One thought on “Ending Silence: 8 Benefits to Speaking Out

  • January 3, 2020 at 2:17 am

    I know this is long but I’ve cut it down. I was sexually abused by a family member for a year when I was 11-12 years old. He was a teenager, over 6 feet tall, and he was discovered when an adult became suspicious about him in a locked room where I was being trapped every single time he did it. I was ambushed, intimidated, threatened, coerced, and overpowered by him. And of course shamed. And then too confused and traumatized to know it. One of the things I want to say is, it was also the aunts including his mother, after finding out what happened, who conditioned me to never ever bring it up or tell, and to see HIM as the person to support through life. I got the message that to be loved I had to make him look good and not mess up his life, and stay silent. I had to understand they saw him as a victim who’s father wasn’t present and who had a troubled relationship with his mother. I need to include here that my ‘family’ has been members of the lds church for as long as I can remember. He went on an lds mission and got married in an lds temple, which still bothers me because of how strong the brainwashing is that silence means there’s no problem, denial makes it’s not true, and participation in these religious rites of passage proves virtue. Not one single family member ever got me help, offered support, asked me my version or even spoke a single word of it to me. I came to believe I was ‘only’ ‘molested’ because ‘rape’ is reserved for violent crime and needed to involve more of his biological process. I believed I wasn’t in need of help and support because I had ‘forgiven’ him by being nice and helping him build his life like the rest of the family. And yes, my own mother, their other sister, knew, and I waited an entire year for her care but she never said a word. Ever. She acted bizarre when I brought it up when I was 22. It took me a decade to recover and see that she knew, and always had known. I’ve finally discovered my own truth about her and the destruction I suffered uninterupted at her covert abusive hands. And she is also completely supported and enabled by the same religion, and I’m angry I was conditioned to believe ‘family first’ no matter how abusive.
    I feel there’s no justice and no hope of anything changing. I wish my story mattered for information about how all of this happens to a child and later an adult survivor. I told three lds bishops from 2000-2013 about the sexual abuse. The responses were willfully ignorant at best like ‘Well, he was young, a minor’, or ‘Well, it was so long ago”. Another responded by saying he was concerned and he’d like to stay in contact, and then avoided me, never to care or ask again. The final attempt, that left me incapacitated, was after asking me if I thought he was doing it to his kids and I said probably not, but I didn’t know, the bishop says, ‘Well then, I’m sure he’s fine’. WTF!!! Him??? When was this about him??? I came in here to talk cause I’M going under!!! Besides other problems with that response! Not a single one offered me counseling or any help, not a single one brought up discipline for the perpetrator, not a single one asked me if I was ok. Not a single one did anything for justice or compassion. I sunk into a slow inescapable despair. Being at home with hours and hours of depressed time, I searched YouTube and found voices to give me hope, but one in particular, Bessel van der Kolk, inspired me to believe there was something tangible for me and I found a gifted trauma-informed therapist near me. I have been so locked up and suffering and unable to find my way out. I have no social media, no friends and I wish I knew how to tell my story somehow, but there’s too great a risk of haters finally destroying me. I have wanted this chance for so long, so much. It’s prob not a surprise I became nauseous, shaky, and cried, even though I’m 40 yrs old with almost two years of trauma therapy, going every single week. Which IS working and prob saved my life. I feel there has been no accountability for the way victims are treated, even though I see signs from recent movements in the news. Besides original abuse and family abuse, I have realized it also includes cultural and societal abuses, and religious and spiritual abuses. And no one has apologized to me for anything, ever. Let alone acknowledged it. Instead, victims are further victimized, and esp in the religious culture I knew, people used many disparaging names and labels to demean real victims and enable perpetrators instead.
    Thank you for pointing out my feelings in your article.

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