Tag Archive | sexual abuse

The Man With No Face

I am small in my bed.  I must be five or six.  I am on the bottom bunk.  I look up at the wooden slats supporting the mattress above me.  The glow-in-the-dark stars are there so I won’t be afraid.  There’s an amazing mural painted on the wall.  The Cat in the Hat balancing on a ball.  My mom painted it.  My mom is the best artist I know.  Two squares of light appear in the corner and move slowly across the wall, then disappear into the closet.  After a minute they appear again, this time starting from the closet and moving in the opposite direction.  The fading whine and rumble was louder that time.  Must have been a truck.

There is someone in my room.  It’s a man.  His hair is black.  He is over me.  I am being squished.  I am being pushed.  I can’t breathe right.  His hand is over my mouth.  His hand is on my mouth and I can’t scream.  My hips are being pushed down, down deep into the bed.  I struggle to get free, but I can’t.  I can’t move.  I am too small.  The man is too big.  Pain washes over me.  Waves of pain.  Wave after wave of unbearable, unimaginable pain.  Oh God, make it stop.  Please make it stop!  I am being punished.  I am being vivisected.  I am … BAD!

   In my memory, there is something strange about the man’s face.  It’s all gray.  It’s missing.  Somehow I took a giant pink eraser and rubbed it out from the picture.  The man’s identity was something I refused to see.  It was the truth I refused to know.

Advertisements

Who to Call for Help

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline:      1-800-4-A-CHILD

Call this number for help if you are  1) a victim of child abuse     2) a survivor of child abuse     3) an abuser or someone who is afraid they may abuse a child     4) a witness of child abuse or someone who suspects a child is being abused .  Your call is anonymous.

Guilt and self-esteem

 Almost all victims feel guilty but there are two types of guilt; real and false. Real guilt is a fact, whether one feels guilty or not is irrelevant.

False guilt is a feeling of guilt when one is not factually guilty- when one has no responsibility for wrong doing.

Perpetrators work very hard to deny their own guilt and heap guilt onto their victims. As a sexual abuse victim I was very good at assuming guilt even though I was not guilty.

I read this story years ago and its always stuck with me. I feel its worth sharing. Author is unknown.

Once upon a time there was a pretty little girl. She lived in the country and loved to go for long walks in the open fields. She always wore a pretty white dress and loved to stop and pick wildflowers. She  had lovely, long golden hair.

One day while she was picking wildflowers an evil man came upon her and carried her off through the woods. He dragged her through thorny bushes and a stinky swamp. He tore her pretty white dress. Her face and arms were cut badly, but he didn’t care. Her beautiful hair was disheveled and torn. He took her to his dirty cave and abused her.

Terrified, weeping, she was finally able to break away from him, running blindly, wildly. Although her cuts stopped bleeding and the bloodstains dried, she kept running. She ran until the moisture from the swamp and mud had dried. She was free of him, but her dress was torn and filthy, her face and arms were badly cut, and her hair was matted with mud and twigs.

The next day she found a cape and wrapped it tightly around herself to hide the mud, bloodstains, and scars. She used the cape’s hood to cover most of her face. She never removed the cape; to do so would have meant exposing the filth and the wounds.

Years passed. One day she met a mystic who could mend her dress, cleanse it pure white again, and erase the scars from her arms and face. She asked for help and was given all she asked for: Yet she found the change difficult to accept, for she had lived long with the torn dress, mud, dried blood, scars and protective cape.

She found that her soul was more scarred than her arms and face had been. Her spirit was more torn and muddied than her dress. As she walked away from the mystic he called after her; “You must now let go of the cape, for it will only remind you of the past. You must now smile at the sun, or you will forever fear the darkness of the cave. You must now comb your hair and wash your face, or you will forever think of yourself as being ugly.”

That to me is a good description of our torn, stained and bruised self-esteem from the result of sexual abuse. We deal with false guilt and these feelings of false guilt are the logs that fuel the fire of low self-esteem.

It was like the perpetrator used the axe of sin to cut the logs of guilt then heaped them upon the fire of your self-abasement. His hand may have lit the match….but our hand must pour on the water of forgiveness, self-love and kindness.

Abused women frequently feel guilty about almost everything…..I was like this and I am still working on it……I have often asked myself why I am so quick to feel guilt or shame…….with the Lord’s help I am a lot further than I used to be in processing false guilt but I know I still have a ways to go…… but I know that even in this, one step at a time my heavenly Father walks this road with me.

Why Me?

Why Me?

This perhaps is one of the most common questions we face and ask when we begin dealing with sexual abuse. How did he/she select me? Did I convey a vulnerability to him/her? Did I appear to want/need his/her attention? Was I unknowingly seductive?

Before we explore this further let me make one statement and fact- Nobody, absolutely nobody has the right to sexually abuse a child. It doesn’t matter how your actions were “perceived” by the adult. Nobody has the right to sexually abuse or molest a child, even if the perpetrator was able to manipulate you into consenting. It is wrong and criminal for an adult to do so.

But the question remains….how and why did the perpetrator select you? Most abuse does not happen at the hands of a stranger but most often the abuse is done by someone whom the child already knows and probably trusts.
It is most likely that the abuser gave a great deal of thought to his actions and probably set up the circumstances before touching or approaching you. Here are some possible reasons why he selected you.

Some perpetrators will use anyone/anything:
Quoting John P. Splinter: Some men are willing to use any person for their own sexual gratification-even children. This person has serious personality dysfunctions and compulsions that drive him to acts that are immoral, damaging, and criminal. If you were a sexual abuse victim, your rights were denied in a manner that was against the law. You were violated by a male driven by compulsive, deviant behavior. Do you believe this? Or are you still defending your abuser as someone who couldn’t help themselves?

