Fourth Post

I guess i just wanted to make a small update. 

Ive had a lot of sort of on and off days lately, flashbacks here and there, but its been pretty alright besides that. 

Im working on a painting for my therapist. The clinic is part of an awareness event for sexual abuse happening near me in a couple weeks and my therapist asked me to do a painting of a sort of “feeling map” of my journey through recovery over my last year since i started therapy with her to put up at the event. I was really nervous about the event, my therapist said its optional, but i still really want to go. My boyfriend agreed to go with me cuz i was so nervous and im happy i wont be alone!

Ive been listening to a lot of true crime podcasts, maybe i talked abt this before, im not sure, but i keep being drawn into listening to stories about child sexual abuse. Its weird. Its like im obssessed w what happened to me and i keep trying to surround myself w it over and over and i dont understand. When i told my therapist she said im just trying to work through stuff. I dont know. But i keep listening to episodes about it or watching documentaries constantly. I always start picking at my own story, thinking about how different it is from most, and thinking about how it makes it less plausible or something. 

My neighbor wasnt someone i was close to, he was someone i was told not to go near. He wasnt charming and friendly, he was mean and physically frightening. He didnt keep me there and coming back to be raped over and over again by counteracting it with kindness or giving me gifts, he kept me coming back out of fear that someone else would be hurt if i didnt. He groomed me, yes, but it wasnt the way i hear other kids get groomed. I wasnt given gifts, he didnt try to make me like him, he didnt do anything like that. I just fell into it all, and he kept me there with threats, and he made me watch what happened to his own son. I know thats grooming too. I know the days i spent just watching A get molested without ever being touched myself was also grooming, my therapist said so, but it just feels so different. 

All i ever hear are stories of kids who had a close family friend or something who was so close to them start doing things after they have their trust. He had none of my trust, only fear, and confusion. Maybe it was because i was younger than the stories i always hear about, i wasnt 10 or 12, i was like 5. I dont know if that matters. I wish i didnt keep doing this and second guessing what happened to me as if theres ever any sort of sense to make of something like that. They dont all happen the same way. They dont all make sense. I dont need them to make sense. I dont need the facts and details of my abuse to fit into a box thats more managable. It wasnt managable to the 5 yr old child subjected to it, so if someone hears my story and thinks it sounds impossible – or if i reread my own story and doubt my own memories – it just doesnt matter. It doesnt matter if its not believed because i knownit happened even if i have no proof besides my own memories. 


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22 comments

  1. Ashley Day Captain

    Hello Soundscape,

    Thank you for taking the time to provide our community with an update.
    I’m sorry that you have encountered some tough days, but it sounds like you’re doing what you can to take care of yourself. It’s awesome how the clinic is involved in an event to raise awareness about sexual abuse! In my opinion, it’s not abnormal that you have been drawn to documentaries and podcasts about sexual abuse. Although your story may be different, it continues to be valid. Your neighbor is in the wrong for causing you to feel confused and frightened. I commend you for being able to acknowledge that your story matters. Ultimately, someone has inflicted harm upon you and you have the right to express the emotions that you feel.

    Keep taking care of yourself. You got this 🙂

  2. zoeyb

    It is so good to hear that you’re doing a lot better these days. It’s okay to have questions and not get a concrete answer or a completely rational timeline like the ones you’ve heard in podcasts and in documentaries. Exactly like you said, it doesn’t matter how “real” a story sounds- you know it’s true because it happened. Regardless of any circumstances or anything else, it was wrong and that is enough. We believe you and we continue to support you. It sounds like you have been learning a lot through therapy, so I hope it continues to go well for you! We are always here to listen anytime.

    – Zoey

  3. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    I’m so glad to hear you are doing better. It sounds like things are finally starting to work out for you and that’s amazing. Thanks for the update and please continue to come back when you need us.

    -Brianna

  4. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Soundscape,
    I am happy that you are feeling better. Therapy sounds like it is really helping. There are always going to be days that are harder than others, but you just have to remember to just breathe and take life one step at a time. You do not have to rush anything to make yourself feel better. Take all the time you need. You come first in your life and that is what is important. It is also great that you have support from your boyfriend. That is amazing. Continue to stay strong. If you need anything just let us know. Keep up the great work.
    -Alyssa

  5. Jess Volunteer

    The faith that you have in yourself in your memories is so great! Sometimes we doubt ourselves and that is completely normal. Just hold onto that strength because you’re 100% right. Your story does not need to fit into a box. It’s hard not to compare stories, but everyone’s story is different and valid. Just remember your story is yours and that’s what is important.

