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    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    I Don't Have A Title For This One

    ~Warning! This post contains very personal information that is in no way fun or lighthearted.
    Read at your own risk.~

    I'm going to let you know my biggest secret. Most of you will click off this page faster than a speeding bullet once you realize what this post is about.

    There is a subject that is taboo to talk about. People are made to feel like they should never reveal certain things about their past. If you do, people's views of you will be changed forever.

    This secret has scarred me most of my life and I have suffered quietly and alone. Most of you can probably guess what my secret is if you think about it. I'll give you a minute to think about it while I get up the nerve to actually type it out.....









    Still chicken.....


    Getting braver....





    I was sexually molested by three different men who are family members as a child. There! I said it. I feel all queazy and jumbled inside now.

    I had put this out of my head for many years rarely thinking about it. It was brought back full circle a few months ago while visiting the behaviorist while jumping through the weight loss surgery hoops. You have to fill out a 10 page questionairre and many of the questions have molestation and rape as their subject. I answered honestly and didn't think too much more about it.

    The behaviorist mentioned the subject within one minute of meeting me. He said that if we had had more time, he would have eased onto the topic. Quite frankly, he was astounded and had trouble speaking to me about it. He expressed sadness at what had happened to me.

    Until recently, I had only told my parents and husband of this. I have however, let a few bloggers who have become great friends in on my issue. I never saw the need to bring it up and was actually told to keep it quiet by Mr. Sign. He's never dealt with anything like this so that was his coping mechanism.


    It took me years to get up the nerve to tell my mom and later my dad (they were divorced). I remember that it took me 2 hours to finally get to it while telling my mother.
    Even at the age of 10, I knew it would change her view of me and of course I blamed myself. When I finally told her, she told me that she had been molested as a young girl by a cousin. I recently found out that the cousin was about the same age as her and they were in their early teens.

    Telling my father was the hardest because one of the perpetrators was his brother. I told him on one of our arranged weekend visits. The same day I told him, my uncle came over. I remember watching out the window as my dad spoke to him. I waited for him to haul off and hit him or at least scream and yell and never have anything to do with him again. I was sick to my stomach when it never happened. I felt like because Dad didn't confront him, it didn't matter what my uncle had done to me. I realize now that my dad is the most passive person I know and would travel around the world to avoid confrontation.

    Nothing more was ever said about it but the molestation stopped. My mother and I talked about it about six months ago and I told her I didn't think my dad ever said anything to my uncle. She assured me that he had. She also wanted to know if I thought my younger sister had been touched. I told her that I didn't think so because I always tried to protect her from everything.

    The behaviorist asked me if I had ever talked to a professional about my problems. I told him that I hadn't. He asked me how I coped with the problem and I lied and told him that I had started journaling about it. I had great intentions to start but never had the nerve. He told me that he would not have ok'ed me for surgery if I hadn't been journaling. I would have been deferred for one year of therapy. I knew that I would start one day so it was just a little lie, right?

    After speaking with the behaviorist, I was a mess. I cried at the drop of a dime and couldn't tell myself why. My mom asked me how it had gone and I told her that I had passed the psychological test by the skin of my teeth. She asked why and I told her what the behaviorist had said about the sexual abuse. She got defensive and said, "Well, it only happened once." I had to explain to her that it had happened for over 5 years from the ages of 5 to 10 with my uncle. I don't know if I left that detail out or if she put it out of her mind. She then got more upset and said that no parent can watch a child 24 hours a day. I was so hurt that she was making it about her. I never blamed her and still don't. Pedaphiles know how to make things happen. I was hysterical when I hung up the phone.

    Mom called me the next day and seemed much calmer. She explained that she was caught off guard by what I had told her and she immediately felt responsible. I told her that I didn't blame her. There was nothing she could have done differently. Then, I had to tell her that two of my cousins had also abused me. She was flabergasted that she had no idea that any of this had transpired.

