Why Keep ‘It’ a Secret

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 At S.I.A. we are working through a 12-step program that is designed for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It amazes me how everyone at the meetings understands exactly how I feel about what happened to us as children. While it isn’t a good way that we had to meet, it is nice to have people who understand so well.

We are currently working on step 3, which states that we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him/Her. The question that we discussed was: 

  • Was there a need to keep the abuse a secret?
    • If yes, explain why, for how long, and why you decided to talk about it.

For me, there was obviously some need to keep the secret because I did keep silent for over 10 years about the sexual abuse but, I’m not sure what my reasoning for keeping the secret was. I don’t have any recollection of my brothers’ telling me not to tell or threatening me in any way….. I wish my memory was better and maybe in time I will be able to look back and understand more.  I wish I did know why I kept what my brothers’ forced me to do a secret because looking back I wish that I wouldn’t have of had to of carryied that secret around for so long. Maybe if I had said something sooner I wouldn’t have all the negative side effects I suffer from today because of the trauma my brothers’ caused me. 

So as a result of the trauma caused by what my brothers’ forced me to do as a child my memory has black outs. I have no clue as to when I was actually abused. I made a timeline and tried to figure out when it possibly could’ve happened and it must’ve been when I was either 11 or 12. The first person I ever told was my mom, and that was when I was 23. So I kept that terrible secret for 12 years without telling a soul. 

I finally decided to tell my mom because during the time I was attending college and working every other weekend and my mom would usually watch my daughter. During this time one of my brothers moved back in with my parents and this was scary for me because my daughter would be around a predator. My maternal instincts kicked in; I had to prevent my daughter from getting hurt. While at the time I didn’t think that either of my brothers’ would do anything to hurt my daughter (their niece) I had this recurring thought in the back of my mind that ‘they forced me, their own baby sister, to do things to them, what would stop them from forcing someone else to do something or doing something to someone?’ This resulted in a ‘family meeting’ where I was told to not tell anyone outside the family… I didn’t get any help at this time. I did get started on anti-depressants at this time but, I think that the doctor thought it was related to postpartum depression. I didn’t care what they thought as long as I had something to help me not feel as bad as what I was. All I wanted to do was sleep. I recall telling my husband I needed counseling but he just thought I was crazy. Of course he had no clue about what had happened to me.

Fast  forward four and a half years to October 2015 I finally got the nerve to tell my husband what my brothers’ did to me because I felt like my life was closing in on me and spiraling out of control. This was a scary thought. He made me realize that what happened to me as a child was not my fault even though for 16 1/2 years I thought that it was something wrong with me. My parents’ did nothing to help me when I told them. But, finally I am getting the much needed help that I needed for a long time. I am getting counseling, I have accepted God into my life, and I have S.I.A.. With all of these things I am becoming ME, for once in my life. I am not being controlled by my feelings of fear, filth, shame, guilt, or what people may think of me because what happened to me as a child was not my fault.  

It is scary to trust myself that I am making the right decisions that God has planned for me. It is also extremely hard for me to take in that I am worthy and good enough but  I am beginning to believe it with all this help I am seeking out. 

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