I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.
I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.
The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16. Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one). The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13. Do the math, I’m 58 now. Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain. Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?
I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones. I don’t remember the exact day or time. It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon. I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred. And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day. I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it. Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated. I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters. Yes, really. I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate. I’m not the judge of that.
The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words. Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts. Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this. Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult. Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail. I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive. At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.” So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.
Sexual molestation creates life-long damage. My sexuality suffered. I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering. When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way. My sweetie is a good man.
There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out. Many have and I hope many more will. Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create. The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within. You must do the grieving. You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it. Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself. Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.
Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others? I don’t know. There are plenty of theories. Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on. How about “because I LIKE it”? There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths. When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away. It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this. The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.
However, I do believe in karma.
I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident. Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle. Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.
Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged. Allow her to help you heal.