This isn't a post I like to make. It is the same conversation I have had with everyone close to me in my life. The detail varies, but the information is the same. I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I don't like the term, "survivor". It makes it sound like a war. That is deceptive. I had no weapons, no strategy, no line of defense.
The news is ganging up on my strength this week. I am a twitter and news junky. When you spend as much time resting as I do, you end up online quite a bit. I like Tweetdeck, NPR, and PBS. I follow politics and science closely. I hop from blog to news article to cute pictures of kittens, while waiting for my BP to reach a level that allows me to bathe or cook or whatever.
The news is full of sexual harassment and child abuse of late. Not just any child abuse, but child abuse that was looked past. This was the worst part for me. Many adults knew what was happening. Adults who were supposed to protect me. Not because I was a good kid, but because I was a KID. They didn't want to get involved, they assumed someone else would report it, they were afraid...I have no idea, but these are my adult guesses. Everyone gets very angry when they hear this. They all assume that they would do better. I usually don't believe them. As an adult, I have seen people talk themselves out of all sorts of courageous acts that would make a child's life better. It is shameful and makes my stomach roil, but it is reality.
I am not surprised that no one stopped that man from hurting those boys. I am not surprised that they tried to "limit" him being alone with any kids at the center, which just shows that they knew he was a danger but didn't want to rock the boat. I think they should have to explain their choices to those kids.
Those kids are going to think that they deserved what happened, that if only they had been this or that, someone would have helped them. They will have trouble forming strong, lasting romantic relationships. They will have nightmares and make bad choices to punish themselves for what they perceive as a flaw in themselves. Sexual abuse shreds a child's soul. It is often not repairable or only to a certain degree, leaving a stain that never completely disappears.
I lost years of my life to this trauma. I lost a whole side of my family that won't see me because I remind them of what happened. I make them uncomfortable. It is like a fungus with deep, invisible tendrils and spores that permeate day-to-day living.
The sexual harassment didn't bother me until the woman made her statement. I hated hearing the pundits qualify the accusations as "from the 90's", because apparently sexual harassment in the 90's was a given? I hated them forgetting that these women were barred legally from making a public statement. I hated that no one seemed to realize that the media went to THEM, not the other way around. I hated that Cain had 10 days notice and still was hostile and defensive, as if it were the fault of the media for the settlements made. None of it triggered my PTSD, until she spoke.
It is beyond words to explain to someone who has never experienced it before, the difficulty in telling a story like that. You have to find a special place in your mind to be able to say the words without reliving the memories. That makes your non-verbal communication all messed up and your heart pound and your stomach clench and you still end up reliving the worst parts because they are so loud and awful. Someone who has never experienced it might not understand what it is to have someone in a position of power invade not just your personal space, but your private sexual space. It is scary. It causes you fear. Fear. I can't explain it. That is why it is such a breach of human decency. One can not simply brush it away and move forward. It causes you to see a part of you that was never shown to be so vulnerable before. It exposes that you are weak to the point of instability. You can not protect your most vital and personal self, and the person in power knows this.
So for me, I will try to be strong again. My support system is scattered at the moment due to the move, but I have come a long way in my therapy and self-love. I will change the channel, stay away from twitter, and try to protect the child no one else saw fit to rescue so many years ago.