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Survivors of Sexual Assault A forum specifically for survivors who have suffered sexual assault & rape.

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  #1  
Unread 17th January 2010, 12:16 AM
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How do I know if I was molested? *trigger*

I am about to reveal things I have never told anyone and probably never will. I have always wondered whether I was molested as a child and I hate not knowing for certain. Some background:my family was very conservative, my parents are still married, they were very protective of us and we were never really sexually educated. From the time I was young I rememebr being very interested in sex and thinking about things in bed at night that made me feel good but guilty. I acted out with other kids which is normal but it went until I was about 14. I felt guilty doing these things but I never understood we were doing something wrong (touching each other) until I heard somewhere thats what lesbians do and I got very scared I was a lesbian. I have always worried that people might think I'm a lesbian and wondered if I was although I dont really have any desire to be. I never acted out with a girl since this time.
Going back to being a kid, I used to wake up every night at the age of 5-6 crying and wake my parents up. I was usually still sleeping and confused and they would spank me until I woke up all the way (they didnt realize I was asleep still). All I really remember about these episodes is feeling very stressed and anxious and overwhelmed about something, what I don't know. I also wet the bed on occasion during this time. If anything happened these are the years I believe it occurred during. I also have had a repeated night mare since I was a kid that I was naked and alone in a bathroom with a man. I have always had a terrible fear of being alone in public restrooms and only recently made the connection with my recurring night mare. I have a terrible fear of being alone also and I sleep with my bedroom door double locked every night. I also have very little memory of my child hood especially before the age of 8.
The only person I believe I know who would have done something was a man from a church we attended when I was growing up. I am convinced he is a child molester whether he ever touched me or not. He was a creep and I remember being scared of him. He gave alot of the kids money and candy at random times. He tried to tell us about sex one day (he was a sunday school teacher) when I was 8 and my parents flipped out and removed me from his class. Recently my sister started asking me about him and if I had any memories involving him. Although I have had one flashback I have no idea if it occurred or not. As I told her what I remembered about him she said she rememebed the exact same things (being alone in a bathroom with him...in my flashback I was naked and he was giving oral sex). My guess is that IF something happened, I was about 5-6 and it also happened to my sister. Skip forward a few years...I started going out with guys behind my parents back and got date raped at the age of 16. The man continued to talk me into having sex with him although I hated him and I hated it. I froze and felt nothing every time he touched me. I then became quite promiscuous and self destructive. I never got involved with drugs or alcohol to any extreme but I have on occasion self injured. Since then I have settled down some but lingering effects include an emotional attachment problem (with any relationship), hating men and using them for sexual pleasure, short term relationships, in ability to get close to anyone, freaking out during sexual encounters (I dont have sex at all), flipping out emotionally and having a meltdown (about once a year), stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty making committments, insecurity, low self esteem, feeling worthless. I keep to myself a lot and lately have begun to exclude myself even more. I hate to be touched unexpectedly and sexual encounters have no emotional side for me. I still struggle with promiscuity, masterbation and disturbing sexual fantasies. I looked at about 25 questions to help you determine if you had been abused as a child and I answered yes to 20 of these. I guess my question is: how do I know if I have been abused or if these issues stem from being raped at 16? How do I deal with it if I don't know what I'm dealing with? I've gone to counseling for the rape and really got to a place where I felt like I had dealt with but there was still something there something bothering me. I have come to this place before and since I was unable to remember anything specifically I basically just put it away in my mind and think maybe some day I'll remember. I guess I will come to that point again this time. There are some specific isolated incidents I remmeber but they were when I was 14-16 and mostly just a guy trying to touch me inappropriately but it didnt go beyond that. I have always attracted older men and guys who are very controlling and manipulative.
I will attach the list here which includes all the questions I answered yes to. I know no one can give me a definite answer about this but I don't know how to deal with it. I tried talking to my parents about it once but they made it clear they did not want to discuss it and they did not believe it was a possibility. If you have any advice please share. Thanks!

