New here; Difficult Decision (Triggers)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
New here; Difficult Decision (Triggers)
4
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 3:52am
Hi everyone, I'm mostly a lurker, but may have posted once or twice a while ago. I'm in a complicated situation and need some advice. First, let me briefly give you some background info. I'm sorry if this is lengthy and triggering! I was sexually abused by a relative when I was a child, then later at 13 and 14 by my next-door neighbor, whom was only a couple years older than me. During that time, my best friend's dad (also neighbors of mine) saw what was going on, confronted the parents, and threatened to go to the cops if the boy did not leave me alone. The threat must have helped because the abuse eventually ended and the family moved away, much to my relief. But a year after they moved, when I was 15, I still felt as if the touching never stopped at all--for it was then being continued by my friend's dad, the same man (husband and father) who had helped me! At first it was subtle--tickling or hugging--but still made me feel uncomfortable. When I was seventeen, he completely broke the little trust I had gained from him when he betrayed me and touched me in places he had no right to touch, just like my past abusers. I still blame myself, for I never told him no, stop. I completely shut down, frozen in fear, feeling small and helpless... At the time, my friend and I hadn't talked in months because of arguements and busy schedules and our changing, different lives.

Now we have grown so far apart that we don't talk at all, even though she lives two houses away. Because of what her father did, I have stopped communicating with her and her entire family, which makes me feel selfish and even more ashamed. I ran into her at work the other day and we talked briefly; she wants to hang out sometime and catch up on each other's lives. College has been keeping her super busy, she said. I do miss her; we grew up together and have been through many ups and downs. But a part of me does not want to associate with her any longer... and yet another part of me is concerned about her safety and well-being. Suddenly I wondered if what happened to me happened to her as well and she just never told me or anyone else. Should I tell her about what her father did, even though it happened nearly 3 years ago? Should I just continue to avoid her and the entire situation? Was her dad really a predator? Or did he just make a big mistake? Or was this all just really my fault for not defending myself like I should've done? I just don't know... I'm consumed with guilt and I feel as if she should know, but I'm wondering if telling will help or harm. Mostly, I am afraid of how this would affect her relationship with her father if she knew. I don't want to tear anyone's family apart! Any thoughts or advice??

Thanks for letting me tell my story. I am in therapy, in case you were wondering, but I won't see my therapist until beginning of July. Just thought I'd post this here for now. Thanks again.

~Kat~
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-09-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 9:15am
HI, I am new here too. Let me tell you some of the advice i was given here. The first and most important is It is not your fault.I know that is hard to believe or accept, I am still having problems with that. To share a little with you when I was in jr. high my twin sister sexually abused me. my post is down below in the wrong place if you want to read it. I feel extremely guilty. Part of me feels like I made it up, the other part feels horrid cause I did nothing to stop it. SOmetimes I liked the feeling of being touched. My opinion would be not to tell the friend unless she brings it up. I would wait until you talk to the counselor. They might be able to tell you how to approach her. My bet would be yes the same thing happened to her , but you won't know for sure. I think it would tear you apart more if she responds the wrong way or blows you off. I too am starting Therapy. I actually go today. I hope this has helped some. You have taken a big step talking about it. Hugs, Tomcat
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 5:55pm
Oh sweetheart tell her. Sit down write a letter, email, whatever makes you comfortable. Most likely as not she was his first victim. If you have not spoken to her in a long time and she is still reahing out to you she IS a friend and most likely needs you and vice versa.

And as to never saying no; i hear you there. For years and years i never told my dad no. I do not know why and i hate him so much for it. It IS THEIR FAULT not ours we never said no. That is why they prey on children and not adults. They are cowards of the first degree and they pick their victims because they KNOW we will let them get away with it. So i say it is time to stop. I've said it before and i'll say it again: I will not pay a life sentance for somebody else's crime. It's time the crminals serve there own sentance and feel what it's like to have life and love stripped away. good luck to you and stay strong. My email can be found on my profile if you ever need to chat.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Thu, 06-19-2003 - 10:45pm
First, welcome to the board. I hope you'll find this to be a good place to come for support.

What a difficult decision to have to make! My first inclination was that you should tell your friend. Especially since you have always been close and it was this incident that made you draw back. She probably doesn't understand why things changed between the two of you. It would probably be easiest to write her a letter explaining and letting her know that she is still dear to you. Of course there is always the possibility of her reacting in the way you are afraid she will, but on the other hand maybe not. Maybe she has been through it, too, as you mentioned. I'm sure that the fact that you two were best friends growing up provided her dad with some security that you wouldn't tell because you wouldn't want to jeopardize your friendship or hurt her. If you don't tell then he's winning.

And it was NOT your fault! You were scared and vulnerable, and that is exactly why he preyed upon you. I'm sure you also felt shocked and betrayed since he was the one who "took care of the situation" before. That is just awful.

Are you just starting therapy in July, or is it just until then till your next visit? In either case I'm glad you will have that support in place. It makes a big difference.

Hugs, Heidi

HeidiRose

co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Fri, 06-20-2003 - 12:48pm
I think the important issue here is not whether to tell or not--but whether or not you are getting the support you need in your healing. It is so important to know that the abuse was not your fault--to really know it, deep down inside. Do you have a therapist?

I also have to repeat what someone else said above--if you do decide to tell, it will not be *you* who tore this guy's family apart. He is responsible for his actions and the repercussions. Him and no one else!