Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PTSD and Sexual Abuse

I can not believe it has been over a year that I have blogged and what I find even more astonishing is that I have found a few minutes to return to my only true healing outlet.  So here I am engulfed with rage after a colleague and I entered into a brash discussion consisting of nothing but degradation,  humiliation and sheer anger which has left me exhausted to say the least.  Given the background on this individual and the knowledge I have on fundamental psychological functions it is clear that his behavior is nothing more and nothing less then a defense mechanism, one in which has obviously suited him very well.  I can't blame him as he suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after serving not one but two tours in military.  I feel he is afraid that by sharing the diagnosis with those who have not seen dead bodies and heard the shells and rounds contiguously going off, his mental state might not seem that, well, intense.  Today I wanted to touch up on the topic of Sexual abuse and PTSD, something that has just recently been accepted,  at least in the field of medicine and psychology, as a very real outcome and most likely prognosis to victims of sexual abuse.

When we think of PTSD most associate it soldiers and those who have seen war, but the truth is, those who have been sexually abused have seen war too, have feltt a heightened sense of flight or fight for longer periods than any other in the common world.  The wounds may be cut differently but the aftermath is identical and for this reason more and more victims of sexual abuse are being diagnosed with PTSD.  PTSD ranges in intensity for several reasons and NOT because any of the pain caused was less than or greater than one another but merely the fact that some people are more resilliant to things than others.  In my opinion PTSD is yes a mental disorder but one created out of nessacity, a survival mechanism, I woud say something was even more wrong if victims of any kind of trauma did not experaince some sort of PTSD even in it' milder forms.

So what exactly is PTSD?  PTSD occurs when the person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present: the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others" and "the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror."

There are a variety of different symptoms of PTSD that a survivor may experience. Flashbacks are one of these symptoms. Flashbacks are "acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated)."
  1. efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
  2. efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
  3. inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma

PTSD also manifests itself as increased awareness and hypersensitivity. For example:
  1. difficulty falling or staying asleep
  2. irritability or outbursts of anger
  3. difficulty concentrating
  4. hyper vigilance
  5. exaggerated startle response 

As a suffer of PTSD It has taken me a quite some effort to work through some of the debilitating ramifications of my abuse but there is a light at the end of that tunnel.  I have fallen victim over and over again to the fear, the dreams, the anger but I get back up.  As I previously mentioned we all have our own genetic predispositions to resiliency, use it to your advantage.  When you feel weak, remember that you too have that gene, make it work for you, that is what it is designed for.

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
Read more at" ~ Mark Twain

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Survivors Diary on How to Survive Pregnancy.

Again I like to always remind all that read my blog that although I am not yet licensed in this field, I have dedicated my life and studies to advocate against this taboo topic and I believe that my first hand knowledge on the after math of abuse is important in finding bonds and similarities between all of us who have experienced or know someone who has been exposed to such horrendous crimes.
Ok, got the disclaimer out of the way………
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since the last time I posted.   Although I have many valid excuses for being absent (school, books, pregnancy) I hope to never take such a long hiatus again.  My topic for this entry is something that many mothers who have been abused tend to never speak of yet the impact and implications of the matter are traumatizing in their own right; Pregnancy and post pregnancy.
Let’s state the obvious, everything changes when you are pregnant, your hormones, your body, even your vision for Gods sake, the list can go on and on.  For most, pregnancy is a time of great celebration and joy but for victims of sexual abuse this can be one of the most frightening experiences in the world.  I will share my own experience and hope that someone will be able to find solace in knowing that what they are feeling and experiencing is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.  The minute I found out I was pregnant with my first child, a girl, I was relieved and exuberated.  The thought of raising a man that could potentially hurt women was the most horrifying thing to me imaginable.  As the pregnancy progressed, the joy quickly shifted to terrifying thoughts of my baby girl undergoing the same atrocities I had witnessed.  Reoccurring nightmares and panic attacks soon followed.  Without the support and knowledge I have today, my first pregnancy was nothing short of a wicked joke God was playing on me.  I questioned why was even the most beautiful thing being taken away from me?
I remained silent, fearing that what I was feeling was abnormal and that people would question my ability to be a mother.  After my daughter was born, I struggled with the idea of changing her diapers, bathing her and even breast feeding her.  For the first months my husband did everything for me, except for feeding of course.  I was worried that she might feel strange if I had to touch her private parts to clean her.  Sounds ridiculous when I say that now, but at the time it was a legitimate fear.  I have learned now that this is the most common reaction survivors have with their newborns.  The depression began to sink in, what kind of mother am I who can’t even change her daughter without wanting to cry in fear that it might make her feel violated?  This is when I decided to look for help.  After learning that my emotions were normal and actually healthy my life turned around.  I now saw this little person that depended on me for everything, even changing her stinky diapers.  I remember clearly the words, although not so glamorous that was expressed to me by the therapist “Flavia would YOU rather let your imagined fear that your daughter is feeling ashamed as a 3 month old or face the actual consequences of not having her diaper changed”?  WOW, made me see things in a whole different light.
As she grew older, and more beautiful the fears became real again, as I am like a hawk where ever she goes.  Once a man told me that I had a very beautiful daughter, I looked at him and said “you are disgusting”! Imagine that, what did he do?  It was obvious there was more work to be done and I was still to afraid to come out to those around me, the ones you really need for support.   The fear is very real, the nightmares still come and go as they please but I began to accept that fact that I had not control over the future and could only focus on the present with my daughter.
As mentioned in my aptly named disclaimer, I was gone due to pregnancy and I was positive I had bit the fears in the rear.  I have exposed myself to all of my family and friends, I speak constantly on the subject, and there was no way that I would be affected, especially because now I knew exactly what to expect.  Quite the contrary, the minute I found out I was having a boy, my life shattered.  My fears were no longer what someone would do to my child but what my child was going to do to someone else.   I was mortified, I felt scared to think of what was inside my belly.  How could I love something so much and think of it as a monster?  Just to write those words make me want to vomit now, he is an angel, but the fear was real.  I was scared to tell my husband how I felt, I knew it sounded crazy.  After speaking with my counselor she informed me that again this is a natural reaction.  When every man you have ever known and trusted has hurt you, you have no option but to generalize.  I took a few therapy sessions to realize that my fears were just that, fears not actualities but it took the kind words of my cousin to change my whole entire perspective.  Her words changed me forever “Flavia, don’t be afraid your son will be perfect because YOU will teach him how to be a real man”. It brings tears to my eyes just to remember that, if it weren’t for that text message I might still be a little afraid.
For some women, childbirth itself is terrifying, being exposed in front of strangers in such a vulnerable position is traumatic and yet, they remain silent.  Breast feeding is also a common problem for survivors; the most beautiful bonding experience is now soiled and many stay quiet.  The life survivors live during pregnancy  and after having children is a hard one, always afraid that something might happen to their babies, always wondering if they are doing enough to keep them safe is always a persistent burden.  You must dig deep within yourself to know that you are worthy of the single most beautiful things in life, motherhood.  Don’t let your perpetrator steal that away from you, fight back, not only for you but for your precious babies.  They deserve a mother that is healthy and willing to fight.
“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. 
It’s that women are strong.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Flashbacks and Panic Attacks and Triggers, Oh My!!!

