View Full Version : Was this sexual abuse? [*content warning: involves a child*]


thaney
06-05-17, 12:40 PM
The Venetian blinds bar all but the smallest slivers of light through. The ceiling lamp has been broken for years. There are footsteps coming up from downstairs. My stomach turns. Soon, the shadow of two feet block out light from the crack beneath the door, and as it opens, light spreads across the floor, but his giant silhouette never allows it to reach the bed where I lay. My body is wrapped in his gray comforter, but nothing is covered that will not be uncovered soon enough. I feel lonely. His wife is downstairs somewhere. She never holds, hugs, or caresses me, and I yearn for affection, so I turn to him and ask if he will rub my back. He climbs into bed next to me, and starts to rub my back. Soon his hands find their way underneath my shirt, which is quickly pushed out of the way. The feeling of his skin on mine is pleasing and I moan and will spend the next half hour telling him how good it feels.

His hands slide under the back of my bra as he rubs harder. He drags his nails across my back, leaving long red lines behind. "Does that feel good?" he asks. I moan and nod. He begins rubbing once again, and I do not hesitate in letting him know how pleasurable it is. At one point he is straddling me, I think. Sometimes he is next to me. His fingers creep lower and lower, and finally slide beneath my jeans and the waistband of my underwear. I do not stop him. Usually a violent man, this is one of the rare occasions I can enjoy his gentleness. I find myself thinking about how the physical abuse that happens just isn't bad enough for anyone to care. And after all, nobody would believe me, because even though he gets violent sometimes, he then takes the time to be so nice, like tonight. As his fingers push again below my underwear, I think, Nobody would believe that a father who is this nice to his daughter could possibly be abusive.

What he says to me in the dark, I am never supposed to tell in the light. "You're not going to tell anyone about this, right?" What he whispers in my ear, I should never proclaim. "They might think I abused you, or something ridiculous like that."

"Of course I won't tell." Why would I tell? I wonder. Look how nice he's being.

***

If I think about this happening to a friend, or at the hands of any man I respect to his daughter, I want to vomit--the thought is so repulsive--but I don't have the same emotional response when I think about it happening to me. In fact, I don't have any emotional response at all... it was just normal.

I don't remember him touching my breasts, but one of us would unhook my bra often and he'd have better access to my back and sides. He wouldn't go "that far" under my underwear. There was no penetration. My mom saw most of this and was cruel to me, but never tried to stop it... maybe because it was normal and okay?

peripatetic
06-05-17, 12:51 PM
i'm on my phone and supposed to be paying attention to other things...but, no, this isn't standard and certainly sounds like sexual abuse to me.

i'm so sorry you endured this. are you seeing a therapist? this would definitely be something to bring up and start working through.

dvdnvwls
06-05-17, 01:20 PM
I don't decide what is sexual abuse and what isn't, but three things stand out in my mind:

- You were pressured not to tell anyone

- You were treated badly by her because of it

- It makes you feel bad to think of it being done in situations other than your own, but for your own situation it is oddly lacking in emotional response.


To me, these things mean that - whatever it was - you need to find a very good therapist to talk to about it.

Fuzzy12
06-05-17, 01:36 PM
I'm so sorry. My gut reaction is yes but I don't really know what defines sexual abuse. It does sound like boundaries were crossed and it does sound as if you feel violated. Like dvd said if you were asked not to talk about it that's a pretty red flag.

I agree it would be best, if not vital, to talk to a therapist or some sort of professional.

Lunacie
06-05-17, 01:56 PM
He took advantage of your need for affection. :mad:

aeon
06-05-17, 02:46 PM
I was sexually abused by a female caregiver who took advantage of my need for affection when I was a very young child.

My heart goes to you for what you experienced.

I want you to know that although the past can never be changed, it is possible to heal such that the past does not cast a shadow over your life in the present.

That you enjoyed aspects of your experience is normal. You did nothing wrong, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

That you can feel nothing in regards to your experience, and that it seems normal to you, is common in people who have experienced chronic trauma.

