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 had recently divorced so the fear that my disclosure would end their marriage no longer applied.
My mom knew of another girl my dad had molested before my mom met him so she offered to go with me to report him. I told my mom that I didn’t want to take action out of vengeance. Looking back, the truth was much more complicated.
My dad had controlled so much of my life up to that point, even more than I realized. I was groomed for so long to protect him, even at my expense. Telling my mom about the abuse was one thing, but telling the police was another.
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…
Several months ago, I settled a sixteen month long lawsuit with my parents (actually, my dad died before the case ended so only my mother was left). They sued me for defamation of character and intentional infliction of emotional distress. I’d publically exposed my childhood sexual abuse by my dad and they didn’t like that very much.
I like to think of myself as a crusader. The internal image of myself is a fierce-looking woman, charging on horseback toward oppressors, declaring the truth to those they hold bound and inspiring them to overthrow the tyrants’ rule. I don’t back down from standing for and with the oppressed.
I’ve eliminated abusers from my own life, but after the relief of not having a relationship with my mother for nearly six years, she was back in it. With the lawsuit, I didn’t have the choice of walking away. I not only had to read the painful lies my mother used as “discovery”, I had to respond with a defense. I felt controlled and victimized again.
by Christina Enevoldsen
When I started writing publicly about my healing from sexual abuse, I did it to validate my own history and journey and to inspire hope in other survivors. It’s been wonderfully empowering to record my triumphs and to share the process with thousands of fellow journeyers.
However, being so public about such intimate feelings and experiences has been costly. For the most part, I count it a bargain compared with the expense of silence, but that resolve isn’t always very convenient or comfortable.
One of the recent costs for being so vocal is a lawsuit from my parents. They are suing me for defamation of character and emotional distress. Through their case, they want to shut down OSA and silence my voice.
In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.
by Caden Ceirdris
When I was twelve, I watched the sexually graphic teen film, “Kids” with my siblings. I remember being surprised when my sister described what happened in the end scene as rape. That it was rape to have sex with someone who was passed out, asleep.
It seems obvious, but in some unconscious part of my mind, I winced. What had been done to me might have been wrong too. Perhaps I also deserved boundaries, both legal and personal over my own body, at least equal to what my sister was willing to give a fictional girl. Yet there was no one in my life at that point who would have even suggested that, let alone validated my experience; I was trained to passively accept whatever my family did to me, and was condescended to when it came to my emotions.
I normally don’t comment on OSA since Christina and I often discuss the subject matter of her posts and the limited contributions I could make, when relevant, are reflected in her words. This time, I want to add some thoughts from a perspective few others could have. The comment posted by Christina’s mother, Mary, on “My Story by Christina Enevoldsen” the day before Christina’s birthday, prompted excellent comments from many people. One in particular caught my attention. Pinky, speaking to Mary, said, “…because it is as if you have read the manual on how to be an abusive parent.”
That observation was based on only a few lines from Mary, typed into the OSA comments. I can add to Pinky’s statement from firsthand observation and knowledge. I know Mary and Fred, Christina’s dad, very well. I knew them even before I knew Christina.
by Christina Enevoldsen
When my daughter was nineteen and her father and I were in the middle of a divorce, she shared the horrible truth about what her dad had been doing to her for most of her life. As I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I had been completely blind all those years, a few words slipped from my mouth, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I know now how painful those words can be. They communicate that all would have been well if only she would have come to me. That question might have also meant, “If that’s really true, then why are you only telling me now?” But I never doubted the truth and I didn’t blame her. My reaction came from feeling like a fool for being deceived by my husband all those years.
by Christina Enevoldsen When I used to talk about my childhood sexual abuse, I heard familiar accusations: “You just want attention” or “Nobody likes a crybaby.” As I poured out the same story again and again to my friends, IRead more
A few months ago, I got word from a family member that my paternal grandmother was found unconscious in the middle of the night and rushed to the hospital. She had suffered a brain hemorrhage and was on a ventilator as her heart rate began to slow. The doctors weren’t optimistic that anything could be done.
I didn’t know her well. I spent a summer visiting my father’s parents when I was ten but the rest of my relationship with them was quick phone calls throughout my childhood. As my grandma got older, she began to forget who I was, so our relationship dwindled in my teens.
Years ago, my dad told me that both of his parents had sexually abused him. When he was eight years old, they took him into their bedroom and taught him to have sex with his mother while my grandfather watched. What they did to him made me sick and angry with my grandparents.
by Christina Enevoldsen I’ve loved horror films since I was a child. Even though I wasn’t allowed to see them, something about those stories resonated with me and I managed to watch them anyway. Through them, I was able toRead more