This is a NSFW article.
Content/Trigger Warning: Extreme sexual abuse. May be incredibly triggering for some readers. Please read with caution.
Like I’ve mentioned, this month is dedicated to people who have suffered through abuse of some description. It is open to anyone, of any gender, in any type of relationship.
The person that wrote this article wishes to remain anonymous. Please do not ask any personal questions of this person, and please be sensitive when addressing this topic.
This person is uniquely brave in raising awareness about sexual abuse and child molestation. If anything, I genuinely believe we need to send kudos to this person for being so brilliantly open, despite how painful it must have been for them to write.
It’s Not Your Fault
This account of my childhood started out quite differently and contained some of my experiences of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I’ve had to remove the physical and emotional aspects because they were too stressful to continue writing about. This might seem strange, but those parts of my life are harder to deal with and feel far more private. Trying to write about them was holding me back, I wasn’t getting anywhere with this piece for Carla, so I took them out of the equation. I find it easier to detach myself from the sexual abuse than the other two.
As a matter of interest, I loathe the words ‘Abuse’ ‘Victim’ ‘Survivor’, they give me a feeling of disdain and contempt for myself but I’ve used them here because their meanings are the most widely used and understood.
O.K., here goes…
The first time I can remember it happening, I was bent over a sack of potatoes that we kept under the stairs, my mum was only a few feet away in the kitchen. I was lifting out the potatoes and putting them into the washing-up bowl when I felt him press his crotch against my bottom, his hands disappeared under my top and he began to touch me. I stayed in the same position and for some reason, I said nothing, in fact, I didn’t react at all. The offences continued but still I didn’t tell anyone. No one told me to stay quiet, I just did. I was somewhere between the ages of 9 and 10.
Who is ‘HE’? He is my mothers’ uncle and my great uncle. He’d recently moved in with us, along with his 7-year-old daughter, who, it turns out, had been abducted from her mother in American and brought over to the UK to hide. He hadn’t told my family that he’d abducted his daughter, it was assumed she was with him legally.
I couldn’t tell you how soon after he moved in, that he started sexually abusing me, nor when it stopped, but I do have some vivid memories of what happened, plus memories that are fragmented with large gaps. Maybe there’s nothing more to those gaps, nothing that I needed to lock away in a bid to protect myself, who knows! I have been offered regression therapy but I’m unsure about it at the moment. Has anybody reading this post, gone through it?
Ok, back to my account…
Back then, my great uncle seemed wonderful to me, he was attentive, generous and fun. He’d take me and my friends over to the shop for sweets and ice-cream, he’d take us down to the ‘big park’ that was so much better than the tiny one nearer to home. I don’t remember being afraid of him, nor disliking him, in fact, I felt the opposite, I thought I was in love with him.
The sexual abuse progressed and I guess you’d say, worsened (I’m talking as an adult looking back, when I say that). It was penetrative.
He’d occasionally abuse both myself and his daughter together, using his daughters’ body to show me what he meant and encouraging her to reassure me. He’d then do the same to me. I remember my body responding to his touches and it being pleasurable. As I got older, those memories of finding pleasure from my abuse, really messed with my head. I believed I was the only person in the world that felt that way, of course, I wasn’t.
When it was all happening, I wasn’t viewing him as an abuser, I was a child getting lots of attention. I believe the technical term for what was happening, is, I was ‘being groomed’. He’d established an emotional connection with me and what happened as a result of that, seemed exciting and natural at the time.
Using what I remember, there was no horror story of him holding me down, no severe pain, no threats of hurting someone I loved if I told anyone, nothing like that. It was a process of making me like him, so I’d want to be around him. He was gaining my trust so he could progress with his deviant agenda. I didn’t recognise this for what it was, until a few years later. Still, I didn’t hate him. I felt partly responsible for what had happened because I’d not said no, not told anyone and to make things worse, I’d even encouraged him to do things to me. As far as I was concerned, I was in love with him. This ‘love’ lasted for a long time, far beyond knowing what he’d done to me, was wrong.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean when I say I’d encouraged him…
Each night he’d come into our bedroom to kiss us all goodnight, this was the bedroom I shared with his daughter and my older sister. I remember placing myself on the floor, naked, building a kind of den around myself and waiting for him to get to me. I wanted him to look at me, to touch me. It made me feel wanted and I knew it would please him. As I got older, the memories of me encouraging him and enjoying his touches caused constant internal conflict and damaged me. The guilt, shame, and anger at myself have poisoned my spirit and affected my ability to function normally.
Earlier I mentioned that I was in love with him, I really did think and feel this way. All my romantic and sexual fantasies were about him, right from the time I was being molested as a child, right up until my 30’s. In order to climax, I had to think about him, I had to think about him abusing me. Some were actual events that had happened, others were made-up fantasies and those early fantasies have quite possibly blurred and confused the real with the imagined.
I still occasionally fantasise about me being abused when I’m masturbating. Though now, I’ve removed him from those scenarios and I’m working to stop using abuse scenarios altogether, but it’s difficult, as my sexual abuse is so profoundly entangled in my emotional and sexual psyche that I don’t know if I’ll ever be free of it.
Another cause of my shame was how I interacted with the boys in the neighbourhood around the time of my abuse. I started encouraging and letting boys look and touch me sexually. This marred my reputation and compounded my self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness.
I started my periods shortly after the abuse began, apparently, it’s common for sexual abuse victims to start their periods’ early. I only found this out in my last meeting, though it could just have easily been nature taking its course. These sorts of things, you never get to know.
Most of my life I’ve felt like a perverted whore and a freak. I felt responsible for what happened to me. This has helped destroyed my self-esteem, my confidence and my peace of mind. It wasn’t until my first bout of therapy, in my early 30’s, that I found out this freakish notion of loving your abuser and enjoying their touches is often experienced by sex abuse victims. The feelings of love and adoration towards an abuser is apparently a coping mechanism and quite normal.
A few months ago I decided to go back to therapy. They’ve been saying I’m probably suffering from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – CPTSD, most people would know it simply as PTSD. This is the cumulative result of the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that I experienced.
With regards to the sexual abuse, I’m now trying to forgive myself. Despite what I might have thought, for many years, it was out of my control. I was a child being manipulated and used by an experienced predator, not some kind, loving uncle that I loved.
The adult ‘me’ knows it doesn’t matter that I loved him, it doesn’t matter that I wanted and encouraged him to touch me, he was the adult and the blame should be firmly placed at his door. Knowing something, doesn’t necessarily undo the damage it’s created but it does give me the push to attempt to be kinder to myself.
I’m hoping this might bring some understanding of how sexual abuse can occur and how it can affect a child. If there’s anyone out there reading this that’s gone or still going through it, you’re not alone and what you’re feeling might not be what we stereotypically hear about but it doesn’t make the abuse you’re suffering or suffered, any less damaging than other people’s experiences.
What you’re feeling isn’t your fault, don’t burden yourself with the added guilt that you were somehow complicit in your own abuse, you weren’t, you were a child struggling to make sense of a traumatic event.
Please try to be kind to yourself. x
Written by Anonymous with full permission to publish on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.
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