When severe trauma is present, it is very common for individuals to experience the negative long term effects. Many survivors of sexual abuse or anybody that has been witness to traumatic events suffer from an array of both physical and psychological hindrances. One such obstacle and one of the most common in fact is panic Attacks, often joined by flashbacks.
Panic attacks and flashbacks can be triggered by anything and everything. Common triggers are seeing or hearing about someone Else's rape or abuse, seeing an abuser or someone who resembles an abuser, being touched in a sensitive place, hearing a phrase used by the abuser, the survivor's children reaching the age the survivor was when the abuse started, particular calendar dates... unfortunately there are as many potential triggers as there are survivors. Panic attacks usually include the following symptoms:
*Accelerated heartbeat
*Feelings of impending death.

     Unfortunately these symptoms in themselves are likely to increase the anxiety.
Hyperventilation is the main cause of other symptoms during a panic attack: dizziness, nausea and tingling in the hands and feet. By changing and calming your breathing, you can help the panic attack to finish more quickly. Take slow, deep breaths and try to breathe from the stomach instead of the upper chest. Exhale easily. Concentrate on your breathing. This should minimize other symptoms. Practice this method of breathing when you are calm, so that it comes naturally when you need to apply it during an attack.
Flashbacks are when the survivor has a period of intense recall of the abuse situation. They may feel trapped inside the memory, that it is actually happening in the present. In the past I have tried many things to get control of flashbacks, including starving myself, taking a ton of over the counter sleep pills, and even have resorted to hurting myself by biting to the point that I would draw blood. However and obviously these methods don't do us any good all they do is add fuel to the fire. By alleviating the pain at that moment you are only drowning yourself in more anguish making it harder and harder to get out of that situation. These negative defense mechanisms only add to the harm we have already suffered.

Try the breathing exercise outlined above.

Open your eyes and really look at your surroundings. Remind yourself that you are in a safe place.

Picture the memory as being a film, of which you have control. Pan the camera back and let the screen fade to gray.

Try to take control of the memory - break a window to escape, imagine a weapon in your hand that you can use.

Remember that the flashback will pass and that the frequency of flashbacks will decrease and their power over you will lessen as your healing moves forward.

Talking with other survivors can help you feel less alone with the burden. It's reassuring to know that other people understand your symptoms. The most positive move I made in my healing was reaching out to other people in my position, through message boards and forums.

If you have methods of coping that have worked for you with panic attacks and/or flashbacks, I would love to here them, not only for myself but for others that might want to find help as well.

"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen, keep in the sunlight" ~ Benjamin Franklin

Kaz. (2008). Panic attacks. Retrieved from

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wake up and do something abou it.................

