She never told anyone in her family about what happened when her uncle sexually assaulted her at the age of 10. She went to her grave thinking she was protecting her family by not disclosing what happened.
It reminds me of all the women I have known who were sexually violated as children by family members. There are too many. Most of them wouldn’t tell another soul what happened.
This particular friend said she was going to get over it, that it somehow didn’t really hurt her as much when she was young, As a middle-aged adult she understood exactly how it hurt her and it was too much to bear at times. The damage to her ability to trust others, to love deeply, to accomplish things in her life. She wanted to feel healthy and whole and trusting.
But she (and to some degree all of the people who are sexually violated) don’t feel much of anything good. She felt so conflicted. She wished she had told what happened when it happened, but since it had been so long ago, she felt it wouldn’t do any good at all, just cause trouble. She felt so isolated, because she didn’t and wouldn’t tell.
I think about the people who I have known in my life who physically survived. Emotionally didn’t make it through. It breaks my heart to know so many who didn’t survive at all. It occurs to me there is little hope in stopping childhood sexual abuse except to tell. Until the people who haven’t experienced it are on our side. Until they can see that the numbers of survivors is bigger than we think. That the damage is persistent and life long.
Not one person alone can make this happen, but if enough children who grow into adults tell what happened to them as children, then we can do something about it. It’s by telling what we experienced and who did it that we can stop it. It helps us get over feeling powerless. It is how we can do something about it.