The school year that changed my life started off strangely. My best friend had just moved over 300 miles away, and I missed her. It was the first time I went to school without her. All of the upper elementary teachers were new to the school, so I had no idea what to expect from my new teacher. She looked kind of like a linebacker, and the entire class exploded with whispered speculations. I was a bit afraid of her and started feeling more anxious.
She fixated on me instantly, and the other children noticed. She immediately began touching my body: resting her hand on mine, touching my cheek, and more. She called me her little girl, her little sweetheart, her baby girl, etc. She used attachment techniques to form a bond. Her grooming escalated, and within a few weeks she’d shattered my innocence and forever changed my brain, body, DNA, and life. She molested me hundreds of times over the course of the school year, keeping me in when she could from recesses, lunch, specials, etc. She told everyone I was her “teacher’s assistant” and she was mentoring me because I wanted to be a teacher.
The next school year, I realized she could be hurting another little girl, so I told on her. The police callously and erroneously told me a woman wouldn’t molest a girl. They chose not to ask the questions they would have if she had been a man or do the investigation they would have if she had been a man. My parents and extended family believed and supported me, and my parents put me in therapy. When the abuser got away with the sexual and other abuse, she and her enablers retaliated against me until I moved over 1,000 miles away after my first year in college.
Although I participated in therapy after I told, therapy for sexual abuse survivors was still rather new. There was a lot the psychologist did that she should not have and did not do that she should have. I buried the worst memories, then buried other memories, and I felt silenced again. For the next several decades, I rarely shared that I was molested.
My abuser died. Almost nine months ago, she started appearing in my dreams and apologizing for abusing me. I realized then that I had more healing to do. I’m on the healing journey, and I’m making great progress. I have a ways to go still. It’s like assembling a puzzle when a hundred puzzles are mixed together, and the one I’m assembling has half a picture, damaged pieces, and missing pieces. I will persevere, and I will move from survivor to thriver.
The Power of YOU is a collection of written stories by survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
EmpowerSurvivors believes that by sharing our stories of childhood sexual abuse and recovery we begin to lose the grip shame can have on us.
It is also a way to reach other survivors who may be living in silence and have never heard someone else's story of abuse, healing, and wellness.
share your story by submitting up to a one-page entry ( 500 words) that includes an overview of your experience of childhood sexual abuse, the recovery process, and healing. Entries can remain anonymous. Entries can be emailed to Elizabeth Sullivan at EmpowerSurvivors@gmail.com
EmpowerSurvivors will not alter your story in any way and will publish it exactly as you submitted it.