Self-Esteem
  • Do you often feel that you are not a worthwhile person?
  • Do you feel bad, dirty, or ashamed of yourself?
Feelings
  • Do you have trouble knowing how you feel?
  • Have you ever worried about going crazy?
  • Is it hard for you to differentiate between various feelings?
  • Do you experience a very narrow range of feelings?
  • Are you afraid of your feelings? Do they seem out of control?
Your Body
  • Do you feel present in your body most of the time? Are there times when you feel as if youíve left your body?
  • Do you have a hard time loving and accepting your body?
  • Have you ever intentionally hurt yourself or abused your body?
Intimacy
  • Do you find it difficult to trust others?
  • Are you afraid of people? Do you feel alienated or lonely?
  • Do you have trouble making a commitment? Do you panic when people get too close?
  • Do you expect people to leave you?
  • Have you ever been involved with someone who reminds you of your abuser or someone you know is not good for you?
Sexuality
  • Do you try to use sex to meet needs that arenít sexual?
  • Do you ever feel exploited sexually or use your sexuality in a way that exploits others?
  • Are you able to &quotstay presentĒ when making love? Do you go through sex feeling numb or in a panic?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding sex or pursuing sex you really donít want?
  • Do you experience flashbacks during sex?
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  #2  
Unread 18th January 2010, 09:17 PM
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Hi. I'm sorry you went through the abuse. I think a counselor can help you get farther along to find out what all happened. Stay close to Jesus and he will always be at your side to guide you. I don't have any real answers to the questions you seek, sorry, but I think a good counselor can help you. Peace to you.
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  #3  
Unread 19th January 2010, 08:46 AM
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It certainly sounds as though you suffered some trauma.
I agree with Ruth, you need a professional therapist to help you sort through the memories and emotions, and begin to make sense of it all and find ways to heal.
There are many of us here who are at various stages on that journey.. please keep posting and talking, it's a great source of support.

As a first step, I would go to your doctor and ask if you can be referred t a therapist who is experienced in this kind of issue.

Thinking of you, sweetie
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  #4  
Unread 19th January 2010, 08:57 AM
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Until it is dealt with, you are going to find it interfering with a normal life.
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  #5  
Unread 21st January 2010, 04:09 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I have decided not to really dwell on these things right now and just push them from my mind. Until I can remember more specific details I think this is best. I have so much other stuff to deal with anyways. Thanks for the advice though. I would appreciate any other input.
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  #6  
Unread 21st January 2010, 08:03 PM
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What happened may be les important right now that beginning to work through some of the negative stuff in your life. Further details may emerge, or it may be some mixture of guilt, ignorance, fantasy or whatever. The rape was real though as were the ensuing lifestyle. I suggest you get some good support for your journey.

John
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  #7  
Unread 21st January 2010, 10:20 PM
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I too went through this vague memory. One day, I was going through a weekend (Christian) counseling therapy session, and I came to realize what had happened. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

I would highly recommend you see someone who has dealt with this type of trauma.

My guess is that this man did molest you.

The good news is that you are not guilty. Children under 14 don't have full capacity of their minds, so they can't think right. He was an adult, and obviously he was nuts.
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  #8  
Unread 23rd January 2010, 12:53 AM
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Yes, definitely get a therapist to help you deal with the other things (rape, promiscuity, etc) and ask God to make clear to you what happened when younger.

If your sister asks you about similar stuff, it probably did happen when you were a toddler. Memories then can be really fuzzy.
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  #9  
Unread 26th January 2010, 05:42 AM
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I encourage you to find a therapist to talk to about your thoughts and feelings in the now. If you develop a good relationship with the therapist then maybe you will feel more comfortable talking to them about the other stuff later. If not, you may have to try several therapists before you find the right one. If you are not ready to explore what may or may not have happened yet then when you are, you will know the right time. No-one should try to make you do more than you are comfortable with at the given time.
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  #10  
Unread 26th January 2010, 04:46 PM
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Thanks.
I can't afford a therapist or counselor right now. I'm trying to get up the courage to ask a woman in my church to mentor me because a few years ago I had a mentor and that was very effective and helpful. It will be a long time before I will be able to share everything with her I think especially because she knows my family too. Sometimes I wish I could remember more because then I could just be certain about things. But when I try to remember its like as soon as my mind goes there it automatically shuts off. I'm afraid to really try to remember. I have thought maybe I saw something happen to my sister but nothing happened to me, maybe it was so minimal I just don't remember but it still sort of affected me. I just really don't know.
Also to clarify, the disturbing sexual fantasies I mentioned, I guess I worded that wrong. Really its dreams I have on occasion that have really scared me. I have had 3 or 4 dreams that I remember in which I did some sexual thing which is actually repulsive to me (different things) and I could never see myself doing. It scared me to think what if those are things I am capable of? and I just dont know it? I don't know why I have those strange dreams but they are very disturbing. Alot of times my dreams seem like watching a horror movie. They are extremely horrible and gruesome. I don't watch any horror movies or even scary movies because I get scared easily so its not like its things I'm even putting in my mind to begin wiht. I don't know if that relates to anything but just thought I'd mention it. Thanks.
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