May I talk to you about my religion/Christianity/God/Jesus/why evil exists?
Why didn’t you just tell someone?
Did your parents ever go to jail for what they did?
How do I deal with sex after rape?
How do I get over my PTSD and triggers?
How can I help a person who has gone through/is going through what you did?
Is it normal to have orgasms during rape? Does it mean I “liked” it?
After having a father who was a pastor do all of these horrible things to you, what are your feelings on the existence of god?
How did you escape the abuse?
Will you show me pictures of your cuts/self-harm?
I think I may have been molested and repressed it. How can I tell?
How can I tell if someone is or is going to become abusive?
In short, we did. Early on, CPS came, documented horrific psychical trauma and, (as they often do,) they did nothing. My sister and I learned that calling 911 wasn’t an option. Did you know that over half of murdered children in the US were known to CPS to be living with abusers already by the time they were killed?
We tried telling our youth pastor, who immediately turned us in to our abusers for punishment. (This is a common response, people don’t want to deal with problems that “aren’t theirs”). I tried asking my mom to take control my dad… I tried implying to a dozen people who usually told me how lucky I was to have such “wonderful, Christian parents.” My dad was a veteran, my mom taught church classes, my dad was a minister… what chance did a little kid have of being believed against all that?
And when we couldn’t remember (which was often - children block trauma out completely much of the time) we couldn’t tell anyone even if we wanted to. It truly is a hopeless situation for kids prostituted out of their homes. Even when I reached out I was hurt more for it.
1. Listen to yourself. Are you sure YOU want to have sex, not just for your partner? Are you sure you want sex, not just some fondling or kissing? Make sure you know what you want before you even start.
3. Never “force” yourself to have sex. This is more important than anything. Doing so will only further cement in your mind the idea that all sex is unhappy, unwilling and unpleasant and make further sexual encounters feel more like rape.
-So you want to start having sex again? Here are some steps:
5. Keep doing this until it feels natural for you, then gradually add tiny, TINY steps (without pressuring yourself) until you are comfortable with a bit more. If that takes a year, that’s fine. If it never happens, so be it. Your needs are important!
Sex can be a wonderful thing to be enjoyed, but not everyone enjoys it. Why not ask yourself what you really want before taking that next step forward?
- Talk. Talk about the worst of it; the fears the gross parts anything you remember at all. Talk to someone like your significant other or best friend whom you know you can trust. (Ignoring it may feel like success but leads to worse consequences over time.) Even writing in a journal will help you to accept and heal from your experience.
- Do not pressure yourself, especially about sex. I find survivors always tend to expect too much of themselves - more than is even possible in many cases. You are going through a hardship many people could never imagine, and you deserve all the time and credit you can give yourself.
- Trust yourself. You are going to want to re-repress or ignore these memories until they’re hard to access. A part of your brain will be telling you that you’re making it up or exaggerating or it doesn’t matter. Ignore that part. The more you believe yourself, the easier the process will be.
- Don’t be afraid to cry and mourn. Take time to “wallow,” and “feel sorry for yourself.” These terms are actually describing a necessarily grieving process to help you get over what you’ve lost. This may involve giving yourself time or rewarding yourself for working hard or putting on sad music and having a cry, depending on what makes you feel better.
- Don’t be afraid to protect yourself. The movie is triggering? Walk out. Make up an excuse or tell the truth - your call. The person you’re talking to is freaking you out? You suddenly have to go to the bathroom - no apologies.
- Remember that protecting yourself doesn’t mean isolating yourself from all triggers, forever. Very gently exposing yourself to mild triggers occasionally is a great way to help ease your PTSD. Just don’t overdo it!
Knowing what hurts or triggers you and avoiding it makes you stronger, not weaker. By overcoming the social awkwardness of looking out for your own needs you strengthen yourself and improve your ability to heal and open up in the future.
GOOD question. If it’s a child:
- Get evidence. Any kind you can. Get them to tell you in front of someone that something happened. Judge carefully, because the system is not always kind to abused kids, so don’t call CPS or the police unless you have something to show them. Unless, of course, there is an immediate threat, in which case, the authorities will protect.
