My Story by Christina EnevoldsenOct 22nd, 2009 | By Christina Enevoldsen | Category: All Posts, Our Stories
I feel like most of my life has been an effort to wake up from a nightmare. I had a desperate need to escape to the light of day, to free myself from the strange dreamworld of an alternate reality.
I don’t remember thinking about sexual abuse until I was about fourteen or fifteen. I was dating a boy and told him I had been raped. It seemed strange to me since I didn’t have any memory of being raped and hadn’t planned to say that. It came out of my mouth before I really thought about it. In hearing that, I realized I had the feeling for a long time that something awful had happened to me and that I felt dirty.
When I was in my early twenties, I drove past a preschool in a neighborhood close to where I lived as a young child. Suddenly I knew I was sexually abused. It’s not as though I was abused at that preschool, and I didn’t remember a specific instance, but I knew it was a fact, not just a feeling.
I was married with two small kids by then, but when I visited my parents, my mom and I stood in the kitchen and I told her that I was sexually abused. She responded without interest, as though I never said a word, but my dad yelled from his chair in the next room, “No, you weren’t!” Okay, end of discussion.
For years, I couldn’t remember anything specific. I knew that it was my dad who had abused me. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew. But also thought I might have been abused by others. I had the feeling of being passed around.
Although I didn’t have any specific memories, I could identify some of the effects of the abuse and began to address them. I knew I had problems saying no to men, that I acted in a very seductive way, that I was full of shame, and had difficulty setting boundaries so I tried to deal with those things.
Years passed and my twenty-one year marriage to a man who was verbally and financially abusive ended.
Five years later, I was happily and safely re-married and then everything changed. My twenty-four year old daughter, Bethany, called me one night to tell me she wanted to report her father, my ex-husband, for sexually abusing her. While doing my best to support her, I started having graphic flashbacks and dreams about my own abuse. I started seeing my childhood memories in a different light. All along, I thought I had no memories of my abuse, but it slowly occurred to me that what I thought of as normal father & daughter activities were in reality acts of sexual abuse.
My father not only abused me himself, but also traded me to other men. There were sex parties where young girls were exchanged. When I was about eight or nine, my dad bragged to a group of people that I would make a good call girl. He said it like that was a good thing. They all laughed. Around the same time, my dad lost his job and a wealthy neighbor helped to keep us fed. I was sent to the neighbor’s house, either as a favor or as payment for the food he gave us. The neighbor raped me with a pool stick in his basement. I walked home alone, hoping nobody would see what a bad girl I was.
One of the biggest fears I’ve had my whole life was that I would end up as a prostitute. I didn’t feel as though I had any choice. I was locked into that future and there was no escape. Remembering what my father did was difficult, but at least I knew I wasn’t crazy for fearing something that seemed so irrational. My body being traded was part of my past, but since I’ve faced the truth, I don’t fear it anymore.
I’m still on the healing journey, but I’ve woken up from my nightmare and have learned to shine the light on my past. As I’ve faced the truth, my life has drastically changed. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I love myself. I have healthy relationships. I’m able to look at my future with excitement. The worst part of my life is over. I’m an overcomer.
Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and five grandchildren.
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