It happened to me. I was violated. I was molested. I was raped. I was abused.
I thought I was damaged goods. I was broken. I was a child. I was traumatized. I was hurt.
How did this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? What did I do to have this happened to me? The only answer I have is: I did nothing wrong but I have to live with the consequences.
From before I was in Kindergarten til about the 4th or 5th grade I was being sexually abused by an uncle of mine. Someone who was trusted by my mom, to take care of me when we she was at work. Someone I saw almost everyday of my life. He violated me and I can recall specific experiences. I remember being led to an empty room, my clothes being removed, and I was laid on the bed. I can remember feeling the weight of his body on mine, I can remember feeling him inside me. I remember how much it hurt and how I cried. Trying to push his body off of mine, begging him to stop but he didn’t.
I never understood exactly what was going on at the time, only that I knew it was bad and it wasn’t supposed to be happening. I felt so powerless. Here I was a child going through this terrible experience for years and not feeling comfortable enough to let someone know what was going on. I felt like no one was going to believe me because I had no proof. It was going to be his word against mine. I kept telling myself that if I don’t think about it then I could convince myself that it never happened.
But it was always in the back of my mind. I had this dirty little secret and I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone enough to let them know. I never knew how almost every aspect of my life was going to be affected because of this abuse.
I closed myself off to a lot of relationships with guys, on every level. I had this continued thought that they would hurt me. I felt it was easier to just not get involved with guys because then, I wouldn’t be putting myself in a possible repeat situation. As I got older, I realized I did nothing wrong. I did nothing to provoke the abuse. It had nothing to do with me, it was solely on this person. But I still couldn’t let it go. I became so paranoid and cautious of everyone and my surroundings. I never felt quite comfortable around guys unless there were a group of people. I never liked when people would touch me even if it was just for a hug. I would feel my body tense and I couldn’t control it. I hated when people would come up behind me because it would set me on alert and give me anxiety. I viewed a lot physical contact as a threat. I felt things were only getting worse.
I started having panic and anxiety attacks. I remember having one so bad I was crying, I couldn’t breathe, and couldn’t sleep because I was being haunted by the terrible memories. I was so scared I was going to be abused again and again. I remember begging and praying to God to comfort me and let me sleep. After that hard night, I made the decision to tell someone in my family. I called my sister and begged her to tell my mom because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to tell her. The weight on my shoulders lightened a lot with just having my mom know. It made me feel so much better knowing I no longer had this secret from her.
If I’m being honest with myself, my move to Utah was on a whim, but it was an opportunity to get away from my abuser. I wasn’t going to see him with his family moving along with life as though he didn’t just ruin mine. I wasn’t going to have interact with him knowing very well that he hurt me. The space the move gave me was so freeing physically but mentally it still wasn’t enough.
When I realized how emotionally damaged I was, I knew I needed to start healing. So when I moved out on my own, I was open with my roommates about what happened. They helped me so much because they knew how certain situations made me uncomfortable and not one time did they fail me. They were always around when we went out to church activities or when we would hangout with friends. They always made sure I was okay, and they never left me. I felt myself start to slowly heal because I was opening myself up. Wholeheartedly, I put effort into no longer letting the abuse control me and my life. I was making the decisions to take back the control that was taken from me.
And I was almost there, I still had to talk to one person. I had to talk to my grandma and let her know what was done to me by her son. This trip to Hawaii was so much more than I anticipated. The second day I was home the secret was out. The abuser was kicked out of the family house. I felt the pit in my stomach dissolve. He was confronted and although he denied it, it was no longer hidden in the shadows. I was scared to say something because of the lack of proof. My only saving grace, as unfortunate as it is to say, was that I was not his only victim. There were five of us altogether and not one of us said a word til many years later.
I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’m sharing my story because I know there are many other victims being silent because they are scared and feel hopeless. As a victim, I can say I understand where they are coming from. But you are only hurting yourself by not speaking up. This abuse you faced is costing you your peace and it is not worth it. If I would have known how things would have played out, I would not have waited 10+ years to say something. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache but I didn’t. I wouldn’t want anyone else to stay quiet as long as I did if it meant they could have some kind of peace of mind. You deserve to be happy, you deserve peace and you most definitely deserve to be loved. You are not alone and you never will be. Letting that hurt, the pain, and the bitterness go is so vital and important to the process of healing. I refused to be silent and I strongly encourage those of you who have been through a similar situation to do the same. Take back that control and live your life the way you were meant to! ♥