One of the most difficult aspects of being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse is the feeling of being obligated to protect the secret and in turn, protect the abuser.
Time and time again I have family members confront me and ask be why I don’t want to have a relationship with the person who abused me. They chalk it up to some small dispute that should be forgiven by now when in actuality it is the result of a trauma that will no doubt impact me for the rest of my life.
I find this extremely difficult to cope with because it means that I have to either tell the truth and have my extended family members treat me differently as a result OR hide the truth and allow them to continue thinking that I am a heartless horrible grudge-holding person. And to make matters worse I feel this sense of responsibility for the fall out of telling the truth. So if I was to tell my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. about the sexual abuse, I would blame myself for any impact that this information would have on the relationships between my family members and the individual who abused me.
However, today I came across this quote which speaks to the fact that truth is a powerful weapon. The truth can protect me from the detrimental impact that the secret is having on my relationship with my family members. Why should I protect him from the repercussions of his actions at the expense of my own relationships with family members? Why should I allow him to wage war on my life and not strike back with the most powerful weapon of all: the truth.
If I really want to be free from the past, I need to tell the truth. I just don’t know if I’m ready to answer the inevitable questions or face the gossip that is bound to happen. It would be a shock to learn as someone on the outside, I’m sure. And it’s not really any of their business to know what happened. But I feel like I’m torn between protecting my privacy or damaging the relationships that I have with others.
These are the things that nobody talks about when it comes to abuse. Sure, the psychological elements are hard. But nobody ever talks about the social repercussions of experiencing sexual trauma. Nobody takes into account all of the other aspects of life that are effected. My goal is to change that.