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Historical Sexual Abuse and it's long term affects on relationships(5 Posts)
I have NC for this post.
At the age of 7 my Dad died suddenly. Nobody saw it coming. He had a brain haemorrhage at work and after some time on life support (I don't remember how long I stayed with mums friends whilst she stayed in hospital with him) Mum made the hard decision to let him go.
We got on with life as best we could.
I was happy at school and I think going gave me a break from the grieving. Mum hit the bottle and she got through one day to the next.
At this point I had a male teacher. He was probably in his late 40's. There were always rumours that he locked girls in the cupboard and touched them and they weren't particularly kept quiet.
At lunchtimes he started keeping me and another girl in the classroom.... giving us special jobs like sharpening pencils or tidying the art supplies. With hindsight I don't know why we went. Maybe everything that happened was my fault. One of the questions that will never go away I suppose.
He built up trust and that's when the abuse began. He would touch us and make us touch him. I didn't want to be a part of any of it but his favourite line was always "if you tell, your mum will die and you will have nobody" so I didn't tell.
I remember one day in particular he had trapped me under his desk whilst he was sat at the desk. I won't go into details as it's horrible and I don't want to upset anyone. Anyway, a teacher knocked and walked into the room and quickly excused herself. Now, with a grown up mind it was clear that she knew I was under that desk. It was an old fashioned desk with panels and a gap at the bottom so she couldn't have NOT seen me. She clearly turned a blind eye.
Time went on and he got more confident and started keeping other girls back.
One evening I remember a knock at the door and 2 police officers standing there. One of the girls had told her mum and it was all out in the open. I was relieved but I was scared. I told the police lies.... that he had done nothing because I was so scared of something happening to my Mum.
The police knew I was hiding things so it all eventually came out. (Sorry this is sketchy, this was 30 years ago and I think my brain has blocked a lot out)
Two days later we got a call from the head teacher to say that the Abuser had hanged himself.
I remember the guilt. I felt like it was all my fault for staying in at lunch times.
The next thing I remember was the head teacher coming to the house to ask that I be kept off for the funeral as the hearse was passing the school so that pupils and parent and staff could pay their respects. All the girls stayed off school that day and it was never mentioned again.
Apparently everyone was told he died in a tragic car accident.
It's only now that I'm an adult that I'm so confused about it all. It affects my ability to trust, to love.
My daughter was due to start at the same school a few years ago and it was only then that I realised I couldn't let her go. I called the school and asked to speak to one of the teachers that was still there from when I was a pupil. I didn't want to tell anyone at all about it but I knew that the remaining teachers would remember.
They told me that they knew that one day, one of "his girls" would need these answers.
I backed out and didn't send my daughter there. I just couldn't sit and look someone in the eyes and say all of this shit that's in my head.
I can cope with what happened.... I just don't understand why they covered it up.
I was speaking to a friend about 2 years ago and she started talking about him. I said nothing but she confirmed he did it to her class too. She is ten years older than me... so how long did this all go on? How many girls did he abuse and had staff members covering it up?
How can I learn to trust? How do I let go of these questions?
Oh my lovely. I'm afraid I have no real words of wisdom but I do have total and utter sympathy - how awful on so many levels.
It was NOT YOUR FAULT. How in gods name could it have been?
Have you had counselling?
I think very wrongly that covering this type of thing up was very commen 30 years ago.
What happened to you and the other girls was horrible but really not your fault. Think about it logigically how could it even be possible for such a young child could possibly have even the capacity to be responsible for what happened.
You as an adult and most adults couldn't ever consider a young child "attractive" (in that way) no matter even if said child showed overt behaviours. So how is it possible that you could behave in a way that would make it your fault!
My advice is to find a professional to talk to so you can tease out what still can't be made sense of and to have somone really help you to understand why certain things have not left you so you can then begin to heal and remove the understandable twisted logic that this type of abuse leaves you with.
I'm very sorry this happened to you please be kind to yourself.
I'm sending you massive healing vibes!
Lots of love to you.
I also have a history of sexual abuse and I am doing a lot of therapeutic work on it at the moment in terms of how I feel about sex and trust now.
I am bisexual and though it is a long time since I have been with a woman and I am now married to a man, I have huge shame spirals about my everyday attraction to women and I know it relates to this fear around sex that I have, though I trust my husband and have learned to have a reasonable sex life with him but it comes and goes.
Everytime I am attracted to a woman, I feel HUGE shame - I can't just seem to enjoy a little crush buzz like my straight friends do when they feel a bit of energy between them and another man, and it's really where the shame seems to be locked. It brings up a lot of what was said to me in the abuse about being disgusting and loving it and "wild" and all that sort of thing. I also know that the irony is that my attraction to women is my "safe" place, so I feel much more sexually alive thinking of women than men, and it's this is what really is so unacceptable to me because I am attracted to men too, but just more afraid of actual sex because of my experiences and so sometimes I need to have distance and to have a private sexual space that has nothing to do with men, and then I feel unfaithful and guilty and dirty and wrong.
I've had huge confusion in myself about it this year. I wish to God I didn't have to feel any of it anymore. I hear and feel your fear and your sadness about the inability to trust. It is an awful thing to carry with you in your life. Go gently. Therapy and mindfulness do help me (though I had to learn the hard way to have trauma-sensitive mindfulness/yoga to learn to reconnect with my body as it can be very ungrounding when you try these things if you don't have someone to guide you safely through it when you've experienced sexual abuse).
Sorry that was very focused on my story but sometimes when I allow myself to talk about it, it just runs away with me because I haven't ever done it before...
What you describe is so common for us, to have it all blocked out and to not really be able to make sense of it - this is because it happened in our bodies at a time in our life when we hadn't sufficient language for abuse to encode it in our memories as something unacceptable, and where a trusted adult giving us language around it sunk in more than our own thoughts about the experience, our memories are stuck in what was said to us there and then because it was too hard to be in our bodies and come up with our own interpretation - that's the true horror of it. Which is why you need to do therapy with someone to go through and allow yourself to contact your own experience of it and find words for that away from the poison he put into your head for his own gratification.
I'm so sorry to hear of your experiences and how it was covered up and his dignity was considered more important than yours e.g. in lying about his death. It's awful.
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