- If you can’t save the child directly, try pulling them aside and telling them (in vague, but straightforward terms) that if someone is hurting them, it’s not their fault and you know they don’t like it.
If the person is older, like a teen going through it:
- Tell them they don’t deserve it.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. Ask questions, don’t offer unsolicited advice, just listen and try to understand.
- Tell them you’re there to help if they want to escape BUT IT’S THEIR CHOICE. Do nothing until they are ready.
- Suggest options - school counselors, people to go to for help. I don’t generally recommend religious counseling, especially for teens in this position because religious “counselors” are often untrained and supportive of violence. But any counseling is usually better than none.
If it’s an adult who has survived these things:
- Ask if they want to talk about it. Gage carefully. Sometimes people say “no,” to be polite, other times they are genuinely uncomfortable withe the topic.
- If they are willing to talk, freely admit that you don’t know what it must feel like, but you can tell they feel _____ (angry, scared, sad, ashamed etc)
- Remind them, again of the “big 3” - “It’s not your fault,” “I believe you,” “You didn’t deserve this.”
- Again, listen, listen, listen. Encourage more talking (where appropriate) and ask specific, easy-to-answer questions.
Bottom line, no matter what the situation, be a resource, not a commander.Any abuse victim, young or old, needs to feel that they are in control and being listened to. EXCELLENT question.
- After having a father who was a pastor do all of these horrible things to you, what are your feelings on the existence of god?
I’ve struggled with the idea of God for a long time. Listening to my father preach about God punishing adulterers while winking at me (the signal he used only during rapes) made it difficult for me to ever go to church again. Also, the idea occurred to me: if God sees everything, knows everything and loves everyone… how can my life have happened? He saw that I was suffering and heard my pleas for help, loved me and had the power to stop it, yet didn’t? I’ve never been able to get past that.
However, I still haven’t given up hope on faith. I see an order to nature and the universe that I can’t explain. Maybe my life was hard so that I could learn some cosmic lesson or graduate to the last level of nirvana, I don’t know. I do feel comfort in the idea that there is guidance for me somewhere out there, though. I’m understandably very uncomfortable with the idea of a “father god,” so I think that’s why I imagine a deity more like myself. Maybe in the form of a nice, female God who loves everyone and does her best but doesn’t have enough resources to solve all our problems. That’s what brings me a little peace, anyway.
Basically, I was living at college at the time and in such denial and repression that when my friends went off to their parents homes each holiday, I went, too. I didn’t remember that I got raped by my dad and trafficked every time I went home. I couldn’t let myself remember.
I was, however getting more and more afraid, and suddenly felt a strong need to call my then ex-boyfriend (who was actually abusive, though I hadn’t recognized it yet) and I asked him to come stay with us. My image-conscious mom couldn’t say no to a missionary kid spending the summer with her “family”.
My dad still raped me, even with my boyfriend there, and (though I blocked it at the time) he had told me the night before I last saw him that he was going to continue prostituting me all summer.
The next day, he said in front of my boyfriend that he wanted me to interview for a job in town, and I (having no memory of any of this) simply politely told him I’d rather not. This basically led to an outburst, he hit me a couple of times and my boyfriend saw it.
I left and stayed with friends in their dorm, knowing I would be homeless at the end of summer if they decided not to pay for college next year. My mom made vague threats about it, but I still refused to talk to my dad. I said I wouldn’t talk to him until he promised never to hurt me again and went into therapy. He refused at the time. Months/years went by and he claimed he was seeing a pastor for therapy, but by that time I was beginning to remember some of what he had done and I still refused to see him.
I’ve withdrawn all contact from everyone in my family except rare, unavoidable interactions with my mother involving money (which I’m hoping will end soon) and a very occasional phone call to my sister who lives in Texas.
