Hi, i'm new to posting so I apologise in advance if I'm doing it wrong. I've never tried to tell anyone this before so this might not be very coherent.....I know this sounds insane but is it possible to be sexually abused by someone your own age? I know its kind of hard to believe but I was just never told or warned like other children seem to have been about not letting people touch you etc., I only heard those things learned about sex properly when I was about 12 (I'm 18) and it was about then that I started to think I'd been abused in some way, because I realised I'd blocked the incidents out til then. I felt really really ashamed and stupid and I thought that what had happened to me couldnt possibly be abuse and that I was sick for thinking so, that it was just children playing and expereimenting. But even if it was I haven't been able to forget about it over the past few years. I guess it would make a lot more sense to describe exactly what happened. When I was about 7 or 8 I used to hav to play with a boy I hated who was a few years older, because his parents were very good friends of my parents, thats part of the reason ive never mentioned it to them. I never liked him, he was always really really violent and horrible, even my parents still talk about how much of a brat he was today, and none of the other kids liked him at all either. But I had to play with him so I did. I dont remember exactly when it was, but at some point or other he started to touch my genitals and other parts of my body and make me touch him....i didnt know what i was doing but i know i didnt want to. I remember even though nobody had told me it was wrong I felt awful afterwards, like I wanted to get sick. But me saying i hated him was no different than usual, so i still had to play with him, and everytime we were alone he would do it again. He knew I didnt want to so he would act like it was a game, and that I had to play one game he wanted to and then i could pick a game. I cant remember how many times he did this to me but i would guess at least 6 or 7, enough. i was and stil am extremely shy, so I never told anyone. The only reason it stopped was that one time when they came over, and he said we had to play the game, it was just too much for me so i ran crying to my mother. His mother and mine were used to other kids being upset by this boy, so they weren't that surprised. I told my mom that he was trying to make me play a game i didnt want to play, i couldnt tel her the truth i felt ashamed and like it was my fault. He never tried to do that to me again, and we moved away a year later. Up till i was about 12/13 i completely forgot about it, i knew i hated him, but then so had everyone else, my family still talk about what a horrible child he was, and how he aparently has some mental problems now. I'm not sure why i remembered and began to realise or feel that it was signifigcant and wrong around this time but i did.But I do know it was around that age that I started to feel that i was wierd, that I was a freak, that there was something wrong with me. I have felt that way ever since, and I now suffer from depression, which has become more severe in the past few months. I have been to counselling for about 6 months now, but I have never ever mentioned this, becuase ive always kind of pretended it didnt happen, and I also dont know if it qualifies as abuse. Ive always tried to convince myself that it wasnt really that damaging, that we were just kids messing around, but I cant block it out and pretend it doesnt haunt me even if it doesnt really qualify as abuse or isnt as horrific as other stories ive heard. Im so confused and sad at this stage i really dont know if it affected me or how to talk about it or even if I need to.Ive only started really thinking about it again in the past few weeks, because although i do want to have sex, when I tried with my boyfriend, and I really really wanted to, as soon as we were about to this thing hapened to me where I couldnt breathe or think straight or anything, and he noticed and we stopped and I had no idea why that was happening to me, and then later i remembered it and thought it might hav had something to do with it. I'm really sorry at how long this is, and how incoherent it is, I hav literally never ever even properly thought this through myself, let alone told anyone, but I just felt like i'd explode if i kept it in any longer. I'd just like some advice, even if its just that im completely exagerating something which probably had no effect on me whatsoever, i just have no idea anymore. Thanks.
Posts: 1 | From: Ireland | Registered: Feb 2008
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It's important, I think, to be clear that even when a given situation isn't abusive, it can still be traumatic.
I say that because the big part of what determines something is abuse is the intent of the person enacting whatever they are. Same or similar age small children generally are not intending to abuse with sexual touching and curiousity. As well, many children simply do not know what is and isn't a boundary when it comes to genitals and sex, especially if their parents have not discussed these things with them in some depth. That goes for you, too: sounds like no one ever talked to you about that early, which is a shame, since had you known and then been able to say no, it may have stopped. Given how long ago this happened, given that you were both children (and from the sounds of things, potentially both very sheltered children), and not knowing anything about his motivations, and if they were about normal childhood curiosity or about something else, it'd be very difficult for us to say if this was an abusive situation, particularly since some typical markers of abuse (force or coercion, threatening the victim in some way to keep the secret, clear dismissal of nonconsent) aren't apparent here.
Whether this was an abuse or not, it's clear it was traumatic for you, and even if it was not an abuse, that doesn't mean it's invalid for you to have been or feel traumatized. And when it comes to our own trauma, comparing our situations with those of others isn't useful and doesn't make a lot of sense since trauma and experiences of trauma are incredibly personal and individual. Clearly, you're traumatized: if the same or a similar experience didn't traumatize someone else, or if something far worse happened to someone else doesn't change that you experienced trauma and are dealing with the aftereffects of trauma, sexual confusion and shame.
Do you have any kind of general counseling resources you can look into? Sounds like you could use some help processing all of this and working it through.
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