The Last Time I Was Sexually Abused: "No More"

The last time I was sexually abused I was 28 years and a few days old.
09/21/2016 01:40 pm ET Updated Sep 26, 2016
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The first time I was sexually abused I was younger than I can remember.

The last time I was sexually abused I was 28 years and a few days old.

This was almost 18 months ago now, but it has been 12 months since I allowed that memory to surface, since I consciously realised I’d been sexually assaulted, again.

Yesterday I was looking at Facebook ‘memories’ when my words from exactly one year ago, a few days after this realisation, sent me right back to the very moment when I remembered what had happened:

“Everything has altered. Life threw a curveball. Words fail me.”

Words are not failing me now, but yes, life changed beyond all I knew possible from that day.

As for the assault, I’d been dating my abuser for a few weeks. I was particularly vulnerable at the time, having been assaulted only a few months prior to this (another story entirely) and my whole world was in a whirlwind of change and confusion and pain.

Looking back all the signs were there, and if I were still with this man today, while I will never know for sure, I have solid and sound reason to believe I would be 18 months into living through domestic abuse in varying forms.

He knew I was vulnerable. He knew some of my history. He knew and he preyed on it. He was already trying to enforce rules onto our ’relationship’ that, at best, felt uncomfortable.

The details of what he did, while important and significant to me, are not needed for the telling of this story. But I can say that he did what he did while I said “No,” over and over and over.

And when he stopped he held his head in his hands and admitted he should not have done what he did, allowing me to comfort him and then allowing us both to pretend like it never happened. Yes, I comforted him. I still shudder at the thought:

He sexually assaulted me and I comforted him.

The words I then spoke, “it’s not like you raped me,” go round my mind on loop some days still and make me feel sick.

“It’s not like you raped me.”

But it was like he raped me. What he did was very close to him raping me. I say this as someone who has been raped multiple times. What he did was not dissimilar to rape.

He violated me. He abused me. He sexually assaulted me.

My history of sexual abuse made me vulnerable. My history of sexual abuse made me believe it was my fault. My history of sexual abuse made me comfort him. My history of sexual abuse allowed my mind to dissociate and bury the incident for the next five months. My history of sexual abuse was a factor in all this, along with many other factors at play for every person who is ever assaulted in such a way.

And yet my history of sexual abuse and the work I was already doing to process it (along with my professional work with others experiencing abuse), also allowed me to know, deep in my core, that something was wrong here, to know I could not see him again.

Something was very very wrong and it wasn’t me.

Yes, my history of sexual abuse might have had a hand in some elements of what happened and how it played out in my mind, but make no mistake – he was the one in the wrong.

He sexually assaulted me.

He did this.

It was in no way my fault and not excusable just because I have a history of sexual abuse.

My history of sexual abuse was not the cause of this. He was the cause of this. He sexually assaulted me. He was at fault here. He abused me.

It is only now I am fully letting this sink in ― it was not my fault.

Twelve months ago, as his actions hit me in the face like it had happened only seconds before, my world exploded before me. I instantly saw just how much I was still moving through cycle upon cycle of abuse, (emotional abuse was still present in my life then).

Twelve months ago I began working through my abuse history in ways I had not yet allowed myself to. I had to admit that this was a part of my life, now, and not just ‘back then’ as I was pretending to myself. Sexual abuse was and always will be a part of my life, my story.

And it was also a moment when I spoke a definite and clear “no more.”

I had been working through my abuse for some years before this day, but the following twelve months, the 365+ days I have just gone through, have been all about putting my ‘no more’ into place, removing myself from harmful situations and speaking out more than I ever have before.

It’s been a painful twelve months. More has happened in this time by way of unraveling and exploring and breaking and healing and breaking all over again than I ever knew possible. I still have a long way to go and some days I’m not sure how I will make it to the next. And then on other days I find glimmers of hope that I fiercely hold onto, hope that keeps me moving through all that unfolds before me.

“Everything has altered. Life threw a curveball. Words fail me.”

Everything did alter. Life did throw a curveball. Words do not fail me anymore.

No more.

No more.

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.