No. I find that seeing pictures of other people’s self-harm often triggers me to hurt myself, and I would never want to do that to anyone. Furthermore, I don’t want to think about the fact that someone may be judging whether my self-harm was very significant by comparison to theirs, or I’m afraid it will only encourage myself to do more harm. I have no problem discussing the type/extent of my self-harm when it’s pertinent to the conversation, but my body is my own private business and my self-harm is between me and me.
Well, there’s no way to know for sure, but there are many indications that may point to the possibility. Most of the following symptoms aren’t conclusive, but should be looked at as part of a pattern. Here are some possible indications victims tend to have that they’ve been sexually abused:
- dissociation (feeling disconnected from reality)
- inability to recall times surrounding the possible trauma
- unexplainable fears or phobias
- excessive guilt
- viewing situations unrealistically (whether by being unreasonably positive or by always looking for a catastrophe)
- confusion about feelings towards possible abuser
- being overly eager to please people
- unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches or general pain
- poor self-esteem
- difficulty concentrating
- having the feeling that you will die young/early
- having been abused (in any way that you already know of)
- feeling as though “if people knew who/what you really were,” they wouldn’t like you anymore
- fear of sex
- fearing the potential abuser
- early sexual activity in your life (e.g. masturbating or playing very sexual games with another child at a young age)
- easily startled
- strong negative reactions to people/places/things that you cannot explain.
- eating disorders
- promiscuous or compulsive sexual behavior
- social phobias
- a lot of alcohol or drug use
- self harm (e.g. “cutting”)
- difficulty setting boundaries
- being abused as an adult (childhood abuse can make people feel incapable of seeing or stopping new abuse)
- frequent apologizing
- suicidal ideas/attempts/thoughts
Next, examine the possible perpatrator. Again, these should be looked for as part of a pattern, since most of them, alone, do not guarantee abusive behavior. Here are some possible indicators that a person may be an abuser:
- history of being accused for any type of abuse
- history of violence
- misogynistic, sexist attitudes
- history of criminal behavior
- history of witnessing/experiencing abuse as a child
- acting unsympathetic towards others
- being very charming
- frequent yelling
- controlling behavior
- frequent moving from place to place
- being easily angered
- excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- runs a household with rigid gender rules and stereotypes
- discomfort expressing emotions like fear, embarrassment or tenderness.
- owns many weapons or is very focused on weapons
- tendency to throw things/take anger out on objects
And of course, one of the main factors is the simple fact that you think you might have been abused. It’s not something most people are comfortable even thinking about, so if you’re wondering about it strongly enough to ask yourself the question, that’s reason to take the possibility seriously.
- Reports being abused as a child (mentally abused counts).
- Saw battering or abuse between their parents.
- Has been known to display violence against other people.
- Frequently loses their temper, or gets angry at inappropriate times.
- Commits acts of violence against objects (throws things, breaks things etc)
- Drinks or uses drugs excessively at times.
- Displays significant jealousy when you are out with others, or acts jealous of significant people in your life.
- Expects you to spend all your free time with them.
- Checks in often to see where you are.
- Gets angry when you don’t listen to their advice.
- Seems to have a dual personality (two different sides, like two people)
- Frightens you when they are angry. Especially if that fear causes you to alter your behavior around the person.
- Has old-fashioned ideas about gender roles and how men and women should behave. (Applies mainly to men in heterosexual relationships.)
- Gives you the feeling that you’re “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
- Accuses you of
- not trusting or respecting them.
- being too emotional, sensitive or “bitchy”.
- lying to them.
- cheating on them or being promiscuous/easy.
- not understanding or appreciating them.
- Tells you that
- all anyone else wants you for is your body.
- you couldn’t make it without him/her.
- you are “no good in bed”.
- no one else would treat you as well.
- you are stupid.
- Always blames you for arguments or difficulties between you.
- Makes you feel compelled to apologize all the time.
- Shows little respect for your time, energy, needs and feelings.
- Seems demanding and impatient.
- Is uncomfortable expressing feelings like fear, anxiety, embarrassment, disappointment and tenderness.
- Has moods that change rapidly.