If you were not in the majority when this occurred, i.e., you were a child or teenager, then yes, this was sexual abuse. That coercion was used to keep a secret with implied threat of consequences speaks to this.

I urge you to find a therapist who is specialized in working with those who have experienced Child Sexual Abuse. They can help you to build and repair boundaries, teach you skills, and provide you with resources.

I applaud you for posting, because you made a choice in your own self-interest and well-being...you made a choice to stop keeping a secret, and you are daring to not be ashamed.


My Heart To You,
Ian

Pilgrim
06-05-17, 05:39 PM
Yeah, doesn't sound right. The minute someone puts you in a compromising position it's not good news.
Maybe the real question is how do you feel about it? Just asking?

thaney
06-05-17, 06:27 PM
Yeah, doesn't sound right. The minute someone puts you in a compromising position it's not good news.
Maybe the real question is how do you feel about it? Just asking?


I don't feel anything. It was normal. It was just how I grew up.

peripatetic
06-05-17, 06:52 PM
I don't feel anything. It was normal. It was just how I grew up.

that, to me, sounds like you were, indeed, a minor. that makes it problematic. a minor cannot give consent to the activities you describe in your thread start.

have you shared any of this with a therapist?

dvdnvwls
06-05-17, 07:35 PM
I don't feel anything. It was normal. It was just how I grew up.
This feeling that it was just normal -

Plus your other feeling that if it happened that way to someone else it would be bad -

Together, those two feelings point pretty strongly to abuse.

aeon
06-05-17, 09:36 PM
I don't feel anything. It was normal. It was just how I grew up.

I felt good about it. Someone loved me and cared for me. It was normal. It was just a part of growing up.

I thought that for 20 years before I could begin to see and understand it for what it was.

It wasn't all good and it wasn't all bad and the fact it was a complex mix of both made it a real challenge to untangle, understand, and write a narrative for.

That said, it was a violation on many levels. It was a chronic experience of trauma. It was abuse of a child, sexually and otherwise.

I was that child.

How you feel right now is how you feel. And yes, it is how you grew up. Those things are true, and those things are valid.

It only seems normal because that is what you knew, and your brain is working hard to preserve that sense of things, in large part to protect you.

A therapist can help you through the time when your sense of things changes, and sooner or later, it almost certainly will.

Labelling it one way or the other leaves two things the same...that which happened and the fact you are in control now and can choose what is best for yourself, based on your needs.


Well-Wishes,
Ian

WheresMyMind
06-05-17, 11:22 PM
The Venetian blinds bar all but the smallest slivers of light through. The ceiling lamp has been broken for years. There are footsteps coming up from downstairs. My stomach turns. Soon, the shadow of two feet block out light from the crack beneath the door, and as it opens, light spreads across the floor, but his giant silhouette never allows it to reach the bed where I lay. My body is wrapped in his gray comforter, but nothing is covered that will not be uncovered soon enough. I feel lonely. His wife is downstairs somewhere. She never holds, hugs, or caresses me, and I yearn for affection, so I turn to him and ask if he will rub my back. He climbs into bed next to me, and starts to rub my back. Soon his hands find their way underneath my shirt, which is quickly pushed out of the way. The feeling of his skin on mine is pleasing and I moan and will spend the next half hour telling him how good it feels.

His hands slide under the back of my bra as he rubs harder. He drags his nails across my back, leaving long red lines behind. "Does that feel good?" he asks. I moan and nod. He begins rubbing once again, and I do not hesitate in letting him know how pleasurable it is. At one point he is straddling me, I think. Sometimes he is next to me. His fingers creep lower and lower, and finally slide beneath my jeans and the waistband of my underwear. I do not stop him. Usually a violent man, this is one of the rare occasions I can enjoy his gentleness. I find myself thinking about how the physical abuse that happens just isn't bad enough for anyone to care. And after all, nobody would believe me, because even though he gets violent sometimes, he then takes the time to be so nice, like tonight. As his fingers push again below my underwear, I think, Nobody would believe that a father who is this nice to his daughter could possibly be abusive.

