Nobody really talks about the effects that sexual abuse has on someone as they get older. I think a vast majority of my trauma was evident during my teenage years. I want to be clear; I had choices and I knew right from wrong but there was something inside of me that always knew that my sexual abuse had a negative effect on the decisions that I made.
Studies show that someone who has experienced sexual abuse often experiences side effects, here are a few that I have experienced:
At the age of 13 is when things started getting silently out of control. My Mom decided to move us back to Minnesota (where I experienced the sexual abuse) I moved in with my Aunt again, but this time my brother Artez came with me. It was there that I had a short run with bulimia. At the time I did not know why I was making myself sick, but I now know that was my way of coping with being in Minnesota.
I experienced my first panic attack that same year. It was a regular day and my brother, and I decided to walk to the corner store. As we were shopping my abuser walked in (or a spitting image of him) and the next thing I knew I was crawling on the floor in the store, scared out of my mind and trying to make a quick dash out of the door. As my brother and I were on our hands and knees, I told him “when we get to the door, just run” he did what I said, and we never looked back. I never visited that store again! I was scared to leave the house from that point forward. How did he know I was going to be there? Why did he choose that store? There were so many questions running through my head.
We only stayed in Minnesota for a year and we returned to Arkansas, this time with my mom, my brother Artez and my youngest brother, Jaylon (who was 1 year old). I was so relieved but still very broken. When we moved back my mother needed time to get on her feet again, so I lived in different homes of family members and friends of the family.
High School was interesting. I wanted to be liked by boys, in fact, I would do just about anything to get their attention (in my own way of course), I was not flamboyant or loud I just wanted to be liked by them. My body was underdeveloped compared to my female peers so in my mind I had to be savvy and one way was through sexual appeal.
I had somehow made up in my teenage mind that that was what the female body was for after all I had never encountered a man up to this point that was not sexually aggressive with me. Whether it be “I can’t wait until you turn 18” or a slight rub of his body against mind.
Being a teenager is already hard within itself but when you add trauma to it is a bad mixture. In my case, I never dealt with the trauma or spoke to anyone about it. I just worked, went to school, and made sure I stayed in my lane! Silently, I was hurting, and I was sad, but I just thought no one would understand until they did.
When I was 17, I became a Christian. Becoming a believer gave me purpose and understanding. I was introduced to a family that loved me unconditionally; they took me in, their family was amazing. On breaks from college and holidays, I would spend time with them. One day, my Godmother asked “do you realize that you have been sleeping all day” and she also made the comment “that my room was really dark” and that I should “open up the windows to let some natural light in” at first I didn’t know where she was going with this conversation but she was concerned about me and my wellbeing. Up until that point I had always slept a lot, preferred the dark and withdrew often (she knew my background too). She helped me understand what depression was and recommended that I see someone.
I did not know what it meant to share my feeling, thoughts, and deep dark secrets with a stranger. I had always been opened to sharing my story, but I had never received “help” per-say to heal.
I do not know how my God Mother noticed or what she saw but I am so grateful that she did because I know that God saved my life through her actions.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read part 3 of “Sharing my Story of my Sexual Abuse”. If you have experienced sexual abuse, you are not a victim you are a survivor. I am currently still working through some of the side effects of being sexually abused. One of the ways is through therapy. Below you will find some resources for you:
Check out Jessica Hall's Story, a survivor of sexual abuse by clicking here