I mentioned last night reading the blog of a friend as she talked about her abuse and how her words resounded in my soul. I have spoke to her and she gave me permission to re-post her blog. I am grateful for her courage. She is an amazing lady.
I hope that as we come forward, it gives other victims the courage to do the same, so that they can start healing. I know my inner child is ready to heal, Karly’s inner child is ready to heal, and many other voices are ready to be heard and healed.
Here is Karly’s post.
“yes, it’s been a year since my last post. i’ve been putting off writing this post for many reasons, but i’m tired of excuses, and it’s time to tell my story.
let me add in a disclaimer here… this is a tragic story about what happens all too often to innocent children… sexual abuse. i have been seeing a therapist for a few months now, and i talked to him a lot about this. he is happy that i want to share my story, but he told me to be careful because many times we can experience “vicarious traumatization,” meaning that someone else may be traumatized by my story. that is obviously not my intention, so if this topic is too hard for you to stomach, i would suggest saving this post for another time.
after years of trying to deal with my trauma in many different ways, i have decided that face it head on, and learn to heal the wounds that were left on my soul so many years ago. i feel strongly that part of my healing process is to tell my story. there is a nine year old little girl inside of me that has been screaming in my head for the last 21 years, and it’s time to acknowledge her and let her speak.
you may be wondering why i would want to do this in such a public place. why would i want to share some of the most intimate and tragic details of my life with people other than my family? the answer is simple. i am pissed as hell. it makes me furious that little girls and boys have to go through this… to have your innocence and trust be shattered in the most traumatic of ways. did you know that 1 in 3 girls (and 1 in 7 boys) is sexually abused in some form by the time they are 18 years old?! let me tell you that statistic again…. ONE in THREE. i feel that as a society we don’t talk about it enough, which is also why i am sharing this here. it’s one of the “unspeakables,” which for me only fosters a sense of shame and guilt for the victims. if my story can help even one other person to start on their healing journey, then it is well worth any of the scrutiny or criticism that may come of this.
i was nine years old when i was sexually abused by an older, male cousin. it only happened one time, and for that i am grateful. i know others who have experienced abuse far worse than what i went through, but that doesn’t make what i went through any less traumatic. as a young girl i was not emotionally ready to handle what happened to me. i felt worthless and dirty, and i didn’t want anyone to know… so i kept it to myself for the next five years. when i finally told my parents i felt like i was somehow broken, but i didn’t want to admit that. i’ve always been the “strong” one, so i refused counseling, which looking back now, was a decision that i will always regret. i then fell into a dangerous and destructive cycle as i tried to “treat” myself, which really just meant i tried to pretend it didn’t happen.
pretending it didn’t happen just made everything worse. i was shattered into a million pieces on the inside, but i put on a happy face for everyone around me. i was an athlete, a good student, a good friend, but this little girl inside of me was always yelling at me to fix her, and i didn’t know how. i went to church on sunday, i went to early morning seminary* every day of the week during the school year, i went to mutual on wednesday, and i went to EFY and girls camp every summer…but it was all for show. i was angry at God, and because i was so angry, i felt unworthy of His love.
i was fifteen years old when i had my first drink, and over the next 11 years i fell into an awful pattern. my life would be going good and i would get spooked because i “didn’t deserve” a good life, so i would go out and do something to self-destruct. i also would attract, and probably even sought out destructive relationships, where i wasn’t treated very well at all. i did this because i blamed myself for what had happened to me, which in my mind translated to me deserving everything bad that happened to me… whether at my own hand or at someone else’s.
Now, i know it wasn’t my fault…well i guess i should say i’m starting to believe that it wasn’t my fault. i am at the very beginning of what i know is going to be a long and painful journey. i feel so blessed to have the family that i do for support and the counselor that i do for guidance. and i also feel blessed to have this outlet to share my journey. i know i set this blog up as somewhere to make and achieve goals, but i am so incredibly far from that. at this point, i am going to be focusing on doing a couple things every day that will make me feel better. i’m going to be trying to replace destructive thoughts and behaviors with positive thoughts and behaviors. i am also going to use this as a place to talk about counseling sessions, and any thoughts i have about what we talked about. i am taking my life and turning it upside down and i am excited for what is in store.
recently my sister came to visit and brought me a present… a piece of her art.
i had seen her working on this piece over the last couple years and always liked it. i also always thought it was a drawing of her. when she gave it to me she told me that the girl in the picture, was in fact, me…that she has watched me over the years as i’ve fallen and climbed and fallen and climbed… and that she was proud of me. i love this picture for what it represents right now in my life. i have been in the valley of shadows for awhile now, but i feel as the girl in the picture right now. i feel i am climbing up into the sunshine and even though it hurts, it feels good. i know there are some mountains in front of me that i still need to climb, but i’m finally ready for the challenge.
*for those of you not of my faith, seminary is essentially an early morning religion class that lasts your four years of high school, mutual is our midweek activity, and EFY and girls camp are religious summer camps.”
Karly’s Blog can be found here: Journey To A Better Me