Molestation: The Pain No One Is Talking About
There are memories that I hardly ever talk about, because of how uncomfortable people often get when you do. The subject of molestation is definitely one of those memories that often leave people fidgeting in their chair, for a lack of response. It’s hard, but it’s a reality that I and so many other people had to face, learn to get over, and eventually heal from. Deep within the pains of molestation are unspoken, thoughts, animosity, and unfiltered feelings that have haunted the abused for more years than they could probably count. However, why aren’t more of us talking about molestation?
It’s definitely shame there. I know that I’ve been ashamed. For years, I felt broken, dirty, and tainted because of the choices of people who were older than me. I was ashamed because of the times I look back at being a little girl are mostly muddied with memories of boys straddling me and grandfathers stealing sneaky touches. I don’t have many friends who can relate, or are even willing to associate their names with something so disgusting. It’s a lonely feeling, dealing with pain from old scars constantly with no one to talk to that understands. It’s sad. The more I promote my first book, the more I hear that this isn’t a conversation for everyone. Then it’s just me, right? I’m the only one who wants to talk about it, not for some morbid sense of sharing but to help someone else. Am I the only one that knows how keeping these thoughts and feelings inside is what pushed me to stay under the influence all the time, scraping blades across my skin. It is because we are afraid to talk about what makes us uncomfortable, that I lived with that pain for more years than I had to. Because of molestation, so many of us suffer from issues and paranoias that haunt us every single day that even our closest loved ones don’t understand. But we fail to talk about it. We fail to address the issue.
I was drunk, high, self-destructive and suicidal from 9 years old to early adulthood. I was insecure, competitive with women, and emotionally damaged. All because I could never talk about being molested and how it hurt me. I wasn’t allowed to share that information, because stereotypically black girls don’t talk about their family’s personal business, aren’t suicidal, and aren’t cutting themselves to feel something other than heartbreak. I can drink, I can smoke, but that’s normal. Being an alcoholic and being a crackhead are two different things to some people. I suffered in silence, because when you’ve been molested, you’re a hoe, you’re fast, and you are that stereotypical black girl in the hood, they should make a movie. It’s hard to heal when the wounds keep picking themselves. However, I knew I couldn’t keep hurting myself to get over the hurt someone caused me.
In order for me to find a sense of self-love and peace, I had to accept that I was abused. I had to stop being ashamed of myself and what happened to me. I had to become more mindful that sometimes bad things happen to people. I hold no grudges, but I am wary of the people that abused me. I’m cautious of them and also defensive, wondering how you can live with yourself knowing that you did this to someone. No remorse or apologies, they just exist and move on.
When I came to grips with realizing that sometimes in life we are hurt, and there will be no apologies. I accepted that there isn’t always closure to the wrongs done to us. Nevertheless, my life isn’t depending on the validation that I was wronged. Accepting that I had to heal the pain from childhood molestation, on my own, motivated me to learn to let it go. It’s never easy, but as I grow older and wiser, I realize that holding this grudge was doing me more harm than it did to them, therefore I had to stop weighing myself down with these feelings of hate. I then tried to turn that same energy into something that would help others, who also felt isolated and alone, deal with their emotions and past pain. However, people struggle with talking about what happened to them. It’s something so negative associated with being molested, sexually abuses, or raped as a child, that despite growing up into functional adults, some of us are still struggling inside. Many of us aren’t drinking and on drugs like I was back in the day. However, there are so many of us that use some other vice to deal with the memories of the past.
I can talk about this because I’m going through it now. I’m still learning to not live in that pain and animosity because I still have to see and interact with my childhood abusers. They are often at family gatherings, despite never really being invited, and for the sake of peace, I’m forced to be cordial. I learned to not hold my tongue about what’s bothering me. However, I respect that we are all parents now, I wouldn’t want to blemish someone’s relationship with their child. I know that we all make mistakes, and some of us have chosen to be different people now that we were blessed with children. The idea that a child discovers that you molested a child when you were younger doesn’t sound cool to me, so I wouldn’t do that to anyone. I’ve just learned that this is just something awful that happened to me, but it doesn’t make me who I am. I used to let it define me, but not anymore. I am not defined by this painful experience, although I’ve learned so much from it.
In this post, I’m sharing some of the obstacles that I face most often when dealing with this issue and I’m not going to allow this to break me down. For all those who have experienced sexual abuse or molestation, please know that you are not alone.
Let’s Just Pretend It Never Happened
In my book, I talk about being suicidal and self-destructive. All of these issues that I had came from feeling worthless and insecure, after years of being molested, tormented, and teased by family members. I’ve been in and out of the hospitals, therapy, and almost dead and in jail a lot of times. It’s crazy to look back at those moments in my life, and realize how much those same family members saw, knew, and understood what was going on with me, but never reached out to be there for me. I look back on the circumstances that I went through, and I see that none of them played the part of a family member, despite playing the abuser in the past. However, when it comes to eating, drinking, and celebrating with the family, they are always there… pretending as if nothing ever happened.
It’s mind boggling to me. How can someone who considers you a cousin, a niece, a relative know so much about what haunts you and hurts you, but never takes the time to pull you to the side to discuss it and help? How can these so-called “family members”, eat drink, and be merry, but never look you in the eye to say I played a part in why you were struggling as a child? It hurts just looking at them because part of me wants that closure. Part of me wants them to admit that the wronged they did, how they abused and picked on me, held me back for so many years. However, I know that no matter how much I want that, it won’t define the path I walk on today, I still don’t want them around. Even ‘til this day, I get accused of “thinking I’m better, acting like I’m all of that, and being stuck up” because I choose not to associate with the same people that never uplifted me, never supported me, and most often made me feel insecure about myself. It’s not that I’m anti-social with my family. It’s just that I know who are truly family members, and those who are just the opportunist, haters, and freeloaders.
