April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; I thought it would be fitting to end it by sharing some of my story with all of you and why it’s so important to me to share my journey.
Why It’s So Important To Me
One thing all survivors have in common is that we all feel as though we are alone in what we have been though. While everyone’s story is unique, we also share many things in common; such as the emotional toll being abused or assaulted takes on each and every one of us. After many years’ I decided to start In Search Of Healing to share my story and to help others not feel so alone. I want to help others realize they are not alone through sharing not only my story but by also sharing my healing journey.
When I first started dealing with my abuse I tried finding books to read to help me figure out what to do; I’m an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse…now what? I didn’t quite know what to do with myself once I started to deal with the abuse. There was a lot to deal with; not only the abusive acts themselves but there was also a lot of brainwashing involved in the abuse I went through. I wanted to read books to help me figure it out; how I was supposed deal with it all. The only books I could find had to do with helping a child who has disclosed that they have been abused. I read the same things over and over again, “Tell them it’s not their fault; that you love them, and believe them”. I thought, that’s all well and good if you’re helping a child, but I was that child and am an adult now; so, now what do I do? Even though I was in counseling I felt lost and was looking for some direction and could not find any. As time went on, I thought, surly I am not the only one who is looking for some direction and unable to find any. Over the years’ I have come across many books; some published a while ago, but most have been more recent. As the topic of sexual abuse/assault becomes talked about more in our society, resources and books on this topic also become more publicized and easier to find. I want my blog to be a place where survivors can get a sense that they are not alone, and for it to be a place for survivors to find the resources they may be looking for.
Here’s Some Of My Story
The sexual abuse I went through went on for about a year and a half to about two years by a man who was my stepdad at the time. He took extreme advantage of my innocence and of my naiveté. All my life I had always believed the adults in my life had my best interest at heart; this meant they wouldn’t lie to me, deceive me, or harm me, but would protect me and be honest with me. That they would be truth tellers. My stepdad took advantage of my lack of knowledge and unformed opinions on certain things to mold it into a view that served his desire to sexually abuse me and to keep me quiet. He knew my ex-stepmother had security clearance with her job, and that I didn’t know what kinds of things she did. He knew when my ex-stepmom and my dad divorced I was no longer in contact with her; so, I would have no way to confirm with her the things he would tell me. He used his history of working in the aerospace industry and his knowledge of electronics against my lack of knowledge of how these things worked. Along with his claims of working with the government; with the NSA to be exact. My mom and I weren’t the only ones to know about his security clearance, others who knew him also knew he had security clearance. He would control the types of TV shows we watched, and made sure we watched shows that had to do with government conspiracies and aliens.
Sharing about the brainwashing aspect of my abuse is not easy for me. It’s hard for me to share this aspect of my abuse because I know how easy it would be for others to judge me for it. I know most people probably wouldn’t have believed his lies, but I did believe it. I know the lies he told me sound outrageous and unbelievable to most. The thing to remember is: I was conditioned to believe these outrageous and unbelievable lies. He also used my mother’s declining mental health to his advantage by telling me the government was messing with her medication to make her suicidal, and as long as I cooperated they would stop when they were done with me. There were many threats made to the safety of family members and even threats of framing me for murder if I ever spoke out. He started off by telling me my ex-stepmother had enrolled me into a secret government program where I was given something which they wanted back. They were contacting him because my dad and ex-stepmom had divorced and she was no longer in contact with me. Having no knowledge or memory of anything he was telling me, and no way to talk to my ex-stepmom about what I was being told, reality became subjected to what he said happened and not on what I could remember. Memories could be erased and even faked; this left me feeling I had little choice but to trust him. Lying goes so much against the core of who I am that I cannot understand why someone would lie to the extent that my stepdad did; I just don’t understand how someone could do that. His lies were so out there, and yes, I did question the things he was saying to me. Questioning him only caused me more harm because every time I did I would get sexually assaulted. I learned to stop asking questions because it caused too much trouble for me. Believing his lies was also a way to survive what I was going through; it became easier to believe his lies than to face the truth of what was happening to me. I was in survival mode.
Any sense of safety I had was stripped away from me, believing things were being done to me in my sleep, and having been told over and over again how “they” could get to me at anytime, anywhere, and there was NOTHING that could stop it. Knowing I would be watched for the rest of my life, and there was nothing that could keep me safe. I slept with the light on for about six months to possibly a year thinking it was the only thing that could have any chance of keep me safe somehow. My stepdad once made a joke saying, “They have you open like a 7/11” and joking about how he could almost fit his whole fist inside of me (we are talking about an overweight 6-foot man).
This is just a glimpse into the abuse I went through. The combination of sexual abuse and brainwashing is something I don’t see talked about. It’s extremely difficult to share this aspect of my abuse. I know there have to be others out there who have experienced brainwashing as part of their abuse, and for them (and for me) shame and fear of being judged and dismissed are no doubt a major factor in keeping silent about this aspect of abuse (and possibly could be keeping them quiet about being abused all together). It was scary for me when I brought my case to the police fearing I wouldn’t be taken seriously due to the bizarre aspects of my abuse. I would like to see more education given from groups who spread sexual assault education about brainwashing and sexual abuse to help those who have been through it to feel more comfortable with coming forward and seeking help without the added fear of being rejected because of some bizarre aspect of their abuse.