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In grade three a friend told me, "I can't sleep over because my parents say your mom and dad are drunks." That was the moment it hit me: my family isn't normal.
I learned the language of silence. Keep your head down. Don’t say a word. Try to be invisible. Maybe if they forget you’re here it will stop. It didn’t stop.
He used to lock me outside our house with no shoes or coat, rage at me for an hour or more, and make me doubt my sanity. When he hit me, it was the last straw.
I needed him to listen and show that he cared about how I felt – to look me in the eyes and be present so I’d know he had my back. But this wasn't something he knew how to do.
After swimming in a motel pool, a man followed up alongside me. "Just wanna walk you to your room, make sure everything's all safe for you." When it was over, he ran a bath for me. I was still in that cold water when they found me in the morning.
The few times we were intimate it was mechanical and void of emotion on his part. Then it stopped all together. In a bizarre way, his distancing made facing his death a lot easier. He inadvertently prepared me for widowhood.
Soon after I turned 15, one night on the swings at the park, he kissed me for the first time. Then everything escalated.
My past kept haunting me. I had to face the secret that was hidden deep inside my heart.
Sexual abuse (definition): forcing you to do or see something of a sexual nature against your will.
It’s real. It hurts. It does untold damage.
Verbal abuse may seem invisible. But the effects can be extremely damaging.
Neglect and abandonment are huge issues, and can potentially lead to addictions.
It's not your fault you've been abused. But you can do something about how you feel.