After nearly 10 years, I have finally found the strength to speak up about what happened to me when I was a child. I was sexually abused by my step brother over a number of years from the ages of 8 till about 17. I didn’t know what was happening at the time or that it was wrong, I was only 8 when it all started and at this age our brains aren’t programmed to understand this sort of thing. I spent so many years trying to shut it all out and forget, that I now don’t remember everything that happened.
As a child I learnt to block my feelings in order to get through. I felt as though I had no power or control over the situation I was in, I was afraid that if I spoke up I would ruin the family and cause hurt to others. I chose not to say anything as it only affected me and I didn’t want to cause hurt to anyone else in the family. I never wanted to be the one to ruin the family, I could see how much both my Mum and Step Dad wanted us all to be one ‘Big Happy Family’. However, for me I knew I was NEVER going to be able to accept him as my family.
I felt trapped in my own home. My body had been invaded; touched inappropriately and in places he had no right. I would be walking down the hallway and he would come up behind and grab my breasts, butt etc. We didn’t have a lock on our bathroom door so he would open it and stand there looking at me while I was in the shower, it made me feel disgusting. I would tell him to go but he would just stay there looking at me. He would do things to me then force me to do things back ‘I hated it’ but would freeze and couldn’t do anything. These are just a few of the things that happened. As a result of all this I have struggled with trust, confidence, low self-esteem and anxiety. I have always hated my breasts as he would always make comments about them, I made sure the clothes that I wore didn’t show too much skin as I didn’t want to appear as though I was asking for it.
The smallest things can cause a trigger in me. His name being mentioned, other family members talking about childhood memories, photos, having to see him at family events or even just being in the house where the sexual abuse occurred.
Still to this day I have to pretend as though nothing has happened as many people don’t know. Although there are days where I wish I never said anything , I also know that in order for me to heal and move forward I needed to speak up. Fortunately for me I have had the support of my family and they are very respectful of what I need to help move forward. I feel I can use this experience to make a difference and help others. This is a life I was given for a reason and it is for me to make good out of a bad situation.
More to come about my healing journey.