How Do You......?

"...did that [being sexually abused] cause problems in your marriage as far as getting to know someone and trying to explain everything?" That's the question that Truth, one of the hosts of The Morning Wood on Gyroscope radio, asked me during my interview. And though I gave a short answer on the show, his question inspired a question that I had to ask myself: How does being sexually abused effect my relationships?

Me and Sinn, one of the hosts of the 'Morning Wood', getting
some grooving going during a song break. 

After looking back on my history with men; noting the ones that would be considered failures; concluding that they weren't failures, just not what I needed or wanted; and evaluating what I do want in a relationship; I theorized that being sexually abused effects not only my relationships with men but my relationships with all humans. But being that I was sexually, physically and mentally abused for seventeen years of my life, it's difficult to imagine what my life would be like had I not experienced the one I've lived. Which poses another question. Who would I be had I not been abused?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog written by therapist Louise Behiel. Ms. Behiel's post "The 16 signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse" was both informative and disheartening. Disheartening because symptoms like "not being able to tolerate water being splashed in your face" and "seeing double entendres in ordinary conversation" suggests that almost everyone including newborn babies have been sexually abused. And informative because indicators that in my own research I've found to be associated to sexual abuse like; being unable to have sex in certain positions and a victim's abuse of drugs and alcohol, (which I myself have no issues with, but have spoken to women that do) made complete sense. Her source of this list is from a book called Secret Survivors by E. Sue Bloom (1998). I've ordered this book so I can read it in it's entirety and give it a more educated review, but the list published on Ms. Behiel's blog to me does more harm than good. Most comments in reaction to the list had people thinking that every little glitch in their lives was due to childhood sexual abuse. Yes, people tend to be products of their environment but there are other causes for alcoholism and drug abuse that have nothing to do with being touched inappropriately when you were five. 
That being said; I am more protective over my children than most parents are. Being in the same room as my abuser puts me on edge. I use to have a very sensitive gag reflex, And my sexual boundaries may be set outside the next girl's limits, but should I look at these as disfunction?

Child molestation is a grotesquely calamitous deviance in our society. It inflicts wounds on victims that may never heal and causes handicaps in survivors that no amount of therapy could ever correct. But the truth is, these wounds and handicaps are a part of who we are. Learning to function in spite of them, only makes us stronger.

I believe that destructive behaviors like self inflicted pain, promiscuity and the abuse of others, are a victim's denial that the trauma they suffered cannot be removed. If one excepts what happened to them and proceed with a course of treatment, healing and management, they could function in a productive manner. Granted, I am not a psychologist and I have no certificates to prove that my ideas are backed by an accredited institution but I have lived my life and I am still here. 

To know that the day my father touched me changed the course of my development towards a life of possible disaster saddens me. At the same time, it makes me all the more passionate about being a survivor, a parent, an advocate for women and children, a positive role model and an encouragement to other survivors.

I do not spend my time dwelling on the fact that I am different from those that have not been molested.  I do not attempt to run from things that will forever be a part of me. If I did, it would cause a constant feeling of failure and I would be miserable. I know that wounds heal and disabilities forces you to sharpen other skills.

Being abused greatly effects my personal relationships with men. While life with my father has shown me the selfish, evil potential of man kind, I also have more appreciation for loving, considerate, kind men. I am a hopeless (and hopeful) romantic, and if that's because I was molested as a child; oh well.

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