“Ignoring a problem doesn’t make the problem go away, it just grows and grows until it’s overwhelmingly uncontrollable, and then you’re stuck in a giant mess filled with garbage you don’t need, and crap that drags you down.”Devon J Hall
Today a friend of mine said that he was told people were “sick” of hearing about what happened to him, and that pisses me off. This is a man who fights every day for children of sexual abuse, who fights to make sure that children who have been abused have someone speaking up for them, and you’re sick of hearing about it? Too fucking bad.
I mean that seriously. Children have always been called “society’s most valuable and vulnerable resource“, but they have never been treated like it.
As long as there have been humans on this earth, there have been predators and abusers willing to destroy everything they are, and they always say shit like “I love you,” and “if you loved me you’d do as I ask,” and “it’s perfectly normal, and everyone does it.”
The one thing that children who have been abused will always tell you is that they didn’t know they were allowed to say no. Sex is a transformative act when done with partners who care about your wellbeing and your emotional state after the fact, however when it’s with children it’s not sex, it’s rape.
Children often don’t know the words “consent” or “coercive control“, all they know is that an adult took advantage of a vulnerable person and did something that didn’t feel good, and when you don’t have control over your own body, it never feels good.
There have been times when I have been abused or raped when my body reacted in ways that it would have if it had been a choice, this convinced my rapists and abusers that I wanted it, that I was somehow a partner in what was happening, when in reality I was a victim.
Childhood sexual trauma has made me question everything about my worth, and my existence, including forcing me to question my gender identity and my sexuality. The reason that I am single is because I am afraid of men, and because I am terrified that if I try to have a relationship with a woman it’s not going to be because I genuinely want to be with a woman, but because I am afraid to be with a man.
So rather than put someone who might love me through any of that, I choose to stay alone. I don’t know if I am gay or not, because I’ve never been given the freedom to explore my sexuality. When I was having sex I was hypersexual and this behavior almost always came after being abused, after being traumatized at the hands of a man who didn’t care how their behavior affected my mental state.
I am tired of talking about sexual abuse, I am tired of ripping open the old memories and sharing my story, but I also know that if I stop talking, if we all stop talking about it, more damage is going to be caused by the same predators who attacked me, choosing to attack more children.
When I first built this website I wrote that I had to go to the same white supremacists who were friends of my abusers to tell my story and I had to beg them to protect me from harm if I came out to talk about what happened to me, thankfully they have apparently decided to let me keep talking about what happened to me, but that doesn’t stop the fear that tells me at any moment they might change their minds.
Knowing that my safety is in the hands of men who were friends with white supremacists racists is absolutely terrifying, it’s traumatizing, so if it’s hard for you to hear about it, imagine how hard it is for those of us talking about it. Imagine the sudden sounds that make us open our eyes wide, and freeze every fiber in our being as we wonder if the sound we just heard is the sound of someone trying to break in and kill us, or worse.
And yes, rape is worth than death, it will always be worse then death. I understand there are many of you who can’t understand what we’ve been through, and I can even commiserate with the fact that our stories are hard to hear, but when you shut us down from talking about our stories what you’re really saying is that what happened to us doesn’t matter to you, and that makes us realize that we can’t trust you with our emotional safety.
When we’ve been abused we have to learn the language of the abuse that we’ve experienced, we’re stuck in a perpetual state of shock that forces us to examine everything we thought we knew about ourselves, and the person who has been abused is completely different then the person we were before we were abused. We can’t turn the clock around and pretend that it didn’t happen.
Even when we do try to pretend that it didn’t happen, the shock, anxiety, and PTSD, makes themselves known in other areas of our life. We lash out at people we care about, we’re suddenly in bad moods for no reason because we’ve been triggered, we learn to hide our secret shame behind behaviors like addiction to drugs, and alcohol.
We’re totally changed and often times we “forget” what happened to us, left wondering why we’re behaving the way we are, with no frame of reference to explain why we’re suddenly so different.
If you think it’s difficult for you to hear our stories, imagine how hard it is for us to live it, if you aren’t capable of being emotionally safe for us to be around, let us know…but do it gently, and respectfully and remember that energy when you need to be emotionally safe around us.
What you give is what you get, and while that may sound harsh, if you’re not willing to be there for me in my moments of fear and panic, then why the hell do I want you in my life? Life as a victim of sexual abuse is already difficult when we’ve been abused, knowing that we’re expected to take care of our own shit in silence, while simultaniously being there to support “you”, a person who doesn’t care about what we’re going through, only makes life harder for us.
If you’re interested in making life harder for me, I am not overly interested in being a part of your life. I deserve more than that. I deserve to have a tribe around me that is going to support me, love me, and respect me, and my needs. I deserve to look in the mirror and not feel like I am an untrained soldier just trying to make it from one day to the next.
For some of us waking up every day starts with the words “fuck, I’m still fucking here,” for others it’s “Jesus, thank God I’m not dead,” but the result is still the same, we’re left feeling guilty and ashamed for what happened to us, while simultaniously being grateful that we get to exist in a world that tried to destroy us as children, because we were vulnerable and ignored.
We’re not ignored today, because we are working together to make sure that no child whose been abused ever feels alone, to make sure that they know that it’s not their fault. Either jump on the boat or get the hell out of the way, because we don’t have time or energy to make you feel comfortable while we’re busy just trying to survive.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall