not keeping the abuse a secret

a child-sexual-abuse survivor's blog


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hard chain to break

I’m single.  Not in a relationship.  (For, years and, years.)  So, my son has urged me to try online dating avenues.

This is the thing.

What being sexually abused as a child does to a woman… — What being sexually abused by an older brother you used to look up to, does to a child… — What seeing your father r-e-g-u-l-a-r-y steer your sisters into his bedroom to sexually abuse them does to one… — What being roofied and raped as an adult does to a woman — What being raped by a guy you meet in a club and make the mistake of inviting home does to a woman…

Gosh, how to say this?

Um, there’s a lack of trust that ensues??  (Righteously so, folks.)  (Common-sense logically so.)  (Like, one would have to be an idiot or, severely dissociative [<- Been there, too…] to “trust normally?”  I mean, C’mon.)

cartoon, your worst fear, by matt bors--fr dailykosDOTcom
Your Worst Fear
Not all men.  Just some.”
— Matt Bors cartoon.
Find political cartoonist Matt Bors on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mattbors ,
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MattBors .

 Hard chain to break…

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i don’t wear makeup. i don’t wear dresses.

I don’t wear makeup. I don’t wear dresses. I laughingly tell people, “Hey, I grew up with three older brothers, got used to being ‘one of the guys,’ what can I say…;” or I grin and go, “I came of age during the Woodstock era, we hippie girls shunned makeup and that headset just stuck, I guess;” or, I smile broadly and say, “Once a tomboy always a tomboy…”

What I don’t say is, I’m afraid if I look too girly I’ll be assaulted.

What I don’t say is, Well actually, truth be told, The Dress Girl once [once that I know of anyway…] put makeup on and wore a dress to the mall some years back – I don’t know what all she did there though except that, she did go into the Gap.

What I don’t say is, I want to wear dresses and I’m working up to it, I have two right now in my closet plus two skirts…

What I don’t say is, I would like to wear makeup if I feel like it but, it draws attention to a woman and that might increase my chances of getting assaulted.

At the same time, if anyone tries to sexually violate me again I swear to God I’ll take his eyeballs out with my bare fingers.

You could say I have mixed feelings.


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[2] — the surviving in numbers project

Very good Huff Post article on Ali Safran’s “Surviving In Numbers” project, at, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/surviving-in-numbers_n_3537567.html .

Writes Safran at the Surviving In Numbers website [ http://www.survivinginnumbers.org ], “I came up with the idea for this project in October of 2012, around the third anniversary of my own sexual assault.  I thought about all the people I had told and how I’d reported to the police, gone through the legal process, done everything a victim is ‘supposed’ to do…and still hadn’t gotten any real justice.  It occurred to me that, while I considered my own total ‘number’ (people I’d told) to be high, others must have had some experiences on the same spectrum.

Surviving In Numbers project--another

“I then reached out to multiple colleges in Massachusetts and began developing the project with them.  …  The name of the project is doubly meaningful: it’s a play on the phrase ‘strength in numbers,’ as there truly is a strength among these and other survivors who speak out about their experiences.  Additionally, the project is truly about survivors and the numbers around their experiences: how many people they told, how the assault cost them relationships, etc.

tumblr Surviving In Numbers project--one sign
“It’s my hope that this project raises awareness of how prevalent sexual assault is…and how many survivors there are…  I also hope to show how key it is to the healing process for a survivor when they tell their stories: if they’re supported and believed, it starts them down a supportive path to healing; if they’re admonished or blamed, it has terrible effects.  Additionally, sexual assault is highly stigmatized across cultures, and victims are often blamed for what happened to them.”

Go Ali!

If I were to add a sign to those featured at Safran’s website [ http://www.survivinginnumbers.org ], it might read:

The brother who molested me said,
“If you tell anyone I will say you are lying;”

One of my also-abused sisters said,
“If you tell I will deny it,
it’s too embarrassing,”

and she has been true to her word on that,
making me out to be a liar &/or crazy,
to nieces, nephews, and others;

A male cousin says laughingly,
“Incest is best when kept in the family,”

and both of my also-abused sisters
laugh merrily at his “joke.”

I was a LITTLE GIRL  when the abuse began:
in grade school! 😡

MANY YEARS: the time it took me to realize that
(i.) what had happened to me was ASSAULT;
(ii.) what had happened to me
WAS NOT MY FAULT;

(iii.) What had happened to me was
THEIR SHAME not mine.

Zero: Justice meted out to my molester father & brother. My father is now dead, and, when I tried to bring civil charges against my brother?
His attorney sent me a letter
referencing statutes of limitations.

TOO MUCH:  what the abuse
has meted out to me:

suicidality; “self-medicating” with alcohol & drugs; panic attacks; dissociation; sleep problems; major depression; ptsd;
fear of men; intimacy issues; more.

4: Number of times I’ve attempted suicide.

2: Number of times I’ve been raped (yes, in addition to the family abuse).

Between 12 & 15, roughly: Number of therapists/psychiatrists
I have seen over the years.

3: Number of therapists who were able to help me.

Having to keep it all inside adds to the trauma,
yet,
people are so uncomfortable being told,
but,
how can I have real “friends” if I cannot share
this thing that shouldn’t have to be, a disgusting secret?

Being a sexual abuse survivor DEFINES a person — IT IS ALWAYS THERE.  As another person wrote on her sign, “I am & will forever be a survivor.”

Surviving In Numbers project--another's sign

Thank you, Ali Safran. A thumbs-up to the Surviving In Numbers project.