Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma

I would like to welcome everyone to this blog for healing from sexual abuse and trauma.  Please remember that no matter what you have been through, and no matter where you are now, you can still heal and have in incredibly wonderful life.  I too, am a survivor of sexual abuse and trauma, who at one point in my life had no specific memories of the abuse but the symptoms of my life showed signs that something was terribly wrong.  I was constantly running away from everyone, the only place that I found solace was to travel.  That way I could meet people and leave before they could get to know me too much, I was scared that to know me was to hate me.

Then finally, after so many unexplainable pieces of my memories of the abuse had come to me, that I refused to belief, the very last piece came to me.  This helped me to believe myself.  I was listening to an audio recording where other survivors spoke about their experiences being abused by their parents and at that moment, I realized that I was not crazy thinking that my father had sexually abused me because he had.  I took my father out to lunch and confronted him about the abuse.  He never directly admitted it but instead said that the household help had done things to him and he thinks that his mother did things to him as well.  (His mother, my grandmother used to kiss me in such an awful way, that at the age of six years old, I had to tell my grandma, “no kisses, only hugs”.  It was that bad.)

My father then said that he did not want to talk about it, and offered me a new car.

Since that date many other memories and incidents from my childhood began to make sense for me.  Although I had forgotten the abuse, I had never forgotten the incidents that surrounded the abuse.  Such as why I had symptoms of PTSD including the startle response, which I displayed when someone walked into a room and I was concentrating on something else, I would frequently jump, startled.  I rarely do that now.  It also answered the question why so many people in high school and college mentioned that I acted like I had been molested and why I was misdiagnosed with proctitis around the age of 9 years old.

As I have gotten my memories back and allowed my body to detox from the trauma of sexual abuse, my life has gotten so much better.  I have less drama in my life (except onstage, I am an actress) and that gives me more time to do things that I love and enjoy them.  Before I got my memories back, I may be doing something that I loved such as hiking but would be thinking of the drama in my life or problem of the day, so I was not loving what I was doing.  I get my needs met from a more grounded place rather than by being a victim (playing needy) and it feels so much more dignified and takes much less energy.  If I don’t have tons of money, I realize it will come rather than freaking out and I know that the size of my bank account has nothing to do with who I am or how awesome my day will be. And as I heal my finances are getting better as well.

I am grateful to be healing and grateful to have regained my joy.

Please feel free to post your experiences in the comment box at the bottom of this page. Sometimes it may take a while to get your comment approved.

  • Please DO NOT include any sexual details about the abuse.
  • Please DO NOT include any sexual details at all.
  • Feel free to write “…” when excluding those details.  Thanks so much.

928 thoughts on “Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma

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  1. Hello,

    I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety from a young age, as well as other behavioral issues. My earliest memories of this are from when I was 7 or 8. I’ve spent a lot of time in my head trying to understand why I feel the way I do. Some things I do make me believe that I was sexually abused or neglected, but I don’t have many memories. I don’t remember a lot from my childhood.
    In the last two years I’ve experienced sexual abuse in two different instances with strangers. Though I don’t believe it was my fault, I do think that I was unconsciously throwing myself into situations that were questionable and not caring what happened because of my past that I don’t understand.
    I’ve been having nightmares every night for about 9 months now and medication isn’t helping. I need to try something different. I want to understand. I feel inside of me that something is wrong.

    Asking for advice

    1. Hi Abby,

      A sign of possible childhood sexual abuse is not remembering a lot of things from childhood as well as depression and anxiety can also be a sign.

      Frequently people who have been abused unconsciously put themselves in risky situations, so you are not alone. I do not think medication will really help nightmares but finding a great therapist who has the tools to help you to heal from the past can. I am not hugely into medication for depression or anxiety. But if you choose to go off the medication it must be done very slowly and knowing that as you are detoxing from the medication, the depression and anxiety may or may not get worse during this time but it is like detoxing from alcohol, the feelings can be a side effect of detox but it still can be the healthiest thing to do. It is recommended to have a supportive doctor to oversee the detox.

      It could be really helpful to find a great therapist, one who believes that you can fully heal and also supports you in getting off of the medication, if that is what you want to do. I think it can be easier to remember your forgotten past if you are not medicated.

      I also did not have my memories for years but felt inside that something was wrong, for me remembering parts of my past and that I was abused as a child has been very healing and also made so much of my life make sense.

      Keep searching for a helpful and healthy therapist until you find one. Don’t give up, it could take a while or no time at all depending but the right therapist can be really helpful. (Unfortunately there are many bad therapists so do not get discouraged, just keep looking.)

      Know that you can heal and remember what you need to remember to heal.

      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates help show other survivors that things can get better.

      1. Amy,
        Thank you for your response. I do believe a therapist would help. I’ve seen a few in the past that have not been a good fit, but your encouragement helps me want to keep looking.
        Thank you.

