Abuse history below*
Today I don’t feel like a survivor. 35 years ago I was sexually abused, but today it feels like just yesterday. 11 years ago I was sexually assaulted, but today it feels like just yesterday. Today I feel like a victim of abuse, that just happened. It is as if no time has passed. I feel broken and I don’t know which event or which person broke me. I mean, I survived it. I’m still here. But I don’t feel like a survivor. I feel broken in so many ways. Mostly, broken in spirit. For me, that’s the worst kind of broken.
I feel isolated and alone in my brokenness.
I feel helpless and hopeless in my brokenness.
I’ve tried all the meds for PTSD. I’ve tried all of the holistic and homeopathic and imagery and ALL OF IT. I just don’t know how to fix a broken spirit. God’s will? My own will? I don’t have the answers. I can just tell you how it feels to be me right now. I don’t even want suggestions on how to fix me. I want grace. I want love. I want compassion.
We had a foster dog a few weeks ago. I connected to her on a very deep level due to the scars of abuse that she had on her. I wanted so much to love all the pain away that she had ever experienced and I tried my best to do so. She didn’t want to eat so I lay on the floor and fed her out of my hand. She didn’t want to be alone so one of us held her at all times. I felt her wounds inside of myself. I felt the cruelty that had been given to her that had also been given to me. I did everything I possibly could even at the detriment of my own body, to help her, because she deserved someone that would carry her, lift her up, love her through it. And she, was a dog. It didn’t make her less deserving because she was a dog. But no one got on the floor with me. No one held me so I didn’t have to be alone. No one put their hands on me and tried to pray the wounds to be healed. No one did the smallest acts of compassion for me that I was more than willing to do for a foster dog. That realization broke my heart. Those who supposedly loved me could not give me an ounce of love that I gladly did for a foster dog. My own mother, my own father, my own brothers, find me unworthy of even a scrap of compassion. And that realization breaks my heart. The idea that someone can be cruel to an animal or abuse a child breaks my heart. But that society will not bond together to heal those wounds, breaks it even further. My family…I don’t think I could hate them more than I do right at this very moment. I hand fed an abused dog and my family does not even acknowledge anything that ever happened to me. Even through my brokenness I hate them. It would have been like my poor abused foster dog, instead of coming to me, going to someone who chained her up to a pole and left her. Because that is EXACTLY what my family has done to me. Think of the healing they could have given had just one of them been willing…
I don’t know if it was the actual abusers or the people who did nothing in the face of the abuse that broke me. I don’t know if it was my family disowning me because I spoke the truth or the knowledge that they were those kind of people all along that broke me. It would be easy to blame my health for my feeling of brokenness. My body is actually broken. But it is not my body’s brokenness that makes me feel like a victim. My broken spirit makes me feel like a victim.
You know how your little toe gets stubbed and you wonder if it is jammed or broken and either way there is not much that can be done about it? So you tape it to the other toe and try to get away with wearing sandals or flip flops until you can manage to put it back into a shoe. That tape gets dirty around the edges and you want to take it off and put new tape on but that would hurt to badly. So you walk around with dirty tape holding that toe straight. Other people will see your toe and nod, because yes, they KNOW how badly a tiny little toe can be. How something so small on your body can cause so much pain! Other people may even comment on why we even have that little toe and what it’s purpose is because it really just seems to get in the way! You can get real empathy for those toes taped together. That little toe gets some real understanding. Even when someone stubs it and rolls around on the ground you can just say, “Yep, been there.Amazing that that little toe can bring someone to the ground!” But not everyone knows what feeling sexually assaulted feels like nor are they outwardly going to give words to validate that pain. There is no common ground here in society in regards to sexual abuse. No one knows what to say. I’m sure there is no rule book that says :11 years after a person has been sexually assaulted here are the best things for you to say. Just know, it doesn’t go away. Time doesn’t matter. And it is not always the words that are said or not said but the ability to give compassion in a moment where it is obvious that someone is suffering.
Sexual abuse survivors can’t wear tape to show their brokenness is trying to be held together. My experience with sexual abuse is no secret though. My diagnosis of PTSD is no secret. My struggles are not a secret. I shouldn’t need a piece of tape or a sign around my neck saying “sexual abuse victim” to find some compassion in this world. I often wish I could tape myself to someone else who is strong and let that person hold me up just like the pinky toe gets help from the next toe over. People assume I am strong because I have survived. People assume since so much time has passed that I am ok. I guess that is what they asssume because no one asks. I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel like I have survived. To feel like I survived would mean that I was living and I don’t feel like I am even alive today.
Today I feel like a victim of abuse that happened just yesterday, or even just hours ago. I don’t know what makes today different. But I have had many days like today along the way. I can remember every moment, the ultimate feeling of violation and helplessness, as if it happened moments ago.
Today I took my wheelchair around the same block that I have taken it around for 11 years. Which makes it just over 4000 times I have been around the same block. Today, I cried. I cried for my brokenness and my scars and my wounds that are still so fresh. I passed by multiple people who saw me crying. Not one asked if I was ok.Today I could have used a friend. Today, I needed someone who would do the little things for me that I gave my abused foster dog. But no one did. It is not as if I didn’t ask. I reached out to many friends, but they didn’t hear me. I am heard more on my blog than I ever am in my present life, which is why I am writing this now. I know so many are out there feeling just like me and think they are the only one. You aren’t. And the reality of it sucks. I may only be out here in the virtual blogging world for you but I don’t want you for one moment to feel like no one else in the world feels like you do.
I know what it feels like to have more than a broken pinky toe…to instead have a broken spirit, and have no one even acknowledge the pain of that. The depth of that. I know what it feels like to have people turn their back on you as my family did to me. And I can tell you that it is all on them and has nothing to do with you but I can also tell you that that knowledge doesn’t make it hurt any less. I know what it feels like to have the men who committed heinous sexual crimes, walk around free. I know what it feels like to have friends, family, and society, fail you. I know the isolation. I know the emotional and mental anguish. I know the reality of sexual abuse and its after affects, and they are brutal. I know. I also know how far a simple act of grace and compassion can go and how rarely we get it. Talk about invisible illnesses ….everyone talks about invisible illnesses. I have many! What about how invisible rape is. No one ever talks about that! No one ever talks about that.
Victims of sexual abuse don’t always feel like survivors. We sometimes feel alone and broken. Today was one of those days for me.