Community: Real Life

Getting over sexual abuse

Can you ever move on with your life after you have been abused? It is possible - here one survivor tells their story.

I was abused by my grandmother, sexually and emotionally, from pre-school until my teenage years. I was put into care for a year and abused there as well. I've come through three suicide attempts.

I started to get my life together after I left school and began to live independently. I think of myself as a survivor not a victim. I'm not pretending everything's wonderful but I have a good, enjoyable life now. I hope this will be of help to those of you going through this trauma.

You need somebody you can talk to, that you can trust - is there a friend or a teacher or a relative? If you don't feel happy with this phone an incest survivors line. If you're over sixteen try to get out of the situation as soon as possible, is there someone you could stay with?

You may have been told no-one will believe you. Keep talking until you are listened to and you are given the support you need. Get independent help. Getting the abuser stopped is not your responsibility, you don't need to take this on.

Dealing with it

Your basic needs must be met before you can start to deal with the feelings. You'll need to talk about what happened and express what you've been through. You may have been holding back feelings for years: you may feel a lot or you may feel numb.

I've felt both extremes at times. Sorting through feelings that have been stuffed down for years is going to hurt and be confusing but it's worth it to have control over your life. It's alright to feel what you are feeling despite what you may have been told. You are not shameful or evil, you didn't deserve what happened. The person who told you that is the sick one not you.

Anger

It must be expressed. I was classed as a delinquent with no prospects because I was going off all the time. I know how angry you are but listen, try to get out of the courts and the police's way, it's a long road that doesn't lead anywhere good.

You don't want any more labels hanging around your neck and you need your freedom. You're going to need time to yourself so you can let anger out in a controlled environment. Check out Martial Arts, find a club that builds confidence and strength, that gives you power back. Weight training and yoga help me not take it out on the people I care about.

Flashbacks

This is normal you've been through a trauma, you need to work it through, the things that helped me were writing, drawing, screaming when I felt like it. Write everything down, find somewhere safe and private to put the writing, even if you have to bury it outside.

I'm serious, you've had your privacy violated enough already. This is the time to get back your boundaries. The most 'shameful' thoughts and feelings are the ones that need to come out most. Don't feel guilty about what you think or feel.

Depression

Let yourself cry. Again find a private place to let go. If you feel suicidal contact one of the organizations. Get a counsellor whose been through it and come out the other side. You deserve it. You need somebody who will listen and that you can trust.

Be aware of leaving yourself vulnerable if you are taking drugs of any sort. The same goes for sex. If you're having sex for cash, get your health checked at a clinic. A youth centre should be able to advise you on this. In every way stay as safe as you can be.

Updated: 16/04/2010


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