Warning :this post may be a trigger to those have suffered sexual abuse
I had a long conversation with someone about my brother’s suicide today and this woman was really kind and understanding. I’ve been thinking about it throughout the day and it occurred to me that not only was the suicide a devastating lost but also extremely traumatic since I was only 14 and totally ill equipped to handle such a sudden and tragic event with no answers. I was thinking about childhood trauma and all of sudden I thought about someone I knew when I was younger who was sexually abused by a family member when she was a little girl. From time to time; I read about sexual abuse and while I empathize; I don’t fully understand since I have never been sexually abused; I can’t even imagine what it is like to be in that position. It wasn’t until I heard about what happened to this girl; did it help me to understand the trauma of sexual abuse among children. As I was thinking about her; I was thinking how the last time I saw her, her mother was marrying a man, whose children would be her abusers; she was much younger than me and it about a year or so after the trauma of losing my brother. I will not go into the details of what I know about the story except she was abused. Even though that it’s been over 20 years and have not seen her since; my heart breaks and I am filled with a deep sadness and anger. I remember her as a cute little girl; innocent and trusting; and just a kid, you know. She came to our house to play in the neighborhood pool and I watched cartoons with her in her house; it was like being an older brother to a sister I never had. And that innocence was taken away; she was robbed of a normal childhood. As I’m writing this; I realize I may have written this earlier but I felt it important to write about; in regards to trauma.
About a year ago, I got in touch with her on Facebook. I added her reluctantly; I knew that maybe she needed to be talking to females; they were safer. She ended up messaging me regularly and we would talk about how our lives were and sometimes she’d hint at the abuse. A part me of didn’t feel comfortable talking to her because of her past history but I did notice something interesting. She’d tell about PTSD type symptoms and that she was on disability; from what I could gather; she’d never held a job; driven a car or had many social outlets. She would spend most of her time at home playing video games but she did have a boyfriend; which made me happy; I was glad she found someone who understood her. The other thing I know noticed was that at times it felt like I was talking to 7 or 8 year old ( the age when the abuse began) instead of woman who was almost 30. I can’t explain it but for example she was most excited because her mother was going to buy her a Nintendo ds for her birthday and she spent all of her days playing games online and how mom doesn’t allow her to do this or that; I’m not being harsh; I’m trying to point that she seemed perpetually stuck at a young age and I wonder if it has something to do with the trauma she induced. As if her brain won’t allow her to age to the point where she was abused. It hurt so bad to talk to her that I had to cut off communication. I also didn’t want to be accused somehow of any wrong doing by messaging her. It felt like an adult talking to a little girl and it felt wrong to continue the conversation. That being said; I have love in my heart for her and it hurts me so much that this little girl that came to my house to play was abused so badly that she can’t function as an adult; in any capacity. And I feel guilty for writing but I look at this post as educational and I use it bring awareness to sexual abuse; not trigger anyone. No one involved in this story reads my blog or has any contact with me. I am very careful to protect those that have been hurt.
I also wonder what happened to those boys. So much time has passed and as far as I know ; they were never charged. So I think, those boys are now grown men, with children and wives, my question is: how they live with themselves?. If they have children how do they look at them and not realize the child’s live that the ruined forever. How do they sleep at night knowing that the little girl they abused is now a full grown woman who can’t hold a job, make friends, has ptsd and disability and is so traumatized, is still emotionally a child? How in the fuck do you live with yourselves? God forgives but it’s harder for me to forgive. Those bastards got off Scot free and if they could abuse her, what makes you think they’re not capable of sexual abusing their children or another child. It makes me so fuckin angry that they got away with it. With my trauma, I blame my brother, but it’s hard to be angry with someone’s who’s dead. In her case, her abusers are roaming the streets free. Sexual abuse has longstanding effects and it isn’t until someone you know goes through it does it hit you emotionally. I think I’m done here. I apologize again if anyone was triggered by this post.
I was talking to someone the other day we were talking about the Kavanaugh hearing; I missed a good deal of it ,but I saw some highlights online. But he mentioned how they kept asking Dr Ford about details of the night when she was allegedly assaulted and she kept saying she couldn’t remember details. And people are so quick to say she isn’t telling the truth or maybe it was someone who attacked her but it wasn’t Brett Kavanaugh because she can’t recall every single moment of this traumatic event. And it their callous attitude towards her that shows they have a complete lack of empathy about someone having to relive such a painful experience. I want to say that I have never been sexually assaulted; I have no idea what the pain of that is like, but I understand trauma very well. When that policeman came to my house and informed us that my brother was dead ; that was trauma; my life changed forever. The whole day is a blur; I can remember some things like being whisked away to the park and coming back and seeing all my friends there but that’s it. I have no idea what they said or if what I said to them; or if I even talked to them at all. So if someone asked what happened that day in detail I couldn’t tell them anything from that day; except being confused and angry. Trauma comes in many shapes and forms and affects people differently. And here’s the thing: trauma doesn’t go away; whether I talk about it or don’t talk about it; I’ll always have that trauma and I can’t get over it and shutting down only makes it worse. And so even if you haven’t experienced trauma first hand; you can see someone in pain and feel for them and try to put yourself in their shoes. You can do that, right?.