Sexual abuse of children is one of the highest rated crimes yet one of the least reported around the world. Every minute of every day, around the globe, children, primarily young girls are being victimized by sexual assault. The majority of these girls remain silent due to embarrassment, fear, guilt and even blame. They suffer greatly, alone, with psychological and behavioral issues. As adults, they carry with them the horrors of their past and are drastically hindered by their effects in every aspect of their lives. The silence of these victims not only affects them, but society as well. With another un-reported pedophile on the loose, the probability of that person striking again is almost inevitable. Our society needs to learn how to speak more openly on this issue so our children will not be so afraid to tell.
            Statistically, females are at a higher risk for sexual assault. The horrors of these statistics become apparent when we are forced to recognize that the groups with the highest incidence are young girls between the ages of 5-13. According to the organization RAINN (2009) in the United States alone, 1 in out of every 6 women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape by the time they reached 15 years of age. Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted, here in this country. Despite what most of us teach our children, 60% of all sexual crimes go unreported. Factoring in the unreported rapes, only about 6% of rapist will ever spend a day in jail (2009). The perpetrators, or monster as so many victims call them, are usually people the child and family know and trusts. The pedophile is bold, 50% of all incidents occur in the child’s home or the home a relative.
            The fact that most perpetrators are individuals that the child and family know is sometimes used as silence weapon. The perpetrator uses the innocence and submissiveness of the child to scare them into silence. Usually threatening to harm the family or denying it all together. Not only is there fear, but there is shame and embarrassment. Working with several individuals that have been abused, the common thread to shame is that they don’t want people to look at them as if they are damaged.  Some children do not tell because they feel guilty. The mind of a child is not yet developed properly to be faced with barbaric acts such as these. The primary factors that play a role in the silence of the child is self blame. Children feel that since they did not tell the first time, they are at fault for the atrocities bestowed on them.
            One can imagine the psychological and behavioral implications this will have on the psyche of a child. While some children show no sign of abuse, most become withdrawn and depressed.  Adults and children can both develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, the same thing most of us affiliate with the horrors of war. Regressive behaviors such as bed wetting and thumb sucking often occur. I believe this is the minds way trying to feel innocent again. Eating disorders develop 35% to 40% of the time in both women and children based on research done from the nonprofit organization After Silence (2007). This is the person’s way of acting out their rage or regaining control of their bodies.
            Abused girls usually grow up with low self esteem an isolate themselves from the dangerous world outside. As adults, women have difficulties setting boundaries and saying no to anything. Trust is shattered and everyone is suspect. Some women experience flashbacks when reminded of the incident. Anything from smell to a color can trigger a flashback.
Since there is a problem setting boundaries and having low self esteem, most of these girls grow up to be promiscuous. Added to all the other baggage, most women depend on drugs and alcohol to feel ok. This usually leads them right back into a path of abusive relationships with men and their environment.
Speaking about sexual crimes is uncomfortable enough, but speaking about it in reference to children is almost too terrifying to face. The numbers speak for themselves, we have a problem. The fact that laws against sexual assault are not stricter allows these criminals to walk proudly amongst us as outstanding citizens. People cannot turn a blind eye to this most relevant issue. Is it taboo? Yes, and it is this fear of the taboo that needs to be changed before we can try to beat this pandemic. Speaking openly about sexuality and setting boundaries with our children will instill in them the knowledge as well as the security to come to you if someone is hurting them.

Please join the fight and get the word around.  Sex offenders should not enjoy freedom. One Strike Rule for sex offenders.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Intimacy after Abuse......How?

Intimacy, what frightening word it can be for those of us who have suffered sexual abuse.  What we see in the movies never comes to fruition; always lurking in the background is that ever so present fear of a flashback, some insignificant insecurity reminding you that you are not perfect or just the lack of strength to go through with the act.  For many survivors, talking about this issue is very difficult.  It may seem that there is something wrong with you for feeling so afraid and ashamed.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Just as a an abused dog that cowers every time it’s master raises his hand even if the intention is not to hit the same for the survivor of abuse.  Sex is not fun; it takes a whole lot to make it a pleasurable experience.  What we can look forward to, is that as we heal from these traumas so will the strength of these “intimate attacks”. 
Why do people experience these kinds of symptoms?  If you are one of these people, know that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you.  When you are abused sexually, it is disfiguring the most vital part of us.  It is complete and utter treachery of trust and affection.  To be frank, it is a primal attack on an individual’s sexuality.
 There are 2 outcomes to this scenario; rarely do we find a person that has been sexually abused to find common ground.  One person might completely isolate themselves from having any sort of sexual activity in fear that they will show their vulnerability to the other person.  They may also feel extremely insecure and not want to fully commit to the act because they are ashamed of their bodies or that they will not be good enough.  Others on the other hand might indulge in having a lot of sex with several partners, more than what they did before the attack if relevant.  When your sexuality is stolen from you, it holds no bearing, it is not important anymore so who cares who you give it to.  Many people have more sex to try to regain some sort of control over what they lost.
After sexual abuse or sexual assault has taken place, it may take years for the real issues to surface.  For some though, it can happen right away.  For me, I had no idea there was a problem until I found myself in a relationship that is when everything began to rise to the surface.  It was almost like I was a volcano of emotions.  As soon as the words I love were spoken to me my doors closed and shut down.  Maybe it was because I actually felt safe and could finally let my guard down.  I didn’t love myself and having someone love me seemed impossible.
After digging deep within myself, research and talking to other survivors I have come up with a list of collective issues that stem up after sexual abuse or assault.  They are listed from most common to least expressed:
   1. Running away from sex/ afraid of it
   2. Sex is a chore rather than something enjoyable
   3. Anger, repulsion, distress, crying after a sexual encounter (touch or intercourse)
   4. Unable to reach orgasm, unable to feel aroused (primarily in women)
   5. Disconnected during sex/ thinking about everything else but the sex
   6. Flashbacks
Being able to identify what is bothering you is very important in the healing process.  I am still very angry that because of what these animals did to me, I am affected as an adult.  I have come to recognize what it is particularly that affects me the most and I am still working on these issues.  By no means is this something that is going to happen overnight but it will happen with hard work and commitment.  The abuse has caused survivors to look at sex in a negative light; our sub-conscience mind insists that all sex is bad sex, worthless, meaningless.  The mind is a very powerful thing.  We can change that frame of mind and begin to see sex as a beautiful thing, a fun thing, and an exciting adventure.
What we need to remember is that the effects the abuse is like a stain on our sexuality.  It is very hard to get rid of a stain but if we wash enough and have powerful enough detergents that stain will come off.  Sometimes stains don’t ever go away, but they become faded and that is ok too.  What is important is that we clean ourselves from this guilt and horror and learn to accept that sex, in its positive form is part of human nature.  Rock the boat and love it.
~The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states.
                                                                                                -Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Long Overdue