It would be foolish for me to party and laugh with the same individuals who molested me as a child, tormented and teased me to believe I was ugly, fat, and not worth anything, and who never came through for me when I needed family the most. Just because we are older and supposedly wiser, doesn’t mean I would be foolish enough to fall into the trap of pretending that nothing ever happened. All I can do is pray that the same horrible effect you had on me as a child doesn’t transfer to your children, who have to grow up with a child molester as an example of a parent.
I have forgiven, but I will not forget. This is the type of pain that no one discusses. The pain that my real family wasn’t affected by these individuals, so they don’t realize how much it bothers me that these people continue to come around. I don’t want to cause drama and confusion, not even for the same people that have done the same to me. I have to be cordial, despite me wanting to scream from the inside of my soul, because of the drama these people still continue to cause. Let’s just pretend it didn’t happen. That’s the energy in the air, that smoke that makes you want to collapse. Like the years of me dealing with what happened to me were for nothing, and these people just sat around watching, whispering to one another, knowing all the time it’s because of the things they did that I struggled so bad. No one wants to talk about that kind of pain.
The Impact It Has On Your Life
For the longest time, I used to have a heavy distrust of men. I probably still do, with the exception of my husband. However, it took me a long time to get to the point where I could trust him the way that I do. Since childhood, boys/men were only talking to me because they wanted something. Boys were only nice because they were trying to get their way. Once they got what they wanted, I was ugly, fat, disgusting, and a pariah. If my own relatives could show me how worthless I was to them, I found it hard to believe that someone on the street could show me better than that. This made me put all men into one category, use or be used.
Molestation can damage relationships before they even start. I started looking at myself as a tool, to be used when I wanted to get something out of someone. The male examples I had in my life growing up didn’t teach me that I had value. I was light with long hair. I didn’t look like I was bi-racial or a potential model in the making. I had one use, to climb on when they wanted, and to tease when they were bored. So of course, growing up I didn’t believe that I had much more to offer anyone than my body. I was insecure. I was faced with the challenge of finding purpose in my life when I believed there was none. That type of pain sits with you well beyond the years you’ve spent healing from it. It feels like wasted time, looking back now.
I wasted years trying to not think about being sexually used by my relatives, just so that I can lay down with my husband. I spent years worried that someone would do the same to my children, every time I even walked out the room. I spent years thinking that the only way I can get a night’s rest, was to be high and drunk. I spent years in hospitals from suicide attempts and cutting because my earliest memories as a little girl are always saturated with four or five boys taking turns destroying my innocence. Years of my life, years I can’t get back tarnished because no one was thinking about what would happen to me after they were finished using me up.
We all make decisions in our lives, most of them based on the impact of what we learned and experienced. My troubles and trials came from experiences that a little girl should never have. Yet, when I look into my abusers faces now, I see no remorse, no shame, and no guilt in their eyes for how painful their actions were in my life after all this time.
I had to learn that I can’t equate every man to the men that hurt me. I can’t sum an entire gender to the actions of just a few. My life doesn’t have to become inundated with those memories and that hurt because so much good has happened in my life since then. I’m just not afraid to talk about it.
Healing from the Pain
There is this woman, who was molested as a child as well. She was molested by relatives, strangers, and people who were in positions of trust. As she got older she solely relied on her fading beauty to get her through life. When her beauty finally faded for good, all her life’s decisions were based on people telling her she was pretty and that they were there for her. No matter, if it was male or female, anyone who treated her special got her attention and eventually her body. She lost herself in the validation of other people and what she could do for them to keep them around. Neglecting herself a lot of times, her family, and even her own child. I see this woman and I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed because many of the things that happened to her, happened to me. I see her always high or drunk, being promiscuous and self-destructive, losing years she hasn’t even lived on her face because of the things that she went through. I’m ashamed because molestation takes more than just your innocence as a child, it could very well take your life, your potential, and your ambition.
I felt myself falling apart years ago, all because of the pain I couldn’t shake off from being a little girl who was molested. I knew that if I was to be anything worthwhile in life, I had to heal from it. I had to find purpose in my life, beyond the negative, and live it to its fullest. I knew that I wasn’t alone despite many people not wanting to speak up about it. I just hoped that by me speaking up about my struggle with this issue, it would give others the green light, that it’s ok to do the same. It’s ok to admit that you were promiscuous because that’s all you knew. It’s ok to admit that you were drinking and doing drugs to numb the pain. It’s ok to admit that you have certain feelings about intimacy and sex, because of how you grew up. You are not damaged or broken. You are not worthless and something to be ashamed of. You too can heal from this. You can overcome that pain.
The worst thing it seems is to go through these painful experiences and feel like you’re the only one struggling. I know because I lived it. Nowadays, people are more mindful to watch over their children, as to avoid circumstances like these. However, there are still people out there dealing with sexual abuse, molestation, and statutory rape. There are still people out there haunted by the actions of those they should have trusted. We should reach out to them. We should let them know its ok to talk about it. The more we pretend like it never happened or that it’s too painful to discuss, the further we push those same people into their pain alone.
I’m still dealing with my pain. Although I consider myself healed, I still have a long way to go. I may never ever get that apology or admission of guilt that I used to believe I needed in order to move forward. I still know that I am not that helpless and naïve little girl anymore. I am a woman who has survived. It was the circumstances that I went through that made me who I am. It was my will to not allow those same circumstances destroy me that made me speak up about it. It is because I have this platform that I feel compelled to let you know, that you are not alone. You can speak up about it. You don’t have to struggle with the pain alone. Talk about what no one seems to want to talk about. Help heal someone else.