    I wanted to write this when I was feeling calm and at peace. It was huge for me to type this out. I'm tyring to get over feeling ashamed about what happened because I know now that it wasn't my fault.

    There is a statistic that I read somewhere that said that 85% of overweight people have been sexually abused. We use fat as armor. We want those who see us not to notice us in a sexual way.

    I have lived my life thinking that this abuse has not affected my life. I realize now that it affects everything I do. I believe that in writing this, I'm on my way to helping myself overcome this horrific secret.

    I know that many of you will read this and most will not comment. I've even thought about turning off the comments but as Sass mentioned yesterday, why have a blog if no one can comment? Isn't that what blogging's all about?

    Now, if I can just click PUBLISH......

    28 comments:

    MamaKBear said...

    Bravo to you for putting it out there! I hope it was therapeutic to you.

    That said...I have been there too. My own Granddad molested me, and I found out later, my sister and cousin. It was a one-time thing with him, but it scarred me for life. There were other smaller incidents with him...like he'd smack me on the butt as I walked by. I got to the point where I didn't want to be alone in the same room as him.

    And when I told my Mom and Grandmother, they didn't believe me. Fortunately I did go into counseling a few years later, and I told the therapist EVERYTHING. Don't know if it really helped or not, but probably it did.

    I'm so sorry this happened to you! I hope now you can come to terms with it. Since you said you were, maybe you SHOULD journal about it. Start a separate, private blog just for you and just get it all out.

    Big hugs, sweet friend! I love you!

    buddha_girl said...

    You know I'm with you on this.

    I'm so very proud of you. This healing process is about you. No one else.

    You've been demeaned enough by your past. Don't allow it to control your present and future. When you need a reminder, I'm here.

    Love you,
    BG

    Kristen said...

    *hugs and support*

    Very brave of you to write this out. I know when I wrote about my rape it was therapy but so very hard to go public with it.........

    Don't let your past dictate who you are in the future.

    I struggle with that everyday

    SignGurl said...

    MamaK~ I'm not sure what I would have done if people didn't believe me. I'm sure that counseling helped you. I just feel like it was so long ago, why dredge up the past? Thanks for your support.

    BG~ I love you and I mean it!

    Kristin~ You seem to be doing a good job of living in the now. I really don't dwell on it and rarely do I even think of it. I just wonder if subconsiously we really do think about it.

    barman said...

    *hugs* for my friend.

    I know how hard this must have been for you to write and publish. I am glad you have made a step in the direction of healing.

    An online friend of mine went through something really simular. It has been hard for her and her relationship with her Mom and a few relatives has suffered. She started the same journey you are going through now and is doing better.

    Best wishes on your journey my friend.

    sassinak said...

    so i just sort of sat here reading with my eyes getting bigger and bigger and my hand over my mouth and now i have tears in my eyes and i don'tthink i could speak.

    fortunately my fingers work. first? i don't know if you care but i'm really proud of you. i have the barest idea of how hard this post was for you and i'm so impressed that you did it. every voice like yours helps make it stop.

    i'm with mama btw, i think if you say you're journalling that you may wish to start... i know that most of my childhood bullshit is a lot closer to the now than i like to admit and mine's less evil than yours...

    *huggs*

    cadbury_vw said...

    My wife was molested by her uncle over a period of 8 to 10 years, from the age of 5. It injured her emotionally. It took years for everything to come out. There were a huge number of subsidiary effects - many of which she didn't realize or relate back until she began working things through.

    She refused to admit that it affected her. After we were married and stuff would come out here and there I began learning everything I could on the subject of abuse. She wouldn't seek professional help.

    She eventually agreed to read some of the books I selected out of my reading and to let me tell her what I had read. She talked.

    Some books were workbooks that got her to do some journalling - she tried a bit. Mostly she just wanted to refuse it affected her and get on with life. There is some value to the idea of not allowing it to become the whipping post for everything bad in your life, but abuse must still be dealt with straight up.

