TW: the content of this blog contains references to childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. Whilst I am not specific about the abuse please take care about reading this post if you feel it may be triggering.
I saw a psychiatrist yesterday and as usual when seeing someone new they ask you to talk about everything-your childhood, history, triggers, recent stressors, medication….you name it, it gets discussed. This is distressing and often triggering, but I guess a necessary evil when putting together a care plan. However there are some questions and answers I find particularly hard to deal with.
I don’t find it easy to discuss anything about the sexual abuse I suffered. It’s like my voice disappears. However I find it more distressing when my replies raise eyebrows, which is what happened yesterday.
My sexual abuse went on for a period of around 10 years from the age of around 10. Yes, that means my final assault happened when I was 20. Yes, that means I was an adult. My “attacks” happened as I slept. I couldn’t have stopped them. But even if I hadn’t been sleeping sexual assault is never the victims fault. Therefore raised eyebrows from a psychiatrist, and asking for clarification that I was 20 when the abuse stopped is not helpful. Another raised eyebrow and an “Oh!” is also unhelpful when I tell you that my abuser was younger than me.
Lastly, when I say that I have not reported my abuser to the police or any other authorities, please don’t point out that I should consider that other people, other children, may be “at risk” from him. Do you not think I have considered that? Do you not think that perhaps it is something that I think about almost every day? Do you not think that it adds to my guilt? But have you also considered that I don’t feel strong enough? That I don’t believe I will ever be strong enough? Do you not think I’ve read about the types of questions that the police put to “victims”? That courts put to victims? That I’ve not read about all those failed convictions? And that I have made a decision that to protect myself and my daughter is the only thing that matters and that if that means not reporting it then that is how it will be?
Perhaps my situation is unusual, but I doubt it is unique.
I was a victim of abuse. I already feel enough shame, and guilt about that without people judging me!