Today is another blog carnival about sexual violence. This edition is hosted at Marcella's blog, Abyss2Hope In keeping with the occasion Marj Blog Against Sexual Violence: The Link to Child Sexual Abuse posted a personal account that clearly shows the link between being a childhood victim going on to be victimized as an adult.
That has been my history as well. Just growing up and getting away from an abusive home did not save me from being abused. It set me up for further abuse. Until I learned how to undo all of the old programming that came along with my victimization, I was helpless. I didn't have the skills to help myself but I had a fully functioning set of old messages that kept me trapped and set me up for further victimization.
My adult history with victimization is extensive. Not only did I marry two different men who turned out to be batters and child molesters, I have been raped many times. All of those were by men I knew. I'm actually not even sure how many times I was raped.
I believe the reason for this extensive history is directly related to the extremes I suffered as a child. I learned that shutting down when trapped actually served me the best as a child. Fighting off any assault would only make matters much worse for me. So as an adult if I felt trapped, I shut down and let whatever happen. I was totally unable to protect myself.
Reading Marj's post and her feelings of guilt that some how this was her fault reminded me of one specific incident that has been particularly hard for me to come to terms with. Just like Marj, I thought it was my fault. It is a particularly convoluted story that maybe even some will see as my fault because of some of the details. I assure you, this was not then and never will be something that I wanted to happen to me or that I would have participated in willingly.
Not long after I got out of high school, I met a young man at a club. He was a professional baseball player with our local team, the Seattle Rainiers. He walked up to me and asked me when I was going to marry him. From there he spun of web of deceit that totally sucked me in. Only after I was well ensnared in his web did I learn this man was married.
Even then, he told me lies and I believed them. I was so desperate for someone to truly love me that I couldn't see the truth. I continued to date this man (until this incident) even though I knew he was married believing that he was in the process of getting a divorce. Of course, it turned out that I found out later that nothing was farther from the truth.
One night he talked me into bringing one of my friends along as a date for his best friend (also a ball player on the team). I don't even remember what we did that night until the part where we went back to their place. The baseball player's friend was pressuring my friend to have sex with him. She was adamant that she didn't want to. He wasn't happy so he complained about it to my date.
I can't even tell you how it got from there to my date throwing me onto a bed but it did. The other player grabbed my friend and forced her to watch as my legs were yanked apart and the crotch of my slacks split wide open from the force. My "date" then threw himself on top of me and had sex with me telling my friend that I liked it.
I was appalled! BUT some part of me had sex with him. Some part of me kicked into gear and protected me from further harm by pretending it was ok when really it was never OK. The coping mechanism of going along with whatever happens no matter what kicked in and sold me down the river. The whole time the only screaming and fighting that happened was in my head. I was unable to move but the noise in my head was deafening.
I believe my friend ran from the room. I really don't know. I believe for many years she thought I was ok with the behavior in that house that day. As much as I know I did not fight him, I also know it was never OK with me, not even the part that took over and didn't fight thought it was OK. She knew it was wrong and she felt humiliated as well.
This was one of my best friends in the world. We didn't talk about that incident for many, many years. I can't even remember how it came up but when it did, I told her I was raped. Being the friend that she is she never doubted me for a moment, but I have doubted me. Even understanding that I am a multiple and how my system works has not helped me put this memory away where it belongs. I know in my head that I wasn't responsible for this but I still feel like I am.
Incidents like this are the legacy of abuse left untreated and unhealed. As extensive as my healing is, I still struggle with healing from this thing but I no longer am victim of situations like this. That, to me, is what is so important about the healing work and getting through all of those old messages. I may still feel guilt about something that wasn't my fault but I no longer experience those kinds of situations. I know have the skills to protect myself and there will be no more episodes like this in my future.