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When a Parent Is Your Sexual Abuser


Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I remember being 9 years old and telling my mother about my biological father making me touch him “down there.” I was humiliated, horrified and embarrassed to even utter those words. She tried pushing the case through the court system, but due to an existing custody dispute, it was determined to be an unfounded claim, and nothing was done.

When I was 12, my father swore he’d been treated by the best therapists, and was “better.” Against good judgment, my mother allowed my sister and I to spend the entire summer with him. It was one of the best summers of my life, filled with fishing trips, camping trips and fun times. We had a blast. That is, until one of the last nights with him, something terrible happened. While camping on the beach, my father touched me sexually. His sick defense was “I thought you wanted me to!” I’ll never forget the disgust and feelings of filth I had thereafter. My sister and I hopped on our bicycles around 1:00 a.m. in search of a payphone or someone to help. We didn’t even have money, even if we’d found a payphone. Eventually, my father caught up with us in his car and agreed to allow me to call my mother. We were then put on the next flight home that morning, just my 9-year-old sister and I. We were terrified while navigating the airports with the help of a guide. The whole ordeal was traumatic for both of us.

Fast forward 10 years. I was 22 years old and my father began reaching out to me. We began corresponding through email, and a relationship was born. He seemed like such a great person, and we both had so much in common. Since then, I’ve spent the last 12 Christmases, Thanksgivings and countless other gatherings with him. We haven’t been super close, but he was a part of my life, and for that I was thankful. I had forgiven him and moved on from his earlier transgressions. He really seemed like a fantastic person.

Just a few nights ago, he revealed to me that he still harbored sexual feelings towards me. He was under the impression I had the same sexual tension building inside of me as well. He said that my dress and outward appearance would “entice” him, and cause him to fantasize about me. I once again felt the feelings of filth and dirtiness I felt when I was 12 years old. I was devastated to read those words come across my texts.

All these years, I’ve thought him to be a pedophile, simply enamored with the thought of young girls. Now I know it has something to do with me and me alone. How can a father have such urges towards his children? How do I begin to move on from such a powerful and devastating revelation? I have since ended the relationship with him, blocked him on all social media and have began seeing my therapist more often. I know I can maneuver through this, but at the moment I am devastated by the overwhelming truth I never wanted to know. I feel myself heading towards a downward spiral of depression, but am hopeful that my medication and therapy will pull me through this awful situation.

If you’ve been in a similar situation, you are not alone. Let’s give Lisa some support in the comments below.

Getty image via Marjan_Apostolovic