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How do I stop thinking about my sexual assault.

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:14 am
by segura
I want to preface this by saying that I am completely safe in my current environment, and have been seeking help for a little under a year now. I'm in therapy trying to recover from this trauma but we've never really talked about the sexual aspects in regards to myself. I can't initiate that conversation right now because I'm in the process of switching therapists and there's going to be a whole adjustment period. I've never talked about this incident with anybody outside my family and my therapists to protect reputation, but I think it's time, anonymous though it may be.
When I was about 8 or 9 my brother, who is 2 years older than me, introduced me and some friends to a game he called the "are you nervous" game. Theres a whole convoluted story behind this and background information but the essence of it is this. We ended up in my closet, home alone, playing this game. The are you nervous game involves two people: the toucher and the one being touched. The toucher touches the other person somewhere on their body and the asks "are you nervous?". The person being touched responds accordingly. If the answer is no, the toucher moves to a place on the body closer to the genitalia, and asks again. So on and so forth. It's essentially a sexual game of chicken. Completely inappropriate to play with a sibling. I was young and he was my older brother, I worshipped the ground he walked on, so I complied. Throughout the process, I said I was nervous like 4 times. But every time I did he would look so disappointed and be like "are you sure?" So I would eventually acquiesce and we would continue.

Note: I was a people pleaser to a fault, as a kid I always did everything I could to make people happy at my own expense, even if I knew it was wrong. Case in point. I knew this game was wrong, and I knew that I wasn't enjoying it, but he was my brother and I trusted him so I just went along. We finished my whole body: Limbs, breasts (or what little an 8 year old has, which just makes the whole thing so much more disgusting and appalling) and vulva. I don't remember vaginal penetration but I honestly don't know.

Thats not really the part that had the biggest effect on me though. After we finished with me I assumed he would just leave but he wanted me to reciprocate. I just wanted it to be over. I got down his chest but I had to stop when he opened his pants. I don't know why that was the last straw for me, but it was. That's what haunts me. I know "haunts" is such an overused word but it's true. I can see it, in my mind, I can see exactly what his penis looked like and how it was oriented. I remember exactly where we were in my closet, how he was laying. It's burned into my brain.

I hope this isn't too weird.

Anyway, I'm 16 now. I'm dealing with the emotions that come along with this trauma and the compulsions that pop up about it thanks to my lovely OCD. But I've never dealt with the sexual stuff and how I see myself.

Some things that I think are common in sexual assault cases are guilt and feelings of being dirty? I've never really felt dirty, just disgusted, and I don't see what happened as in any way my fault. But I can't stop thinking about IT when I think of sexual things. I don't have an aversion to sex, I think its natural and appealing. I fantasize just as much as the next 16 year old girl. I don't even have problems with the idea of me being intimate. I know I'm not ready for intimacy right now, and I'm ok with that. This trauma has been holding me back and making me back out of relationships that start to become sexual. And that's ok! I need time and I've accepted that. But that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy myself. I occasionally read smut, and my body responds the way it should, but then I'll envision what IT looked like, and how he was laying back and it's like somebody dumped a bucket of water over my head. I just feel disgust, Not with myself, but with him and what happened. It just completely takes over any positives in my head about sex and all I can think of is how I felt in that moment. It's just awful. I want to be able to stop constantly reminding myself of what happened but I just can't. The whole incident was a violation of trust and our relationship has never been the same since. But honestly... I don't care about that right now. I want to be able to have a boyfriend and kiss someone and be comfortable with myself without constantly having my disgusting experience with my brother hanging over my head.

How do I start making those steps towards keeping it out of my head? Getting more comfortable with myself? I think that might be a place to start but it's difficult because my vagina and vulva are the center of my Obsessive Compulsions. (Because of the trauma). I just need advice.
And I guess lastly, I've asked my therapist this before and she kind of evaded the question. What would you call this experience? Sexual assault? because as much as I didn't want to partake, I guess it was my decision to stay in the room. I don't blame myself for that. I was completely manipulated. But I don't know what effect that has on naming what happened. Sexual manipulation?? Can kids even commit sexual assault? he was like 10? But just because he was young doesn't mean it didn't have the same effect as it would if he were older. I've been reeling from this incident for a long time. Calling it something other that assault almost invalidates how much I'm struggling.

I just need a second opinion. I haven't talked about this to anybody outside my family because I was afraid people would be scared of my brother. He was already kind of a weird kid, and I didn't want to ruin his reputation.

Thank you, I know this is a lot

Re: How do I stop thinking about my sexual assault.

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:12 am
by Sam W
Hi Segura,

It sounds like you're already doing a lot of work to reflect on and cope with your feelings around this, which is an amazing step. I do want to say that, while there are reactions that are more (or less) common for survivors, how an individual person feels about an incident is going to vary. So the fact that you feel disgusted rather than dirty is completely okay and valid. I'd add that disgust is actually a pretty logical reaction to someone you trusted and cared for violating that trust in a way.

As for what to call this, while you get to define it however feels best to you, it fits the definition of child on child sexual abuse. What differentiates that kind of sexual abuse from, say, two younger kids consensually looking at each other's genitals is that it occurs “without consent, without equality, or as a result of coercion." Your brother very likely knew you were uncomfortable and didn't want to continue because you kept saying so, which fits solidly under coercion. Does that help make sense of it at all?

When it comes to finding ways for this not to to constantly pop up as a memory when you're trying to be sexual with yourself or other people, I would definitely bring it up with the new therapist once you're adjusted. It sounds like you may be planning to do that already, but since your OCD seems to use the abuse as an anchor point, it makes sense to bring it up as part of your therapy.

Speaking of OCD, have you learned any techniques for addressing intrusive or persistent thoughts that you could apply in this situation?

Re: How do I stop thinking about my sexual assault.

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:33 pm
by segura
Yeah, i've got the OCD aspect of everything more or less covered. My OCD came to a crux a couple of years ago, so I've been doing exposure response therapy since then and have been using that as my primary tool.
Child on child sexual abuse sounds right to me. Thank you, I think having something to call it will be good for me as opposed to just calling it "the incident".

Thank you!! I really appreciate it.

Re: How do I stop thinking about my sexual assault.

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:38 am
by Sam W
I'm so glad that answer was helpful and gave something to call the whole situation. Is there anything else we can help you with right now, either around this or around something else?