Sometimes our posts can act like triggers to other bloggers. If you are already on a “therapeutic pathway”, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. A fellow-blogger friend, Rising Song, has been grappling with something she read on my blog. A word she used today acted like a trigger for something that is at the back of my own mind.
The word is “Accomplice”. Rising Song and I seem to be on very similar journey’s, but I’ll let you read her experiences for yourself.
When we are children experiencing sexual abuse, there is silence. As grown adults, it is easy to question why we never did tell someone. However, a child’s perception of the situation is confused – we can either believe it happens to every other child, or fear that no one will believe us, anyway. Of course, a very cunning abuser reinforces all these self-doubts during his grooming tactics.
If the sexual abuse continues into our adolescence, many of us start to feel partially responsible. It is almost as if we become accomplices to our own abuse.
I grew up believing that I had not been a victim of sexual abuse. It is difficult to remember exactly what I did think beyond considering myself an accomplice to “sexual games”.
The abuse always happened with a neighbour and also involved my childhood friend, Stewart. He was 3 years older. It all ended three years later, when I was 8 and Stewart, 11. We both moved house and that was the last we would meet for another 18 years.
Many years later, I found myself talking about my experiences to a Social Worker friend who worked in Child Protection. She looked at me with some confusion and made a statement that was more a question
“But, you do know that what you went through IS sexual abuse”?
It took weeks and many more conversations before I could actually say, “I was sexually abused”.
As if by some weird coincidence, within weeks, I bumped into my childhood friend, Stewart. We had not seen each other for 18 years but still recognised our eyes and smile. At one time, we were like brothers.
We went for a drink and I decide to broach the subject about our sexual abuse. Nothing could have prepared me for Stewart’s traumatic and haunting memories of exactly the same situation.
Turns out, those experiences had been a source of great trauma for Stewart throughout his entire life. He was now a recovering alcoholic and blamed the sexual abuse for a large part of his drinking.
We shared the things we remembered the most. Each memory could have been mistaken for being entirely different experiences.
His shame was much greater than mine was. Before we parted, he asked me to promise him one thing. For some reason, those words and the look in his eyes will haunt me forever.
It took a few more years and some soul-searching to realise the detrimental effect this sexual abuse had on my own innocent life, but that is for another post…