T O P I C ††† R E V I E W
Member # 95641
posted 06-28-2012 07:47 PM
Iíve known about Scarleteen for a few months and Iíve been reading different stories and responses. First, I have to say I am really happy that such a site, where people can confide, ask questions and get answers, exists. Iíve had to deal with a lot of inadequate sexual behaviors in my life and I need to talk about it. However, I still find it a very difficult thing to do. Writing is easier, at least for now. The first situations I want to write about concern my ex-stepfather. My mother started dating him when I was 2 years old and left him when I was thirteen. He talked about sex all the time, made jokes about penises and masturbation, said things about my motherís body and took my motherís bras and hung them all around the place for everyone to see, even though she did not like it. All of which happened when I was about 5, 6 and 7 years old and were done in front of me. But the worst thing of all happened when I was about 7 years old. My grandmother, my aunt, my mother, he and I were all sitting around the kitchen table. He started to explain how a man should treat a woman in bed. He said you had to tie her down, wrists and ankles at the four corners of the bed, to work her (those were his actual words, what he meant was to massage her limbs, and he mimed it as he said it) and then, out of the blue, declare that you were sorry, that you had to go and make yourself some toasts. And he laughed. The man, meaning him, was to leave the woman there and go do something else. Nothing about asking her opinion or inquiring after her wishes. No word on how she likes being a prisoner either. No mention of when he was to free her. It seems these details were not important. And that was his idea of relationships between men and women. My mother was very uncomfortable but she said nothing. But then there was worse. I was about 8 years old. My mother had gone to work, I had been left alone with my stepfather. At first we were playing chess in the living room. He told me that was I was wearing was pretty. (I was wearing jeans and sort of a child bra. I have no idea why I was so underdressed. ) I thanked him politely but started to feel uncomfortable. Then, I donít remember how, I ended up lying on my back, on him. He started to caress my navel. I asked him what he was doing, as I was very uncomfortable. He said that when I would be older, my boyfriend would do that and I would love it. Laughing nervously, I asked him to stop and made a movement to MAKE him stop. He laughed. I wanted to leave but I was afraid that something worse would happen if I did. I stayed for a few minutes and then I left. I canít fully explain or express how disgusting and life-altering these experiences were to me, and how abominable it feels when I think about it today. What he said in front of the whole family, I find appalling. In his story, the woman was described and talked of as a mere objet. As if women had no right to have an opinion. What's more, I still can't believe this man used my body to please himself. And I still can't believe his words. What nerve! What does he know about my future boyfriend and what I would like? Why is he meddling? That was very personnal, private stuff... Iím afraid to talk about it because I am aware that there is worse. I know that sexual assaults cannot be evaluated that way but I am still very afraid of being judged or laughed at. I decided to write here because of what I read: kind and intelligent responses... I guess what I am looking for is comfort and support...
Member # 90293
posted 06-28-2012 08:06 PM
HI Jemima7777 and welcome to Scarleteen.
I am sorry you had to go through that with your step-father and I'm glad that you found Scarleteen to be a safe place where you could break your silence about this. He sounds like a nasty, cruel, abusive man. And yes, he abused you. He touched you without your permission and didn't stop when you asked. As to what he said while he was touching you, abusers have a nasty habit of coming up with things to justify their actions. It wasn't about what you wanted or would want in future, at all, but part of his own self-justification. Again, I'm so glad you're talking about this here. Yes, there is abuse that lasts longer,, or causes more physical damage, but that doesn't in anyway minimize that what you experienced was distressing with you and why it continues to stick with you to this day. Your stepfather, in addition to touching you in ways you didn't want, created an environment that felt constnatly unsafe and unpleasant for you. It sounds like he's out of your life now, yes? Is there someone in your life you think you would feel comfortable telling? Perhaps a friend? For many people, a big part of releasing the burden of abuse and harassment is being able to share their story. Again, I'm glad you came here to talk with us.
Member # 91788
posted 06-28-2012 10:45 PM
Hey Jemima7777, and welcome!
I am so sorry that you had to go through such a nasty experience with your step-father. I truly am. I, too, am an survivor of abuse whose perpetrator is also an ex-stepfather. The first thing you need to know, right off the bat, is that none of this was your fault. This man made the choice to perform abusive, despicable acts. And I echo Robin in stating that abusers always look for and find ways to justify their actions. And the bottom line is that they are always wrong, no matter what sort of excuse they use to justify themselves. Just wanted to emphasize that you can always come up here to Scarleteen to talk with us, whether or not there are people currently in your life with whom you feel comfortable talking about the abuse. Hopefully all the people whom you reach out to will be supportive and helpful, but just keep in mind that there are those out there who are uneducated as to the complex needs of abuse survivors, and thus will be less than supportive and helpful. Here at Scarleteen, we try our best to give abuse survivors like yourself and I the support we need to heal and to seek out the kind of help in real life that we need. Also, have you considered getting yourself counselling as part of your recovery from the abuse? Abuse can be very complex and survivors can benefit a lot from regular meetings with a professional who is specifically trained to provide therapy and coping strategies for rough times. Am thinking of you.
