This was one of the first pieces of writing I did around my experience with sexual abuse. I did this as part of my healing journey and as a way to express how I was feeling and the impact it has had on me. Although it was very difficult I found this process very benificial as it forced me to face my fears and release everything inside. I felt a great deal of relief getting it all out in words.
I’ve been so afraid to write this letter. To prepare myself on how it might feel, I read a number of letters from victims to their perpetrators on their different experiences. Although many of their experiences where slightly different and somewhat worse than mine, I could still strongly relate to their pain and feelings.
I want you to know not just how this has affected me, but the impacts the experience has on me every day since and will for the rest of my life. In the beginning I don’t even think I truly understood what was going on, but as it went on I become more scared and trapped and felt as though there was nothing I could do. I never wanted to be the one to ruin the family, or cause any hurt or worry. I held all this stress and worry on myself for many years. Still to this day, I have no idea what it will do to our family, but I know that it is out of my control and I need to be okay with the decisions that others make.
Following the experience I felt a great deal of guilt, shame, confusion and was scared of what would happen if I ever told anyone. I had a large sense of powerlessness. I could never express even to my own family exactly how I felt, I kept everything inside. To others I would have appeared to be a carefree, happy and enthusiastic young girl. At times I was even a little over the top trying to hide how I was really feeling. On the inside however, I was just this scared, insecure, innocent little girl.
Throughout my life I have struggled with confidence, trust, low self-esteem and anxiety. I think what happened has contributed to this. I struggle more now that it’s out than I ever did, as I have no control on what will happen or what people will think. You made me believe I could never trust anyone. You made me believe I was never good enough. You made me feel like I could never stand up for myself. You made me second guess the clothes that I wore, ensuring not too show too much skin. I worried about this as I didn’t want to appear as though I was asking for it.
The things you did I still struggle to come to terms with and understand. I have a constant feeling in my stomach that I can’t even explain. You touched me inappropriately and in places you had no right. Because of this, I want you to know that to this day I am unable to handle the physical touch of another person. I freak out each time I experience any physical contact.
I don’t think you understand how difficult it has been for me to have to continue to be in the same room as you and act as though nothing ever happened. At the time I may seem fine, but after behind closed doors, I spend hours crying and not being able to sleep. Even just your name being bought up in conversation or other family members talking about childhood memories, I hate it. What others see as good memories, are some of my worst and is what I try to forget about.
I want too thankyou not for what you have done to me, but for showing me how resilient, courageous, determined and strong I can be. I could have really let this bring me down and ruin my life in more ways than it has and it hasn’t. I have had the strength to push through and achieve things I never thought I could. The things I have been through and experienced have brought me to where I am and who I am today. For so long I have felt angry, hurt, upset and laid so much blame on myself.
Although it was not a desired experience, I now see things from a slightly different perspective. I can now use the experience to make a difference and help others. This is a life I was given for a reason and it is to make something of the experience, move forward and be the best person I can. I know I still have a long way to go in my recovery, but I hope in writing this letter I am one step closer. In no way did I do this for you, it is just a stage in my healing process and something I needed to do for myself.
I believe this has happened to me for a reason, to show that I am strong enough to overcome this and make good out of a bad situation.