Personal Post: I'm talking about me & asking a favor. RE: Penn State kinda

The reactions to the Penn State thing have gotten to me in an odd way. What follows is pretty personal, and is something I'd said a while ago, back in '91 (when I first got online) that I wouldn't talk about online. It's something, a point of view that I am not seeing and would have been important for me to see at certain points in my life. I'm offering it here as my experience, my opinion, and a suggestion from my point of view. I don't intend to tell anyone how to feel. In fact, that's the gist of my point in all this.

Once upon a time I was in 4th grade, and then time passed and I was in 7th grade. During all of that time I was staying at the home of once in a while, sometimes, hanging out with, and regularly having a wide variety of types of sex with a guy who was, I think in his 30s. I was in 4th grade. Nobody under 18 can give consent. Period. I'm not condoning, advocating, or encouraging anything like that. In the parlance of today I was the victim of systemic, repeated, prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of a sexual predator for a period of years. I can't argue against any of those words, but what I argue with is how you think about me right now after reading that.

At no time during that time did I feel like a victim. I didn't feel like I was broken. I didn't feel like I was destroyed and a piece of crap whose life could have been better if only this hadn't happened. YET. When people find out about it they treat me differently. They don't treat me like someone who had something happen to them when they were younger. They treat me like I'm broken still. They make comments like the one that prompted this "… they not only destroyed their childhood but the person they could have become…" WTF? I'm not freaking destroyed! (This is me in outrage by my outrage font is not installed on my Macbook dagnabit!)

I lived through hurricanes that were more traumatic to me but they don't count evidently. My opinion of what happened doesn't count. What counts is society's view that I too must be, still, a victim. That I must be broken. And now, when I say I'm fine or I'm OK. I must be lying to myself because how could I possible be since I was so violently brutalized. My opinion doesn't count. And I didn't then, nor do I now feel like I was a victim or brutalized or any of that. Technically, legally all those things are true, but in my heart, in my mind, in whatever part of me houses my self-esteem I never EVER felt that way. Other people can have a terrible time dealing with things after being used that way, not being asked, being violated physically and emotionally by someone who doesn't consider how they feel about it. I get that. I didn't though, and don't now.

I was in an accident where my foot was hurt and it has scars on it still. That has healed and I'm able to walk and run just fine thankyouverymuch. I'm allowed by others to have that type of wound heal, but any emotional/mental/psychological damage done to me by the sex is impossible to heal evidently and any attempts I make to say "I'm fine and would you PLEASE quit treating me like I am made of glass?" Are brave protestations or denials of how horrible things must have been. Why can't I just be OK? Why can't my past be in the past? It's a memory, not a repressed memory. I remember a lot of it. Probably not all of it. Hell, I don't remember a lot of things. I don't pretend to. But I don't feel the need to not remember it.

I've talked to other people who were young, like me, when stuff happened and they say they are fine. They don't want to talk about it because of how victims are treated. THey feel more like survivors than victims, and the name victim is permanent. It means, in my head, that if I am a victim there is no hope of a future where I am not broken. I reject for me the term victim. I reject for me the idea that there isn't a life worth living after being used in that way by someone who doesn't ask how I feel about what they're doing to me.

Listen. What I'm saying is it's 30 years ago in my head, why does it have to be foremost in yours when you hear what happened to me? Why can't YOU let it go? I did. If you feel the need to say something, ask if I want to talk about it. Ask if I'm OK. If I say I am, say "cool." It's like when someone dies and you never know what to say. I get that. This is a big load of "Oh shit!" to dump on somebody.

I remember very distinctly how I was treated when I first talked about it to someone, and their assumption that I would be miserable and unhappy and broken forever was disheartening in the extreme. The damage to me emotionally by the assumed hopelessness of their labeling me a victim, by the assumption that there wasn't a worthwhile life afterwards was something I dealt with far longer than the abuse itself.

If you know someone who was subject to sexual abuse instead may I suggest using the word survivor instead of victim? I say that not because they weren't victims, but because I think it's an important mental switch to flip. It was in my head. I am not still a victim. I'm a survivor. I'm someone who went through something unpleasant and am not doing so any more. I may have bad days but I have them as someone who has survived something! Not as someone who is perpetually a victim of that person. I don't give them that kind of room in my head. I don't give them that kind of control over my life any more. It's part of surviving I think.

Thank you for reading this. I know it was long, and I'm truly sorry to have unloaded on you like this if you've made it this far. If anybody wants to DM me feel free to. I'm completely open to talking about it. I'd prefer it in private just because it's easier to be frank there. (Not that my name is Frank... Google's real name policy guarantees that's not the case _grin_)
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