    I love that you’re working on a painting for that event! That’s so awesome. I’m glad you have the support from your therapist and your boyfriend to do something like that. That is amazing progress. <3

    If we can do anything else for you, please let us know. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  6. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, Soundscape. I think it’s awesome that you’re working on a painting for this event! And so glad to hear your boyfriend is there for you. I totally get it about the true crime thing, I’m the same way. A lot of survivors I know personally are the opposite and are easily triggered by that stuff, so it’s nice to know I’m not the only one! Everyone is different. I like to over-analyze every little detail and compare stories, too. I second guess a lot, too. You’re absolutely right, these stories don’t all happen the same way and the don’t always make sense. I think it’s great that you have such faith in yourself and your memories. That’s something I have been trying to work on—just believing myself. No one’s going to give us a straight answer. We just have to learn to trust ourselves. Thanks for the update. Let us know how the painting turns out!

  7. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Soundscape,

    Thanks for the update. I’m really glad to hear that you’re working through things in therapy, and that your boyfriend is supportive enough to go with you to something that you’re interested in and passionate about it. Sounds like a keeper! 🙂

    I don’t know if watching those documentaries and listening to those true crime podcasts are helping you, but I hope you aren’t comparing your experiences to what happened to others. No two events are the same, or even comparable. And you’re right, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You know what happened, and you have us standing behind you and supporting you.

    Please keep us updated! Stay strong ❤️
    Marissa

  8. eagle206

    Hi soundscape,

    Thank you for coming back to update us! It is so great to hear that your boyfriend is being so supportive and coming to the awareness event. It’s awesome that he is there for you, you deserve all of that love and support. You were very young, everyone’s story is different though. We all believe you. Please continue to update us if you want. We are all here for you.

    Tyler

  9. Juliana331 Volunteer

    I love that you’re painting to put a voice to what happened to you. Art is such a healing medium. It allows an expression of your thoughts and feelings that only it can. And I agree, we would love to see the finished painting if you feel comfortable sharing it.

    Each story is so very different. I’m sorry that you experienced so much fear. I’m sorry that you felt like you at five years old had to be the protector of those around you. I’m glad that you are finding ways to heal and share your story.

    We are always here to listen.

  10. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for reaching out to us! That’s so awesome that you are doing that painting; we would love to see it if you feel comfortable sharing with us 🙂 I hope that your therapy continues to go well and help you heal more and more each day. We are always here for you <3

  11. Nikkiledgerwood Volunteer

    Hi soundscape,

    I can totally understand where you’re coming from. As a survivor of sexual abuse we’re so pulled to stories that are similar to ours. As for having flashbacks that’s totally normal and part of the process. I go through the same thing and it really sucks, but you will over come it and trust me you’re doing such a great job by sharing your story with us. That’s always the hardest part. I’m so proud of you, if you need anything we’re here for you. Take care okay!

    -Nicole

  12. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hey Soundscape,

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I think from time to time we are all drawn to stories or things that are similar to our own stories. Every single story is different your absolutely right about that. You know you better than anyone else and at the end of the day it’s only your truth that matters.
    Stay Strong and keep up the fight, We believe in you.

    -Brianna

  13. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    As a sexual violence researcher, there may be general patterns to abusive behavior of perpetrators, but that doesn’t mean every situation looks like that. It doesn’t make what happened to you any less real. I can use my own story as an example as well. Most child sexual abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is, is recurring if it’s not found out through other means (disclosure, witnessing, etc.). My story only involves on isolated incident of molestation, which isn’t the “normal narrative”. But I know what happened to me, and I know that it wasn’t okay.

    Is your therapist being helpful, though? Therapy has really helped me in my recovery. I really encourage you to continue if it’s helpful. Thanks for sharing more with us.

    Erin

  14. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hey Soundscape,

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I think from time to time we are all drawn to stories or things that are similar to our own stories. Every single story is different your absolutely right about that. You know you better than anyone else and at the end of the day it’s only your truth that matters.
    Stay Strong and keep up the fight, We believe in you.

    -Brianna

  15. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Soundscape!

    I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve definitely been drawn to stories relating to things I’ve experienced before as well. Maybe part of it is just wanting to know we’re not entirely alone in what we went through? But I think your conclusions in the last paragraph are spot on and very strong. You’re right; nobody’s experiences have to fit in a perfect little box and everyone is different. You know you better than anyone else and at the end of the day it’s only your truth that matters.

    Have a good day!
    Megan

  16. Lizzi G Volunteer

    Hi Soundscape,

    The painting project sounds cool, and maybe even be healing for you. I know art can be an important therapeutic tool as it’s so expressive and can release a lot of emotion. I’m proud of you for wanting to go to the event, and I’m so glad your boyfriend is going to go as well to help support you. I think it’s normal to seek out stories of other people that have gone through similar things as you, maybe to feel less alone in what you’ve been through. If the podcasts help you make sense of what happened or are positive in any way to you, I agree with your therapist that it’s probably a way for you to work through everything that happened. Remember that everyone’s story is different, and there’s no “typical” way for someone to attract their victim. Yes, the common story we often hear is that a close family member got a child to trust them, but that’s not always the case. You’re right that it doesn’t matter if you doubt your memories or if people don’t believe you. You know what happened and that’s all the proof you need.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  17. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi soundscape,

    Thanks for updating us. The painting event sounds really cool, and I’m glad to hear your boyfriend is going with you to help you feel more comfortable. It’s okay to listen to podcasts you are drawn towards, it sounds like your therapist thinks it’s part of the healing process. It’s normal to want to compare your experiences with others, but you are correct that they all don’t happen the same way, and they don’t all make sense. We believe you and we are here for you.

