Sexually Abused: {Amanda’s Story}

This story hit me like a ton of bricks and brought up a lot of emotions for me.

Having known Amanda for over 10 years and having her ask to share her story publicly through The Snap Mom is a true honor. I am so proud of her and know that her act of breaking the silence is something that many are never able to do. I hope her bravery encourages others to speak out about abuse and get healing. Being a single mom and having beat cancer not once, but twice, Amanda is a true hero in my books!

My sister was sexually abused by a teacher and it ripped our family apart. When she spoke out and we sought help, all of the people that were supposed to help us turned against us in order to protect their careers and reputations. I know the darkness of sexual abuse, its effects on the victims, and the echo it leaves behind. I also know why some people just keep quiet. It gets ugly when you tell the truth but luckily there is healing and freedom in the truth. -Krystle K[divider]

Amanda breaks the silence…

I am not one to voluntarily open up about my past and the things that make me into the person and mother I am today. However, I felt very compelled to share my story in the hopes that each of you can take just one thing from it – the importance of allowing your child(ren) to know they can comfortably talk to you as a parent about anything, without fear of repercussion.

I do not remember much of my childhood prior to middle school. Apparently, it is a coping mechanism my mind used because it did not understand (nor could it be expected to understand) what happened to me while still a child – I was sexually abused by my brother’s friend when I was 8.

It started out with a simple question and a promise not to tell anyone because I would get in big trouble. Yes, me; as if I were the one to be blamed. I cannot tell you exactly how long it went on, but I can tell you that there were nights I locked myself in my room and refused to come out and even snuck into my parents’ room late at night clutching my teddy bear and holding my breath for fear “he” would hear me and do that “thing” again. Then one day, I snapped – I screamed at him in the middle of our garage to “get the blank away from me and never come back to my house again!” Needless to say, I was forced to apologize and was grounded for an eternity for my choice in words.

From then on, I was fueled by anger. I was hotheaded and never allowed another person to take advantage of my naivete. I became very outspoken and opinionated, as most people who have known me since 6th grade can attest. If I did not want to do something, you could bet money that you would know about it.

I kept my secret from everyone until high school. I was sitting in French class unable to concentrate, wondering why I felt so different; why I simply could not keep my mouth shut and accept the things that people said, why I had to double check everything, and why I just could not trust. So I scribbled some words on a piece of paper and passed it to my best friend at the time, who immediately needed to talk to me about every detail. I obliged as best as I could and became the one thing I promised myself I would never become again: vulnerable. I became vulnerable to my own emotions, and it was quite a struggle.

After I revealed my lifelong secret, it was a personal battle between forgiving myself and forgiving the other person involved. [pullquote_left]Quite strangely, I will admit it was easier to forgive him than it was to forgive myself.[/pullquote_left]Quite strangely, I will admit it was easier to forgive him than it was to forgive myself. It took a lot of therapy and journaling before that ever happened. And at the ripe old age of 27, I finally got the nerve to tell my family about my past. It took me so long because I did not want them to feel guilty about any part of it and I wanted to be able to answer their questions/quell any thoughts they had about what they could have done to prevent it. Looking back, I wondered why I never said anything until it was too late, and recently I feel as though I have found the answer that makes the most sense to me: the fear that I would be punished for making the wrong decision and telling on someone else. I know, I know…this seems ludicrous to the grown mind, but to an 8 year old it is the thing that is most focused on: making good decisions (or at least it is with my son who is 6!).

During my time of “release,” I learned that another person in my family had been sexually abused as a child. I decided to make it my mission for the abuse to stop with me.[pullquote_right] I would end the cycle and not allow my son to be “next in line.”[/pullquote_right] I would end the cycle and not allow my son to be “next in line.” I spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I was supposed to do to ensure that – Never let him out of my sight? No sleepovers? Background checks? Threaten death to his friends and their siblings? All in all I decided it would be best if I opened up the lines of communication, answer any questions he had (recently I got the “Where do babies come from?” question), and never punish him for “tattling” on someone or deem it unimportant… because that is what I feel would have spared me from my abuse.

It has been a mighty struggle, don’t get me wrong. Especially when my son comes racing to me with tears in his eyes and says, “So-and-so stole a toy from me and won’t let me play with it,” when it was said child’s favorite toy and my son stole it from him in the first place. Sigh. But I always, ALWAYS remember that I need to show him I am listening and that I care about the smaller issues of his, so that if there ever comes a day when he is faced with something that will impact his life so greatly, he will not hold it in and be afraid to talk to me about it but will gladly let the words flow so I can help.

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Because we believe this is such an important topic we have asked a friend of The Snap Mom, Julia Mateer, to share her thoughts.

{Julia Mateer is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in women’s spiritual and clinical issues. She is a speaker, writer, ministry leader, wife to a wonderful husband, and mom to three amazing children. You can connect with Julia at www.juliamateer.com}

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Sadly, sexual molestation is rampant in our society, and many little girls have experienced the horror of someone they know sexually abusing them. The young woman above exhibited many common behaviors of children abused:

• Children often fail to report due to fear of getting in trouble by a parent or retaliatory actions from the perp.

• Children sometimes feel guilty for reporting the abuse, fearing it will cause disruption within the family. These feelings may outweigh their willingness to report the abuse, and they may choose to keep it a secret.

• Children often act out with anger, rage, self-harm or self-medication because of the intense trauma of sexual abuse.

 

Sexual victimization may inhibit a child’s development in her self-worth, sexuality, and her ability to trust not only herself but others. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, there is hope and healing. The first step is to reach out for help. Ask your physician or church for referrals for therapists that specialize in sexual trauma. Once you have found a therapist, she will conduct a comprehensive assessment and help you develop a plan to heal and move forward. An excellent book that will help you on your journey to emotional health is Dr. Dan Allender’s book, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Click HERE to buy this book and begin your journey towards mental, emotional and physical healing.

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2 Comments
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