So why is it so hard for others to believe someone that is so clearly traumatized by this event that Dr Ford went through? Why do we judge so harshly and doubt this person. Why? Because she can’t tell every single little detail after the attack? She was nearly raped and you expect to or her to tell you who she talked to next; who drove her home; how long she was in the room until she escaped? You have to be kidding me. This young girl was traumatized; scared out of her mind; confused; probably in a state of an anxiety attack ( and those are very really by the way) with her heart pounding out of her chest. That is trauma and if you can’t have empathy for someone like that; than I don’t know what to tell you.
I know it is very difficult for me every time I write about my trauma ( although I feel better after) I can’t imagine someone dismissing what happened to me or minimizing ; saying it wasn’t as bad as I remember. How do you know? You weren’t there; inside my head; knowing what I was feeling. I used to think that if you hadn’t been through that trauma you have no right to talk about it; I don’t think that way anymore. I think we all need to talk about these things because it’s healing but as long as its done from a place of love and compassion. I made an earlier post about how someone had told me my brother’s death was an accident and how angry that made me. Other people have messaged me saying how much they cared about my brother and they miss him and how his death affected them. You see that is a difference. That asshole in Baltimore was saying this to me because he was insensitive cruel person ( and fortunately that has rarely happened) With the other people talking about my brother; it is out of love and not malice. Just listening to Dr Ford’s testimony and hearing the fear in her voice and the effect it has had on her 36 years later; I instantly knew that this woman had trauma and this hearing was making it worse; it was heartbreaking to watch. It’s heartbreaking how we treat each other sometimes; I think we can do better.
This has really been a rough week for so many; with the Kavanaugh hearing; a lot of people are triggered and emotions are running high. I actually have to admit I don’t have cable news ( or even a TV for that matter) so I miss out on a lot of the details; I read headlines on Facebook and hear people talking about it but I don’t get the full picture. The news is just so negative and full of drama that I have a tendency to just shut out the news because it’s too much; too many players; too much arguing back and forth; it’s not good for my mental health. That being said I have jest of what these hearing is about; Judge Kavanaugh is being accused of attempted rape at a party in the 80s in high school ( a pretty serious accusation). A lot of people these days are being accused of sexual assault; it’s seems like a celebrity or politician is being accused of sexual misconduct each day; and a lot of them have surprised me (Charlie Rose, really?) And while I am shocked and have empathy for these women that are accusing these men; I don’t know them personally so it’s easy to not get emotional because I am looking at as outsider who has never been sexual assaulted and can’t fully understand that pain; but a lot people have ( as I have been finding out recently)
I find myself to be a very sensitive man and have met so many caring women who have been there for me in my life; I admire their strength and courage. I admire how they express their feelings ( some not all); how they show empathy; how they are usually to ones who speak against the injustices of the world.. So when I hear about men who abuse women; my heart breaks because I can sense the pain and anguish the actions of these men cause; the trauma inflicted on these women is life long. I understand trauma in my own way and I have empathy for them because i am a human being who cares about others; but there are so many others in this world that are insensitive; they can listen to a woman describe unbelievable trauma while recounting being sexually assaulted; hear her voice quiver; hands shake and tears rolling down her eyes and not blink an eye. To them it’s all in act to smear the name of good family man; it’s scam; a political ploy; instead of a woman speaking her truth. And then I hear some say “Well why didn’t they come forward earlier?’ Well who wants to relive that trauma in front of a courtroom ( mostly made of men ); have your sexual history on display; be called a liar and told that it didn’t happen and say that you just want money or attention? Why go through all that; especially when you are a teenager. Being bullied as a kid I can remember being ganged up on and when I told the teachers; they told me to just ignore it and it made things worse. I learned not to speak up because it didn’t stop the bullying and no one was going to help me anyways; so I just learned to put up with the bullying because i had no choice. I use that as an example of trying my best to understand why women take so long to come forward ( if they ever come forward at all). Just typing this now makes me feel angry; I feel angry so many men doubt women; so many men say so many disrespectful things towards someone who has been through sexual assault; why are they so quick to judge?. And do so few men stand up for women? That’s my question.
For a long time I didn’t speak up because it wasn’t personal but last year after the allegations of Harvey Weinstein were brought to light; I started seeing all of these statuses from women that said “me too”. I had no idea what that was about; I later found out it was women sharing that they had been victims of sexual assault and harassment; and all of sudden most of my female friends were making “me too” posts; it became personal. These women who were my friends and who I loved were sexually assaulted or harassed at one point by men in their lives; that hurt deeply; I really felt for them. Soon some of them started sharing their stories in more detail and I started to realize how many women were affected by this and how so few of them ever came forward and their seemed to be a recurring theme: fear, fear fear. Either they were threatened or didn’t want to get his male in trouble so they held it in for years and years. Now by sharing this they have nothing to gain; they aren’t taking these guys to court; they are speaking their truth so other women don’t feel so alone; and they’d have no reason to lie. I thought about that; a lot of these accusers are coming forward 15-20 years later; way past the statute of limitations; so they can’t charge this guy. Why would a woman put herself through that trauma all over again; be called a liar in front of everyone; have her sexual history questioned and gain nothing legally from it; if she wasn’t telling the truth, right?. I don’t know; I don’t have statistics and figures; I can only speak from the heart and I believe a lot of women coming forward and I commend them for being so brave; because it takes guts to stand up against powerful men who think they are entitled to sex and see women as solely sex objects with no feelings or worth.