        -Abby

  2. It started when I was 6 years old and end when I was 10 years old
    I was sexually abused by my brother and sister I told my parents about my bother but they don’t know about my sister she was blackmailing me so I was scared of her and then my Dad told him to leave he left for a couple days and he was back and they never touch me again thank God.
    And now I talk about it with my dad he shuts me off real quick for my mom say like making a pity party for myself I told her a pity party that’s the response I get from my mother but they don’t even know what really happened to me and then I got married and I told my husband he confronted my brother to never talk to me ever again and I haven’t talk to my sister like in two years my husband‘s been helping me through this am very grateful and thank God that he came in my life and he’s my support system but I don’t know how to tell my parents the truth everything like I need help with that too

    1. Hi Maria,
      I am sorry to hear that all happened to you. Your brother and sister had no right to do that to you. Nor did your “dad” have any right to shut you off. I use quotes because a real dad would be horrified and want to protect you from the abuse. Nor did your “mom” have any right to call it a pity party for yourself when you were reaching out for help. A real mom would have also been horrified that happened to you. Real parents also would have questioned what happened to your sister and brother that would make them act out sexual assault.

      It is awesome that you seem to have a real husband who cares about you and loves you. That is so important. Even that he confronted your brother about the abuse which is what real family should do. I would continue to work on your healing and growing your relationship with your husband.

      If it were me I would, rather than try and tell my “parents” what happened, I would cut then out of my life. They seem to like to side with perpetrators and sound like toxic people. Even if you have great memories of them, with important things like keeping their children safe, they were not parents. If you need more help with self-parenting I recommend reading my article https://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/

      You can heal from the abuse if you keep working on it and a truly loving relationship can also be very healing.
      Feel free to write back with any questions or updates. Updates help other survivors realize that they can heal.

      1. Thank you for hearing my past and giving me good advice I really appreciate it and I’m very grateful there’s a blog that I can see other peoples stories and what they went through it helps me a lot and feel like I’m not the only one out there I feel relieved that I could still tell you and others can see my story to it feels good when you let it out.

  3. Amy, your approach is admirable. You are speaking the real truth about sexual abuse. There are victims, and then there are all the people around the victims who might not have been abused themselves but they were certainly groomed or tricked by the abusers Without those people accepting that as well as believing and supporting the victims, there’s little inroads to be made.

    I was sexually abused by my father who is now dead, I don’t have a lot of memories but I experience the results every day. My mother believes and accepts my father/ her husband abused her children, yet she still has his pictures up…

    1. Hi Diana,
      Thank you for appreciating what I am doing on my blog. I am very sorry to hear about your experience, it must be very difficult to see that your mother has kept up a picture of the person who abused you. Have you ever told how it makes you feel to see a person who raped you, their picture on her wall? If her answer is dismissive of your feelings that it says a lot about who she is and if she really was a mother to you. A real mom protects her children from abuse. If she knew about the abuse and did not stop it then she was not a real mom. But if you confront her about the picture (and she did not know at the time you and your siblings were being abused) and she feels horrible and takes it down and asks what she can do to make amends, then there is hope that she may be a real mother.

      If you need support you can try reaching out to 1800 737 732 a 24/7 hotline but if they are not helpful or minimize what you are going through, hang up and try again. If they are continually not helpful, try looking for other support. You should always feel heard and like you are being treated like an equal when you reach out for help.

      Feel free to email back with any updates or questions. Updates give other survivors a feeling that healing is possible.

  4. I was abused by my father when I was younger. I’m still to this day trying to figure out how to forgive him if I should forgive him. I have been dealing with depression anxiety PTSD and bpd and have been in and out of hospitals for years now becuse of it. And sometimes I just wonder if I forgive him will all the pain go away?well I have tried letting him be in my life again just through talking over social media and every time i talk to him I get so upset and angry and my depression comes back to were I dont even want to get out of bed. I do blame myself for it alot of the times and I’m trying to figure a way to keep myself from blaming myself all the time.. I ended up telling my family about it and everyone of my family members on his side have shut me out act like I do not even exist. It’s hard going every day with out having any family and that’s were alot of the times I want to forgive him so I can have a father a family but I know it’s not going to be the family/father I want in my life. But I know I don’t want to carry all this anger and hate anymore. I dont want to have to re live it every time I look or even talk to him. I just want peace with him and idk if that will ever happen idk if I can ever forgive him.

    1. Hi Kressa,
      I’m sorry to hear that happened to you, none of that is okay. Real dads never abuse their children. A real dad would have been outraged if that happened to his child. A real family would have believed you. Your dad and your entire family are very unhealthy. And the best thing you can do to heal is not to be around any of them and entirely cut them out of your life. Unconsciously I think you know that, which is why you get really depressed when you talk to your dad.

      Trying to forgive a perpetrator in order to heal never works. Your healing then becomes about the perpetrator instead of about you, the victim, the survivor who needs to heal. Some therapist will tell you to forgive but it doesn’t work. And everyone wants a healthy family. But being around a family that doesn’t talk to you because you’ve been abused by a family member can do so much more harm than being healing. It’s time for you to be compassionate to you. For yourself. The only thing you could be around your entire family, is fake, because they are a fake family. Imagine if a friend of yours came up to you and said I want to forgive my dad who raped me so I can be around my family who supports that rape or abuse. The most compassionate thing you could say to that friend is you don’t need to forgive him you need to be compassionate to yourself. You need to listen to what your inner child inside wants. You need to be your own mother and your own dad and really nurture yourself.