So it's been about 3 months since my last post.  In these 3 months I have gone through a whirl wind of emotions some good, some bad some neutral.  The difference this time is that no matter what hit me and how hard things came at me, I stood up faster than I ever even imagined I could.  I stared fear in the face and told it "bring it on, you can not make a sucker out of me anymore".  Guess what? It worked. I have never felt so empowered in my life.
It is easy to give others advice, to tell them how to live their lives in  way that would make for an easier existence. From the words of Lewis Carroll himself "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it".  Just like his book Alice's adventures in wonderland, I sometimes feel that I am in some sort of other dimension. I always allow the fear to resignate within me and that oh so pesky low self esteem chick to come around way too often. I have learned to hide them away. It is hard to do it, but once you figure it out you can't imagine living any other way.
In the past 3 month I have gone back to school, started intense counseling, published my very first e-book and I am currently working on a one strike law for sex offenders.  These are things I would have never done before. I decided to follow the advice I was giving everyone else.  Sure there are days when I don't want to get up, days where the world seems like it would do much better without me in it.  When that happens, I stop, take a moment and remember all the wonderful things I have accomplished in a very short amount of time.  I think about my daughter that loves me and I think of myself, and how much I have grown to love me.
My past has hurt me beyond what any word in a dictionary can ever define.  The shame I still feel, the anger and hostility it is all there, it is all a part of me.  I love myself now, I love every single pore on my body, I love every single hideous flaw and every beautiful attribute, I love me I love me I love me.  Without those horrific wounds, I would not be in the place that I am in right now.  I am struggling to make ends meet, but I am alive.  I am obsessed with my weight, but I have food in my refrigerator.  I am terrified by ever single sound, but I can hear.  I am petrified not knowing what tomorrow will bring, but I am entranced by the opportunities that await me.
Tonight, I want to thank all of the vile human beings that thought my life was worthless, that said I was nothing, that told me that I had no meaning.  Thank you for making me a voice for the others that have not found theirs yet, thank you for showing me how glorious the girl inside really is and most of all, thank you for showing me that I am a warrior I am a fighter and my blade will cut through your soul 20 times more than you cut through mine.

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it".
                                                                                        ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My own Self Perception: Relationships

