(This is going to lurch and sound awkward in spots...that's because I have edited out a slew of stuff from my original post. Sorry for that, I wanted to share at least parts of it here, and redacting was the only way I could.)
Pretty ugly words that can make you cringe when you see them, hear them, read them.
Not words you want to ever find attached to yourself.
Actions you never want done to you.
Words you wish you weren't so familiar with.
I went round and round with Richard on this subject. He had the gall to tell me that I had been sexually abused.
"WHAT?!" I had nearly screamed at him. "Sexual abuse happens in movies and is horrible and violent and scary!"
My definition and perception of what "sexual abuse" was, was nothing like what happened to me.
"I don't feel damaged. I don't feel damaged."
He looked at me and then down to my scarred arm.
"I don't feel damaged." I snarled, balling up in my chair. "My definition of abuse doesn't equal what happened to me."
"You gave me this yesterday. I want you to see it." He hands me a page from my journal.
There in my writing is this...I had to keep my underwear on, Even it if was just on one leg I felt safe with it on.
I looked up at him unsure where he was going.
He paused selecting his words carefully. "So you were feeling unsafe?"
My head roared and all of me rebelled with the direction he was pointing at.
Sexual abuse is like that. Your mind is going to rebel and say, naw that isn't abuse...abuse is... not to deceive yourself but to preserve your self.
You mind is trying to rationalize the actions of others and maintain its hold on sanity.
How can I keep functioning if I HAVE BEEN ABUSED? Not possible, abuse would damage me beyond repair.
I am not denying what has happened, I just don't want to classify it with that awful word.
Maybe its not so bad if you call it something else...but it sure is bad if you call it RAPE. There is no denying that word and the power behind it.
I kept fighting with him in a battle for my life.
"I WAS NOT SEXUAL ABUSED"
He finally compromised with me and we agreed to classify what occurred as, "inappropriate sexual contact."
Because in reality, my mind simply couldn't classify it as "classic sexual abuse" due to the lack of well, the movie and book descriptions of the RAVAGES OF ABUSE.
Once we agreed upon "inappropriate sexual contact." as the label for what happened, we could move on.
Over the years I have mulled over that label. Is it any different then labeling an avocado as guacamole? Same thing, just a different form.
My mind was not ready to take on that label of being sexually abused. Simply because my description of it differed.
There are grey areas in most definitions. SA is no different. Call it what you will, find the nomenclature that will allow you to breath and move forward.
After time and space and growth I can now say without cringing or wrestling within my self that. I was abused as a child.
Wishing I had a different past isn't denying what happened. It confirms it.
Wishing I was not so familiar with these words:
Isn't denying it, its carefully adding a layer of insulation to my fragile soul so I can keep on breathing and moving on.
It isn't not wanting to accept those words that is making me hold out my arms, its the fact that if I keep them at arms length then I don't have to worry about them tripping me or smothering me in my sleep.
I know those words are "no take backsies" There is no undo button.
No one wants to love those words.
It takes incredible strength and courage to even peek at them within your soul.
The classic definitions should be broader to encompass more. Or new terms should be invented.
I was point blanked asked by two different teachers in my childhood it I was being sexual abused.
Both times I said with all honesty, "no."
That is akin to being four feet under water and denying you are drowning.
Children think differently then adults do. To be given examples of SA today as a grown up I can easily classify them. I know what is right and what is wrong.
Its not always so clear cut when you are little and in the mix. Sometimes for you sanity and mental protection you just had to think, "what's going on is...nothing, it's just how life is."
That makes it hard as an adult to look back and connect with that child you were. Your mind is stronger then you think and crafty. It helps you stay alive and function while being a child.
Our minds are powerful things.
they never stop trying to protect us.
There will never be a time I proudly declare those words to be a part of me. I will never add them to my resume as I apply for a job. But I can admit they apply to me and that I know,
boy do I know,
how difficult it is for others to admit they might even apply to them.
Because those words bring so much more then just a label to the table.