      It could be helpful to find a therapist who doesn’t think you need to forgive the perpetrators (I am including your family in perpetrators because it is a perpetrator like thing to support an abuser, it is very cruel to you). A therapist who can help you to detox from the trauma that you went through and help you to learn to nurture yourself. Not a therapist who thinks you have chemical imbalance because of the abuse or for any reason but a therapist who sees that you had need to detox from all of the abuse.

      You can try reaching out to the 24/7 RAINN hotline at 800-656-HOPE. But if you’re ever talking to a person on the hotline who feels you need to just forgive or be around your abusive family or tries to blame you or will tell you what you need to do rather than helping you to listen to what you need to do, feel free to hang up and try again or try another hotline. Same thing if you’re interviewing therapist you want one who believes you can heal and help you to detox from the trauma and not try to put you on to drugs are herbs or anything like that or tell you to forgive and forget, or even tell you that you need to be around your abusive family. But who helps you with the tools inside of you to heal.

      You might also want to read my post “Do I Need To Forgive to Heal?” at https://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/do-i-need-to-forgive-to-heal-from-abuse/ and “Surviving Mother’s Day and the Holidays at https://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ which has ideas on how to be a nurturing parent for yourself.

      Feel free to reach out with any questions comments are updates. Updates help other survivors to realize that they can heal to.

  5. I’m a victim of sexual assault by my father. The memories were repressed for so long and I have accepted what I went through. I never confronted my father and he is now on his death bed. I have so many mixed emotions how could the man who taught me to ride a bike be the same person to violate my trust. I need direction on how to handle the situation. I feel my family is upset with me for not being by his side but I can’t find any reason I should be there. I feel he deserves to know why I am so hurt but he knows he’s an alcoholic.

    1. Hi Virginia,

      I am sorry to hear what happened to you that is not ok. It is a great decision to not be by his deathbed, it is not your job to be there for him. If you want to confront him before he dies, that is a choice. If that is something you want to do, I would try to have real friends who are horrified by what he did to you and support you 100% who come with you, to support you, if you have friends like that. Just because he is dying does not make him become a real father to you. Real fathers never sexually assault their children. So, yes there can be great memories of learning to ride a bike but behind that mask of a nice father was a person just waiting for the right time to sexually assault you. If he does not know that sexually assaulting his daughter hurt her, then what kind of person is he really? A very very sick person. Being an alcoholic is no excuse to sexually assault anyone. There are tone of alcoholics and even drug addicts that never have sexually assaulted anyone. Being an alcoholic is no excuse. There is no excuse for sexually assaulting anyone. And if your family knew about the abuse and covered it up, or felt you should forgive and forget, then they are very sick people also. People you might want to distance yourself from also.

      It is not your job to be by your father’s deathbed because real fathers do not abuse their children. Real fathers protect their children from abuse. And real families stand by the victim and help the victim to heal.

      It could also be very helpful to get support in healing from the abuse. The hotline may also be able to help you in this situation. You can try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline that is suppose to connect with your local rape crisis hotline. Or look for a great therapist. If you ever feel like the person you are speaking with is not helpful, you can always hang up and try calling the hotline later (volunteers who answer change shifts) or in you are in someone’s office you can leave. How you choose to heal, is always your choice and no therapist should ever try and take that away from you. Unfortunately, there can be unhealthy people (even people who support perpetrators) who work at hotlines and as therapist, so keep listening to how you feel. Stay away from people who tell you things like “forgive and forget”, “how do you know it really happened?’ or try to have you spend time with perpetrators or people who support perpetrators even if they are your family. Keep looking for great help until you find it.

      Feel free to write back with any updates, questions or comments.

  6. Hi Amy,
    your story is so clear and honest it is very powerful and heartfelt…
    please don’t hesitate to contact me when you think i can be of help to anyone who reaches out on you site for support …
    and thank you for your site i know it is very important to many survivors.
    Joseph

  7. I was abused by a friends mother when i was jr high school and would stay the weekends with them. She was going through a divorce and must of thought i was her emotional support. I actually didn’t have any feelings when they moved away. But afterwards is when it really hit me. I went from jail time in my late teens for drug abuse to being a father at the age of twenty. Becoming a parent and having my wife beside me helped heal the wounds.But the scars are still there,

    1. Hi David,

      Know that you are not alone. There are many boys and girls who have been sexually assaulted by women. What she did was not okay.

      I’m glad to hear that you have a supportive wife and you can heal, so that the scars are not effecting your everyday life.

      Here is a website called https://1in6.org/get-information/myths/ the 1 in 6 stands for 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach 18. It has some helpful resources. There is also http://www.malesurvivor.org/ that has online support chat rooms and times when other male survivors meet online to support each other. They also have in person workshops. I have heard that other survivors have found them very helpful but you always need to listen to yourself and see if it is helpful for you. What helps some survivor does not always help other survivors.

