I have found this blog to be a sort of safe place for me. Having said that I have gone back and forth over and over again as to whether or not I should post this. Is it because I am embarrassed? Is it because I am afraid people will think I have shared too much? Is it because I am afraid I will feel further judgement from others who don’t fully understand? Perhaps, but I am willing to post it regardless because I know it will benefit someone out there who maybe had no idea like I had no idea the situation they are in.
I had no idea I was an abuse victim. I had no idea that for years I had been blaming myself and struggling with an identity created by circumstances that I was manipulated into. I had no idea that there was something I had to overcome and that I would be healed from something I didn’t know I needed to be healed from.
Doesn’t make sense? I know it sounds crazy. It took me awhile to fully accept it and understand it myself. Perhaps even now I don’t fully understand what was done to me. But that’s ok because I am completely healed and it no longer burdens my life. That is why I am sharing this blog today, because I hope it can help some girl or boy out there who does not understand that they are a victim as well but can soon be victorious.
As I sat in the chair at BYU-Idaho for a counseling session I was shocked to hear my counselor tell me I would have never done those things if I hadn’t been pressured into them. He said: “That’s not you.” I remember thinking well I let it happen so it was me, I had a choice. And yes, I did have a choice and I chose to say no. For some saying no still leads them into becoming victims of sexual abuse, I am not the only one. He told me I would have never sought that out to begin with. I never thought of it before. He was right. I didn’t want it. Looking back at those situations I did say no, repeatedly. These boys knew where I stood and knew I didn’t want it, yet they continued.
I remember after one instance, shaking..not wanting to be touched. Feeling sick to my stomach and wanting to throw up. I called my friend and we both agreed I had to break up with him. Why was I so scared? Why hadn’t I just run out of the room that night? Why did I let that happen? I think I began to agree with what others will say, that deep down I wanted it. I must have wanted it if I hadn’t run away right? But in reality, I didn’t want it.
I ignored the shaking and feeling nauseous. I ignored those feelings because I wanted to be loved. Is this love? No. But I couldn’t’ see that. I was so desperate. Was I any different from most girls? I hardly think so. Doesn’t everyone want to be loved? Isn’t that why young girls and boys every day decide to have sex? They think that they will feel loved. They think it will bring them happiness into their life. For me I thought doing what my boyfriend wanted would bring me happiness because he would be happy. Luckily I was never forced to have sex with anyone,
but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scarred from what happened.
I wish I could say these situations were few. I wish I could tell you that I realized early on and found good boys that respected me. But I didn’t for years. I repeated my mistakes over and over and over again and thought myself a failure. In reality I could have gotten up and ran. I could have never called him again. But I think this is part of the manipulation. I began to think it was what I really wanted to. Then I would suddenly wake up from this spell, break things up with them and try to move on. Sadly at times, I would come crawling back as soon as I felt that loneliness again. I didn’t understand that I would never feel loved under these circumstances or
that the type of love I needed was from someone who would never ever put me in that situation.
After visiting with my counselor I found out a lot about myself. I became stronger, but still made mistakes and put myself in bad situations. It really wasn’t until I met Josh that I finally dated someone consistently who cared about me for the right reasons. The difference was incredible. I didn’t feel stupid for texting him. I didn’t have to worry if he would actually do what he said and see me that night. I knew I was his number one priority and he, mine. That’s the way it should be. I just never thought it was possible. I always thought I had to put up with certain things from guys.
Josh was my dream come true I never knew could possibly come true, or that I deserved.
I got lucky. I went to a wonderful school where I was able to heal. I met a wonderful man who changed my life forever. I had a church in my life that taught me to turn to Christ who could take away my burdens. These boys do not hurt me anymore. I am completely healed. I know this is true for everyone. Everyone can be healed from abuse.
I know there are victims of abuse out there who are blaming themselves like I was. I know there are some who are keeping quiet and putting up with this crap. It needs to stop. Don’t listen to the people who say you were ‘asking for it’. Or, you were being stupid and should have known better. No means no. There is nothing else to it.
First remember: That God loves you. If you are feeling lonely and unloved, turn to Him. His love is the purest and greatest love you will ever feel. You do not need it from anyone but Him. You deserve to feel His love no matter your circumstances. Ask Him if He loves you. You will feel it and receive the hope to overcome anything.
Secondly, remember that if this boy (or girl) really cared about you, they would never ever ever pressure you into something you do not want to do. Ever. I think it took me years to realize that the boy I deserved would think he had to earn me, not the other way around. I am good enough and always have been. Some boys will say, if you do this then you’d be so much cooler. Or whatever those idiots say making you think, oh he will love me more if I do this..not so. You will be losing a piece of your self-worth for this scum bag who deserves nothing from you but perhaps a punch to the groin.
