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The Cruel Way a ‘Friend’ Responded After I Revealed My Sexual Abuse

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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.

Typically, I love to write. I love to put my thoughts on paper (well, screen) and share them with the world. I truly relish the thought that one person may gain a bit of hope from something I wrote, no matter how hard it was to write in the moment.

• What is PTSD?

This is not something I am going to enjoy writing. This will bring me no joy. But, maybe it will bring some peace.

From the ages of 11 to 13, I was sexually abused. Almost daily.

But until a few months ago, I didn’t remember it. I forgot 3 years of my life for 7 years.

So, you can imagine that when things started coming back, I was very overwhelmed and I was very scared, especially since my abuse wasn’t the “typical, easy to identify kind.” It wasn’t what people think of when they think of sexual abuse, so it was hard for me to accept what happened to me was truly abuse.

For a while, only my therapist knew, and she was wonderful about the process I was going through and helping me through it.

Then, I told a trusted, wonderful family friend, who was also amazing.

But I needed to be surrounded. I needed to have more people on my side so I didn’t have to exclusively lean on one, extremely busy friend. I was terrified. I just knew everyone was going to think I was lying. I knew they were going to laugh. I knew I was going to lose everyone. I knew they were going to take his side. I knew they were going to say I was overreacting. I knew it wouldn’t go well. I was terrified.

But, there was a girl in my life — a girl who called herself my sister. And there had been red flags, but I chose to ignore them and trust the relationship she said we had. I chose to believe she would love me and she would understand.

So, I went in with vague details via text message. But she wanted details. I made her promise not to tell. And I told her the details.

She replied that she needed some time to think about what I had said, and didn’t respond for four hours.

When she did respond, she sent me a long message that was nothing short of cruel.

She called me vindictive; a liar; someone who didn’t understand the consequences of my actions. She called me wrong. Vengeful. She told me this just “looks bad.”

She said she told me these things because she loved me enough to be honest about how it looked, but in my rawest and most broken moment, she kicked me while I was down.

When I needed a shoulder, she gave me extra weight.

When I was in pain, she added insult.

She hurt me in such a hurtful time in the name of honest love.

I write this to tell you: don’t be that person. Instead, be the person who says “I believe you and I love you.” Be the person who stays and holds their hand. Be the person who calms the storm instead of adding more howling winds. Be the person who shows them there is good out there. Be the person who stands in their corner and helps them weather all that is to come.

I also write this to tell you: don’t let that person hurt you more. Don’t let the jerk drag you into a deeper hole than you already feel buried in. Don’t let that person make this process harder on you. Don’t let that person keep you from telling your story when it’s needed. Don’t let that person leave you broken.

It isn’t easy to cut people we care about off, but sometimes it is necessary for our recovery. And someone who treats you like that in such an awful time is not aiding your healing.

People like that are definitely out there. You will encounter them when you decide to tell your story.

Don’t let them stop you.

Don’t let them dictate how you heal. Don’t let them stop your recovery.

Move past them and keep moving forward.

That person was wrong and hurtful, but don’t let them be the definer of this period of your life.

I hope you are able to heal on your own terms today.

Photo by Allison Griffith on Unsplash

Originally published: September 24, 2019
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