      Also there is the RAINN hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE which is a 24/7 hotline that should connect you with a local rape crisis center. If you are ever reaching out for help and the help is not helpful or even mean and vindictive (some very sick women want to claim being a victim of sexual assault only belongs to females and unfortunately some may work at some hotlines) or even a well meaning person who is not being helpful, hang up and try again later. The volunteers who answer the hotline always change shifts. And if you ever do get a mean person, you can feel free to report them to the hotline or not. But just because one person is not helpful does not mean that there are not others who are helpful. Keep reaching out until you get the help that you need to heal the scars.

      You can also try googling around to find a therapist who can help you to heal the scars, so that they no longer interfere with you living a great life. Though if your local rape crisis center is helpful, they may have free counseling as well.

      It is awesome that being a parent and having a wife has helped you to heal. Support is so important.

      It is normal that you did not have any feelings when they moved away, the person who abused you, moved. It can happen that when an abuser moves away or dies, that is when survivors feel safe enough to feel the effects of the abuse or even remember repressed memories of abuse. Wanting to numb it with drugs is something many survivors do. An important thought to remember taken from https://1in6.org/get-information/myths/ : “Girls and women can sexually abuse boys. The boys are not “lucky,” but exploited and harmed.” Here is an article that shows that you are not alone: “The Understudied Female Sexual Predator:
      According to new research, sexual victimization by women is more common than gender stereotypes would suggest.” athttps://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/11/the-understudied-female-sexual-predator/503492/

      If you take the action, you can heal the scars that affect your every day life and have an awesome life. It may take a while but it does not have to take a lifetime. Please feel free to write back with any thoughts, questions or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

      1. Hi David,

        I’m really glad you reached out for support because you deserve to heal from the sexual abuse you received as a kid and I think that’s one of the facts that our culture ignores and the pressures boys and men feel. The general attitude is “Man you scored and with an older woman how cool is that.!” But it wasn’t cool because you were just a young kid just growing into your sexuality and to be emotionally and physically forced to be sexual with an older woman was overwhelming and probably scary too.

        I am a survivor too and part of my abuse when i was a kid also involving an older woman. Amy’s advice is very helpful and i know first hand about http://www.malesurvivor.org. i have been a member there for quite a few years and have been involved with the “healing circle”. I think you would find it a very supportive place…on most wed and sun evenings at 9 est the group meets in a private room and you can really “talk” about any issue you may be dealing with…the man who runs it is really one of the kindest and knowledgeable people around and the group is usually about 8 to 10 guys all of whom have dealt with their own childhood abuse ..you are not obligated to talk …you can just come and listen and maybe help another person with their own survivor issues…everyone has their own “handle” so it’s a very private and safe place to reach out to other guys who have been through some really hard times too.

        David we both know that your abuse has had a real affect on your emotional life, but you can find a way to come to terms with it and move into a better place…it’s really wonderful your wife has been so supportive…to find people you can trust is a very important part of your recovery…but it’s not something you can do without the guidance of a place like the healing circle and possibly a counselor who has experience with men who were abused as boys…I have been in therapy and it’s been very helpful…our society can also tell you should be able to do it on your own but it really helps to get in touch with the pain with someone who knows how to help you through it all…

        I hope I haven’t been too long winded, but the real things is you deserve and can heal and know that your feelings are real and be true to yourself..

        please take care of yourself my friend
        Joseph

  8. I would appreciate some advice from anyone of you who is willing to read my story. When I was 12 I was sexually assault by my Aunt’s boyfriend. It was only one time and we never talked about it. I blocked it out and pretended it didn’t happen. When I was in college my best friend finally convinced me to go to a therapist for my severe depression and anxiety. After a year in therapy, I was finally able to admit to my family that the man who spent the last 7 years pretending to be a part of our family sexually assaulted me. I gave my aunt the choice to stay with him because I know I can’t control anyone’s decisions or feelings. So she decided to stay with him and my mother (her sister) disowned her. Yet, my aunt and her boyfriend still spend a lot of time with my grandma who knows what he did. I live in a different state than my family. I didn’t want to press charges against him because I didn’t want to have to go through the court nightmare and see what it would do to my already mentally unstable Aunt. Despite my Aunt’s decision, I still love her and don’t want to cause her any pain. Yet, I feel anger and pain still simmering inside of me because he had no repercussions for his assault. He got away with assaulting me and still being able to play happy family with my Aunt and Grandma. I still don’t want to go to court because of the time and emotional toll but I can’t ignore the anger and pain. I also don’t have any evidence from the assault, so court might be useless. I still see a therapist but only see her once a month because I can’t afford to go more. Therefore, I can’t address this with her until a few weeks but it has been taking a toll on my emotional well-being.

    1. Hi Deanna,

      I am sorry to hear that happened to you, that is not okay.

      I believe that people who rape others can never truly be happy, they suffer inside from the horrors they created. They can pretend to be happy but they must suffer even if they have no remorse. I think it was in the “Courage to Heal” they said, “the best revenge, is living well”. So healing from the abuse is the best thing to work on and the only thing you have control over.

