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Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashbacks of Abuse

Dear Bro Jo,

About two years ago, I was sexually abused by a boy in my Stake. While we weren't on a date, or dating, or anything like that- there was mutual interest. I won't get into much detail, because it's not really that important to my question- but one night he and my best friend and I were hanging out. She left the room for a little bit, and in the short time she was gone- I was really taken advantage of.

Like I said, that was two years ago, and since then I've taken the steps necessary to move on from that and forgive him for what happened. Now I've got a boyfriend. And he really is the most phenomenal person in the world. We've been dating for a year and some change, and I really, genuinely love him. The only thing is, sometimes, and only on very rare occasion, I can't help but getting blasts from the past.

Not that my boyfriend makes me feel taken advantage of again- but just that I'm so worried of that happening again, that it's hard for me to get close to people. It isn't fair to my boyfriend, and I'm lucky that he's so patient and understanding of my emotions. He wants to help me overcome this as much as I do. I just don't know how. I'm not sure I'm making sense, because this is difficult to explain, but I'm just confused as to why I still struggle with the past on occasion.

I've forgiven myself and the people involved with what happened, I've found the person I want to be with- who loves me, and doesn't push me to do anything that we shouldn't do, or that I don't want to do... yet sometimes I still feel scared and insecure and helpless, like I did two years ago.

Is something wrong with me?

Sincerely,

Hard To Forget

PS: I'm 19 now, if that makes any difference.



Dear Hard to Forget,

There's absolutely nothing wrong with you.

Some things just take time. You will get over this, I promise. Be patient, and as more time passes you'll be more able to trust others. It sounds like you've found a good man; if that's true, hang on to him.

One thing that can help someone who's been through what you have is a self-defense class (or if you feel you need to go a step further, join a martial arts studio). This kind of attack leaves one feeling venerable and even guilty (you may be haunted by thoughts and feelings like "why didn't I stand up for myself?" and "why was I so powerless?"), and those types of classes and programs can help you to feel empowered, help you to realize that you never have to fear being attacked that way again.

My prayers are with you,

- Bro Jo


Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much. That is exactly what I needed to hear. :)

- Forgetting



Dear Forgetting,


You're welcome.

Anytime.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Caoimhe said...

I was sexually abused four years ago, and I still have a hard time with it. My boyfriend knows that although I trust him completely, I can't be in a room alone with him with the doors closed. I don't like to be out late at night without other people around. Secluded places in general make me nervous, and I especially don't like to be anywhere alone without my cell phone. Sound familiar? :) It's not about him, it's entirely about me, and he's come to understand that. Honestly, it might be a good thing - helps us from crossing lines of morality, you know?

It's wonderful that you've found a guy that is so understanding. I'm sure that these scars will fade eventually, especially when your romantic life settles down more (i.e. after marriage). After marriage, there will be no reason to be afraid of sex anymore and you will be able to let go of your fears more. Things will work out! In the meantime the Atonement of Christ can help ease your burden and/or make your back stronger. He's there for you. :)