Member # 95710
posted 06-28-2012 11:02 PM
I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, Jemima7777.If someone touches you or does something without your expressed consent, you have every right to consider it as an infringement of privacy and it is still a violation of your personal space. It sounds traumatic; and the situations he described sounded gruesome.
I agree with Sans about considering getting someone to talk to about these things. You might feel better talking to a third party; and you can disclose anything and it will be kept confidential. You are a brave and courageous person; and I'm truly sorry that you had to go through this. You have our support!
Member # 95641
posted 06-29-2012 10:48 AM
Thank you everyone for your kind replies. I read them twice. To see you react in such a nice way gives me courage.
First, just to clarify something, when I asked him to stop, I didn't wait for him to stop, I made a movement to make him stop, and I think he did stop then, though I'm not completely sure. I don't know of he would have, had I done nothing to make him. So, somehow, he did stop at some point. Is it still abuse? It certainly feels like it... Robin Lee, Yes, he is out of my life now. When I was 11, I went to live with my father and haven't seen him since. I went back to my mother's when she left him, two years later. As for counselling, I am currently on therapy. I did tell my therapist what happened, though it was weeks before I was able to. I've writen letters to the abuser and read them out loud before destroying them. It helped. I also told my mother and my current boyfriend. It took me so much courage and strenght... I still find it difficult to talk about it though. I have trouble with words. I'm scared of them. I am considering telling a friend but I'm scared. I told her almost everything about what I went through but I still can't bring myself to tell her what happened EXACTLY. She's been very supportive but I'm terrified she'll say or think something like: ''What, you've been making such a fuss about a trivial thing like that!'' I know it's impossible. When I put myself in her position, I can hear how disgusting it is, and why it is traumatic...But, I'm still scared. I'm really afraid to say: ''My stepfather caressed my navel.'' I'm afraid it's going to sound completely stupid and ridiculous...
Member # 91788
posted 06-29-2012 01:59 PM
Your Welcome. You deserve to be supported, Jemima7777.
I am not sure as to some of the answers to the questions that you pose in your post, so I will address the ones that I am sure of. I am glad that you are no longer in the abusive situation. It's great that you are able to talk to a professional and that the given therapy and coping mechanisms has helped. It takes a lot of folks weeks, months, years to disclose abuse because abuse is difficult to think and talk about. I'm so glad that you were able to tell your mother and your boyfriend, and I hope that they are supportive of you. Again, it's perfectly normal to find it difficult to talk about abuse because it's perpetrated at such a personal level. When I went to the police station to make a victim's statement regarding my abuse, I was stuttering and had to take pauses. So it's okay. Allow yourself to process the abuse at your own pace. You do not have to tell your friend the entire story if you do not want to, and you do not have to tell her the specific details. What you have gone through is not trivial. It has impacted you in a significantly negative way and has caused you a lot of distress. A caring friend would recognize that and continue to support you.
Member # 95641
posted 06-30-2012 08:33 PM
First, Sans, I'm happy that you got to make a victim's statement, even though it was so hard! It feels good to talk about it with my boyfriend and to know he supports me and does not find me ridiculous. Most of the time, I make him read stuff I wrote though. I can barely say the words. I feel like I may want to tell my friend what happenned exactly. What makes me feel good is to see that people don't laugh at me and take the matter seriously. Since being ridiculous is what I'm most afraid of, to tell someone what happenned exactly and to see him or her react and feel for me, proves to me that it is not trivial, that it is big, and bad. Of course, I know that myself, and the very fact that I was so shaken and damaged proves that it was wrong and awfull. I think anyone who would read or hear about these situations would find it abnormal and disgusting. But even though I know all that, I still need to have proof or something. I feel so relieved every time someone reacts in a good way... Not that I've told a million people either... But all three of them thought what I had been through was terrible. I guess it's harder for me to allow myself to '' having been abused'' or to be a victim. Because the abuse was something very unusual (I've never heard of anyone who was abused that way. I have to say that this man was obsessed with the navel. It was very attractive to him.) and may seem small... It's like I feel bad for being so troubled and displaying it or telling people...