You were a child: Perpetrators do not generally look for or seek out adult women of power and status, rather they usually look for women or children who have less power than they do.

The abuser was able to isolate you: The perpetrator was able to coerce (force, persuade, manipulate, threaten, intimidate etc) you into remaining silent and not telling on him. Or maybe he knew that nobody would come to your rescue because you were unprotected.

You were unprotected by informed adults: Perpetrators are able to spot children who are vulnerable, defenseless, unprotected and deprived or needy. When he tunes into this he becomes alert like a predator. If your parents are in some way absent he knows he can separate you from their support. Its very common that the lack of connection or support that you didn’t have as a child set you up. And he most likely saw your susceptibility and vulnerability as you being available to him so that he could abuse you. But you must understand that even though you may have been a child that was in need of emotional connection you did not seduce him. You did not ask for the abuse and you are not responsible for the abuse.
Like a young lamb, you were separated out of the herd by an accomplished predator, you were isolated from help and then abused. As John P. Splinter says: “ The fact that perpetrators, because of their own needs and desires, were able to “read” and isolate victims does not mean that their victims were sexually open to them. Victims are children and most perpetrators are adults.”

Children are taught to be compliant: Quoting John P. Splinter: “ little girls are usually taught to be compliant and to obey adults. Little girls are not supposed to stand up and fight. Instead, they are supposed to be protected. In fact, within this culture little girls are frequently given less latitude for overt disobedience of adults than are little boys.”

I chose to share some of these things in hope that you will be able to see why you are not responsible for the abuse. You must realize that in no way did you seduce the abuser. I hope this gives you a better glimpse into the kind of child who is often selected by adult sex offenders. He was a criminal. Even if he was your father, at that moment when he chose to abuse you, violate and molest you, he was a criminal. Whoever he may have been that abused you – he took advantage of a weaker person…..he used you for his twisted purposes.
Remember that it doesn’t really matter how he chose you, the selection process is not your issue. Its his.
As a victim you are not responsible for the adult/perpetrator who robs and steals your innocence & self-esteem.

I will stop for now and later continue on with the next why question …..why did God let this happen and where was He?

Ambivalence

Ambivalence. A word that is hard to describe when it comes to sexual abuse. Dr. Dan B. Allender defines it best in his book, The Wounded Heart, as “feeling two contradictory emotions at the same moment.”

A warning that parts of this story may be difficult to read…. I share it not for the graphic nature, although I will try to be sensitive and leave out specific details, it may be offensive to some readers. I hope that through it you may come to understand the damage done to a child’s mind and soul, and the lies as children we come to believe….. it is only through the amazing grace and love of our Heavenly Father those lies are broken and hearts healed.

I was sharing with a friend on the Ransomed Heart forum how difficult it is for me to receive any compliments. Most of the time they just roll off my back, they never penetrate my heart. This is an area that the Lord is still healing in me…it seems to be a long, slow process. The following story may give you some insight as to why this is a very difficult area for me.

“You want this don’t you? Tell me that you like this.” These were the words spoken to me as a little girl while I was being molested. Left with no choices I simply repeated what I was told to say. Because I knew that if I cried, or if I didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear, I would get beaten.
And if I ever told anyone he promised to kill me. I knew he would make good on those threats. I knew all about beatings. And so I lived in fear and I suffered in silence, weeping on the inside, tears not allowed to be shed, silent tears swallowed and buried. I hid behind a mask, my soul slowly dying and becoming numb. How does a small child process all this?

The physical wounds would heal but the internal wounding would take years to heal.

It was only at night alone in my bed that the tears would come. I would weep quiet, silent tears so no one would hear, crying out to a God I didn’t know but believed was out there some where. Crying out for my mother to come and rescue me. I knew she was in heaven watching me from above but I needed her here…. why did God take her away? I needed her. Maybe this God would come and take me to her. And so every night I begged Him to come and get me too. But there was only silence.

By the time I was a teenager and my body began to develop I was often “teased” and complimented about my maturing body. In that attention I knew a vague sense of dominance, power and attractiveness when someone would comment on my body. Having never felt valued in any other way I began to realize that I had something of value, something men wanted. My soul, hungry for attention and love, began to soak up the attention even though at the same time it left me self-conscious, uncomfortable and feeling cheap. My pleasure turning to disgust.

But the initial pleasures of being pursued or wanted lingered in my soul. It left me confused as to why I could feel two conflicting emotions at once. I felt anger over their attention and yet a sense of pleasure at the same time.
It was during this time around age 15 that I was date raped by two young men. I won’t go into the sordid details or events that led up to this. Only to say that I was drugged and then raped. Hours of my life a total blank. Yet I did wake up for a brief moment during the rape only to hear the words, “you are so beautiful” and then I went blank again…..the drugs continuing their effect.

What does a young woman do with those words?

This is where ambivalence comes in. The very thing that was despised also brought some degree of pleasure or satisfaction. For me personally, my body never betrayed me physically in that it responded with pleasure in the act, but it betrayed me emotionally or sensually. I found pleasure in the interest and attention but loathing it and the power I felt, at the same time.

I deadened my soul and that’s why after the rape I became part of a group or gang, I became one of the girls who was used sexually…. it offered a certain degree of power even though it left me feeling used and ashamed…..two conflicting emotions. I finally walked away from that lifestyle and eventually an increasing prim and proper aloofness began to grow and remained for years, and still does to some degree.


I need to leave this for now and will continue later…..