      Your anger and pain are normal to feel because of the abuse, but those feelings can also be detoxed from your body as you heal A post that I wrote that might be helpful with that is called, “What to do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/

      Your Aunt is emotionally unstable also because an emotionally stable person would never choose to support a rapist over the victim, especially a victim who was a child. Your Aunt’s wellbeing is her problem, not yours, if you ever choose to press charges. Emotionally sick people frequently want to blame their suffering and problems on others, who did nothing wrong, rather than owning that what they did was wrong. Blame you for talking about it, blame your mother for disowning her, play victim who would rather blame the real victim than heal. The blame belongs to her and her husband. It is always okay to blame the perpetrator, it is their fault.

      It is awesome to hear that your mother disowned your aunt because of what your aunt supported a pedophile, her boyfriend.

      It sounds like your grandma is also supporting a pedophile over a child if she knows about the abuse, which is also not okay. Also 100% not acceptable is for him, your grandmother (if she knows) and your aunt to have access to any children. Pedophiles and those who support pedophiles, should not be allowed to be around children because pedophiles, if they are adults, almost always re-offend. Though there may be nothing you can do about it. I would also recommend not spending any time with them or even talking to them, or whoever knows about the abuse and remains silent when it comes to supporting you.

      If you ever did want to go to court, you would want to check out the statute of limitations in the state where the abuse occurred. The statute of limitations tells how long you can prosecute a particular crime in that state. There may or may not be enough evidence. There may be others who will step forward and say #metoo if you mention what he did to you. You could call around various attorneys who may or may not be wiling to take the case as a contingency, which would be for a civil case versus a criminal case. This would be to get financial compensation for the abuse, I think it is the government that presses criminal charges but I am not an attorney, so you would need to do your own research. Also just because a bunch of attorneys say you do not have a case does not mean that you do not have a case, though if the statute of limitations has run out, I believe you cannot file a case. But I think your first focus should be on healing.

      First question is, has the therapist you have now been helpful in your healing? If yes, could she lower her rates so that you can see her at least once per week? If you have medicaid, I believe she could fill out a form to get compensation through Medicaid. I am weary of therapists who insist that in order for you to heal you need to pay them money rather than just taking insurance, though I have no idea how much Medicaid compensates. If you don’t have Colorado Medicaid and your income qualifies which I think is $1337 if you are single with no dependent children and goes up if you have children, the income chart is here https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/April%202017%20Medicaid%20Income%20Chart.pdf and you can apply here https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/hcpf/colorado-medicaid. I checked and there are a bunch of psychologist in Steamboat Springs that accept Medicaid. Be picky, only work with people you feel comfortable with and have the tools to help you. There may also be other therapists and social workers who can help you and may even take Medicaid. Also some therapists do Skype counseling, you have options.

      There is also a group called in your area called Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 24-Hour Crisis Number 970-879-8888 listed on the rainn.org website. They may or may not be helpful but if they are, they may have free counseling. You can also try calling 1-800-656-HOPE a 24/7 hotline that is suppose to connect with your local rape crisis hotline. If you ever feel like the person you are speaking with is not helpful, you can always hang up and try calling the hotline later (volunteers who answer change shifts) or in you are in someone’s office you can leave. How you choose to heal, is always your choice and no therapist should ever try and take that away from you. I also always recommend staying away from drugs and herbs because they can stuff down the feelings and memories that you need to detox and can have harmful side effects.

      You can heal, as long as you take action to heal, you do not have to live with the side effects of the abuse for the rest of your life. Healing can take a while but it does not have to take a lifetime. Please feel free to write back with any questions, thoughts or updates. Updates, help other survivors to heal.

  9. A few days ago I had some repressed memories come back… for years I’d known that my brother had molested my sisters but I assumed I had been spared because I couldn’t remember anything … the truth is, I didn’t want to remember … Now that I have, part of me wishes I hadn’t … I feel so confused and angry. I was only about 6 or 7 at the time and he was 12. I wanted to tell Mum after it happened but he made me promise not to. For 35 years I’ve repressed that memory, but it’s followed me every where and dictated my life. So often I’ve avoided intimacy; I’ve had somatic diseases preventing me from…(edited by blogger), that no doctors could diagnose; I sometimes snap at people over the slightest things, only to feel immediately remorseful; and so many other PTSD symptoms. If I ever see my brother again, I don’t know what I’ll do to him!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Sorry for the delayed response. It is not unusual to repress your memories, that is one ways that the body deals with trauma. Perpetrators often do not want you to tell. Abuse and sexual assault are usually passed down as a learned behavior, so I wondered where your brother learned that it was ok to sexually assault others? I also wonder who sexually assaulted him and taught him to make his victim keep it a secret. This does not excuse what he did, because many people who are sexually assaulted do not go on to sexually assault others but it is an important question to ask? Even more important is that you find a way to detox from the abuse and heal from it so that it no longer interferes with your life. You might find it helpful to read my post “What to do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ which has tools to help you to identify with what is triggering you, the PTSD symptoms and detox from them.

