Okay, I’m going to warn you now. This is going to be way off the normal topic for what would be the normal content for this blog. However, this is something that needs to be shared so that others will know they are not alone and that they can push through and be more than okay. Even as I write this, I’m beginning to have second thoughts about continuing because of what public reactions I might receive. I’ve never publicly shared any of this before.
The larger part of me knows that my friends and people with heart and understanding will have nothing but kindness. To those who have no compassion, this post may be for you.
I was sexually abused as a child.
Before your thoughts go off the deep end, no… it wasn’t by my parents or by my babysitters.
I was about 4 years old, which would make this event during the spring or summer of 1972. My family had just moved into the neighborhood after purchasing our second home in a Chicago suburb.
I remember venturing out down the street (it was a different world back then than it is now) and meeting new friends, or at least who I thought were friends at the time. Children can be so pure and trusting when they don’t have any filters to tell them when something isn’t right.
A lot of the details leading up to the sexual abuse are fuzzy except for first names and some actions. As such, I don’t remember how I came to be alone with these two adolescent boys. I do remember that one of them was named Ruben and the other Danny A (last name withheld).
Danny and Ruben had me follow them to somewhere out of the way of parental and public view where Ruben pulled his penis out of his pants and told me it was like a lollipop and that I should lick it. I’m ashamed to say that I did.
I can still hear his words playing in my head even after more than 40 years afterwards, “if you tell anyone, we’ll come beat you up.”
Get Out of your Head, or you’re Dead!
Over the past three years, I’ve made some startling discoveries about myself and the way the human mind’s subconscious thoughts can shape our lives. For the most part, I’ve been able to beat a lot of the demons that have lived in my head. Child sexual abuse can really mess with your head if you let it.
It takes a strong person to come out and talk about their experiences with this subject. It takes an even stronger person to rise above them.
I’ve vowed that I will not be the victim because of what happened. Statistics show that 75% children who are sexually abused tend to move on in life and become the abuser as adults.
Child sexual abuse can have far-reaching effects as survivors grow up. Their experiences can and often have a great impact on their romantic relationships and how they perceive love. It can also have a profound effect on self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course, survivors are encouraged to seek help from a qualified counselor; especially when they are having issues rising above their abuse.
My Vow – Victor, Never Victim
I’ll never forget about hearing the abused to abuser statistic for the first time. When I did hear the statistic decades after the fact, it was as if a light bulb had been illuminated above my head.
At that point, I vowed to break the cycle and keep my future children and as many others as I could safe from the monsters that would prey on the future leaders of tomorrow and attempt to rob them of their innocence and power they’ll step into later in life.
In case you would ask why I would share this after all this time, it’s because I came to a realization on how much this was affecting me at my core and shaping a lot of my behavioral patterns. It was time to change those patterns and help others do this same.
What I Would Say to a Fellow Survivor
1. Be the Victor, Not the Victim
Yes, what happened to us sucks and never should happen to anyone at any time. That doesn’t mean that we should let it rule our lives. You have to realize that there are people out there who have the capacity to love other people without any expectation of anything in return. Love in its purest form never expects anything and doesn’t keep score of any right nor wrongs.
Yes, your abuser is a sick bastard and should be held accountable for their actions. Here is a list of the Statute of Limitations for each state.
2. Forgive them
Again, your abuser is sick. Hold them accountable but also forgive them for their actions. This is not to say that you shouldn’t bring them to justice. The purpose of forgiveness is not for your abuser, but for you and your health. I know this is not an easy thing to do. It wasn’t for me. I will tell you that it was the best thing I ever did. It empowered me to move on with my life and live it as a victor instead of a victim.
Yes, in my case, these were adolescent boys who should’ve known better but didn’t. Your case may have been an adult. Realize that they are sick and need help. This is not saying that what they did to you is right. We both know it’s not nor will it ever be. Forgiving your enemies for what they’ve done is putting you in the position of power again – power they tried to take away from you.
3. This didn’t happen to you, it happened for you
When you choose to forgive them and reclaim your power by living a victorious life in spite of your abuse, you can and should use that anger and frustration for what happened for good. Do to others who have been abused what I’m doing with you, sit down and share your experiences of how you stayed strong and overcame the barriers and the shame of what happened.
Keep talking about the need for mental help for people like your abuser. It is only when we shed light onto darkness that we can irradicate the disease.
4. Realize you are more powerful than you know
You have the power to do great things in this world. You can affect change in not only your own life but in the lives of countless others. You need to rise up and be the change you want to see in this world and in your abuser. Understand that you have the power to either perpetuate or break the cycle of child sexual abuse. I may not know you personally, but I believe that everyone is inherently good on the inside and, therefore, like me in many ways. I know you will want to break the cycle.
So, go do just that!
Volunteer with children’s organizations. Show them that they can love regardless of what life throws at them. Be the example for them. Help them to see that beauty can be gained from the ashes of totally messed up situations. Exemplify the fact that strength and power is found in forgiveness – because that’s exactly what you had to do to overcome your obstacles and shine through to make a difference.
5. Get Revenge by Becoming Successful
Just like with adults who commit rape, pedophiles crave the power more than just the sexual gratification of the abuse itself. Understanding that one fact is the key to robbing them of their power. Yes, you will probably want to seek revenge. It’s normal to do so.
However, by refusing to cower through life and going out there and living life to its fullest by seeing a huge destiny to be fulfilled will open so many more doors to shed light on that darkest moment of your life than gathering up the posse and hunting your abuser down as if you were in the Wild West.
Everyone has the power to become at least somewhat famous in various circles. Build a platform on which to speak your message of truth, love, and hope for others who have faced what we’ve been through. Think of how many ordinary people have advanced in life to become celebrities who advocate different causes.
Tony Robbins may not have been sexually abused growing up, but he used the pain of what he went through in a highly toxic relationship with his mother to understand how to better serve humanity through understanding what makes people behave the way they do.
Go do the same!