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Archive for June 9th, 2009

My son is eight years old, which is how old I was when my child abuse was in full swing. My mother had stopped sexually abusing me, but she was pulling me out of my bed and taking me to “cult meetings” to be ritually abused on a regular basis. I was repeatedly sexually abused, among other forms of abuses.

In my memory, I seemed like such a big kid. My son sees himself the same way. He has a very strong will and also has a temper. He can seem larger than life at times, especially when he is angry. However, he is still a little kid, weighing barely over 50 lbs.

My son climbed into my bed the other night and had a nightmare. He woke me up by talking in his sleep. He was saying, “Please don’t hurt me,” and it was in such a soft, scared voice that it broke my heart. No matter how “larger than life” he might appear when he is awake, he is still just a small, vulnerable child who is unable to protect himself – It is my job to protect him. If a child abuser got his hands on my son, the most he could do is whimper, “Please don’t hurt me,” and hope for the best.

I have talked with men who were sexually abused by women when they were only eight years old. They often hold themselves responsible for the abuse. They think that they should have been “man enough” to make the child abuse stop. However, there is nothing “manly” about my little boy. He is just a little kid who still believes in Santa Claus and who thinks that Pokemon is the coolest thing ever. He is just a child and a small child at that.

Hearing my son’s plea to some monster in his dreams drove home just how heinous the child abuse was that I suffered. How many times did I utter the same plea? How many times did my plea fall on deaf ears?

I was a tiny little girl, just like my little boy. I was powerless. How could these evil people ever justify the harm they inflicted on an innocent little girl?

The amazing part of the story is that, even as a helpless little girl, I fought back. I fragmented my spirit to save my soul. I safely locked away the essence of who I am where none of my abusers were able to find her. They harmed my body, and they tried to break my will, but they did not succeed. Even as a little girl, I was stronger than all of my abusers combined. I might spend the rest of my life battling nightmares and other residue from the abuse, but they did not break me. I won.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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