Warning: this post is about child sexual abuse.
I’m a pretty forthcoming blogger. There’s not much I haven’t talked about. I’ve told you how I have a stuffed donkey named Eeeyore in my head who yells at me. I’ve told you about how I was in an abusive relationship that destroyed, and nearly took, my life. I’ve talked about my abusive grandmother and how I have a severe phobia of public speaking.
But, one of the things I still can’t really talk about is how I was sexually abused as a child and all the things that stemmed from that. I can’t talk about why I have links to ChildHelp.org and Prevent Child Abuse in my sidebar. I can’t talk about why I have a link on my sidebar to Children Of The Night, a privately funded non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing America’s children from prostitution.
Those links are there. I see them all the time, but I never really think about them. None of the organizations I just mentioned helped me personally. Actually, I haven’t received help from most of the organizations I have listed there, but I link them all the same, because they might help someone else.
I still can’t talk about it. Just thinking about it as I write this gives me a woozy feeling, like I’m a million miles from the computer on my lap. It gives me a metallic taste in my mouth and my heart starts beating a little faster. It’s difficult to talk about any of the shitty things that have happened to me over the course of my life, but I talk about everything except for that.
I think part of the reason why I can’t talk about it is because most of the other shitty things I’ve experienced happened when I was an adult (except my grandmother–she was there the whole time), but I was sexually abused as a child. Children are not capable of handling things like that. We can’t process it. We are still so trusting. And when the monster lives in your own home for a year or more, his presence sanctioned by your own family, well, it makes it seem as if it’s okay. It is not okay. It is never okay.
And when you tell the people closest to you–your own mother and grandmother–that there is a monster in the house and they don’t believe you, well, it hurts. It hurts not being believed. It hurts being betrayed. It hurts knowing that it will continue and there’s nothing you can do about it. It makes you hate adults and not trust them. It makes you not trust anyone. You wall yourself up, brick by brick, until you have a nice safe place inside of you that you can escape to when he comes into your room late at night. It makes it difficult to trust anyone when the people who are supposed to protect you don’t. You realize that you are truly alone and you have no one to rely on in the world at the age of seven. Seven year olds should never have to experience that.
It makes you angry and bitter and you want to spit at the world knowing that things like that could happen. You learn to ignore the awful memories, but they still invade your thoughts late at night. You try to sleep the sleep of an innocent seven year old, but you know that a monster might come into your room, into your thoughts, at any second. You are totally vulnerable and there’s nothing you can do. When you are sleeping, you are thoroughly unprotected. Sleep is something you can no longer do, even with the gun and the baseball bat in your room. You can’t sleep next to a window ever, even as an adult, for fear that a monster will reach through and grab your ankle. You never feel safe.
When I think about it, as I am doing now, I become absolutely enraged. I want to murder. I want to grab the entire world by its shoulders and make it tell me why it allows things like this to happen even now. Right now, there are countless seven year olds out there experiencing the same things I did. They can’t sleep. They are vulnerable. They are betrayed and violated. They can’t trust anyone and they are building their walls. They think they are completely alone in their suffering, but sadly, they are not. There are countless others out there in the dark and nothing ever seems to be done about it.
When you have been betrayed and violated at an early age, it skews the rest of your life, and that’s what pisses me off the most. How many of the horrible things that have happened to me are a result of what happened to that seven year old? I want to go back in time and strangle that motherfucker, slowly and painfully, so that he can’t touch me. I want to give myself a childhood of trust and security. I want to allow that seven year old to sleep the sleep of the innocent that she is, but I can’t. What’s done is done. The course of my life was set when I was seven. It changed me forever. It caused me to do things I never would have done otherwise. It turned me into someone who I’m not at all proud of, at least, for a while.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to die. Actually, it’s more apt to say that I didn’t care whether I lived or died. I didn’t care about anything. I got myself a hardcore drug addiction and sold myself for money. It’s a very common story. Most of the kids that Children of the Night helps have similar stories to mine. So many cases of child abuse turn into prostitution and substance abuse.
I never got justice. My family never owned up to what they put me through, so that bastard is still out there. Who knows how many kids could have been saved from the same fate as me had my family acknowledged it and done something about it. My grandmother went to her death-bed denying that anything had ever happened.
I never got help. Because my family denied it, because they ignored it, I never had anyone to talk to about it. There was no one who could tell me that I wasn’t alone and that it would be alright. I lived my whole childhood terribly alone with it locked up inside. I never talked about it with anyone. Because of that, I still can’t, but I’m trying.
It’s all still there and I have no one to help me, now or then. The wounds are still fresh. I’m still not at the point where I can help anyone else. I want to wrap up all those children in my arms and tell them not to give up. They don’t have to die. They don’t need drugs to make the pain feel better. They don’t need to lash out. They can live a normal life, even with everything that has happened. They can learn to live with it even though it never goes away. I want to volunteer and help them, but I’m still not at a point where I can help myself. My seven-year-old self and I need to come to terms with what happened to us first. We need to accept it and not get so homicidal when we think about it. Until then, we wouldn’t do those children any good, but we’re working on it.
If you can, please, consider donating or volunteering to help end child sexual abuse at any of the organizations I’ve mentioned or at organizations in your community. We need to show these children, at the very least, that they are not alone. I don’t want them to think they have to carry it inside with no one to talk to; I don’t want them to end up like me.