“I was sexually abused”.
I don’t know how or when I will get used to those words or the enormity of what they mean.
I cannot imagine that a time will come when I will utter those words without my voice wavering.
Perhaps one day it will no longer be a shock? Maybe in the future I won’t feel as if my legs are turning to jelly whenever I say those words?
Today, at work, one of my colleagues told me (some more) about her abusive past.
I excused myself from the office and gave myself a little time out to recover. I was thinking about what this poor woman had been through and how conflicted it makes me feel (for various reasons) and I thought to myself “I can’t imagine how horrible that was for her”.
Instantly I felt stupid because I can imagine to some extent, I have been physically abused too, though of course our experiences are not the same. And a little (spiteful) voice inside told me that my abuse was mostly sexual and therefore shameful. It shouldn’t be talked about like hers could be.
All of a sudden, I could not see past my own experiences. Selfish perhaps? But those words (and the shame) were like a flashing neon sign above me, I could not avoid them. They made me want to hide. What if others could see? They would know my shameful secret.
“I was sexually abused”
Then I was hit by a wave of nausea and darkness surrounded me. All that was left, was a distinct smell and heavy breathing, that I knew did not belong to me.
I grounded quickly.Yet somewhere inside, something shattered- again. And though people were around, I couldn’t help the pool of tears forming in the corner of my eyes threatening to to escape.
Once again, those words had hit me with the weight of a train. Tearing through me, leaving a mass of destruction in their wake.
What could I do? I was in work, I could hardly sink to my knees, no matter how much my legs threatened to give way.
I did as I always do. I am me, after all. I am well rehearsed-I know how to hide it from the world. So, I cleaned away the debris and I covered the gaping wound. A patch to keep in the pain and to get me through the day.
Will it always be this way, will those words always cut through me like a knife and drown me in shame?
How do you come to terms with the knowledge that you were sexually abused? When does it stop feeling so shameful? If it is not something to be ashamed of- why can I not make that shame go away?