Recently a friend died who experienced childhood sexual abuse.


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.


How do you know what is lying is when your a Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor


Since I grew up in the company of dishonest, evasive and lying people, I have an ongoing fascination with honesty. When you’re a incest survivor it’s hard to know what is real and what is not. We often become suspicious, distrustful or gullible. Our shit detector becomes clouded. I am looking for better ways to stay honest in my dealings with others. So when I run across a blog entry that talks about the reasons why and how to stay honest I perk up. #5 in the following article is a doozy.

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do  by Mark and Angel Hack Life

They don’t keep secrets. – Trust is the foundation of a relationship, and when trust is broken it takes time and willingness on the part of both people involved to repair it and heal.  All too often, I’ll hear a coaching client say something like, “I didn’t tell her but I didn’t lie about it, either.”  This statement is a contradiction, as omissions are lies.  If you’re covering up your tracks in any way, it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and trust in the relationship is broken.  Speak the truth, no matter what the consequences.  Being honest is the only way to be at peace with yourself and others.

Even though Mark and Angel write their blog for the average reader, I find their advice and comments to be true for Childhood sexual abuse survivors too. Especially when it comes to areas such as truthfulness, honesty, being in healthy relationships and communication. All areas where we need clarity and open communication.

When I was a child, I believed my life depended on keeping Jacks secrets.  I thought he would kill me, or leave my mom, or my mom would leave me with him.  He depended on me to keep his secrets. Things he didn’t want to admit to anyone or for anyone to know. They were horrible and hurtful. And he lied to everyone either by denying, evading, hiding or lying to someones face. All are forms of dishonesty.

After living my life hiding the truth of my experiences from the people who I wanted to love, I have seen how it inhibits what goes on in my own relationships. Once I hold something back it’s not long before everything gets stopped up. Emotional constipation. Then it’s just a matter of time before the relationship goes bad. I can’t live in an intimate relationship when I evade being known to the other person. But I didn’t have any role models to show what a loving relationship was like. I never saw anyone who really talked to each other.  I learned how to do it. I learned just like plenty of other people do, I watched others ho were in loving relationships. I practiced and made mistakes with the people I love and loved. I kept trying.


Things I did to get over being raped as a child



  1. I learned as much as I could about childhood sexual abuse.
  2. I started journaling.
  3. I told people what happened to me.
  4. I kept talking about it to my immediate family. Just couldn’t drop it.
  5. I became a counselor.
  6. I exercised.
  7. I had massages.
  8. I had a child.
  9. I married, twice. Both times to great men.
  10. I never moved back to my family.
  11. I learned how to cook.
  12. I listened to great music.
  13. I learned there were plenty of kind men in my world.
  14. I dressed badly. Kinda still do.
  15. I knowingly put myself in dangerous situations.
  16. I slept around with people I didn’t know or care about.
  17. I avoided my family.
  18. I went to therapy. Group and individual.
  19. I learned to accept compliments.
  20. I learned how to have friends.
  21. I moved to several different states to start over again and again.
  22. I talked about it with my sisters incessantly.
  23. I under ate food.
  24. I went into the Army.
  25. I never learned to play a musical instrument.
  26. I learned how to take care of my home.
  27. I hid out at my house.
  28. I pretended everything was fine.
  29. I lied about how I felt.
  30. I took up religion.
  31. I dropped religion.
  32. I learned how to listen to other people.
  33. I did destructive things to myself.
  34. I cried a lot when I was older.
  35. I overworked to hide from being close to others.
  36. I hated men for a while.
  37. I went to college.
  38. I stopped doing things before they were completed.
  39. I lacked trust in my own perceptions.
  40. I feared way too many things.
  41. I had terrible boundaries until I was much older.
  42. I had nightmares for years.
  43. I learned self defense.
  44. I’m learning how to be comfortable with all of me.
  45. I learned how to not rush through my feelings.
  46. I learned how to protect vulnerable people and animals.
  47. I quit hiding my woundedness.
  48. I quit lying about it.
  49. I tried to drink alcohol, but didn’t like how it felt.
  50. I stayed emotionally stopped up for years.

What kind of things did you try or do to help heal. Any comments?

Kitchen’s memories


I’m not thinking of sexual abuse today, I am walking around looking at all the things I have been neglecting. Cleaning up things that need attention and care. Some are little, like cleaning off the kitchen counters, and scrubbing the bathtub from Maggie’s last bath. Others are the chicken coop which is a big job that needs revamping.  Cleaning up broken glass in the basement, stocking up chicken food. Unplugging the freezer since there is nothing in it. And remembering to take the chair up for Fran’s boys. Do they do dishes? I want  to ask her.

 Then something will come along and remind me.  

 A faint wisp of memory, Grandma standing in the kitchen cutting home made noodles for chicken and noodles. I had come to stay with her while she was recuperating from gallbladder surgery.  I had washed the dishes, and then moved on to sweeping the floor. But when I asked for my Uncle Vic to help with at least picking up the trash, I was told he didn’t have to do it, cause he was a boy and boys do outside things.  I hated that he didn’t have to help clean his own house.  But instead of going outside to do something else, he sat in the kitchen and gloated. A fleeting thought of the nerve as I realized the rules were different for everyone. How does that happen?

 Grandma wore apron’s for the longest time, even when she went to her part time job cleaning the laundry on N. Dixie Drive. It was right next to Northridge Middle School, where I once hit the car in front of me, while watching the boys who were at football practice. (well really bumped into it as I momentarily forgot to put pressure on the brake, even though I had my foot on the peddle). They all turned around and clapped cause they heard the commotion.  And next door to the middle school, across Timberlane Road was a trailer park where my Aunt Theresa lived for a while. I had been running around late one night with my best friend from high school, Diane and we had gone thereto try and get a ride back home. Theresa wasn’t there so I  left a note saying to not tell Mom we had been there, she would be mad. And of course Mom just happened to be there the next morning, saw the note.  I still got in to trouble. This happened right before I moved out of Mom’s house and into Grandma’s. I felt the hot flash of shame in my cheeks when I realized she had caught me. That sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  

Just from standing in the kitchen and remembering.