    If you like I can refer you to the books - they may be a little dated by now, but they were well regarded in therapuetic circles and have probably been updated...

    just went and looked and they have been updated - there are also more in the series - can't speak to those, but Bass and Davis are really good.

    The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
    by Ellen Bass (Author), Laura Davis (Author) (May 18, 1988)

    The Courage to Heal Workbook: For Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Laura Davis
    (Paperback - Feb 1 1990)


    If there is anything I can do, or if I can provide any personal experience or commentary of value - please don't hesitate to let me know or ask. I know that there are a number of women here who have been through the experience and can realte on a more precise level - but as the person who worked through with his wife, I may have perspective you may find useful sometime.

    Confronting the abuser and making him feel uncomfortable and uneasy went a long way in ameliorating some of the rage my wife felt.

    Threatening to break him (physically) and making him cry from fear before letting him go made me feel better. It also made my wife feel better that he had a taste of the fear she felt as a child.

    Mone said...

    oh my oh my oh my, I am so sorry for you. I cant believe your Mom didn't notice anything during this time period. And I'm thinking about my daugther, she is ten now, but would she have told me something at age 5? Probably not!

    tina said...

    Oh Jenn! I am so very sorry that you (and the others here also) had to go through this. I am also so terribly angry!!! People abuse children like this and how can they not realize that the affects last a lifetime??!! I'm glad you are talking and blogging about it - I agree that is a start in the right direction. I'm sorry that more wasn't done about this. I know this was a relative and I can't imagine how your dad dealt with this, but your uncle commited a CRIME. What he did is vile and evil. I pray that he did not do have other victims.

    Have you considered counseling to help you deal with this? Please, PLEASE don't feel like you did anything wrong. You were a child and you were horribly taken advantage of. I know I'm *running off at the mouth*, and I've only even commented here a few times, but it just makes me so damn mad!!!

    Thank you for feeling you could share this and I truly hope that helps you.

    Nonny said...

    Your my new hero! This was so brave of you. I hope people won't judge you because of this, I mean other than to think what a remarkable person you are for putting it out there. And now you are actually journaling about it, so the behaviourist wasn't lied too.

    I'm very sorry this happened to you, I'm also very sad that I've heard this story alot on people's blogs. You don't want to think it happens as often as it does. We need a reality check. I'm gonna watch my boys alot closer now and who I allow around them when they are alone.

    You keep on keepin on because your beautiful inside and out.

    Lots of hugs

    DZER said...

    I know this couldn't have been easy for you to write, but I think it's important for you that you did. I hope you also realize that you weren't to blame for any of that. You're a brave and amazing woman. *hugs*

    Madame X said...

    I KNOW how hard this was for you and I am so proud that you've 'come out of the closet' as it were.

    I wish I had something, some advice or some wisdom to offer you but I find that I am at a loss before your bravery.

    I am here if and when you need me and I am here when you don't.

    Hugs for you today and yesterday and for the little girl inside you that really needs them.

    Love you,
    g

    SignGurl said...

    Wow! Thank you for all of the support. It really means a lot to hear your responses as I didn't really expect many people to comment.

    I wanted to let everyone know that I am ok and doing quite well. Today, I am feeling relieved more than anything.

    I love you all!

    Roxi said...

    Its a very big thing to put that out babe.. I love you for being able to..

    my younger sisters, brother and I were al molested by the children of a family we lived next to for 13 years..

    the oldest got me.. she was good at what she did and the youngest got my brother and sisters..

    we are all attempting to still get over it.. I think my over sexuality is the direct result of that..

    Pyrhonik said...

    Not easy at all. Kudos for the first step.

    Unravelling how this has permeated your life is a lifelong task. And is another reason for which I believe all sexual offenders should be penalized a lot heavier.

    Betrayal, shame and guilt are such monsters of the heart. I feel for you I really do!

    terry said...

    omigod. omigod. there are no words.

    i think it's fantastic that you've put this out there. as you will one day truly believe, none of this was your fault.

    bravo, for taking this on head-on.