So here we go again. This has been yet another journey. Having to set my ego aside and look at my faults straight in the face. I can't help but to feel a little deceived by my own Psyche. I have always felt I was the most perfect companion. Boy was I wrong. I am........a beautiful disaster. In retrospect, I can see how the sexual abuse as a child affected every single one of my adult relationships.
When we are born, we come into this world naked, vulnerable and innocent. Adults in our lives nurture us, feed us, clothes us. As we get older, we don't need these adults as much, but by no means does this signify that we are not shaped by their actions. It is that exact vulnerability and innocence that allows us to be so easily coerced and manipulated into abusive situations. In turn, what do we learn? Why does our sub-conscience mind tell us that it is OK to just "settle", to be made to feel undeserving and just sticking around when everyone around you as well as the healthy part of your brain are telling you to run as fast as you can?
Because of the abuse and lack of healthy adult interactions, as an adult, I have made the same mistake over and over again. Convenience? No way, more like, "I feel that I am not good enough for anyone so I will just settle with who ever pays me any kind of attention. Sounds like I have myself a huge conundrum. How can I just be with anyone, but I can not trust anyone? Makes no sense. The only logical explanation in my mind is that since I don't know any better, since I don't know healthy relationships, I am not even aware there is a problem until it is too late.
The same problem always arises in my relationships including now with my poor husband that is proving to me day by day that he too is struggling with my issues but is trying frantically to go out of his way to support me. I sat down one day and wrote down all the issues I had in all my relationships, even little 4 month high school relationships. Here is what I found. I am overly trusting in the beginning. Even if there are clear warning signs, I brush them aside. I am extremely jealous, not of the present, but of the past. The thought of someone being with someone more attractive, smarter, wealthier then me makes me lose my mind. I am constantly harassing asking "do I look fat? Do you think I am ugly" it is a pain in ass.  Why should I even care. Every relationship has had it fair share of lying, cheating, manipulation, violence. 
As a mother, I have to step out of my box and take a good look at my behavior. I don't want my daughter to be shaped by my actions or reactions to things around me. Why lie? Why stay with a compulsive liar? I lie to hype myself up. I am obviously not proud of who I am. Why stick around with a liar? Because I am to gullible to the deceit right under my nose until after the fact. Why cheat? Because the fact of knowing that I am desired by others is almost euphoric. Because I rather get you before you get me. I know it is going to happen, so I might as well be the first one to do it and beat you to the punch. Why stay with a cheater? Because no one will ever really love me so accepting what I already have seems to be logical. Because I don't give value or worth to myself to know that faithfulness and loyalty in a companion is what I deserve. Why stick around when I am getting beat in the face and humiliated? Because that is how it has always been and that is all I know. Sub-consciously I feel as if I deserve that treatment. Why am I violent? The rage inside is uncontrollable. Anger is part of who I am now, bitterness, coldness. It feels good to hit someone.
How shameful to acknowledge these things, yet so soothing to know that "old me is left behind". I am now learning how to show my affection. The good kind. I don't look away or get nervous when I say I love you. I am trying so hard not to freak out just to hold your hand. Every time something good comes along, I have no idea how to react so I push it away. Thank God for the one person that has chosen to stick around and accompany me on this wild ride of self discovery. I know one thing for sure. The demons of my past will have no power in my life anymore.  Being able o acknowledge these things is only the beginning. Feeling guilty for standing up for myself or using the excuse that I am afraid of being alone will not make its presence known in my mind anymore. I am strong. I know this because I would not be alive now if I weren't.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Own Self Perception: Self Esteem, Insecurities and how they affect my Adult Life.

Rape and sexual abuse have so many effects on a persons self esteem. In a world where we are judged daily, our insecurities as survivors are tried 10 fold. Any kind of abuse completely violates every part of us. Our body, minds and soul. It is so hard to fell worthy after your core is so battered. 
We feel horrible inside. There are no words to describe the fear, shame and worthlessness I feel sometimes. In turn this has drastically caused huge implications for me. In my next few posts, I intend on speaking, one by one on the aspects of my life that have been severely damaged by my abuse. 

Intimate Relationships:
Family  & Friends:
Professional Life:
Personal Life:

Although I know what is wrong, I just can not get myself to feel the right way. It is so hard to explain. Maybe in the coming days, with the help of my therapist, I might come to a conclusion on how to start feeling better about me. I just want that shinning star to come out and glow without the fear of burning out or just not being bright enough.
As I mentioned before, by no means am I at a point in my career to give out professional advice. I speak from the heart, my life is now an open book and I want to share my experiences to help myself and others but as well to find a correlation between my emotions and behaviors compared to other survivors.
My self esteem is shot. I know why, it is obvious right? Being told you are worthless all your life. Being made to feel like a fool, humiliation and vulgarity beginning at a young age. I know, I know, but why can't I control the way I feel. It is frightening  not to be able to control your own emotions. The only time I feel any sense of confidence is when I am really skinny, when I am told I am pretty over and over again, it is so annoying!
I want all eyes on me. Not because I have on a nice dress, but more so because I want to make sure everyone wants to see me out of that dress. I go out of my way to exude sexuality. Twisted right? Like if that is all that encompasses me. I feel like I have no worth if it isn't sexual in nature.
Every time I feel happy I am almost instantly brought back to my place of worthlessness. I don't ever feel I deserve anything good in my life. When something good does come along, I run away in fear of failing or getting hurt. The strong girl inside has no idea how to break out.
Work, I can't even get out of bed half the time to make it into the office on time. The thought of being alone in a parking lot terrifies me, or an office full men. How is that going to work out? I am scared yet I want to make sure they all want me? I feel like such a weirdo, a freak even delusional at times.
All of my intimate relationships have similar issues that stem from both partners. Cheating, lying, violence you name it. So this where I choose to begin in depth speaking about how my self esteem and insecurity have affected my relationships, even the relationship I have with my own husband today.
Thank you all for the support. Stay tuned ;-)

SPEAK OUT!!!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Silence......... Why?

I knew that by disclosing all of my very deep and dark past that there would be people that would turn a blind eye, people that would treat me differently or maybe even some that would believe a person like myself is capable of lying about such atrocities. This made me want to further explore why a majority of abuse victims stay silent in the fist place.