What he says to me in the dark, I am never supposed to tell in the light. "You're not going to tell anyone about this, right?" What he whispers in my ear, I should never proclaim. "They might think I abused you, or something ridiculous like that."

"Of course I won't tell." Why would I tell? I wonder. Look how nice he's being.

***

If I think about this happening to a friend, or at the hands of any man I respect to his daughter, I want to vomit--the thought is so repulsive--but I don't have the same emotional response when I think about it happening to me. In fact, I don't have any emotional response at all... it was just normal.

I don't remember him touching my breasts, but one of us would unhook my bra often and he'd have better access to my back and sides. He wouldn't go "that far" under my underwear. There was no penetration. My mom saw most of this and was cruel to me, but never tried to stop it... maybe because it was normal and okay?


A few details could clear this up.

Possibility #1: if this person was in any way in a position of authority or a care-giver, then depending on jurisdiction (I'm no lawyer, but have studied law and spent plenty of time on juries, doing legal research, etc - all in the USA), it's either sexual harrassment, or abuse of power, or sexual abuse.

Possibility #2: If you have, in theory, an egalitarian relationship with this person, such as, you and a girlfriend are sharing an apartment with the girlfriend's live-in boyfriend, then it is a simple matter, at least in the USA, to claim that you did not really submit, that you were in fear over your safety and permitted it only for that reason. This becomes easy for a jury to accept if you're much smaller than the male. In this case, it would be legally classified as rape.

An existing history of physical assault makes either case stronger.

Unless there's something I'm missing, I do not see any reason why this situation should be acceptable.

Unmanagable
06-05-17, 11:43 PM
If there's a local domestic and sexual abuse shelter in your area, I'd encourage you to give them a call and ask if you could speak to a counselor for some support and guidance and explain your experience. Many offer free ongoing counseling to those who experienced either in any degree and may include support group opportunities, too.

I had a much different experience on my 13th b-day that I never told anyone about and no one else witnessed. I thought I'd get in trouble if I told. I later learned it was because the same relative had molested my sister years before he messed with me and my parents chose not to believe her, but rather sent her to the psych hospital instead and her life was a living hell for many years after.

I thought I'd done rather well at dealing with that incident and many that followed, mainly by setting it aside and burying the feelings, and moving on with my life, until I hit a wall and all that I'd worked so hard to suppress and forget about came rushing in like a tsunami.

He crossed very clear boundaries, which is why you get the vomit response when thinking of it being done to another. You know it on a cellular level, but your heart likely doesn't want to believe it and your mind is busy trying to reason that it was somehow normal, as that's all you knew.

I used to hold my dad on the highest pedestal and recently learned of some super sh***y things he did to me and my sister that I didn't remember. Mom, too. It's such a hard place in the heart to be stuck in.

I've had to gather a lot of help and support to help me dig out of the ditches rather often and help me weed through all of my cellular memories, especially once I realized just how damn deep they really were.

The shelter counseling option has been the absolute best therapeutic talking arena I've ever found, both personally and professionally. Wishing you well in whatever you choose to do. Just remember that whatever we choose not to deal with or work through will always resurface in some other painful way.

Lunacie
06-06-17, 11:20 AM
I just want to say thank you to everyone for sharing their own stories of abuse.

I was 12 or 13, my brother was 3 years older. I'm not sure how many times it
happened before my younger sister complained to mom and dad that we were
playing after the lights were out and never invited her to play with us.

Dad took brother out to the shop and beat the crap out of him. Mom sat me
down and told me I could have gotten pregnant. She also told me to wear a
girdle to bed and push my dresser in front of my bedroom door at night. All of
which left me feeling like what had happened was my fault and it was up to me
alone to make sure it didn't happen again.

I never forgot it happened. I told my fiance about it, so no secrets. Just some-
thing that happens in some families, right? Until my own daughter turned 13
and I fell to pieces. Went to a therapist who downplayed the whole thing as
"sibling exploration." Maybe in some families ... but no.