Why I didn’t tell. 

Why did it take me so long to tell anyone after I was assaulted 10 years ago? I could say culture. I could say fear of judgment, shame, embarrassment. I could say I was worried no one would believe me, or that nothing would be done. None of that is true of why I said nothing for 3 days.  They are some of the reasons why it took years to tell of my childhood abuse, but they were not the first emotion that occurred after I was let out of the garage.

I didn’t tell anyone because I was in shock. One word. Shock. If I had to compare it to something I would say imagine you hit your head in an accident, were bleeding from the head, and were so disoriented that you just started wandering aimlessly down the middle of the street. I was in a complete state of shock and I wandered aimlessly through daily tasks for 3 days and have no recollection of any of it.

There are many reasons why we don’t tell anyone of the abuse we have endured and I have a list of why pages long that detail those reasons when I was a little girl. I have a list pages long for how I felt 3 days after this. Every person is different. Every experience is different. We do have common emotions that we share in the aftermath. I rarely hear about shock though. Absolute shock that is so profound it has knocked you outside of yourself. I waited outside of myself for 3 days at which point shock took a step back and allowed real life to knock and say, ” Um Bethany, you do realize something awful happened and you need to SNAP OUT OF IT!” And THEN came all of the “no one will believe me” feelings. They came along with the rage, embarrassment, disgust, and despair. But first came shock, and I don’t want to skip over that part of what happened to me. I was in a state of shock and as bad as all of the other emotions were that came after, being in shock was one of the scariest because I was pretty sure I had officially left the building and was not coming back.

All of those people (I say with disdain) who question why women don’t tell have no idea how insensitive and downright ignorant that question even is. There should never be a why. I would say the why is irrelevant but that is not true. It is not relevant to the idiot asking the question. But the why is relevant to us. But the reason why we didn’t tell should not be the focus at the time of the assault, focusing on the why is just another form of revictmization. Because why really just equates to and places blame. Yeah, we can’t be blamed. We didn’t tell because we were violated, mortified, horrified, in shock, in fear, and searching for reasons to just live another day TO actually be able to tell. The why MUST be discussed to educate others who have no clue what being victimized feels like, but it only needs to be discussed in a forum such as this and NOT at the time a person has been assaulted. That is not the time for why. But for this moment, 10 years later, it’s an appropriate time for me to say WHY I didn’t speak, on my own terms and in my own time, and not because anyone asked, but because I want others to know I can relate to being in shock. That is my why. You aren’t alone in your why. And your why is valid. You did nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong.

Next comes the WHEN. WHEN you are finally told about the abuse then encourage, listen, be present, be compassionate.

Incase no one has said this to you after you were abused, after the truth finally came to the surface…I am so sorry that happened to you. I am so so sorry that you had to endure that. I am so sorry that you were treated that way. You didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t your fault. You deserved to be protected. I am so sorry that such a horrible thing happened to you. I wish I could take it away. I offer you my heart felt empathy for the pain you endured and I pray that you know you are not alone in anything you are feeling. You are not alone.

15 thoughts on “Why I didn’t tell. 

  1. I didn’t tell because either way I knew it was going to get worse and I had to fight like hell. I was involuntarily committed in a psych unit and the predator was a junkie psych nurse. He had a system. Saying anything would only have supported my insanity. He had injected me with something so I was just meat when he did it anyway. When I could roll over and move my legs again I got in the shower and got ready to fight. I would be dead had i not. Years later this is not an isolated incident. The person running the facility at that time has contacts and has suppressed a crusading journalist thus far. I couldn’t care less anymore. They destroyed me and my family. They just don’t like it that we aren’t the kind of victims that they demand we should be

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    • Oh my gosh!!!that is…I have not the right words…horrible. I have another follower on my blog that something similar happened to. Just the idea that you were put somewhere and part of that system violated you in such an extreme way when you were your most vulnerable is heartbreaking. I am so so sorry that happened to you. I wish I could find that person that did that to you and others. How could it not have destroyed many things. That kind of violence is a wrecking ball.
      Thank you for sharing what happened to you. I am sure they are hard words to remember and write. Thank you for trusting me with them.
      I was put in a psych ward as well when I was a teenager after it came out about the abuse and I attempted suicide. Just being there feels like all of the control over you is gone. I remember feeling like what little control I had left was taken. But then to have experienced what you did at the hands of a real monster. I am just so sorry. Thank you for reading my experiencing and commenting. I really appreciate it.

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    • Suppressing a journalist…wow…I can see why you have to just walk away and not have it be a focus. You are right, we aren’t the victims they want us to be. Back then when they had control it was different. When we can finally speak and voice what happens, nobody likes it. Sounds like you did it anyway! There is no place for silence in a world of an abuse victim. Silence equals devastation. We have to be heard whether our words are met with understanding or disbelief, for our sanity we must be heard.

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  2. Wow this was very touching thank you. In my case I did tell right away and wasn’t believed and when that happened I believe I felt that shock you mentioned. I couldn’t believe my own parents would think I was lying about something so awful.

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    • I cannot BELIEVE your parents thought you were lying. That is unconscionable. Not ok. They are supposed to believe you and then protect you and make you feel safe and loved. I am so sorry they did that after you were able to have the courage to tell them. Wow. I’m so sorry.
      I finally told my parents almost 2 years ago. None of them have spoken to me since. So I am very familiar with the feelings that come after a parent choses to live in a denial and a lie and not choose to support their child. It is absolutely not ok.
      You deserved better.

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      • I will never understand either. As a parent. I just can’t understand. I would never treat my child that way. I do know that my parents chose to live in their denial bubble and they may choose to stay there for their entire life. I choose to live in the truth however hard that may be because silence isn’t an option for my anymore.
        I wish you had had parents that validated and protected you. I m sorry you didn’t.

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      • Thank you. That is so true you have to live for yourself as it is the only way to move on or try to move on. I wish I had parents that cared at all in general but unfortunately they caused more abuse themselves. I too must keep trying to move past that as hard as that is.

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  3. After I was abducted, held captive over night and continually assaulted, I didn’t tell either (well, I told the police, but they said I asked for it – another story). As you suggest, I think it was the shock. Plus I hadn’t expected to get out alive, so I was just grateful. I buried it for fourteen years before I started to remember/tell.
    Even today, they are parts I don’t remember -there are so many layers that bury a sexual assault victim – that our credibility is questioned is just another blow.

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    • Oh my gosh that sounds terrifying. I can completely understand why you, or your brain, buried that. I am so sorry that happened to you.
      When I was a child I told minimal details because I was too young to really be able to get past the humiliation and fear to speak. Those full details did not come out for 30 years I had literally lost my voice and the ability to speak. What happened to me 10 years ago was my best friend’s husband. Among many hundreds of emotions I know that being in shock, thinking he was just going to kill me, and not really even believing I was out and alive just took away my voice yet again.
      Truly, I am sorry you went through that. It sounds horrifying. Thank you for sharing on my blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on such a personal level. Thank you.

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  4. That last paragraph…my friends all say that to me after I talk about my story. Yet I feel as though I don’t deserve those words. I become uncomfortable and brush it off, like I’m not worthy of the attention. And for a few minutes, I regret telling. None of this will ever feel normal…

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