What The #MeToo Movement Was Missing
When the #MeToo movement erupted, I reflected on my life. On my sexual abuse, all the harassment I endured, and how I used sex to feel loved before I healed from my sexual abuse.
Since the #MeToo movement, I haven’t heard much about how to heal from sexual abuse and harassment. It’s also something I haven’t talked much about, since I felt I had to keep it private to protect my abusers.
Just like recovery from addiction, or the steps of grieving, healing after sexual assault is a process, and the #MeToo movement was just the first step.
Talking about sexual abuse brings up so much shame and uncomfortable feelings for everyone. When I was 37 years old, I discovered I was sexually abused by a family member when I was 3 years old. I also knew of one when I was 12 years old that I thought wasn’t a big deal.
When I discovered I was sexually abused when I was 3 years old, I told my best friend and she said she was waiting for me to realize it, since it was so obvious to her. I will list some of my signs below.
When I told my family, nobody believed me. I was even told I was crazy and needed help. So, of course, I never brought it up to them again. Victims of sexual abuse are often not believed, are shunned and blamed. Victimizing and shaming the victim is unfortunately very common. This even happened to me from a healer a few years ago.
My signs of sexual abuse:
- Masturbation before puberty
- Was used for sex from 15-17 years old by my first love/obsession
- Had eating disorders and addictions for 20 years
- Disconnected my feelings from sex to have sex whenever I wanted without getting hurt
- When I wasn’t in a relationship, I would go out to get drunk to have casual sex - a lot
- I used sex to feel better
- I was a swinger / had sex with couples (that’s when I started to feel lonely when I was alone at the end of the night)
- I was a stripper for 3 months - means to an end - and it was easy and enjoyable for me (as long as I was drunk and drugged)
- Relationships with men were all sexually based - the sex was how we connected and how I felt loved (before my husband Doug)
Sexual abuse survivors often either are hypersexual or avoid sex and even are repulsed by sex, or swing between these two extremes. They could be addicted to sex or afraid of it.I spent my entire 30’s healing from abuse - mental, emotional, and sexual. Even though I was releasing repressed emotions, I didn’t learn how to set healthy boundaries until I accessed my repressed rage for all the times I was betrayed and disrespected. Once I set healthy boundaries, and stopped objectifying myself, all harassment stopped.
Then, I regained respect, love and self-worth for myself.
I was 39 years old when I met my husband Doug, and finally felt truly loved for me and not my body or sex. I also felt safe and supported for the first time in my life. After the honeymoon phase, our container of safety and love brought my past unhealed sexual triggers up whenever I didn’t feel honored or I felt like he was using me or not respecting what I needed.
I would tell him how I was feeling and waited for him to respond to my needs. It wasn’t easy at first, but we moved through it and are on the other side. Now, our sex life is healthy, safe and free. Together, we healed the final remnants of my sexual abuse and objectification.
On our next Intimacy Hour radio show Monday, June 25th from 6-7pm EDT, our guest is Dixie Gillaspie. We will be talking about how we can better relate to survivors of sexual abuse.
Whether you want to be a better friend, a better coworker or boss, a better neighbor, or a better partner or lover, we'll explore ways to release the stigma from conversations and relationships to open the door to healthy, productive, loving relationships with sexual survivors.
Click here to learn how to start healing from sexual abuse and how to set healthy boundaries to feel safe and empowered.
Lots of love,