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Surviving Sexual Abuse

My “father” Fred is a child molester. Fred has three children from his previous marriage, and he molested all of them. When his wife found out, she divorced him. Then, keeping his past secret, he married my mother.

One day, Fred exposed himself to a woman, who pressed charges. My mother only found out when she read about Fred’s arrest in the newspaper. My mom divorced him, gaining full custody of me and my brothers. Even with the charges, the courts allowed Fred weekly visitation.

One night, Fred was tucking my brother Kyle into bed when Kyle screamed, “Get off my penis!” and Fred was no longer allowed visits. Luckily, because my brother was able to cry out, he was spared the crippling effects of sexual abuse. I was not so lucky. Fred had abused me for five years.

I’ve been through a lot: post-traumatic stress, depression, an eating disorder and more. I’ve even tried to kill myself. I face constant nightmares and self-destructive habits. I have control issues and trouble trusting my instincts.

Two years ago, I went into therapy and finally got help. Every day, I grow stronger. Writing this is a big step. Unfortunately, though, for legal reasons I’m not allowed to use my name or photo. My next big step is to confront Fred.

My advice to abuse survivors? Don’t give up. It will get better. I heal a little more each day. Join a sexual abuse survivor support group, and know you’re not alone.

If you don’t face up to the scary emotions, they’ll cause so much more damage. Your abuser may have taken away childhood innocence, but he can never take away your strength.

By: Anonymous, 15

If you or a friend have been raped or sexually assaulted:

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
RAINN is a national organization that helps sexual assault victims of all ages. Trained professionals are ready to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week in finding a counselor in your area and getting shelter, if needed. RAINN is completely confidential. Call their National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. You can also go to their website, rainn.org, to find counselors and resources in your area.

POSTED ON 3/3/2010 1:23:00 PM

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