Did you know that rape and sexual assault are two of the least reported violent crimes in the US. Less than a third is reported. Why? What is it that make victims feels like they can not speak out. Most of us are taught by our parents about good touch bad touch, tell an adult if anyone touches you, yet we remain silent and alone. Not only children but all ages tend to stay quite about the abuse. I am not a Psychiatrist, I am not a Sex expert I can only speak from the perspective of a victim. I can explain why I kept these horrible secrets for so long. Which brings me to my first reason: SHAME
As a young child I do not recall feeling shameful of the events that took place. I didn't have words to describe really what had happened to me. But in my adolescence I become more and more ashamed. I felt used and dirty. I didn't want to tell any of my friends in fear that they would look at me differently and treat me bad. I was so embarrassed that the boys would find out I wasn't a virgin and I would become the talk of the town. I was ashamed that I had not told anybody and felt that it was too late. I was ashamed in thinking of the scandal that this could have caused in my family and in my neighborhood.
BLAME: Still to this day I look at myself and sometimes yell at my reflection "WHY DID YOU KEEP GOING BACK?" In certain instances I knew the abuse was coming and the only value I put on my body was a piece of chocolate. Maybe if I didn't wear such a short skirts or maybe if I wouldn't have tried to make myself look like an adult, maybe if I wouldn't have gotten drunk at parties this would have not happen. It is all my fault. Maybe there is something wrong with me that I keep being targeted every where I go. This tortures me. I know it is not my fault but the feeling is something I can not take away.
GUILT: Oh so lovely art thou..... Every moment of my life I feel guilty. There are some people that have abused me and I never knew their name, or just can't remember. Others are not even here on this planet anymore. I just recently read that the average number of children a child abuser victimises is 117! Add on the pounds of guilt. I could have said something and maybe others would have come forward putting these criminals away. I felt guilty because I knew that if I told my mom she would be so devastated. I didn't want her life to crumble to the ground, just the thought of that makes me feel guilty right now.....
The worst of my silence had to be and still is the FEAR: I was afraid that if I told, I would be taken away from my mother because she did not keep a watchful eye on me. I was afraid that if I told, my abusers family would suffer. I was afraid that if I put someone in jail, they would get out and kill me and my family. I was afraid people would say it was my fault and tell me that I liked it. I was afraid of getting in trouble for waiting too long to say anything at all. I was most afraid of people not believing me. Several of my perpetrators where people that we are taught to trust, like a fireman or a Correctional Officer!
These are the people our parents tell us to run to for help if there is something wrong. What do we do when it is those trustworthy citizens that slice our  young undeveloped minds in half? Would you have believed me if I told you a Fireman raped me? Savagely? 
Now that I have become ready to disclose the truth, those emotions are all still there. The difference now is that I have a child to protect. We need to speak out, we need to make this subject not a taboo. This is the highest volume crime in America! We need to implement special courses in school to explain to the children that it is not their fault. Teach them so just in case something does happen, they will be well aware that their is nothing to be scared of, nothing to blame themselves for and nothing to feel guilty about.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Everything Happens for a Reason

Funny how things always come into place when you believe whole heartily in your inner voice. Whatever you may call that, your conscience, God, instinct, we all have it in us if we just take a moment to stop and listen. As I began this journey less than 2 weeks ago I was unsure of every single move I made. Was I saying too much? Was I saying to little? As the days went on and the support grew stronger, I realised that I had done the right thing. Not only for myself but for my immediate family and friends. I have always been the funny girl always making jokes. Underneath those jokes was a broken spirit a damaged soul that I never thought could be healed. Part of me was missing. I grew tired of not allowing the world to know how much more to me there is.
I began looking for references to place on my blog. I checked several sites and a few stood out. I even joined some online communities myself. I then came across a Non Profit Org. near to where I lived called . I added it to this blog and continued on with me day. For some reason I thought about that site all day long and decided to click on it right from my own blog. I called the number and the next day I went to my very first Childhood Sexual Abuse support group.
Tonight I felt so much fear in telling my story, writing it all down is much easier. Having to confront the shame and embarrassment was eating me up. although we all share similar experiences I still felt scared and uneasy.
While I sat there and listened to the others stories, I began to realize that we all have a face. It is not just one kind of person that suffers or a "type" we are all vulnerable to be subjected to man's inhumanity to man. If I had not created this blog, I would have never found this group. A place where I felt so liberated and not judged. A place of hope for me. In just one session with a group of survivors the vision I had for my future is brighter than I could have ever imagined it being.
If there is anyone out there reading this, do not be afraid, you are not alone, your story needs to be told. The world deserves to have you back 100%. Thank you everyone tonight for making these first steps so much easier!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Born to be Broken. But NEVER defeated! INTRO

It's been about a week now since my first entry. By no means have things gotten any easier for me, but my heart feels alive again. Something I lost as a child. I never thought I would come to a point in my life where I was ready to talk about all of this. But here I am, vulnerable, yet not ashamed, Scared, yet filled with a fire that will not allow me to be defeated. I am stronger than I thought. We all are. It is part of our genetic makeup. Fight or Flight. I was flying for 24 years but not anymore. I am master of this ring, knocking out anything that gets in the way of me healing.
In my entry "The fear has subsided" I was initially going to talk about how I felt revealing my story for the first time. I found myself then talking about the first time I was ever abused. As horrific as it may seem, two separate individuals getting their slimy tentacles on me in one day. I want to tell the rest. There is so much more, 14 years worth of crime. I have a voice, IT WILL BE HEARD!
So in the coming days, weeks, or however long it takes me to open up completely I am going to start a little "Mini Blog Series" Don't know how many episodes there will be, but I will finish. I can not reiterate this enough "I AM NOT AFRAID ANYMORE". My pain will not be in vain.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Statistics and Effects of Sexaual Abuse

We live in a society that holds Sex, in any form as a taboo. What do we get in return for holding such taboos? A world that tries to sweep these issues under the rug. A friend commented to me today that sexual abuse happens more often than we think we are just to afraid to talk about it. This made me want to look at statistics and the effects the abuse has caused to the victims in their adult life.
I wanted to continue my story, there is so much more to tell, but I wanted to let others that don't know the facts, the numbers what is really gong on in the world we live in . Also some of the horrible effects that have certainly hindered my life as an adolescent as well as n adult.
Did you know that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in the US alone? What does that mean? It means that the probability of you or someone you know has been victimized. The numbers are unimaginable. According to
every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted! It is so frightening to live in a world where others know no boundaries, that humans can be so undignified as to rip a persons heart right out of their chest and just watch it beat in their hands.
75% of victims know the person that assaulted them. Trust is shattered after that. You can never look at another human being the same way again. What do us victims get to look forward to? Being 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 6 times more likely to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and 13 times more likely to become and alcoholic. Wow! Thanks a lot. So these devils that did this give us a little parting gift, a bag full of other demons to deal with.
Their are so many things that can happen to a person after they have been abused. We all deal in our own way. I have met people that have just been able to move past it as if it never happend. I wish I was as strong. I am getting there. There is not one day of my life that I do not wake up and think about what has happened to me. There is not one moment that I do not feel afraid. I am always on the look out, always checking doors and windows. For a long time I would never even walk down the street by myself. I was to afraid. My life has been drastically altered because of the abuse I have suffered in the hands of twisted souls, that probably don't think twice about the damage they have caused.
Again, there are several reactions to being Raped/molested, I will talk about the things that have effected me the most. The biggest issue I have is guilt. I blame myself still for the abuse that took place over and over again by my neighbor. I knew what he was going to do to me, but I continued to go over there because I liked chocolate. It was that simple. I know I was a child, but how stupid could I be? Did I subconsciously like what he was doing? These things make me feel like such a loser, almost like I brought it upon myself. It is only now that I am feeling brave enough to tell my story. Up until now I walked in shame, hoping no one would ever find out about my past. In fear that people would look at me differently. I don't care anymore. I am healing, I am moving forward and I am not going to be ashamed anymore. This is a long process and I am not going to hide in the face of fear, I will confront it!
I have never trusted anyone. Every relationship I have ever had has always been abusive, verbally or physically. My self esteem is -20. Not feeling that I am worth anything I allow my life to be dominated by negativity and fear, that is all I have ever known. I am scared to be abandoned. I rather suffer than be alone. I can't express myself in the way others can. The only person I feel 100% secure in showing all my affection to is to my daughter. Others in my life including my husband are ostracized by my fears.
Trying to cope with the abuse is hard. Some of us drink, do drugs, thankfully I did not go that route. Others become promiscuous, or always looking for attention from men. Makes me feel like I have control of them for a while.
Another issue I have that effects me the most are the ever so annoying flashbacks. They can happen at anytime, sometimes I don't even need a trigger. Most of the time it happens during sex, I might feel a little insecure about my body and how it is not to "standard" and I will begin to feel strange and dizzy, and bam! There I am laying on a cold bathroom floor, I can even smell the mildew from the musky bathroom floor. I hate that. It makes me feel so ashamed and embarrassed when I snap out of it. I feel like I can never win sometimes.
On top of all that, I have somatic body memories, I tell Dr's and they tell me "it is anxiety or you need to rest, It is in your head, you are worry wart" NO that is not it. It took a Psychiatrist I once had to tell me that these symptoms, which include Migraines, insomnia, hot flashes, dizziness and constantly being light headed is a way that my body tries to cope with the trauma. Always angry and mad with no explanation. "Oh she is hormonal". Post traumatic Stress Disorder they call it. You know the same thing that some soldiers get after being exposed to the horrors of war. The horrors in my heart are equally as strong.
I hope that by me telling my story I am giving a voice to someone that can't speak yet. Do not be afraid. But please do not hide. Don't wait your whole life to try to fix yourself. Do it now. Don't let them take your life away. We are worth every single breath we take. We would have not been placed on this earth if we were not.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The fear has subsided

Since my first post last week, I have been pacing around this house like a silent ghost. Some days I felt proud about my decision, other days I just wanted to curl into a ball and hide. But hiding is what I have been doing practically my whole life. I don't want to hide anymore and that was the whole purpose of me creating this blog. If I hide that means they win. I won't allow that, EVER AGAIN..
So I will resume my story where I left off. Lets see how far I can go this time...
My memory is vague at this point. I am 4-5 years old, I don't speak English and the only friend I had made was a little Mexican girl a few houses down from the house I was living at. She spoke Spanish and I spoke Portuguese, we somehow managed to communicate. I remember her always combing my hair and telling me I was her best friend. My mother did not leave me out of her sight, so I snuck out the side gate to go see my friend.
I remember walking to her house and another neighbor called me over. He was a nice man. I remember my mom trying to communicate with him before. I knew he was a good old man. He offered me a Snickers bar and gave me a potted plant. I did not know how to thank him so I gave him a hug and split the snickers with him. I continued to walk to my friends house. When I got there, her father answered the door and told me that "M" was not there but I could come in and wait for her. I sat on the couch and was watching the Little blue people cartoon. Her dad then says "you like the smurfs?" I didn't know what smurfs were, I assumed he was talking about the potted plant I had in my hand. I walked over to him and handed him the plant, what was I going to do with it anyways. "M" was taking too long and I knew I was going to get in trouble so I wanted to leave.
I just stood in front of him after handing him the pot and gave him a hug and turned around. I guess this was his que that I was "Interested". He began to fondle me and say all kinds of things to me in Spanish. I was so scared I didn't know what to do. I don't remember how I got out of the house, but I remember running down he street As I ran I began to notice that there were no trees on that street. I wish there was a tree for me to hide in. I saw some birds and remember thinking in my head "if God could only turn me into a bird I could fly home faster".
As I ran, I heard the other neighbor call my name. I was relieved to see him. He noticed that I was scared and said things to me that to this day I can not remember or translate, I don't know. From there I was pointing to the house where "M" lived and I was making gestures with my hands showing him what her father had done to me. Again, I guess this was his que that I was interested in him. This time, it was not just fondling, He forced himself on me. All I remember was the pain I felt. He stuck his dirty under ware in my mouth to keep me quite.
I couldn't even try to fight anymore. He was huge and the smell of fried anything reminds me of that day. when he was done taking my life away. He smiled and gave me another snickers bar. He looked at me and said in a horrible accent "Manda un beso a tu mama" (Send a kiss to your mother for me.)
This happened 2 times, with 2 random people in the matter of 45 minutes to an hour. I assumed this must be the way they say hello in America. I never questioned it, I never spoke of it and believed that what had happened was ok. I continued going to "M's" house almost everyday after that. Her father never touched me again. But I wish I could say the same for the other man, if I can even call him that. In retrospect, I think he gave me flowers and chocolate to keep me quite, to make me feel like he was my friend. My whole life I struggled about this. "Why the hell did I keep going there?" I hated what was happening but I never stopped going. "WHY?"
My parents and I moved out of that house and into our own place in Azuza, right next door to a high school. I still remember the address, 333 Rockefellar Dr.I felt safe and was ready to put that stuff behind me. Little did I know that things from this point on were only going to get worse. Horrifying is a better description....Ok No more. The anxiety is way too much for me to handle now...
As I am writing this, I am feeling a great deal of relief. Allowing the world to know my secret is allowing me to prove to myself that I am no longer ashamed and that I am here to take a stand. I am here to scream in the faces of these pedophiles, these animals,that I AM ALIVE! I AM HERE! YOU DID NOT DESTROY ME! YOU MADE ME A WARRIOR!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Going public, My first entry

Not so sure how to start this, or even how far this will go.... Not sure if I will keep the details to myself, or maybe by letting every single grotesque detail out the pain in my heart will be released. My intention for this blog is not for a pity party, but more of a healing process for me. I have walked in shame for too long and I refuse to allow that to happen to me anymore and I am regaining my power that was stolen from me.
I have seen a few Psychiatrists and the best advice given to me was "Let it out". So here I am, about to expose the most inner secrets that I have. There is only a handful of people that already know about my life, but even they do not know the extent of the abuse and how it has affected me as an adult. I know I am not alone, but some days I feel that there is no one that has suffered like me, I cry, I scream, I get angry, I have to take medication to smile, I have anxiety attacks, I am afraid to be home alone, I do not trust anyone. My motto has always been "Get HIM before HE gets you".
I am taking a big step in allowing the world to know what has happen to me. I know I will lose many Friends and I am OK with that. I know that some people will turn a blind eye and I am OK with that too. I just hope that maybe one person out there can find solice in my story and know that there is a way out of this shame. This is not our fault. It took me my whole life to come to this conclusion "There is a master plan behind everything" so if my suffering will lead to healing in others,bringing more awareness to the matter, and finding peace of mind, then my path is complete.
The first time my soul was tattered I was 4 or 5 years old, about 3 month after I had arrived to the United States. I think this is where I will stop for now. Gather some more strength and remember that My heart only beats for one person, My daughter and I want to be the best mom in the world. I am doing this for her....