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(TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kind.

Trigger Warning - mention of unwanted sexual experiences as a child. 

Hi, this is my first time using the forums, so if this is in the wrong place, or isn't acceptable, just let me know and I'll delete it...

So, without going into unecessary details, from ages 9ish-11ish for an unknown frequency of time, my "boyfriend" at the time (age 11-13ish) instigated sexual stuff. He was bigger, stronger and more sexually mature than me, and there were times that i know 100% weren't consensual, I didn't want it. For years, I've struggled with this, wondering if it was some kind of sexual assault, if it was my fault for not fighting him or telling someone, or if i made it all up. Quite recently, I did a lot of research and I've come to the conclusion that yes, this was some kind of sexual assault. This was about a month ago. Since then, I've been almost constantly anxious, whenever thinking about what happened, or about telling someone. It's affected me before, I started hurting myself at 13 because of it (I'm over 1 year clean now), but never as much as it does now. I can't go  day without thinking about it, about wanting, needing to tell someone, to get rid of this secret i never wanted. This month, I've been putting more thought and planning into actually talking about it, but the more I do, the more I'm terrified. I don't want this. I want to block my ears and scream lalalala, I want to throw it as far as i can and sprint in the other direction. I don't know what to do. I am terrified at even the thought of telling anyone irl, but throwing it to the back of my mind for another year isn't doing anything. I'll be back here in a year tops, worse than ever before. 

Re: (TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kin

Hi @Izzyy! Welcome to the forums!

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It must have taken a lot of courage for you to reach out about what you've been through on an anonymous forum. Heart
My heart goes out to you. What an awful thing to go through. It can be very exhausting dealing with something like this on your own. Smiley Sad
I had an unwanted sexual experience when I was around the same age as you by a group of other children and I can relate to having the same kinds of thoughts. When I was older, I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder stemming from this experience.

What happened is in no way your fault, even if you did not resist. You are not responsible for your boyfriend's actions and you did not deserve what happened to you. It's up to you whether you want to tell someone else, and how you go about doing so. You have the right to have your voice heard and be supported. It might take a while, so don't be discouraged if you encounter a lack of support at first. Having gone through a similar experience, I completely believe you. Heart

We have a number of articles that might relate to your situation. In particular, here is a list of services that might be able to provide you with some specialised support. Do you think it would be helpful to contact one of them? That could be a good first step if you want to tell someone.

Something that helped me was seeing a psychologist to work through my symptoms of trauma. You might be able to find a psychologist with experience in sexual abuse and any other issues you want to address using this online tool.
I personally found my psychologists helpful in communicating things that I wanted other people to know about, with my permission.

Do you think it would be helpful to write down your experience rather than saying it aloud? You could also show someone your post.
I found this article that might also help. Heart

Re: (TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kin

Hey @Izzyy 

 

Welcome to ReachOut and thank you for sharing your story. I'm really sorry you had to experience this. It must be really scary to reflect on the past and to try and come to terms with what happened. It's important to know that it's not your fault, at all. At ages 9-11 we often lack the level of maturity and knowledge to speak up or fight back when something feels wrong - and we are often really impressionable. So it's possible that could've happened to any 9 year old, and says little about you as a person. You are not to blame. 

 

I'm glad to hear you haven't self-harmed in a year Heart. I imagine the thought of telling someone in real life would be really daunting. However, your mind is probably building it up to be scarier than what it actually is. I come across many users on this forum who are scared to open up about things in real life, but once they do, they are relieved to find out it wasn't that bad. I'd highly encourage you to speak up. Talking about things can help so much. Often just getting things off our chest, and having someone listen, help significantly. 

 

Would you consider telling a parent/guardian or school counselor? 

Also, I recently sent you an email, so please check your emails when you get a chance. 

 

Thinking of you Heart

Re: (TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kin

Hi @Izzyy, welcome to the forums.

 

Firstly what happened was definitely not your fault. From what I know, it's actually a lot more common for people to experience a "freeze" reaction in situations like what you experienced.

 

Secondly it sounds like you've been through some genuinely awful stuff..

If you need to talk about how this has all affected you, this is a safe space and you're welcome to ask for help.

 

We also have a thread of ways to avoid self harm. It sounds like you've already been doing an amazing job, but if you need any extra ideas I can get you the link to it.

 

If you were going to tell someone what happened, who would you tell?

And how do you think you'd start the conversation? 

Re: (TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kin

Thanks for the replies @WheresMySquishy , @Tiny_leaf , @Maddy-RO . Sorry it took me a minute to reply, some stuff happened this past week that kinda discouraged me from talking for a bit. I'm probably not allowed to go into it, and it was in my best interest,  but it honestly just made me wanna never speak about it again. Anyways, here I am now. Thank you for replying and reassuring me. It really does make me feel less alone. And even though this week has been really scary, I think talking about this thing more is helping. I ended up just telling my school support person. Originally, I was just mentioning it as a thing that I wouldn't talk about but did exist, but she convinced me to tell her and it wasn't as terrifying as I'd thought. It was honestly so anticlimactic it was laughable. She was talking about next steps to take so i've got a bit to think about. I guess I've been feeling better after talking about it, but man was I scared when she was asking me to tell her. It sounds silly, but I almost feel like I'm less anxious since talking about it. I guess a lot of my anxiety was about telling someone, and keeping this secret. But yeah, thank you for replying, and here's a lil update. 

Re: (TW) Almost constantly anxious after realising that what happened was sexual assault of some kin

@Izzyy  I'm glad that you're feeling a bit better and talking about it has helped you. Heart
I'm glad that you were able to work up the courage to tell your school support person and it's made you feel less anxious. It's great that she's supportive of you. Smiley Happy
I can totally understand you being afraid to tell her. I was really scared about telling people about my experience too. It was easier for me to tell strangers and professionals rather than my own friends and family because I was anxious about how they would react.

Whether you should do any of the steps she mentioned is up to you. You could do some research to see which kinds of things would be right for you and weigh up the pros and cons.