Saturday, February 06, 2010

You Are Not Alone, Sonia's Story (Blog-a-thon Post 16)

Dear Survivor,

Sonia wants you to know you are not alone. Here's what she has to say:

I'm a 27 year old incest survivor who was molested by my step-father from 6th-8th grade. When I was being bullied at school, my step-dad saw it as an opportunity to "groom me." I didn't know much about sex, healthy relationships and healthy boundaries. On top of that, I felt terrible about myself due to being bullied and being undermined by my narcissistic mom. Hence, my step-dad viewed his abuse as "sex education and a way to help me out." My step-dad taught me that being sexual is how you get love, validation, and power from people. He taught me that sex is how you cope with your problems... Sex is supposed to be a pleasurable act of love, but I learned that it was about power, control, humiliation and anger bundled up together. My step-dad told me to swear to God to never tell anyone, or that he would get into trouble. When you're a compassionate 12 year-old, what else are you supposed to do?

All of these "lessons" can severely impact how a child views the world and herself. I was showing classic signs of a sexually abused kid by acting very seductive and displaying sexual knowledge that most kids my age didn't know. It was a "cry for help", but none of the adults around me did anything. Even trained psychologists didn't try to address the topic of possible sexual abuse! I'm saying this to let people know that some therapists don't know much about detecting sexual abuse or know how to handle it. My current therapists are shocked to hear how my previous therapists missed the "in your face" red flags I was displaying as a kid. It's sad that the people who were supposed to help me turned the other cheek.

I was too terrified to directly tell anyone. My parents were rich model citizens that presented themselves well in the community. I felt that nobody would believe me or do anything about it, if I told. After all, my behavior led me to look like a "bad kid giving her parents hell." In reality, my step-dad's sexual abuse and my mom's verbal/emotional abuse was the reason for my behavior! My mom used to brainwash me how we would be living on the streets without our step-dad. When you live with abusive parents, you're terrified of just how much more evil the outside world is! All I knew how to do was act sexual, depressed and anxious to cope with what was going on. I kept my mouth shut about the actual abuse for many years, but this led me to engage in self-destructive behavior (abusive relationships, etc).

When I did tell, my mom threw it in my face by saying it's my fault. She scolded me for keeping quiet and how the abuse "wasn't that bad." People judge us for not telling, but I sometimes feel that telling can make it worse. While I don't want to discourage other incest survivors from sharing their story, I have encountered cruel people that won't understand where we're coming from. I'm sorry to say that I lived in a wealthy area that probably would have labeled me a disease, if word got out that I was a victim of incest. I'm glad that there ARE communities where survivors can get the help and love that they deserve. I am lucky to find other sources of support, such as this facebook group. It's comforting to know that other people have gone through what I have been through, and won't judge me.

Stay tuned... there are more survivors who want to share their stories with you...

Watch the live UStream broadcast of this blog-a-thon by clicking here.

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