I want to finish this post and talk about a family member who I have not seen since she was a little girl; we actually share the same birthday; she is exactly 6 or 7 years younger than me. I don’t talk to that side of the family so I don’t know about any of them. But I was told that this member in the family was sexually abused at a very young ( 7 or 8) and it was shocking; especially since I had met the boys who had abused her for years. I just felt so furious and had so much hurt in my heart; knowing that cute little innocent girl who was funny and who i went to the pool with and talked with her had been through unimaginable abuse. I can’t describe how it makes me feel except sick. Even though I have no contact with my family; I do love her and she crosses my mind from time to time. I caught up with her on Facebook about a year ago. I messaged her a few times and I could tell she was struggling; she didn’t work; had ptsd ( related to the abuse); and it wasn’t like talking to an adult; it was like talking to a little girl. I realized that the abuse was so bad that emotionally she remained 7 or 8 years of age. I didn’t think it was appropriate to be talking to her; even online so I cut off contact with her and any other family I had on Facebook. But when all this talk of sexual abuse comes up; she does cross my mind. And she’s isn’t lying about the abuse and didn’t tell anyone for years; long after it had ended. I tend to believe most women who come forward because in a rape culture such as ours; I believe that there are many more men out there capable of sexual abuse than I had previously imagined. I hope to continue to be the kind of man who speaks up for women; comforts women; is friends with women; and never stops believing women
For many years I struggled with watching pornography; it is everywhere these days; you can’t escape it. There are thousand of free porn sites that anyone ( including those that are minors) can access without any age restrictions; and it isn’t just vanilla porn; it’s hardcore pornography; anything you can think of within legal limits is available mostly for free online. It all too easy to become addicted. And if it isn’t pornography; it’s sensual videos on YouTube ( a lot female youtubers tend to flaunt their sexuality; mostly to attract male viewers) or it’s half naked girls on Instagram or any other social media; just a never ending stream of lust. It almost makes you sick; you see women as objects; you don’t care about their brains and what they have to say; it’s about their bodies. I used to use a metaphor for it; it’s like putting a drug addict in a room and there is a constant stream of free drugs; anything he wants; anytime of day; free of charge. I started thinking to myself; what is this doing to my mind? How is this affecting the way I view women. How do I see myself seeing this endless stream of scantily clad woman all day everyday; and not real women mind you; but pixels and videos; not reality.? I think it got to the point where I couldn’t look women in the face because I felt so much shame at seeing women degraded and abused on a daily basis. I mean how can you relate and have relationships with women when you see them as objects; spit on, kicked, called names, in pain while the crew and cameramen around them laugh at their expense? Something inside of me started feeling hurt by watching this; I was hurt for these women. A thought came to me that at one point they were all little girls; did they dream that one day they’d be having sex on camera for millions to see; to be abused on screen; at risk for contracting AIDS and other diseases; having their family and friends possibly find out about their porn acting and be ostracized ( I read about one young girl who took her own life because a college classmate found her porn audition video; heartbreaking), having those behind the camera making twice as much while the pornstars take all the risks. Is money worth losing your soul over? But something amazing happened when I stopped looking at pornography so much; I automatically respected women more; I saw them less as objects and more as human beings worthy of my respect and admiration. I want to connect with women; I want to relate them; I want to understand women because I felt so bad about watching all of this garbage over the years. It lead me other unhealthy behaviors that I regret; porn is sort of like the gateway drug to other things. For me personally when I turned my life to God; it’s as if he freed me from that addiction. I felt less of a need to look at it because I saw it as ugly and against the kind of life that Jesus would want to me to lead.. I don’t want to preach or demand that porn be banned; because that will never happen. Adults have a legal right to do whatever the hell they want to do but this is something I have wanted to write about for a long time. I want people to see how destructive porn is; how many lives it has ruined; suicides; drug overdoses; aids, ; murders; a huge rate of death within the adult film industry and none of that matters to the pornographer because there will always a cute 18 year girl right out of high school; ignorant to the world that they can use; abuse and throw out like yesterday’s garbage; it’s heartbreaking. I mean this is an industry that refuses to have their workers wears condoms; in this day and age where there is still no cure for AIDS and the rest of us have to use condoms to protect ourselves from disease; the porn industry only cares about money and will put performers at risk to line their greedy pockets; they don’t care who dies as a result of their wickedness. So I for one chose to stay away from pornography; I want a healthy relationship with a woman; I want to feel better about myself. I don’t want to contribute to the abuse and degradation of women; I have respect for them and have many female friends; they are more than objects; they are people I care about it. So I hope I have been honest in this post; this was difficult to write but I feel I needed to say it.
As always, Thank for listening