      It is also helpful to find a therapist that has the tools to help you to detox from the abuse without blaming the abuse on your brain chemistry. Pills and herbs will not help you to permanently heal from the abuse and can instead stuff back down emotions and memories that you need to detox from. Healing can take a while but it should not have to take a lifetime, it is possible to heal to the point where you no longer need a therapist or help and you can have a great life. You can try reaching out to http://www.nswrapecrisis.com.au/ where they have a 24/7 telephone hotline and online helpline in Australia. If the person you are communicating with is not helpful, hang up and try again later (volunteers who answer often change shifts). If you repeatedly get unhelpful people then you may want to try another hotline. On the website there are three different links for help in Sydney alone. Some of the centres and hotlines should have counselling. When getting help I would also try to stay away from psychiatrist, who usually are more pill focused and look more at psychologists, therapists and social workers who tend to be less pill focused. There are exceptions of psychiatrist who have great tools to help the body to detox from the abuse rather than pushing pills and other things that can cause more harm than good. And those psychiatrist can be very helpful. Keep reaching out until you find someone who is very helpful and has the tools to help you to heal, even if you need to google and make tons of phone calls. Remember that you are on charge of your own healing, so you do not want to go to a therapist who wants to take away your choice or force or coerce you to do what they think is “right”. You can always leave their office or hang up if you feel that they are not helpful.

      It’s never worth physically hurting the perpetrator, it does nothing helpful in your healing. (I am not sure if that was what you meant when you said “If I ever see my brother again, I don’t know what I’ll do to him!” or if you meant you would verbally go off on him, which is fine.) If you do see him, you can choose to ignore him or confront him about the abuse. It is up to you. If you choose to confront him, you need to do it for you and not to try and get any admission from him. He may call you crazy, say you asked for it or he may have actually repressed the memories and really have no memories of what he did. Or he may remember and pretend he does not remember. You can also choose to tell your family, if you have not already told them. If you do be prepared for anything, they may feel horrible that that happened to you and want to support you in healing or they may blame you for what happened, call you crazy, tell you to forgive and forget or a number of many things. They may also first be supportive and then revert to being very unsupportive. The advantage to telling your family, is that by their reaction you may find out more about them and who they really are. If you do choose to confront your brother or tell your family, you can have a friend or friends with you who are there to support you no matter what the response. You can request that they say nothing or that they stand up for you, again it is all your choice.

      Keep taking action to heal and you can heal from the abuse and have a great life. Feel free to write back with any updates, thoughts or questions. Updates help other survivors to heal.

  10. I was sexually abused when I was ages 7 and 14 years old. And right now with me coming out about the age 14 time I’m being looked at like I’m lying and like I’m crazy and delusional. And people are basically saying for me to do a polygraph test to prove it. But is so oblivious to the persons actions of who did that to me. Which is my older brother.

    1. Hi Xenia,

      It is so very wrong that people are telling you to take a polygraph test. Asking you to do that is demeaning and also polygraph tests are known for being inaccurate. But their inaccuracy is the not point, the point is that a survivor telling their story should not only be believed but also be protected. No person, let alone child should have to go through that. The people who are looking at you like you are lying, crazy and delusional are all people that you need to keep your distance from, even if they are friends and family. These people are protecting a perpetrator and a pedophile.

      It must have taken courage to come out and say what happened. And I am sorry that happened to you. You have a right not only not to be assaulted but also to be believed. There will be some people who are supportive and others who are not supportive and maybe even people who pretend to be supportive but are not really supportive. What might really help is if you can find people who do believe you and support you in healing. A 24/7 crisis line in Utah is 1-888-421-1100 also the national hotline is 1-800-656-HOPE which is also 24/7 and may connect to the Utah hotline, I’m not sure. You might also want to talk to a teacher that you trust or a social worker in your school. You need to be prepared that some people who you may have thought would support you, may not and it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. Also because you are 14 years old, there may be some mandatory reporting but if you are on an anonymous hotline, they may not know. If you are concerned about that, then do not give them your age, you can say that you rather not state or if they push you can tell them whatever you want to tell them. Also you need to be ready for the people on the hotlines or even places that are suppose to help survivors for the possibility that they may or may not be helpful. Some are very helpful, so it is worth it to keep trying but be ready to hang up quickly if you are not getting the support you need. Anyone who does not support a survivor of abuse, is a very emotionally sick person (including the people who are saying that you are lying, crazy, etc). Another option that is anonymous is the 24/7 online hotline at https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp but you do not want to tell them your name or location with your age because then they have to report it but I think it’s fine if you just tell them your age. You can ask them first. If they are supportive great, if not end the chat and try again later. All the hotlines change shifts, so trying again later can be helpful. And if you want to you can also report your brother, it is up to you.

      If the people who are not believing you are family, I would recommend if you are not ready to report them, doing things that you are interested in after school and do everything that you can do to not be around family and friends that do not believe you as much as possible. Also by doing new things you may find real friends who can support you and you can work up to reporting your brother with support of others. The rape crisis lines may also support you in reporting your brother and the pro-pedophiles that support your brother raping you.