    Edjay

  18. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi soundscape,

    Thanks for the update. I’m so glad you’ve been able to find a support system as you continue on your healing journey. We believe you. There isn’t a defined set of circumstances that “are” or “are not” considered abuse. What you went through was never your fault. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor was a close family friend or not. His actions were deplorable, and I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. You are so strong and so brave. Best of luck as you continue through your healing journey. We’re here for you every step of the way.

    Take care,
    Becca

  19. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Thank you for update. I am glad you have a support system that is listening ear or even physically comforting you. I am glad you learned a coping skill which can help with the healing process. Sometimes we always drawn into stuff that has inpacted us and it can help heal us as well. I do believe you and i hear you. You’re so strong and keep on fighting!

  20. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Soundscape,
    I’m so glad that your boyfriend is supporting you at this event. I hope that the painting has been helping you heal and put things into perspective.
    I understand how you feel about surrounding yourself with these stories. When I was figuring out whether or not my incident was assault, I looked up the definition of sexual assault, similar stories, etc. for a very long time. I kept thinking about how I felt during the incident and trying to put pieces together. I’m telling you this to let you know that you’re not alone. Surrounding yourself with these stories is normal. I agree with your therapist. I think this is a way to work through what happened. It is hard to make sense of what happened, and we tend to downplay it. However, I believe you and your story.
    Thank you for updating us. I hope the event goes well. We’re here to support you in any way we can, so please feel free to write back if you need anything. You are strong, and you can get through this.

  21. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there soundscape,

    Thank you for the update. I’m happy to hear that your boyfriend is going with you – having a support system that’s a listening ear or even there for you physically can be comforting and make the fight even easier.

    I’m also happy to hear you may have found a coping skill. Listening to podcasts is a great way to cope. I sense it might be comforting in a way to hear that you’re not the only one who has gone through a similar situation. Podcasts, musics, and things of the like are an awesome way to give your brain a little break and focus on something outside of you. Are there any other podcasts you’re interested in?

    I know it can be crazy to try and make sense of what happened. Our brains are tricky places. They can try and hide details to protect you. They can contort things when you’re fearful. Making sense of the situation doesn’t need to be done if that’s not what’s beneficial for you. It seems you’re doing a great job coping and working through what happened with what you have. And for the record, I believe you and I hear you. You’re so strong – keep fighting.

    Sending light,
    SFM

  22. Solongago

    First of all, we believe you. You are absolutely right that your experience does not have to fit into a box and look like everyone else’s experiences. There are a LOT of different experiences out there. And yes, since you were so young, your perpetrator was able to use fear, especially the fear of other people getting hurt to get you to do what he wanted, to come back, to not tell. That is totally plausible.

    I think that we (survivors) do go through periods where we are drawn to hearing people’s stories. And there are periods when we feel the need to tell our story. We are working it out within ourselves. Self-doubt is huge. You were five, a lot of memories are going to be vague, especially since we spent a lifetime trying to avoid or forget what happened, trying not to think about it.

    There is something freeing when we begin to toy with the idea that we are not to blame for what happened to us. We are no longer afraid that if someone sees us watching something about sexual abuse they will mark us as a victim. We are no longer avoiding other people’s stories because of the pain and confusion that we are hiding from that facing our story promises. I think everyone heals differently. Think of it as a huge wound, and when it gets covered over by a scab, and it starts to get infected, sometimes we take the scab off and let some of the bad junk drain out. Then it feels better, and we can go on. Telling and sometimes listening to other people’s stories is like letting that bad stuff seep out. And then we can feel somewhat better. And sometimes we have to take that scab off several times, before the healing is complete. That’s ok too.

    What is most important is for you to believe in you. To believe what happened wasn’t your fault. To believe what happened. To believe that you will be able to live a good life in spite of the people that hurt you. To believe you deserve to have good things happen to you. To believe that you are in control of what happens to you now. Sometimes it is so hard to believe in ourselves it is helpful to borrow some of that belief from those around us. That is ok too, but we do have to come to our own belief system at some point. I think we do this by being kind and gentle to ourselves and accepting of ourselves.

    One thing my therapist told me, because I struggle a lot with blaming myself, especially with my oldest brother because he used manipulation, was for the most part gentle, and did give gifts/favors, she said that had I said “no” and tried to stop what was happening, he would have just gone about it in another way. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome at all. Because of the age difference, perpetrators can easily figure out what will work with their victim. Whether to gain trust, or to use fear.