*Note: Here are several more of the many private responses I have received based on previous posts about sexual abuse. The writers have agreed to let me share their experiences here. I want to make special note that in this entire series, not all of these stories are from people from the tribe, and not all are from women.
I have numbered these in case you want to make a comment about a specific experience that has been shared here—but other than that, there is no significance to the numbers.
He’s my next door neighbor, one or two years younger than me. He was playing on the new foundation of a house in the meadow field behind both our houses. A man came and raped him, about eight years old. The man used Vaseline. Whispers in the family about it. Whispers about Vaseline. I hate Vaseline.
This story is precisely half a century in the making.
I have read your previous posts and have struggled with the feelings of putting blame on the church, when in truth it happens everywhere, in every circle.
I had a different experience with my abuse and the church than some other stories I have read/heard.
I was abused a good portion of my childhood by a family member. It took an embarrassingly long time to realize that what was happening to me wasn’t normal/right! Then the confusion set in, since I never knew it was wrong, I never said stop, so did I want to? Was I asking for it?
I reached my breaking point, I finally told someone. No, not my mom or any family member. I was too scared. Long story short, he was arrested and sent to prison. I felt nothing but support and love from the members of our church! My family was helped financially, meals were bought over for weeks, it was a hard time, made a little easier.
Now as a mother I struggle with the balance of using my past abuse to teach my children boundaries and limits and secret-keeping while also maintaining their innocence and not making them fearful of the world.
If it helps at all, I thought I was crazy when I was abused also. I hated thinking that because back then, crazy was such a horrible thing to be.
I also thought it only happened to me and lived my life wondering why me? I thought, “It can’t possibly have happened to anyone else because people act so free and happy and I’m just faking it with my public face.” Or, I questioned, “Are they faking it too?”
I slept with my parents, too. A lot. I could get tucked in so lovingly by my parents and fall asleep but I would wake up terrified and make my way down the longest hallway in history of man, to go to my parents’ room, where I could see the 101 Dalmations snarling at me at the foot of their bed. It took more courage than I thought I could ever muster, on a regular basis, to make it to the head of their bed so I could climb in and be safe.
I, too, isolated myself during recess and other places. I watched kids playing but my mind was too scrambled to concentrate on playing every day, although I did try. And I read because I loved reading, but books could take me anywhere but where I was.
I’m sorry your abuse still hurts so much. I believe you. None of your abuse was your fault. You did not deserve any of it.
Please message me if you would like to talk. I will listen without judgment and keep your confidence.
When I was already an adult with small children something happened that exposed some of the child sexual abuse that had been going on in and around my family. It was shocking, but helped explain so many things.
I remember looking for something to make sense, something to hold onto, as more layers were peeled away, and it came out that this had been going on for the previous generations as well.
How could that be possible?
Pushed down, hushed up.
My own abuse, and I only remember flashes of it over different years, took all my courage to tell my parents (happened when I was little, told them for the first time when I was over 30), and the response was dismissal.
Over the years, as different people have told me their experiences of childhood sexual abuse, there was no way to deny or try to ignore that this was a big issue. The stories were similar, and some people, who told me what happened to them, were not aware of some of the other victims I heard from that suffered at the hands of the same abuser.
During this time, I found that two of the pedophiles in the church had been known about for quite awhile, by the minister and some board members as well as others and nothing was done, people were keeping quiet, and, as it turned out, children continued to be abused.
It seemed like I was going crazy! People somehow thinking it’s better to not acknowledge this.
God in His love and grace began to heal me, and although I still have scars from what happened, I’m truly alive for the first time, and am in awe of how God works in and through our lives.
Recently this person’s explanation has helped to at least partly explain the reaction of those in leadership or authority roles keeping the abuse under cover: “This is done when the safety and care of abuse victims is sacrificed in order to protect the reputations of individuals and institutions.”
(Excerpt from another blog) I’ve always hated the dentist. And, especially a few years back, an old man dentist who wasn’t kind and gentle. Who made me feel guilty and shameful that my mouth was full of cavities, and had the beginnings of gums disease and wisdom teeth that had to come out. [Read More >>]
Additional Stories Links 6
If you would like to share any experiences or thoughts publicly, you can leave a regular blog comment down below, or post on my Facebook link. If you would like to submit an anonymous story, you may do so at this link.
You might also like: