremost, I’m not fat. I am five foot eight and 150 pounds, give or take a pound. I do have an unusual bra size, 32 FF. I’m “mooed” at for having “utters.” Eventually, jokes went around that I was on the cover page of a porn site. I’d never willingly done anything more than kiss my boyfriend on the lips and now people were making sex jokes about me for my fucking bra size? Absurd.
Then I met Chase. Weird dude, but mysterious. On our first date he forcefully unbuttoned my jeans and stuck his hands in my pants without my permission. I got up out of the movie theater, caused a scene, then left. Haven’t talked to that fuckface since.
I feel like I’m losing my mind.
I’ve become an insomniac, I’m always crying. I’ve prayed constantly, not receiving any answers. How can I be sure of myself? How can I be confident enough to trust not just others but myself? How can I tell myself over and over that I won’t let something like that happen to me again when it’s happened over and over?
I don’t know what to do.
He took my innocence. I dreamed that God would be kind. I dreamed my life would be so very different from this hell I’m living. Life has killed the dream I dreamed.
How have those of you who’ve been through childhood sexual abuse come to terms with the abuse? Can you give this brave girl some advice?
I’m not sure how to write this. I’ve never put this is writing before. I wonder how this is going to go. I wonder if this will make me feel better. I wonder if this won’t do anything but make me sad while I write it, then I go back to being comfortably numb.**
When people ask me about my childhood, I always respond that it was great. And it was. I had all the toys and games I could ever want. I had books galore. I had two younger sisters that I adored and played with all the time. Sure we struggled financially, but we never knew that. We didn’t know how much our parents lived without until we were older and they told us.
But the truth? The truth is much darker.
I was young when Jacob Wetterling was abducted and disappeared. Kindergarten, in fact. That’s when we were all taught about Stranger Danger. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t get into a stranger’s car. If a stranger asks me to pull down my pants, run into the house and tell an adult.
I knew it wasn’t OK for strangers to take advantage of me. But I didn’t know that it wasn’t OK for someone I knew to take advantage of me.
It started innocently enough. Back rubs. I called them “chillies” because it caused goose-bumps on my arms. I was young. Five, maybe.
The change was so gradual I didn’t even notice it. The back rubs migrated south. Slowly. To my behind. Then, as I got a little older, they went down the front. To my private area.
I knew it wasn’t OK for strangers to do this. But for a father? Was it normal? I didn’t know. So I didn’t say anything.
It continued as I started to enter puberty. I was learning sex education in school. Discussing the changes that girls go through. Discussing that soon I would be starting my period. At night, before bed, he would come in, give me “chillies,” then go back to his bedroom. I thought he was checking me. Making sure my puberty changes were going along normally. I thought he was going back to report to my mother that I was normally progressing and that I would be getting my period soon.
Then it got weird. He would come in after school, when I was getting changed. He’d do it without me asking. I asked him to please stop.
“You know you like it.”
That’s when I knew it was wrong.
Eight years. It took me eight years to realize that what was going on was wrong. Eight long years.
You all know about stranger danger. Were you EVER taught about friendly danger?
How am I going to teach my son about stranger/friendly danger? Others have said that I could use the swimsuit approach. Tell my children that no one other than a doctor or a parent can see or touch them in the areas that are covered by swim suits.
That wouldn’t have worked for me. It was a parent that was doing it. Not even a step-parent. A full-blooded parent.
What the hell? How do you prepare a child for that? How do you tell them not to trust anyone without making them paranoid?
I thank God everyday for giving me a son instead of a daughter. Not that I wouldn’t love the stuffing out of a little girl, don’t get me wrong. But I see having a son as a reward for the shit I went through. I see it as God’s way if saying “It’s OK, you don’t have to worry so much about him.”
I wonder what it would be like if I had a daughter. I wonder if I’d be able to trust my husband being alone with her. He knows what happened to me, and he knows that I’ll likely have issues if/when we have a daughter. But I’m scared.
For the record, when I finally told my mom, she didn’t leave him. She stayed with him for another year before he walked out on us. He left her. Not the other way around. And she still talks about the fact that if she had her way, she would have stayed with him unless he had hurt one of us kids. I guess what I went through doesn’t count.
But that’s a story for another day.
**Well, that was an interesting experience getting all that out. It actually makes me want to tell more of the story. The aftermath, how my relationships changed, how it may have triggered my PPD. Maybe I’ll have to write more some day.
(Ed. Note: Please write more soon!)
I was the first girl in my family. Six older brothers, one younger sister from my mother’s second marriage.
The man who became my stepfather was an alcoholic. He was abusive. He would beat everyone except my sister. After all “she was his” but we weren’t angry about her being spared. We were thankful. She was safe.
He would think of ways to inflict more pain during our beatings. He would gloat about his “latest idea”. He was so excited when he created a board for our beatings that had circles and lightning bolts cut out of it. Thrilled when he saw that his plan worked. The cut-outs left circular and lightning bolt blisters on us where he had hit us with it. Our butts, our legs, our back. Wherever his newest invention connected with our flesh.
