I was 10 years old when my ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of a male relative finally ended. I don’t remember how old I was when he began molesting me, only that I was too young to understand what was happening and what it was called. Or that it was criminal and demented and anything but ok.
My abuse ended not because I spoke up and told someone what was happening to me, but because my abuser was caught abusing another little girl. I so wish 6, 7, 8, or 9 years old me had been able to speak up, to put an end to the damage he was doing before he could do it to another.
I don’t recall the specific tactics my molester used to ensure I wouldn’t talk. Only that they worked for years. Had I not been asked point blank if he had touched me or hurt me I’m not sure if I ever would have disclosed the abuse of my own volition.
And here’s why.
Being sexually abused felt shameful to me. It made me feel disgusting. Worthless. Disposable. I was so ashamed of what was being done to me I didn’t want anyone to know about it. To the child I was, having someone know what was happening to me seemed worse than having it happen. The child I was did not comprehend that telling someone was the thing that would stop the abuse and instead, I was trapped by the shame it silenced me with.
There are untold reasons why girls and women don’t tell anyone when they are abused or assaulted, why they wait years to tell someone if they ever do. These reasons protect their abusers and I promise you victims do not realize this at the time.
Shame is blinding. Deafening. Muting. It’s boss when it comes ’round. Especially over the young and defenseless. Today, it doesn’t make any sense to me why I would feel shame over a crime committed against me. Today, I still rarely talk about my abuse though my reasons have changed.
When I talk about being sexually abused for years as a child, I get angry. Incensed. Livid. And then I relive it. I’m right back there in that house, in that chair and it’s happening to me all over again. I spin out in rage over how the abuse altered the course of my life and shaped me. I wonder who I would be today and what I might have accomplished if I had been protected and treated the way every child deserves to be. I don’t like where talking about being abused takes me and so it’s seldom that I do it.
So when a woman comes forward to explain how a man hurt her via sexual abuse or assault, I believe her. I know why she waited. I know why she still doesn’t want to talk about it. And I know she’s finally doing so because she feels she no longer has the luxury of keeping her trauma buried so that it can’t hurt her anymore. She’s thinking of others, now. She doesn’t want even one more girl, woman, any kind of person to suffer the way she was forced to.
And that goal has finally won the day. That is why she speaks. And why we must listen to her, believe her and stand with her.
7 thoughts on “The reason we end our silence and finally disclose our sexual abuse.”
I’ve never commented on your posts because I worry that you’ll block me from reading them in the future. But I am compelled to comment today to say this post brought me back to when I was 12 and it happened to me. I am in tears, not because he did it to me, but because I’m convinced he did it to others…including his wife before they were married (she was 15, he was 26), then their beautiful daughters who I babysat. My biggest regret is that I didn’t tell. That I didn’t prevent those I am convinced he abused after me. But I didn’t tell for the same reasons you didn’t tell…especially the shame. He stopped molesting me when I told him to stop or I would tell his wife. But I feel it’s on me that his daughters were also his victims. That is the most painful of my abuse to me. I didn’t tell for 61 years. The #MeToo movement has brought it all to the surface. I believe them all. I love your writing, Jodie. I love you.
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Jodie, you are a brave and beautiful woman. I know I say that a lot in my comments but it’s true. I’m heartbroken about the heinous crimes committed against you and applaud you for the strength to speak out for others. May you be given dump truck loads of blessings.
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I’ve currently been reading The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender. This is the place of healing God is gently leading me to at this time. But it’s weird and confusing trying to process it all. I have even been “hiding” the book rather than leaving it lying around the house like any other book, which includes all my recovery books related to healing from sexual betrayal trauma. Why childhood sexual abuse shames me more than the other is a little bewildering. Reading some of your words here shines a little more light on the mixed up places of my heart and mind so many years ago, and again now. Thank you. xo
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Blessings on your courage and honesty.
In heartfelt solidarity with every woman who’s ever been abused, at any age, to any degree, G in Australia #thefutureisfemale
very very very well done for talking about abuse .i was abused as a child .it is a life sentence .so effecting .people
never see .i am disabled have m.e .long list health issues.research is very rare in abuse ..my story of abuse is
in a Authors book.i do a blog.http;//mark-kent.webs.com
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Yes, shame is blinding and a huge cause for keeping silent. I share your story. My abuser did not get caught, so far as I know. I praise God that He is all-knowing and a rightful Judge. The abusers will meet the fate of their horrid harmful sins, we can trust.
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