Is it Still Abuse if…? (PG-13)

In my personal experience as one who was sexually abused, I experienced inappropriate touching only. There are some, even in my own family, who would consider this not to be as serious an assault as a completed act of intercourse. They would be wrong.

The physical act of stimulation awakened sexuality in me for the first time. I was 11 years old. From that moment onward, my focus of attention was diverted away from the innocent pursuits of girlhood.

20131130-072030.jpgSuch things as riding my bicycle with baseball cards in the spokes (to make it sound like a motorcycle), and reading Betty and Veronica comics, and Nancy Drew mysteries under the covers at night, after “lights out,” were replaced by a determination to learn all I could about sex from any source except my step-father.

My nightly undercover pursuits were no longer Nancy Drew mysteries, but sexual self-exploration. My reading was no longer confined to Betty and Veronica, but: the Funk & Wagnall’s definition of “intercourse,” True Confessions Magazine articles of torrid and forbidden romances, and lurid paperback novels of “slaking thirsts,” and graphic verbal descriptions of sexual acts.

My every waking moment at home involved a dangerous and exhausting balancing act of deception, avoidance, and attraction.

My nights sometimes involved fighting off my step-father’s roving hands and alcohol-stinking breath—always manipulated by my abuser to be out of the sight of my mother or other witnesses. I, in turn, would be flirtatious with him, hoping to prevent him from going after my younger sisters, but then spurn his groping attentions. I grew to hate him, and to despise myself as well.

My days at school involved throwing myself into a desperate pursuit of the highest scores, to offset the self-loathing and feared disapproval of my peers. This came across to them as aloofness, further alienating me from the innocent young girl growing-up experiences I should have been able to enjoy: having close friends, having them over, or visiting their houses, playing outside, or riding my bicycle with them through the neighborhood. Instead, I lived in abject fear that my dark secret would be found out.

As time went on, I matured rapidly (through excess hormonal stimulation?), and began the intricacies of attracting the more mature boys around me. Had it not been for the eventually overpowering jealousy that came to characterize my step-father’s guardianship over me, I might have lost my virginity earlier than I did.

As it turned out, that was almost the first thing I did, after my mom kicked him out, and he moved several states away—too far away to control me, or the “beast” within me, any longer.

He had spent six years tormenting me. I would spent years afterwards tormenting myself.

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