Generally, I like to keep things pretty light. I’ve written a few more serious posts, but overall, most of the stuff I write about doesn’t have too much meaning.
A few days ago, however, I read a post by another girl and it compelled me to write this. She wrote about being raped as a 14 year old, just starting high school, and the challenges that she faced as a result. You can read her post here; get the full story and show her some support.
The reason I was inspired to write this is because I have also experienced the pain and damage of sexual abuse. I wasn’t raped, so in some ways you could say my struggle isn’t as severe as anyone who has been. And while I do agree with that, I also know that any form of sexual abuse, no matter how extreme or minor, leaves scars and emotional damage that seems nearly impossible to heal.
I was only four when it started and it didn’t stop until at least a year later, I can’t remember exactly. And as in many cases, I knew my abuser. At the time she was the daughter of my dad’s girlfriend and she was three years older than me. A lot of the details I don’t remember very clearly, I’ve suppressed them and hid them in the darker corners of my mind.
What I do remember vividly is the excruciating pain I felt when it ended. My older brother happened to walk in as it was happening, initially I was relieved. It was finally over. But the relief was short lived. When my dad was told about it, he blamed me, the five year old. He chose to protect the child of his girlfriend over his own.
I was stung by the betrayal and at the same time struggling with the emotional damage that comes from such abuse. I pushed away the memories, but there was no hiding it’s effects. As anyone would, I lost my faith and trust in my father. He showed more support for my abuser and her mother than he did for me, in the end marrying her and turning my nightmare into my stepsister. By this time my older brother, my guardian angel, had chosen to leave my dad to go live with our mom.
With him gone, the abuse continued. It was more subtle this time, more emotional than physical , but no less damaging. For years, I was trapped there. I finally managed to escape this summer, after all of that time spent in the toxic house.
But, leaving hasn’t fixed me. Sure, I’m no longer exposed directly. But I was poisoned for twelve years, and that poison has become absorbed into every part of me. I’ve lost so much of the innocent girl I was meant to be. Depression and anxiety haunt me, I’ve forgotten how to trust. I can’t form a stable relationship, I run whenever someone tries.
I don’t want pity, that’s not why I’m writing this. What I want is to be understood. What I want is to be able to move on and to heal. But, at the same time, I’m scared to face it. I don’t want to drag it out from the darkness inside me. If I leave it there, its contained and I feel in control.
I know what I need to do, I know I need to face it. Every day it remains, it takes over another piece of me and continues to destroy me. But, I’m terrified to face it alone.
What choice do I have when I’ve already ran away from everyone who could’ve helped?