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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Sexual harassment ages ago-- who can I talk to?

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Author Topic: Sexual harassment ages ago-- who can I talk to?
Cian
Activist
Member # 44405

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I feel conflicted in myself. When I was minor, about 14 years old, I got into a sad situation online where a person I considered a 'safe person' or a 'supporter' as I was going through a tough time in fact was grooming me. It happened gradually, I didn't really know where to draw the line, and at that time as a relatively lonely, attention starved teen, I half welcomed the attention. He was 19 at that time.

And that's the key. It wasn't entirely welcome. The sexual insinuations and discussions felt uncomfortable and when I would tell him that I didn't want this kind of attention, he would make me feel increasingly bad about myself. He would tell me no one would want me or love me if I never put out. It got so bad that I started to believe him and came to the resolution that next time he would ask me for sexual favors, I would agree to it.

Thankfully I changed my mind.
Next time it occurred I finally completely cut him off my life by blocking him on all medias he could have used to contact me. I erased him from my life.
But not from my past.

I don't really know what I want.
It doesn't feel like such a big deal, nothing "bad" ever happened. I made him go away. I wasn't violated.
I don't even know why I have such a big hangup about this. Maybe because it affected how I would go on to perceive men in my life? Maybe because he made me ashamed of myself for not being smart or strong enough to realize what was happening and more over, realize that it was completely out of line. Maybe some other reason?

I just feel like if I try to talk about it with anyone they'll dismiss me because nothing truly happened. But the experience sort of haunts me.

Posts: 239 | From: Europe | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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To start with, I would ditch ideas of an objective standard of "bad" when it comes to this type of thing. If you feel a certain way about something, then that is how you feel and those feelings are valid and worth taking seriously. If this is something that has stayed with you and affected you all these years, then it is certainly something that is "bad" enough to warrant talking about.

Where do you want to go from here? Do you want some help in finding in-person support to talk about this? do you want to explore some of the questions you asked in your post with us here?

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Cian
Activist
Member # 44405

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I've tried looking for a helpline nationally and locally, but all of them focus on acute crisis management for sexual assault victims or are directed to preteens and teens, of which I am no longer neither. I feel like my experience is less valid, in my country grooming is not a punishable offence. Even if it were I doubt I would be able to do anything about it.

I think I'm just at a dead end here. I don't feel particularly traumatized. I'm not looking to punish anyone. I'm just angry. I'm angry it ever happened. I'm angry someone would be so vile to take advantage of an extremely vulnerable minor. I'm angry I let it happen. I'm hurt and disappointed no one managed to intervene or protect me, not even myself.

I think what I want is to just let it go. It's in the past. He's a horrid person and I am now stronger. I want it to not bother me anymore. I just don't know how?

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Jacob at Scarleteen
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 66249

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Hey Cian, I'm sorry to hear about what happened and how it is making you feel now.

I wonder, in a best case scenario, that there is someone or a service that you found that would offer you help and wasn't dismissive, what sort of support do you think you'd like from them? Even though you're not sure what would help for sure, have you thought of things you would try?

It might be that you just feel like you have a whole number of feelings and you want to just be able to tell them all to someone and feel free to have those feelings and express them out loud, to be less affected by them and feel more control over them (feel free to do that here). Or you may want to try something more involved... what did you have in mind?

Bear in mind also, that if someone says "We can't help you"... that doesn't mean your feelings aren't legitimate, it just means you have to look elsewhere... even if they are dismissive, you don't have to accept that. So maybe if you don't feel so able to hear that and make those calls but want to we can maybe help on that too?

My other thought here is that often whether the experience be of psychological abuse like grooming or physical abuse, it is actually very common for people to only seek answers much later in life, so I might expect that these helplines and so on may have support available for survivors, or being able to

By the way, I hear you saying you're not traumatised and at the same time frustrated that you are 'bothered' by what happened... 'bothered' still matters as far as I'm concerned, and might even be a much better description of what many people feel when trying to process reflections on difficult experiences from earlier adolescence. Trauma on the other hand can sound permanent and extreme, which can make things hard if you consider it a prerequisite for getting support. So if you're feeling that I agree that you don't use words that don't feel right or helpful, but I don't think calling your situation 'trauma' actually would be the thing that warrants you getting support anyway. Someone might describe their experience as trauma but, due to other resources they have, not feel that extra support is helpful... and someone who doesn't feel their experience was trauma might still be suffering and benefit hugely from the support they could get. It really is about what's best for you.

I would say that not feeling how you want to be feeling is the impetus for seeking support, it's not about deserving it, it's about wanting it and seeing if it's available. As joey says you feel what you feel, we don't need to decide whether it qualifies or not, just do things that could make improvements in your life.

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Cian
Activist
Member # 44405

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At this point it really just feels like all I want is for someone to say "What happened to you was not okay and you're right to be angry/sad/some other confused emotion and think it's kind of a big deal".

I don't think I'm up for making a row of calls risking rejection because my experience is too old or too insignificant to warrant their resources. I think my biggest fear is that if I get turned down for help, it'll feel like what I experienced really wasn't a big deal and I'm being a crybaby about it.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, what happened to you was NOT okay, you have a right to have any feelings you have about it, including anger and to think it's as big a deal as it was/is for you.

Truly. I mean, I said what I said because it's what you asked for, but also because that all is absolutely so.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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