If something hasn’t happened to you, it may be difficult for you to grasp the concept. Even sometimes if it happens to you, you still may not understand either. This happened to me.
Some of you know my story; I was sexually abused for about 5 years with different boyfriends. I went to see a counselor to work out my issues at BYU-Idaho and he explained to me that I was sexual abused. I didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe him because I wasn’t raped in an ally. I wasn’t forced by gunpoint, not coerced with a knife to my throat, not threatened with my life.
I was pressured, manipulated, and forced against my desires.
I didn’t fight as in punch them and try to run out.
I did say no or had told them where my standards were. They knew I wasn’t interested in doing “any of that.” I told them no repeatedly, pulled my hands away etc. Every boy was different with tactics but the same rules applied-continue to coax the girl into it calmly, convincing them this is what they want, or at least that they want to please the boy, until they do whatever it is the boy wants them to.
It’s so manipulative the girl doesn’t even know what happened.
She wakes up crying, wanting to vomit. She shakes and prays someone will help her.
The only way for some to cope is to convince themselves they are a slut, they do want it, and the boy is happy so they are too.
I’m speaking about this because I was so clueless! It took 2 years after my counselor explained this to me for me to believe him! I was so dead set on that unless they held me down at gunpoint, I wanted it.
Yes, I could have run out! Yes, I could have screamed for help! Yes, I could have punched and kicked and screamed! YES, I THOUGHT SO TOO. I thought it’s not abuse unless I do any of these things mentioned.
But here’s the catch-I was dating this boy!
I was confused because this was someone I trusted. I cared about. He wasn’t some stranger that attacked me. Yes, that is rape it’s cut and dry. But this is far more confusing as a woman trying to feel loved.
Abuse often, when it’s someone you care about or know well, starts off small. It starts out with just little things here and there. It’s all about manipulation.
Then one day, something big happens. Like with physical abuse-they hit you, hard. You get a black eye-that’s a big deal. You can see the black eye, you know it came from them and you know it’s wrong. But you think, it’s just once. They were super drunk or I said some mean things, he won’t do it again. And then months go by where he will push you or spit on you or whatever and you wonder, is this abuse? It’s not leaving a scar. He apologizes right afterward? I need to be patient with him and forgive him. I need to be more loving and patient and not upset him.
Take that scenario and put it in any other form of abuse. It’s all very similar. They abuse, then charm, manipulate and abuse again. Then they convince you it’s your fault, and you blame yourself.
So back to non-violent sexual abuse.
This whole situation if you haven’t been in it is confusing.
You may ask, “Cody-Paige, why didn’t you run out of the room?”
At the moment I was asking myself that same question over and over.
But at that same moment, I was also scared. You have so many thoughts in your mind. Maybe I will enjoy this. Maybe this will make him love me and he will hold me when we’re done and say lots of sweet things to me.
Or what if he chases me and beats me for running away? Or worse-viciously rapes me against my will.
Or what if he thinks I’m a weirdo for running away? Am I a weirdo?
What if..You become paralyzed almost to escaping, so you do whatever it is he wants.
How can we fix this?
First, we need to acknowledge this is abuse. Just like emotional abuse it is not cut and dry where you can see a bruise on your face or be raped in an alley, and know you were raped. There’s no physical evidence. You can leave and tell someone what happened and they will think you’re weird and ask, “Why didn’t you just leave?”
That’s not the point.
She didn’t want it, she tried to tell him no, she tried to push him away, whatever. She is probably insecure, like most of us. She probably feared what he thought of her ..
She probably thought “But I know this guy, he cares about me, he would never do anything to hurt me. So this must be ok..”
Do you see what I’m saying? This is manipulation, deceiving, conniving and wrong. Just because she wasn’t threatened with her life, doesn’t mean it’s not abuse.
It took me years to believe it because I’D NEVER HEARD OF THIS TYPE OF SEXUAL ABUSE!
And I mainly thought sexual abuse was raping or sex! Not the other stuff.
We need to teach our youth that this is abuse. We need to teach our boys not to pressure a girl (AND VICE VERSA) and we need to teach the girl that when you say no, he needs to respect that. (Sometimes it starts with an addiction to pornography..) If he doesn’t respect your wishes- please teach them to run! Teach them to scream! Teach them not to care more about what that boy or others would think of them then taking care of her.
My counselor told me the next time it happened to get up! Run out of the room screaming whatever it took-just get out of there! Stop caring more about what they think of you than respecting yourself!
Teach her not to be afraid.
Teach her that she can come to you and express her feelings with no judgement.
Sexual desires often don’t come from an evil place. They come from a desire to feel loved. Your teenager wants to feel loved, so love them!
Teach them that they don’t have to seek outside sources to feel that love.
Teach them to be brave. Teach them to set standards and WHY she should set them. Give them boundaries to commit to. Teach them the worth of treating their bodies with respect. Talk about the hard stuff.
Teach them to love themselves so that they can enjoy others and if they love them, great! But it’s not a desperate desire.
Desperation and lack of love are the reasons this happens.
But mostly, believe her. If she comes to you, don’t dismiss what she’s saying. It takes a lot of guts for any person to talk about these things, please respect that. Hug them, love them, and be there for them. That’s what they’re hoping for, even though they will never say it.
PS-this article is borderline pointless unless it’s shared so others can learn as well ❤