Since I was eleven I had been a victim. I didn’t even know it. I was raised by a single mom with my older sister. Without much experience with a man figure in my life in any kind of steady way; I wasn’t much of a judge of new interactions with men. The only men I had steady contact with were sporadic and always loving in good, funny and positive way.
My mother dated a man whom had three much older sons than I. And the first one I met was five years older than me. I was eleven and he was 16. That first meeting he asked to take me on a ride in his car and we went to a local drug store and he bought me bracelets. Cheap little trinkets and I was enamored. He paid me compliments. Smiled his big dimply smile and made jokes and engaged me in lots of conversation.
What I didn’t know was that Billy had “conditioned” me to think of what he did to me and with me as affection and feeling. When in reality, a guy five years older than an eleven year old girl do not lay on top of them kissing them pressing their weight into them and touching them in places that had never been touched before was wrong. Men don’t buy little girls trinkets and pay them compliments for the pure affection they are feeling, but rather to endear themselves to the young child coming of age. Slowly the abuser begins their assault by endearing themselves into the victims heart and feelings. So the abuse continues, even encouraged to be thought of special.
One example of me coming to terms and learning that yes, Billy knew me, but he also only knew the me he wanted to know. Not the real me. He told me that the reason I was so easily duped by this “stalker/rapist” was because the things this person did to me was so far outside the realm of how I thought that I was unable to see that there is true evil out there and I never had the thought process of doubting people for their innate goodness. “Maybe not in those same words, but close enough”.
I should have listened harder to what he was saying because when I look back on it, I really begin to realize just when my “bad luck” with men began. I was expecting certain behaviors and actions from men and I didn’t know how prevalent narcissism and sociopathic behaviors were and existed in people all around me.
I bet you didn’t either.
My counselor now says that being conditioned at a young age for sexual abuse is very common because it allows the abuse to continue unchecked and without interruption whenever the abuser wants. The behavior usually begins to slack off though the older the victim gets because the thrill for the abuser is gone. This is true and makes total sense.
It wasn’t until I was I was reconnected with this “step-brother” in my early thirties when I was going through a divorce and living back in my hometown that I learned I was Billy’s victim and I wasn’t the only one.
“The incidence and long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse were studied in a clinical sample of 152 adult women. Approximately 44% of female clients presenting to a health center crisis service reported a childhood history of sexual victimization. Prior victimization was associated with increased dissociation, sleep disturbance, tension, sexual problems, and anger on a Crisis Symptom Checklist, as well as greater current use of psychoactive medications, and more frequent histories of suicide attempts, substance addiction, and revictimization. Long-term psychological effects of sexual abuse are interpreted within both a developmental context and in terms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Post Sexual Abuse Trauma, Data and Implications for Clinical Practice, John Briere, Marsha Runtz
The quote from the article above, I can attest to almost all of the symptoms except for repeated suicidal attempts. I know I am not special, nor am I stronger, my story is just different. The part that really shook me when I read this was, “revictimization”. I was, over and over.
Now that I know of the cycle, I can break it. I can think about my thinking and my feelings and I can change how I feel about things by changing how I think about them.
Learn something about yourself. Everyday, you can learn something about yourself that you didn’t know the day before. I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you learn how to be strong, how to be grateful to God for the sight He gave you that has saved you or made you able to save those you love because you fought in some small way to be safe. I also pray that if you need out that you will keep searching and never give up on finding that way out.