Don't Feel You Have To Live With Shame, Speak With Someone
Sexual abuse, sex slave, and domestic violence were the words I had never associated with my experience. It was only retelling what I have been through to a psychologist recently that what had happened to me was finally named for the brutality that it was. For 12 years I have been unable to share what happened to me, and so instead lived with shame for all these years. I share my story in the hope that no one else has to suffer and feel alone as I did. I apologize this account is brutally honest, and I encourage anyone who has a trigger to this story to speak to someone.
My own story started 12 years ago. I was nearly 21 and friends with this charming, well-liked guy who was a few years older than me.
Things seemed right to start; we partied, he treated me to a weekend away, he brought me gifts. We had a good sex life, or so I initially thought. This man had a high sex drive and enjoyed experimenting. I wanted him to like me and so agreed to things, although to be honest even when I did say no, he would find ways to manipulate me to do it anyways. While he enjoyed the sex, he also got off on seeing the bruises he had caused me as they came out in the days later. It makes me sick to think about how he would congratulate himself seeing the pain he had inflicted on me.
On a night when having sex my abuser decided he wanted anal. I did agree at first, but as I started to feel pain, I asked him to stop. He didn't. Instead, he went harder holding me down. What made that night the worst was after he had finished, when I went to tidy myself up, he then came to try to force me to give him oral sex, and then high-fived me saying 'what a great slut I was.' The act was bad enough, but the humiliation was the worst part for me. This night will always be one of the worst humiliating nights I have ever experienced, which was also the start of shame I lived alone with for so many years.
Over a two-year period, his demands of sex continued. While I left him a few times due to his manipulation I had such low self-esteem I would go back to him. I'm finding it hard to type now so will just list some of his actions which include following me around shouting that I'm fat when I was already anorexic at 57 kilos, punching me in the face if I didn't give him oral sex. He turned people against me making rumors I was gay because sometimes I was strong enough to refuse sex, he asked a friend to have sex with me in return for drugs, he also used to put different things inside of me. I could list more things which were equally brutal.
My life was spiraling out of control. I sat one day genuinely scared for my life. I felt that if one of his actions didn't kill me, I would kill myself. I don't know where the strength came from that morning. I rang a trusted friend asking for his help (even at this point I didn't share what was happening). He came and sat with me until I fell asleep, we didn't need words, he knew I was in a dangerous place. I knew I couldn't live the way I was. So I moved away and 12 years on have rebuilt my life.
It seems so long ago, yet the emotions still feel the same as it is only now that I am trying to find closure for what happened. I have PTSD with associated insomnia, as I find it difficult to fall asleep due to violence that occurred in the bedroom. Trusting people I also find hard, I have also had difficulty finding loving relationships instead of having superficial casual relationships where in a sense I was conditioned to be a sex slave, and that was all I was worth.
My journey to recovery is only just starting. It's starting with my acknowledging that I was abused sexually, physically, socially and emotionally. I have good days and bad days, but just having things in the open is so much better than keeping it all in for so long. Never feel ashamed to tell anyone. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have had from the trusted people in my life I have informed. The hardest conversation was with my Sister, who felt upset that I couldn't tell her, in honesty I couldn't tell anyone.
While I have had such a horrible experience the positive I can take from this is that I am a survivor. I sunk to my lowest level in life and have been able to rise from it.
My message to others who may be experiencing the same is that it will be hard. It's difficult to accept or admit that someone who you love is abusing you. That was one of my most difficult things. Shame at yourself - in hindsight and knowing the support I have had, I needn't have gone for years feeling such shame. I did not do anything wrong, I was just responding in the only way I could in very difficult circumstances. Shame for not leaving - Over the past few weeks I have blamed myself, been angry, and questioned why I didn't just leave. It's not as easy as that I know I have been there. At that time I had no choice because I was so vulnerable. It's accepting that I couldn't leave, which is helping with that guilt.
Things that are helping me which may help you. I meditate, chiefly listen to guided meditations in the night so I can switch off. I talk, whether it be a trusted friend, my psychologist, or sharing my story now. Sharing your experience is an excellent way to release all those emotions, it may also help others if they are in the same position. One of the hardest is I have a mirror I carry with me... it sounds odd but he made me feel ugly and dirty. I make myself look beyond the crooked nose that he broke and tell myself I am beautiful just the way I am... I know in time I will start to believe this. I also think of a caring person in my life and think what they would say if they found out I was hiding what was happening from them.
I am going to end now, but I want anyone going through something similar to know you are beautiful and you deserve so much better.