“Everyone has the right to tell the truth about [their]¹ own life.”
Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
I know from experience how important it is to talk about my story and other victim’s stories. Facebook has a support community for molested people.
My memories are mostly snippets and body memories. I have phobias that often are associated with my memories. For example, I am afraid of the shower and have to force myself to take them. Baths are not an option. I have stomach cramps associated with the shower and I often hear my birth father’s voice while in the shower. There are times when looking in the mirror is scary… I am not sure what I will see. Will I see the little girl? Will I see the monster?
I used to pray I could just fly away and become one with the dust that floats in the sunlight. I thought the monkeys from the movie, Wizard of Oz would grab me from the top bunk and tear apart my body.
Eventually I learned how to move my subconscious into the upper corner of the room and watch, detached, what was happening in the room. I learned to hide my emotions, to have a flat affect (no feelings at all). I became a shell of myself. Other members of my Adults Molested as Children (AMAC) group called me a fake. Not that my memories weren’t real but that my emotions were fake. Honestly, it was hard to learn again how to have feelings that weren’t either not there or manufactured; I didn’t know how to apply the correct feeling or amount of feeling in any situation. Mostly I just wasn’t present, hours and days would disappear without notice. This was a tool I used to escape the voices inside my head. Not Schizophrenic voices but voices none-the-less. I remember worrying that I was Schizophrenic or had multiple personality disorder (MPD), now called Dissociative Identity Disorder. Neither of those were true for me. However, because I was concerned about these diagnoses I wouldn’t tell a therapist about the manic storm inside my brain. My diagnosis came after many years of quitting therapy when the therapist was getting to close. I suffered from Bipolar Disorder. As it turns out, I had suffered since I was a teen but didn’t receive treatment until I was in my mid-thirties.
Then my 13-year-old daughter was molested. I didn’t know how to handle this, so I attempted suicide for the umpteenth time. Really not an effective way of helping my daughter through her crisis. She was calm, too calm. I saw her disappearing before my eyes and all the feelings I had ignored blasted full force into my life. Both she and I ended up in the psychiatric hospital. Many times over a period of two years. She refused to go to outside therapy. I was advised that I couldn’t force her because it wouldn’t help if she wasn’t going to coöperate. Instead she began cutting herself to deal with the pain.
I wasn’t informed about the support systems that could have helped me to help her. I let her down. She lost herself and I couldn’t help her come back.
This is not to say that everybody who is molested is mentally ill or everybody who is mentally ill will be victims of molestation. Read this article.
“The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes (2).
- 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year (3).
- 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape (2).
- 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives (2).
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (4).
Citations and sources at end of post.
“These are not numbers. They’re our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers, neighbors and friends. They’re the person you confide in most at work, the guy you play basketball with, the people in your book club, your poker buddy, your teenager’s best friend – or your own teen. If we talk about these issues the silence and shame can end for good.”
Co-Sponsor of the NO MORE campaign
I am proud to stand with survivors, advocates and members of the criminal justice community to send a powerful message to other survivors: ‘We hear you. You have suffered enough. Your healing—and pursuit of justice—are our priorities.’” –Mariska Hargitay, Founder and President of Joyful Heart Foundation.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or domestic violence you can call to speak to a counselor or be referred to local services:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) / The hotline website.
National Sexual Assault Hotline
You can also Chat here or go to the Rape, Abuse & incest National Network website.
Male Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, visit 1in6’s Online SupportLine.
Teen Dating Violence Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 or text ‘loveis’ to 22522.
For more information about Teen Dating & Is this Abuse info visit the Love is Respect website.
To find local resources and information about domestic violence, go to domestic shelters database.
I say No More! No More violence, rape, no more sexual abuse and no more domestic abuse!
This month my focus will be on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault education. I will be providing education and resources for you to use. These will take us into the depths of recovery and awareness. There will be tools and chat rooms and forums included.
Citations and Sources: