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!