      Have you been on Twitter or Facebook and seen the #MeToo hashtag? If not, #MeToo are tons of survivors men and woman speaking out about bring victims of sexual assault. You are not alone. Reach out for help and keep reaching out for excellent help until you get that help and not people who tell you that you have a chemical imbalance from the abuse and need to take drugs or herbs for it. But people who really have the tools to help you. Some may say that they can’t help you without parental permission but if your parents are not supportive of you, keep looking for someone who can help you. There may even be support group in your school or you can start one.

      Do not give up, keep reaching out and you can find support to heal and heal from this abuse.

  11. Hello,

    What a long terrible list of comments since 2012… I`m also a survivor of intrafamilial sex abuse, at age 8 my 16 year old cousin used…(edited by blogger) what she learnt from what happened to her when she was young. Whichever it was, when as an adult, I confronted her, she denied it, and still denies it, my whole family has driven away from me, as if I`m the uncomfortable one, with the uncomfortable truths emotions and or behaviours, the truth is that they attribute it to my life-long-addiction to pot and drugs when younger, but I don`t I feel my addiction was a recess to my self-esteem, or something of that sort.

    My biggest problem is now as an adult how I still behave as a little boy, or how I don`t trust anyone, I`m left without a family, or just a family which I see how they don`t hold me respect or real-love, I`ve been telling them of the Procaust story. Also I keep calling them Pontius Pilates since they won`t acknowledge anything they say I`ve made this up within my addiction.

    I`m comfortable with my current isolation but i`m afraid of depression, and also of more bipolar maniac bottoms, i`ve been diagnosed too borderline, I can`t care anymore about tagging. One of my biggest concerns with my present and future is my production capacity, I don`t have much motivation, or self motivation to do things right, I constantly think I have no chance anymore to a good life since I’ve lost my family support…at the same time that might be emotionally safer. . . don`t know…. I was astonished when my mother (my dad died when I was 21) got to know about how my sister used me as young boy, and though I thought of it initially as some sort of special treatment, or love, then she change me for a cousin, which hurt, then she married, and I beared with her fiancee courting her, etc, now the problem is having had that experience makes me more pervert, or guilty dirties, weirdo, etc. and it is so.

    I`m very defiant of the classical women who use men and their sexuality, but at the same time Im prisoner of it. As a was saying my mother when confronted too about this reality within her own children and family disqualified me, and went to my predator sister and said she was the “good” daughter whereas that made me the ·bad· son… I was astonished, amazed, still am, I can only guess and think that they both have more empathy since they lived something similar and by being women alike they care more about each other`s feelings or I don`t know, this is reasonable in Macho LatinAmerica, but still I guess I don`t have a “CARING” mother, nor Sibling who protected me, or the oldest sister who would respect sexual and healthy growth boundaries, now we are all too old to discuss anything anymore. but I still carry within me these consequences…

    1. Hello Alfredo,

      Were you able to connect with any of the other survivors on http://www.malesurvivor.org/index.php ? They also have workshops which may or may not b helpful.

      There is nothing innately wrong with you, though a family of perpetrators and pro-pedophiles will never support you. But that has nothing to do with you. It is because they do not want to feel bad about who they are and the horrific things they have done to others and supported others in doing, they will happily blame the victim, which is one of the many reasons why it is not healthy to be around pro-pedophiles, even if they are part of your family.

      People who rape children and support the rape of children, never really loved their children at all. It is a hard truth to know but by realizing that, it an be easier to let go of the illusion of a real family. And see then for who they are, a sick family. You are emotionally safer, not being around sick people. The best thing that you can do is to have no contact at all with your family. Your family is not too old to discuss the sexual abuse, it is instead that they do not want to talk about it, they are ok with children being sexually assaulted. And women are frequently abusers of sexual assault, it is rarely talked about, but that does not mean that it does not occur.

      Your family not wanting to be around you, is actually a very healthy thing for you. They will never be authentically nice to you, because they are pro-child abuse. Anyone who does, that cannot be authentic or even nice. There is no real love in a family that protects abusers, in those cases the “happy family” is only an illusion.

      Neither women using men or men using woman is ever ok. I think it’s time everyone who is a victim regardless of gender deserves help and everyone who is a willing victimizer needs to pay the consequences for their actions. Any of that women are better than men or men are better than women, is so wrong and very outdated. That attitude needs to stop. Unfortunately that occurs all over the world and is not at all healthy. But I see hope that it can change.

      Being “more pervert, or guilty dirties, weirdo, etc. and it is so” can be a symptom of the abuse and may disappear once you heal.

      It is important to note that frequently diagnosis of “mental Illness” are not correct and often just used to pigeon hole a person and then prescribe them drugs. Those drugs almost always have side effects even worse than the symptoms they are trying to cure. Those diagnosis do not help the person to heal from the abuse but instead cover up symptoms of the abuse with their diagnosis. Once you heal, the symptoms of abuse such as the bi-polar and manic symptoms can heal and will frequently go away.

      I could not find any local support in Venezuela for survivors but you can also reach out for the anonymous online chat at https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp and if you prefer Spanish you can click on the En Espanol link in the upper right corner. Also there is a website https://1in6.org/#! because some studies say that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 (i actually think it could be much higher because of under reporting and repressed memories). They also have an online chat for help. Whenever you are speaking with someone either online, on the phone or in person, if they are not helpful, hang up or leave and try the hotline or online chat later (the people answering change shifts).

