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7 Vital Things to Consider Before Speaking Out About Abuse

Nov 28th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

I started writing publicly about my childhood sexual abuse over six years ago. I jumped in with a lot of passion but without much knowledge of what I was jumping into. I only thought about how freeing it was to speak the truth and how much I wanted to validate other survivors.

Writing about my healing process has been a wonderful journey. Through it, my voice has been strengthened and so has my resolve to continue to heal. I don’t regret any of this, but I wish I had been better prepared to face the challenges that have come with this.

Here are a few things to consider before you speak out:

The secrets of abuse can be isolating—but so can disclosure.

I took smaller steps in disclosing my abuse before I made it public. That helped me to face my childhood fears of breaking the “no telling” rule. However, not all of my fears could be dismissed as childhood fears. The “no telling” rule still comes with present day consequences. Sexual abuse, especially incest, is still considered taboo to many people. Rejection in the form of avoidance is a reality to most survivors who speak up about their abuse.

What To Do With the Pain From the Rejection of a Mother

Nov 21st, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Family Rejection

by Christina Enevoldsen I knew it wasn’t the wisest decision to meet with my mother after seven years of no contact. The past seven years have been the happiest of my life—despite being sued by my parents, four months of being homeless, suffering a miscarriage, the death of my father and all while healing from […]

Warning: Abusers Will Shame You For Being Angry About Your Abuse

Nov 15th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

by Christina Enevoldsen I met with my mom recently. I hadn’t seen her in seven years, other than in a court room, where she sat on the opposing side. She was there in support of my ex-husband while he was being sentenced to fifteen years in prison for sexually abusing my daughter, Bethany. When my […]

What’s Inappropriate About Exposing Abuse?

Nov 1st, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

by Christina Enevoldsen This past week in the survivor community on Facebook, an abuse advocate was exposed as an abuser. It caused an uproar, with some siding with his victims and many (including other advocates) supporting him. Like all abusers, this advocate has groomed this community to see him as a hero, not as the […]

How Do You Know If Your Memories of Sexual Abuse Are Real?

Oct 24th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Christina Enevoldsen When I was sued by my parents for exposing the sexual abuse that was perpetrated on me by my father, my lawyer asked me a question: “How do you if know your memories of sexual abuse are real?” He was defending me against charges of defamation of character and intentional infliction of […]

Stop Telling Me To Forgive My Abuser

Oct 17th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Christina Enevoldsen As much support and love as there is in the community of survivors that gather online, there is a topic that seems to divide us. I’ve rarely witnessed discussion topics that become as hostile as the issue of forgiveness. It’s easy to understand why there would be so much disagreement considering that […]

How I Took Control of My Life by Reporting My Sexual Abuse

Sep 13th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

This is third in a series about reporting sexual abuse. To read from the beginning, click here. by Bethany I never expected that I’d be reporting my sexual abuse. When I was nineteen, I finally shared the secret I’d kept all my life—my dad had sexually abused me for most of my childhood. My parents […]

What Happened When I Reported My Sexual Abuse

Aug 30th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

by Christina Enevoldsen

When I decided to report my dad, I didn’t even know if the abuse that had happened forty years ago could be prosecuted. I checked on the Arizona statute of limitations but because of how it’s worded, I still wasn’t sure. I also didn’t know if I remembered enough to make a case, especially since I didn’t have any physical evidence. Even though I was full of uncertainty, I decided to do as much as I could.

I was familiar with the process of reporting sexual abuse since I’d gone with my daughter to report her abuse. I left a message for the detective who handled my daughter’s case when we reported her dad. I held back the tears as I choked out the words. Then I hung up and waited.

I didn’t hear back for a couple weeks. It was agonizing. I felt forgotten, unheard and discounted. I discovered that I should have phoned the main number of that unit instead of calling the detective who worked on my daughter’s case.

Deciding to Report My Father For Sexual Abuse

Aug 14th, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

When it came to my own dad, I didn’t feel that way. Even though both of our fathers had done the same things, I didn’t believe my dad deserved the same punishment.

Reporting my dad for the things he did to me seemed like reporting him for making me go to school or forcing me to eat my vegetables. I didn’t see a crime. I believed my dad was entitled to do whatever he wanted to me and that I deserved it. It wasn’t about who the abusers were; it was about who the victim was. It was horrifying to think of someone else being abused but it didn’t seem as wrong or as illegal to sexually abuse me.

Even if I had recognized that I was just as valuable as any other abuse survivor and deserving of protection…

Taking Back My Life After Abuse

Jan 1st, 2015 | By | Category: All Posts, Discovering I'm Empowered

Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon

by Christina Enevoldsen

New Year’s Day is traditionally a time for a fresh start. There are the usual resolutions and goals that everyone seems optimistic about—the eagerness to leave behind the old and to embrace the new and improved.

Until the recent few years, imagining or planning what I wanted to accomplish for the coming year seemed impossible. When I tried to envision a future for myself, it was dark and hidden. It felt presumptuous to say I could or would work toward a particular outcome.

The control I had over my life was limited to how I would adapt to the disaster I knew was coming. I’d be ready when the rug was pulled out from under me. I became an expert at “making the best of a bad situation” and “going with the flow.”

By the time I married Don almost ten years ago, I’d started to end some of my abusive relationships but I was still feeling and deciding and acting out of the beliefs that I had as an abuse victim. In the first few months of our marriage, we had a horrible fight that ended with me slamming the bedroom door and shouting, “I WON’T LET YOU BULLY ME!”