We couldn’t control our stepfather. We couldn’t control his drinking. We couldn’t control his beatings. And by God, you had better cry when he beat you. One of my brothers tried to control the only thing he could. He decided not to give him the satisfaction of seeing the pain he was causing. When he didn’t cry, he was beaten harder. Then harder still. Then harder, until the rest of us were screaming that he was going to kill my brother. He finally gave up in disgust and went to the bar. My brother was home from school for a long time after that beating.
There were days that he felt “fatherly.” He would take me, at three or four years old, to the bar with him to show off his “little girl.” There I would sit, hours on end, surrounded all the other drunks who weren’t home with their families. Even at that age, I knew this wasn’t the right place for me. I didn’t like the way the men looked at me. Asked me to sit on their laps.
I was scared.
When I was seven, my stepfather upped the ante and found a way to scar my soul. He began sexually abusing me. He didn’t start out with other things to gain my trust, or tell me how special I was, or try to make me believe this was because he loved me, like so many other abusers do. No, he did what he wanted with no preamble. He took what he wanted violently. HE was angry with ME afterward. HE was disgusted by ME afterward. He had found a much more efficient way to destroy me than a beating.
This abuse went on for years. I started walking to a little country church every Sunday. It began as a way to get out of the house. It became my only source of hope.
He tortured my brothers and I. He waved guns in his drunken stupors. He humiliated us by bursting into our grade school classrooms drunk and demanding we leave with him. (This was in the 70′s. The school let him take us when he could barely stand. I would hope that wouldn’t happen to children these days.) He would be gone for days or weeks at a time. We would learn not to relax when he was gone, as soon as we did he would return. It was as if he knew we were suddenly feeling safer in our home and he couldn’t have that.
When I was in sixth grade, my mother divorced him. I felt guilty for the internal relief I had over him leaving our lives. After all, the Bible says to honor your mother and father. I struggled with that for such a long time. Now I know that I couldn’t be expected to honoring a man who was so unhonorable. No loving God would ever expect that.
I haven’t seen him in the 30 something years since the divorce. Thank God I haven’t seen him again.
I followed the Family Rules for a very long time. I didn’t tell anyone outside the family. I took on the shame. I took the responsibility. I took the burden. I took the pain.
But eventually I grew up. I married. I told my husband some of what happened after we had been married a little over a year. I regret that, I should have told him sooner. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. Thankfully, he is a wonderful, gentle soul and understood why I didn’t tell him sooner. And he didn’t run from my pain. He didn’t run from my past. He didn’t see me as the damaged goods. He was supportive. He was awesome. We have been married 30 years now.
We had children. A boy and a girl. As my daughter grew, the childhood I tried to forget started pushing itself forward in my mind. First a whisper, then a speaking voice, and eventually screaming YOU CANNOT IGNORE ME! I was a mess. So emotional, so raw, so frightened to face it – to speak the truth.
Eventually, I had to seek counseling. I could not get through a day without the memories forcing themselves front and center, in my dreams at night, in my day with flashbacks. Horrible, painful, frightening memories.
I was blessed. I found a wonderful counselor on my first try. She guided me. She gave me a place to speak. She encouraged me when I felt overwhelmed (most of the first year). She HEARD me. She didn’t judge me. She showed me that the shame and disgust didn’t belong to me. They belonged to HIM. It took a while for me to believe her. That pain, shame and disgust had been mine for so long.
Eventually, the shame and pain was transformed into anger. No, that isn’t quite right…it turned into ANGER! Anger that frightened me with it’s intensity. But finally I was feeling the anger at what he had done to the little girl I once was. Once I found the anger it was a very good thing that I didn’t run into him (he lives in another state). I would have ripped his manhood from his body and shoved it down the throat that used to tell me it was my fault.
I went to therapy for a year and a half. I won’t sugar coat it, it was a very tough year and a half. There was a lot of hard emotional work to be done. But oh, what a gift that therapy was for me.
I KNOW it wasn’t my fault. I KNOW I didn’t deserve what he did. I KNOW it wasn’t the clothes I wore, the way I acted, the choices I made. It was HIM. He is a sick perverted person.
Therapy made me a stronger person. My hard work transformed a victim into a survivor. It helped me become a better mother, a better wife, a better human being. It helped my soul to be set free from my past.
My younger sister? The one that was “really his”? The one he spared the abuse? She grew up to feel horribly guilty for what her birth father did to us. (We are all still thankful she didn’t suffer along with us.) She couldn’t escape the pain of her guilt. She began abusing drugs as a teen. She is forty three now. She has spent the last 27 years in a deep pit of drugs and alcohol trying to escape the past. She lost custody of her son when he was five, due to her addictions. My husband and I adopted him. We couldn’t stand to let him go to strangers and lose everyone he had ever known. We couldn’t stand to lose him in our lives either. We continue to help him battle the demons his past have created. Spared her? I don’t think so.
I am no longer angry. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t want to ever be anywhere near my stepfather. But I don’t want to harm him anymore either. Growth. Now, if I think of him, I feel pity for the twisted, dark, hurtful person he is. But I don’t feel sorry for him either. He made his choices. If what he did haunts him when he least expects it, that is his consequence. Somewhere deep inside of him he knows what he did, who he is.
I don’t want to give him one more minute of my life. A minute I spend hating him, is one more minute he owns. He took enough. He took too much. He can’t have any more.