    Snow White said...

    xoxoxoxoxox I know it was hard for you to write, but it's a great post. You are my hero! Sending lots of hugs your way!

    cutie said...

    You are not alone.

    Been there, done that, burned that mother fucking t-shirt.

    You are a good girl, it was never your fault, ever.

    Love you....

    Suze said...

    Jenn, congratulations on taking that first step towards self-healing. I feel honoured to have been let in to this sad and lonely part of your life.

    When I started to read this, I had a slight fear that you were going to reveal something like this.

    Everything that happens in life shapes us in one way form or another. What we do need to do is use our experiences to become better people. You have, you can see this in the way you talk about your family and friends.

    Turn to them now and talk and talk, get this out of your system it has been suppressed far too long.

    Please seek out professional help too when the time is right.

    If ever you need to talk to me either via email or online I am here.

    I'm sending you big hugs and kisses I wish I could give them to you personally.

    Single With Cat said...

    I truly believe the statistic of the 85% as I too am a member of the horrible club - both the fat girl and the previously molested.

    It is so hard to put that personal secret out there. I remember sharing it once with a guy I thought was "the one" and he did become disgusted with me. Obviously he was a loser but it hurt so much I happily packed on another 40 pounds of "security". So, I understand the fear of sharing and how you are afraid others will react - but it really reads volumes about them and how very unworth your time those kind of people are.

    The recommendation of the books is great and journaling is invaluable but I have to say that therapy was a huge help. It helped get to the core of forgiving me because even though I always knew it wasn't my fault etc... something inside of me secretly was thinking "if you had....".

    Sorry - I didn't mean to leave such a long comment. (especially for a first time commenter!)Your post just touched me.

    Top cat said...

    sweetie, I am so proud of you to share this on your blog.
    You are innocent and have nothing to be ashamed of.
    Regardless of what has happened in your past you are one of the sweetest, kind, caring persons I have met.
    This whole molestation mess is like a vicious cycle because many of the abusers have been abused themselves.
    I had no idea it is so common but it seems more and more people are coming forward with testimony to their abuse.
    God Bless you honey.
    Big big HUGS
    Tc

    ell said...

    jenn - i am so sorry for what you went through. i too had a similar experience by someone i called my "uncle", a very close family friend. though for me it was a one time thing, nothing like the years of abuse you endured, it was very upsetting. he had also been abusing one of his own family members on an ongoing basis. i told my mother, and i think what bothered me most, even to this day, is that my father did not kick the shit out of this guy, at least verbally. he was confronted with it and he said he'd get "help" for his problem, but my parents remained on speaking terms with them.

    i still don't get it.

    i hope getting it out there helps you.

    *hugs*

    Sheets said...

    I can't even begin to know what to say. But I hope posting this gives you some sense of relief....obviously... you were never at fault and there are a bunch of people who are willing to help you... even its its just to listen (me).

    Chrissie said...

    Good for you for having the cajones to publish! Really good for you that you are able to overcome someone elses crappiness.
    *smooch*

    Michele in Michigan said...

    So proud of you, my friend. This was a big step. May it lead to continued healing.

    Many hugs being sent your way

    Big Pissy said...

    Oh, Jenn....I'm so sorry this happened to you. Such a terrible burden to carry on your own all those years.

    I'm so glad you were able to share this with us.

    That took a lot of courage.

    *hard hugs*
    Pissy

    oldhippichick said...

    I am proud of you for speaking of this. I have a few dear friends that have been molested as children, one male, one female. One became stronger and one, well, lives a different life still looking for happiness in hopeless, horrible relationships. I am sickened by the abuse I see and hear about daily. I just do not understand this world.

    I admire your strength and courage. I pray for your continued strength and healing! While I don't post many comments, I do read your blog. You are a strong and beautiful person. All good things will come your way!

    Matt said...

    Hello!

    I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I'd like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at mattvid07@gmail.com, and I'd be happy to give you more information about the project. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Matt