Sunday, April 5, 2009

Regaining Her Voice:Rachel’s Story

How old were you at the time of the assault(s)?
I was 5-10 years old

How old are you currently?
I am 23 years old

Where did the assault(s) happen?
In my grandfather’s house

Did you know the person who committed the assault(s)?
Yes, my grandfather

Did you tell anyone about the assault(s) at the time?
Did the assault(s) go to a court trial?
Was there a sentencing?
Do you think they will ever commit sexual assault again?

What would you like to say to people about sexual assault?
It is something anyone, anywhere can experience without any preconception. Do not be naïve; it can happen to you or someone close to you. If it has happened to you know you are not alone and help is out there.

What would you like to say about this project?
Excellent!! Something I have been waiting for. Very excited to see more stories.

Although I was sexually abused several years ago, I feel it affects my life now more than ever. Nothing really seems right. Growing up I always put myself in situations to get hurt. For example, I was involved in relationships where I was not loved and I was being used for sex. When I was younger I loved sex; it was a sense of power and control for me. I knew I had what guys wanted and I used it to my advantage. I used to think I was a sexaholic because I always wanted to have sex. But now that I am with someone who loves me, I treat him like he was one of the other’s using me. I resent him sometimes and I started thinking to myself “Am I falling out of love? Is this lust?” But I am starting to realize he LOVES me! And I think that is something I was never able to accept. I never knew how it felt to be loved from the inside out. Even my friends I feel they love me but in my crazy head I don’t see why. Growing up not only did I attract horrific relationships but I also attracted bad friendships. I had friends that always tried to control me and run my life. At first I believed this friendship to be love but then as I got older I realized how much I pushed myself aside and dealt with these situations. Another way the abuse affects me today is with my family. I feel so unloved, unwanted, a burden to my brothers and sometimes to my dad. I guess this came from when I first told my parents about the abuse. At first my father did not believe me and had to clarify it with my cousin who we learned was also being sexually abused by my grandfather. Then I was sent to counseling and my grandfather was not to show his face. Then my dad started to feel bad for him because he is old and is pretty much helpless so he was allowed back in the house, basically they chose my grandfather over me. And that is pretty much how I have been feeling for 9 years now. And I have not spoken about it with them since! I want to get over this already and I want to stop blaming everything I feel on my past because I do have the ability to change but I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to say it’s okay, it was in the past let’s move on…my grandfather does not deserve that sort of justice. The way I used to deal with the past is by not thinking about it. But what was bad about this classic method is the moment something reminded me of it whether it was something visual, smelly or emotional, I broke down and no one knew. All throughout my childhood I tried to block it out and ignore what was going on but I have never really felt healed. It was not enough for me to just write down my thoughts. Or how I used to handle it was cutting my skin and becoming mute in school. What I always wanted was to talk with other individuals who were sexually abused and how they dealt with it. Till this day I am 23 years old and my past has made me who I am, in most cases a good person but in others it does have the best of me and I do look back at it and feel ashamed. I allow my childhood to control my relationships, my sex life, my personality, my self esteem, myself worth, my family, and my friendships. If it wasn’t for people who really love me and understand me, I would probably still be stuck in an extreme emotional rut. The way I try to cope with the past today is by blocking it out and telling myself what happened in my past has made me a beautiful person today. Sometimes turning it positive helps me accept it but it is not always so successful.

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