Exactly 17 years ago, I was just 14 years old and I had already been raped, more than once.
17 years ago, I was naive and trusting. I didn’t know what he had just done, or what he would go on to do.
My abuser groomed me over a period of several months. He was clever, cunning and deceitful. He knew exactly what to say, when to push and when to back off. He knew when I was disbelieving and what to do in order to make me believe him. Slowly, carefully and even patiently, he transformed me. I was completely and utterly controlled by him. Once he had me where he wanted me, the abuse was easy for him. It didn’t matter what he did, I always blamed myself. He was so confident in himself even laughing at the authorities because he knew I would never say anything against him.
It has been 17 years since it first began and 17 years on I am still suffering. Sexual abuse is horrific. The shame, oh God, the shame….the self blame, the secrecy, the silence. It is like a sickness, it spreads, infecting everything in its path. I downplay, I minimise, it is a way of coping, but the reality is rape after rape after rape is utterly soul destroying. Rape and abuse wrecks lives. And 17 years on, I hurt more than ever.
I may be healing, but I was broken. He broke me, completely. I am too embarrassed and even ashamed to share the half of what the abuse did to me and how I reacted and dealt with it..but I am certain that it broke me. Those who know me now, probably wouldn’t see that, but I remember, I felt it, I still feel it. My heart was shattered and these are not meaningless words, or exaggeration. They are truth. They are my truth and the truth of all the many, many survivors of abuse.
I may look OK, I may act OK, but I am not OK. I have not been OK for 17 years. I have not been OK, since he intruded on my life. Like so many others, I have and continue to live with what my abuser chose to do to me. I live it every minute of every day.
17 years on and I am struggling with the knowledge that I am still suffering. I am ashamed. I am so embarrassed. I know I should not be, but it remains.
17 years since the first kiss
17 years since the first assault
17 years since the first rape
17 years since my childhood was stolen.
17 years since my life changed forever.
I am horrified by what he began 17 years ago. I am deeply disturbed by what he did and what he caused. I shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed, because what he did was hell. What I carry within me is horrific. What I have seen and what I know, what was done to me and what I was forced to do- you cannot know how deep those scars run, how much my soul aches, how badly my heart has been broken.
17 years on and I am telling, what I could not tell.
17 years on and I am feeling what I could not feel.
17 years on and I am fixing what he broke.
17 years on and I think I am only just beginning to understand the impact of what he did.