This might be a long read.
Since the #metoo movement began, and I started my new therapy, I’ve had this burning need to write about the things I’ve kept silent about for a very long time. If you’ve read my other posts, you know I’m not shy about talking about my mental and medical health. But this is different. This is trauma. If you don’t deal well with things like childhood abuse, I suggest you stop reading now. This is not going to be pretty and I don’t have the delicacy in me to write this in a way that will be easily digestible.
Let me preface this by saying that I have in my possession actual physical medical documentation that backs up what I’m about to talk about. I know it’s true, even if someone else will call me a liar. And they have, and continue to do so. I’m used to it by now, but at this point their words no longer render me silent.
So here we go. The end of my silence and words I’ve been holding back for 34 years.
I was sexually abused from around the age of two to the age of six. I know this happened because I have multiple hospital reports with details of the damage done to me. I have court documents where my abuse was taken as fact but dismissed as irrelevant. I have psych evaluations where I described what happened to me to a child psychologist IN DETAIL, that my social worker refused to add to my file.
I have a memory of telling my mother that someone was hurting me, during a supervised visitation, with my social worker present, and my mother telling me I was a liar. The social worker did not intervene, and nothing was ever recorded or done. She then spent the rest of the visit showing me pictures of my abuser, and telling me how much he missed me and that I was one day going to go live with them like a big happy family.
Ask me if the social worker cared.
I was five.
My situation did not improve. As a result I learned that I couldn’t trust an adult, and asking for help would just get me into trouble.
I had anxiety. I would get panic attacks. I ended up with ulcers and migraines at the age of five. My grandparents tried to help, but they were their own brand of crazy, and made things worse in other ways. They were extremely religious and their religion told me my body was dirty. That hitting puberty early meant I deserved my abuse. I asked for the unwanted attention I got because a grown man couldn’t be polite to a 12 year old in a Backstreet Boys tee shirt because she had boobs. I wasn’t allowed to be angry, sad, or depressed about anything EVER, but I had to go to therapy. And through this all I was told my body didn’t belong to me. It belonged to God. And he decided what was going to be done with it.
Please don’t ever tell someone whose body has already been defiled at the hands of a monster that they don’t have control over it. That’s wrong and horrible. It messed me up for many, many years. I literally let people abuse me more because I was told that my body didn’t belong to me. My grandparents were shocked when they figured this out. ‘You can tell them no!’ they cried.
But they never told me I could say no. They only ever told me my body was not mine to control. So I let others control me, instead.
That lasted for years. Decades. It was better to be numb than to feel the unimaginable pit of despair and filth my life had become because no one had tried to help me heal properly. And I know there are people out there who can’t numb it. They can’t switch on autopilot and just navigate life with minimal risk. And to be honest, I don’t know which one is better. I lost so many years I can’t get back because I could only function at a basic level.
I don’t even recognize the memories of myself of the past decade of myself. They seem to belong to a completely different person. And my teen years, and my childhood. That person is me, and yet a stranger I don’t know very well. And I don’t think that feeling will ever truly go away.
After the death of my grandfather, I finally went through all the documents they kept from my court case. My CPS papers, my medical records. Psych evaluations and records. It was horrible and I felt like I was going insane seeing those words turn into sentences in my mind. My husband had to read some of them to me because I couldn’t stop crying. So many things I didn’t know, couldn’t remember, or remembered after reading.
CPS KNEW. They KNEW. Child Protective Services knee I was being sexually abused at the age of 4. They DIDN’T care. It was not a ‘matter of concern for the placement of the child.’ My social worker fucking knew. She didn’t care.
In fact it said the judge had to reprimand her several times for laughing at ‘inappropriate moments.’
I was five.
Interviews with my suspected abuser contain such phrases as ‘she looks promiscuous.’
I was five.
The medical papers are much worse. Everything from obvious handprint bruises to tears to my hymen that looked like it was caused by the ‘insertion of a wooden object.’
I WAS FIVE.
I remember lying down on that cold examination table in the emergency room with my grandma sitting next to me, as the doctor came in and just started apologizing to us. I remember her voice was wrong. Like something scary was happening. I was sleepy and didn’t understand what she meant. I asked if I was sick. My grandma was crying. It hurt between my legs and I had come home bleeding from my moms house. I couldn’t remember what happened.
I was five years old.
I am now 34 and that memory still makes me feel like I can’t breathe. Like I want to throw up. And cry for days.
I never believed that telling the truth would get me help, or get me heard. I never believed that an adult had my best interest at heart. I never believed that someone cared about other people more than themselves. I never believed that someone cared more about a child than they did their own opinion or ideology. I never believed that I could count on another person to help me. Never.
That’s why when I see people criticizing victims of abuse and rape for staying silent, I rage. How nice it must be to not have such a horrible trauma forced upon your righteous shoulders. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You are the reason people don’t speak out. And you are too thick to realize it. Take responsibility for the garbage thoughts your brain hoards.
There’s more to my story, but this is where I’ll stop. I’ve made my point, for now.