TRIGGER WARNING: The following real life story could be confronting for some readers.
I’m in the shower, sitting on the floor with my legs crossed and leaning forward with my head resting on the cold, soap smeared glass, in an attempt to practice some mindfulness my counsellor suggested I try.
I can’t. I can’t for more than a few seconds just be and let the water flow over me and breathe, leaving my mind blank. My hands twitch, I wring them out, I twist them into each other almost waiting or willing for them to morph into one. I need to stop, I need to breathe, I need to be here. I even repeat in my head, “be grounded” to try and guide my mind.
I am plagued by a soul infecting virus that is swallowing my being.
I can only just bare being alone, the struggle of my thoughts flooding me, through me so fast i can’t keep up. I can not accept them, I hold them and set them free. Like standing on the platform at a husling train station and the carriages of passing trains that you need to be on are flying by and you just know that if you tried to jump you wouldn’t make it because a part of you would be missing if you tried. That kinda fast.
One memory has taken a seat in my mind, so I will write of that, its not the first memory in my timeline of abuse but after speaking with my counsellor and speaking the words out loud its so front and centre right now that i feel it would be important to write about that.
I was around 6 years old, we were living in a white rented house in suburbia, this was the first house my mum and step dad lived in together and in my bedroom was this pretty shimmery teal and pink butterfly wallpaper. Right next to my bed on the wall was a bubble in the wallpaper that i would press and tap. It made this cute popping sound. I played with that spot over and over again. I loved that spot.
Mum was out that night, it was almost dark and despite not being dark yet, my little brother had been sent to bed and I was told to have a bath. Our bathroom was that dark early 80’s brown colour with the dark brown bath with a separate shower and lighter brown tiles.
I was in the bath playing when he came in. He hopped in the shower and I was surprised because this was new, he’s never done this, this was different. He didn’t speak to me, and had a shower that wasn’t really worth having, but he didn’t leave the room after he was done. He stayed. Naked. He stepped into the bath. I was surprised and scampered to the end of the bath before he sat down as he was a big man and took up most of the room making the water rise and it felt much deeper. I sat tense with my arms around my knees protecting myself and he put his legs down the sides of my body. I must have had a look on my face that I can only imagine was shock or fear or a bit of both in the confusion since I had never seen a naked man, certainly not in my bath and I had certainly not ever seen a man’s penis. He said to the little blonde girl that was once me “You can touch it if you want?”
“No it’s ok” I said
He replied with “No it’s ok, I want you to touch it. You can touch it.” I must have gotten out of the bath and went to bed since I don’t remember what happened after that. That was the first time he had asked me to participate and to be honest I wouldn’t know if he had tried again at this point. If he did, I’m sure my subconscious mind will find a wonderful time to remind me if and when it did happen again.
At this time of my life, he was already touching me. I was 6, but I knew I did not want to touch ‘it’. Why then? If I knew that that was wrong why didn’t I tell someone? Anyone! I don’t remember speaking to him as a child, I don’t remember a single conversation between us even though I’m sure we had them. Did he tell me not to tell? How did he keep me quiet after a year already? These things always leave me wondering how much I don’t actually know.
What else is my mind hiding from me?
Last year I had a flash back while my husband (we’ll call him “Batman”) and I were having intimate sessy times. In it my step father had performed oral sex on me. I remember the feeling of his beard or stubble. I was upset, I was confused and disgusted. I thought I had made it up in my head. But why? The more I thought about it and looked into these flash backs it became apparent that they were real. It just didn’t feel possible. Our minds will question things that we didn’t know about before. Things that seem too outrageous to be real. I felt betrayed by my own mind for keeping important things from me. I was violated all over again. ‘Childhood me’ had indeed double crossed ‘adult me’ and as a result I feel very disconnected from the child I was. I am a shell. I’ve left her there wherever it was I went when these awful things happened to me and I never brought her back with me. I do not see her as me, yet I feel all the same things she did. The pain and sadness she feels. I feel as though she is a child like spirit that died years ago and follows me day by day inflicting stabs of emotional pain on me, just for funsies.
He took my childhood, my child, my ness, my girl from me and that has caused the most damage. That is what I am angry about. This is what they take from us. It’s not the physical pain that causes the most distress, it’s the emotional pain and devastating confusion left behind.
It’s inhuman that these “people” think that they have the right to walk into so many children’s lives, smash them into a billion piercing pieces and then leave them scattered on the floor of the world for someone to try help pick it all up later.
One in four children are sexually abused. Over half of us don’t say anything about it either at all or until we’re adults. 98% of the time when we admit to being abused we are telling the truth. Yet only 17 percent of child sexual abuse cases result in a conviction… They walk away unscathed and intact. What kind of human must they be (if they’re human at all)? Have they lost their humanity? When they do something like that to a human should they still have the right to be recognised as a human. Should they have rights at all?
Most of us would presume not, we’re only “human” after all.
This happens all over the world, so so often, and these “people” mostly get away with it, with insignificant bullshit sentences and community services. Only to be let out let out on good behaviour a few years later to commit the same crime over and over again, to get convicted time and time again. There is no cure for them. There is no justice for us.
Where are MY rights? Where are OUR rights?
This is my journey to finding my inner child. I will not only be a survivor but the Heroine for the little girl hiding from the “big bad” in the deepest depths of my mind.
I will light the dark for her.
Antanika’s husband was so moved by his wife’s childhood sexual abuse that he wrote and recorded this song:
If this post was a trigger for you, please visit ASCA [Adults Surviving Child Abuse] for information on their support services.