      I would also try and find a therapist that is helpful and does not try to prescribe you drugs. My belief is that is a therapist is prescribing drugs, because they do not really have the tools to help you to fully heal and thus blame your body on chemical balance that has yet to be proven, despite the pharmaceutical companies paying doctors to write articles about how great their drugs are. And publications paying back the pharmaceutical companies for their advertising with then through unvetted articles about how great their drugs are. Here are some information about the problems with drugs: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/11/it-prozac-or-placebo and http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/06/frightening-story-behind-the-drug-companies-creation-of-medical-lobotomies.aspx You can also look at Dr. Loren Mosher’s work who actually cured people of schizophrenic symptoms without drugs at his Soteria House and if people who are schizophrenic can heal without drugs, you certainly can as well. Here is a great article he wrote about his experiences in psychiatry in general and why people suffer and how to help them http://www.moshersoteria.com/articles/soteria-associates/ and a video of him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnryFXxl7yU

      Keep reaching out until you find great hope. It can take a while but it is doable. I recommend only working with people who believe that you can heal and though healing may take a while it does not have to be a lifelong process. You might also want to look into doing Skype sessions if you cannot find anyone helpful locally. But always listen to how you feel when you are talking with a potential therapist, they should be supportive that you can heal and have tools (not drugs) that can help you.

      You might also want to try the exercises on my blog post “What To do When You Feel Triggered” at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/what-to-do-when-you-feel-triggered/ . You can also look at reading Dr. Howard Fradkin’s 10 affirmations at http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/affirmations/

      You might want to start by doing things by yourself that you really like to do and allow yourself to be present and in your body when you do them. Allow yourself to breath and feel your feet as the rest on top of your shoes or the ground depending on your shoe wearing habits. You also might to look for events that people are doing who share your interests and you might meet others who like to do what you do. Getting new and healthy friends may take a while but it is doable, so do not give up hope.

      Whenever you have an urge to speak or meet with your family you can remind yourself about how unhealthy they are and make another choice. Do something life giving rather than having any communication with your family or other people who are not supportive of you. Reading my post http://healingfromsexualabuse.com/ideas-for-healing-from-abuse/surviving-mothers-day-and-the-holidays/ has ideas on how to take care of yourself and your inner chid who was abused and use self care instead of trying to get love from families that have no love to give. Do whatever you can do to have zero family contact. It can be hard for a bit, but it is the healthiest thing you can you. And it seems like you are already starting that by what you wrote. What you wrote shows that you are already beginning the healing process.

      If you keep taking action to heal, you can heal. Feel free to write back with any questions, comments or updates. Updates give other survivors hope.

  12. When I was seven nearly eight my father sexually abused me till I was thirteen. From the age of eight my father joined a group of elderly men who at parties abused me. The abuse took many shapes of abuse including being taken away by dad and these men on holiday. For me to be the entertainment. Often they would dress me up as a girl. This effected confidence in life work relationships. Awful flashbacks

    1. Often something simple would bring on flashbacks. Such as a ceiling rotary ceiling fan. As there used to be one above the bed at a house where a lot of abuse took place. Anything to do with the game of bowls (lawn bowling) is really upsetting as the abusers were all members of a bowls club. When I was taken away by dad and these men on holiday it was on bowls tours

    2. Hi Nigel,
      i read your post and was so up set for you…what was done to you was nightmarish and i am so sorry your father was so unloving to submit you to such abuse…i am sorry to say you are not alone in your experiences…i was also raped by my father and a friend of his and then forced to be in a pedophile group where me and other chuldren were violently abused…it was nightmarish for me as well i have been in counseling for 6 years and it has been a major help to me …it is a hard road back believe me i know but you can make it with time and the right counselor who has experience with men who were abused as boys…also i really highly recommend a site http://www.malesurvivor.org/index.php where other men who have been abused are safe to support each other …please try it and go to the healing circle usu on weds and sun eves at 9 est the man who runs it is very intuitive and kind and the guys are very supportive and help each other through some of their issues also read a good book by mike lew victims no longer and another by mic hunter on the same subject….hang in there Nigel dont be afraid to reach out to friends …i know its pretty scary stuff but you deserve to heal and you can…take care of yourself…Joseph

      1. thank u for your support. I have had counselling flashbacks are the worse times for me and noting certain people in family do not believe me

        1. I highly recommend only having people in your life that support and believe you, even if they are family. If anyone in your family is not supportive of you or does not believe you, I think the healthiest thing you can possibly do is to cut off all contact with those people. They are supporting pedophiles over children and that is never ok.

          For flashbacks, see if it helps to put your memories is a container and distance them from yourself. You might also want to see if you can find a therapist that is helpful in dealing with your memories without getting you triggered, but also not recommending drugs, which always seem to cause worse side effects than help.

          1. thank u for your reply when i get flashbacks when i am a sleep or dream state more as nightmares. I wake up shaking tearful sometimes I still hear my father’s voice telling me what to do sexually to him or to the other men. or them telling me u like this don,T U. is this common with victims of abuse

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