Thirdly, Get out of this contaminating relationship NOW, you will find better. I think for me I thought this boy is good-looking, funny, likes the same music as me, dresses well..he’s awesome. I didn’t see my self-worth. I didn’t see how beautiful I was. Instead of thinking of how lucky they are to have me, I thought the other way around. I know so many girls who have stayed with a boy because they felt comfortable or wanted to feel loved or needed to feel affection. You can live without a boys affection. You can be on your own. Having a wonderful person in your life will come, but you have to get yourself away from the bad ones in order to find the ones worth while.
Fourth, it is worth it. Breaking up with someone can be so hard. It’s terrifying and you may want to change your mind and go back, but stand your ground. You felt these feelings for a reason. The first few days are hard feeling alone. You see others that are so happy and you think, we can make it work. If he didn’t change for you before what makes you think things will be different in the future? Now there are of course some things that can change like if he picks up his dirty socks off the floor. But things like caring about you more than himself, not pressuring you into things..those will not change. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Have a friend help you. Before I met Josh I had no idea what true love was or even how to be treated well by a guy. The other boys pale in comparison to how wonderful Josh was and as soon as I met him, I felt it was different. He didn’t play games. His standards were the same as mine and I felt blissfully happy. I didn’t have to wonder if he’d see me that day because he always did. No one was more important than me in his life. He always puts me first. The guy of your dreams will do the same.
Fifth, if these abusive situations were very physical or sexually abusive you need to seek help now. I don’t care if it happened five minutes ago or 5 years ago. These things can affect us in ways we don’t even know. Getting over this in life is not easy but they are near impossible to do alone. My eyes were opened in counseling and I learned so much about myself and began to see myself in a new light. For me it was a combination of counseling and Christ. I truly let Christ take away my burdens. Those boys cannot harm me anymore. I have forgiven them and moved on. People in my life who have treated me badly were cut out of my life. It is not who I am anymore and I never have to look back. It’s invigorating and wonderful but it was hard. I had to come to terms with a lot of things that I had not made as big of a deal as I should have at the time. Don’t shortchange abuse. If you didn’t want to than you didn’t want to. Get help and start the healing process now.
If you do seek help from others and they don’t believe you or dismiss what you say: don’t let that scare you away. Find the help you need. It can be crushing and very hurtful when those you care about don’t believe you. It’s ok. Perhaps they are just scared and don’t want to believe it. Maybe they don’t know how to fully handle this situation and don’t react exactly how you’d hoped. You have got to help yourself and not worry about them.
When you think of someone being raped you often think of a stranger abducting someone against their will. It’s obvious that is rape. But it is trickier when it is with someone you trust. I was so afraid of what they thought I would eventually ‘give in.’ Don’t do this.
My counselor gave me some critical yet simple advice that honestly, I had not thought of before.
He told me to just get up and run!
He said “I don’t care if it’s a guy you barely know or your boyfriend.
Tell him no-be stern.
This is your body and he has no right to pressure you. Yell if you have to, but get out of there!”
“I always thought I would feel stupid for doing this, or he would think I was crazy,” I said.
He told me: “Who cares! This guy is a scumbag! Who cares what he thinks of you. Get up and run out of the room!” Some would think that was obvious, but it’s not when you are in the moment.
Some of these situations can be avoided if we just use simple caution when you are on a first date with someone you don’t know well or with someone you are getting to know.
1) When going out with a boy (or girl) you don’t know well, try going out publicly on a group date.
2) Don’t go alone to their apartment
3) Don’t let them know where you live
4) Keep mace with you at all times
5) Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable don’t convince yourself to be comfortable-get out of there.
Further help/ advice:
“Satan will strive to alienate you from your Father in Heaven with the thought that if He loved you He would have prevented the tragedy. Do not be kept from the very source of true healing by the craftiness of the prince of evil and his wicked lies. Recognize that if you have feelings that you are not loved by your Father in Heaven, you are being manipulated by Satan. Even when it may seem very difficult to pray, kneel and ask Father in Heaven to give you the capacity to trust Him and to feel His love for you. Ask to come to know that His Son can heal you through His merciful Atonement.
Healing may begin with a thoughtful bishop or stake president or a wise professional counselor. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t decide to fix it yourself. Serious abuse can also benefit from professional help. There are many ways to begin healing, but remember that a full cure comes through the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer. Have faith that with effort His perfect, eternal, infinite Atonement can heal your suffering from the consequences of abuse.” -Elder Richard G. Scott