Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Regaining Her Voice: Kristen's Story

How old were you at the time of the assault(s)?
3 or 4 & 15

How old are you currently?

Did you know the person(s) who committed the assault(s)?

Did you tell anyone about the assault(s) at the time?
No at 3-4 & yes at 15

Did the assault(s) go to a court trial? Was there a sentencing? If so, how long?

Do you think they will commit sexual assault again?

What would you like to say to others about sexual assault?
If you have been sexually assaulted, you are a victim as well as a SURVIVOR. There are others who will hear your voice. There is help out there to support you in healing the life-changing wounds that stem from the abuse; wounds that most likely have plagued your development, relationships, self worth, ability to trust & live in the now. No matter how old you were or how much you recall, the abuse just might be the root of much of the pain you have endured in your life. Speak up & know you have support from those who truly get it.

What would you like to say about this project?
Thanks. We all have faces that accompany our stories. This project is so important.

I was sexually abused as a child & raped as a teenager. After seeking help from a therapist, I believe the 2nd assault is directly related to the first. The 1st assault changed me forever… my self esteem, my world & my ability to trust others. I want to be clear, however, that I didn’t go to a therapist for help with this. I went for help with my struggles to build relationships with people who are nice to me. I went because I wanted to learn more about my anger, my depression, my nausea & my pain. Through discussion about relationships, memories, etc, I have learned that my past has really MIS-shaped my views of me, my sexuality & sex in general. At some point between 3 & 4, I was playing doctor with my babysitter's son at their house. I assume we had played before, but I only recall the time my friend’s older brother- my friend too- joined us in the bathroom. He was 5 years older than us which, I have now learned, changed the situation from innocent to abusive. He penetrated me & our friend with my plastic doctor tools. He forced me to penetrate my friend as well. I recall asking him why he was doing this. I recall being held over the bathtub backwards & recall counting tiles around the bathtub as he did things to both of us. I recall my friend’s warm eyes staring at me like a deer in the headlights. His eyes & those tiles have stayed with me for 30 years. I never told anyone about this until recently. Because of the abuse… losing my virginity was painful, completely unplanned & quite hideous. I was 15 & he was 18. Though I had little to no interest in sex at the time, my friends did, so I felt pressured to “do it.” It was a cold January night & it occurred outside on a wet lawn surrounding an empty office building. This was abusive in itself- a choice I made because of my unclear vision of sex due to the early abuse I endured. Just one week later, his 19 year old friend raped me. I didn't know it was rape at the time. Rape, to me, meant a dark ally, a punch in the face, beatings, blood & screams. It meant cops, court hearings & jail. I was 15 living in a safe suburb. I was school smart, street smart & part of the "popular crowd" & had some friends; knowing the ins & outs of rape was very far from my mind until that night. Basically, the 19 year old told "my first" that I wasn’t interested, told me that "my first" wasn’t interested in me & then spent the evening trying to lure me in. I kept telling him to leave me alone; I said no, I tried to move from underneath his 19-year-old man-like frame as he laid on top of me, squirming uncomfortably. Most of all I kept saying stop. A friend heard me, opened the door & told the guy to get off of me. The next day, the boy who saved me explained that “no means no” & told me that I had been raped. I felt completely removed from my body, my friends, and my life. I was never the same again. I did tell someone about it this time & my own mother began referring to me as a "slut" every time she lost her temper. Soon, I began to believe I was... Because of the abuse... I have suffered with stomach-aches, anxiety/depression, pain & an inability to cope basic feelings of anger, hunger, excitement, happiness & sadness throughout my entire life,. I was diagnosed with an ulcer in the 2nd grade, which caused daily symptoms of nausea from age 7 throughout my teenage years, when I began using drugs to help the symptoms; just the beginning of dangerous choices I made quite regularly. When things got difficult at home, I often contemplated suicide. When things got bad, I flipped out, ran away & continuously put myself in dangerous situations. Because of the abuse... I had sex with boys in high school & college because I wanted their friendship. I have struggled immensely to build & keep relationships with people who care about me & until recently, I tended to enter relationships with people who need help…people I can help fix while taking in the abuse they inflict upon me. Because of the abuse... I thought I was someone I am not. Perhaps the most valuable thing it has taken from me is my sexuality. Until I received help from a therapist, I thought I was heterosexual, but have learned that though I am married to a loving, understanding wonderful man, I am in fact gay. I always felt that something was missing in my sexual relationships, but blamed it on me, my quirkiness & believed that I just wasn’t a sexual being…that sex was a tool for me to get what I want, not something to be enjoyed. Because of the abuse... My life was changed, but it wasn't taken. I embrace who I am & know that I am worthy of a happy life. I am thankful to have a support structure in my life & even though my life was changed, it is my life & I deserve to be happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kristen, you did a wonderful job here. Thank-you. We do, indead have a voice!