- Katie Aspin
It's Been 14 Years - Why I'm Just Now Facing My Abuse
14 years ago when I was 18, I admitted out loud for the first time that I had been sexually molested as a child and it was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do. As I was growing up, I may have been a bit naive but I truly thought that once the abuse stopped, everything would just go away and I'd be able to heal on my own without having to tell anyone about what I went through. Turns out, I was completely wrong but after staying quiet for so many years, I just felt so alone and like I didn't know where to turn.
I understand now that there are so many people willing to help and encouraging victims to come forward whether it be parents, grandparents, teachers, friends and therapists just to name a few but when I started being abused at six years old, I didn't even realize that anything he was doing was wrong. Plus, let me ask you this - how does one even bring up sexual abuse in an everyday conversation? Like how do you even tell someone that you were sexually abused? I mean to be completely honest, even when I was 18 years old on that fateful day before my senior prom, I had absolutely no intention of telling my mom anything but after a few things were said during a conversation we were having, I just couldn't hold it in anymore and I lost it.
So while I initially came forward in 2005 (roughly 5-6 years after the abuse stopped) and while my abuser went to prison in 2006 for what he did to me, I truly didn't start facing my past until a couple years ago when I made the decision to finally see a psychologist. Talking to a therapist is an incredibly raw and emotional experience but once I met the right one for me, I found it to be incredibly helpful, which was honestly a strange feeling because it has always been incredibly hard for me to open up to people. So what made me decide to finally share my story and face what I went through as a child? There are a few reasons and they are explained below.
1.) I am tired of putting on a front and acting as if I'm okay all of the time when in reality, there are times that I am struggling on the inside. I want it to be okay to not be okay all of the time. I never wanted to share my story to receive pity from others; I simply just want others to understand why I am the way that I am - why I sometimes have bad days, why I sometimes find it hard to do simple tasks and why I sometimes find it difficult to go on dates, be around men in general, get close to others and trust people - and not get mad at me for it.
2.) I am tired of letting my abuser win and have control over me. At times, I feel like I am the puppet and he is the one moving the strings. It is taking time to regain the control I once had but coming forward lets him (and myself) see that I am no longer willing to stay quiet and no longer scared to admit what he did to me.
3.) I am ready to just let all of the emotions I have been holding in for some many years out because I have been so angry with my abuser, one of his relatives and myself for so long and it is exhausting. One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog is because I wanted to have an outlet to get my feelings out. I tried writing in a journal on numerous occasions but after a while, the idea of talking to no one wasn't really helping. Dealing with the physical aspect of being sexually molested is obviously horrible and one of the worst things someone can go through but the mental aspect of it is almost worse because it's always going to be there when I wake up in the morning and it's never going to go away, no matter how much I wish it would.
4.) I wanted to share my story in hopes of encouraging others to come forward. According to Darkness 2 Light, 1 in 10 children are sexually abused by the time they turn 18 and 60 percent of those will never tell a soul. I mean, 60 percent. Can you believe that? That is just heartbreaking. It took me 12 years to come forward and it makes me angry because as victims, we are brainwashed by our abuser in one way or another and the longer we stay quiet, the longer we allow our abusers to keep hurting and abusing others.
I know that just because I am finally ready to face my past, I am not going to automatically be fixed. There is still a lot of anger that I am working through and there are certainly still going to be bad days ahead. However, I finally feel like there may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and I hope to keep moving towards it.