when I was 13 in 8th grade I was sexually assaulted for roughly 10 months. I’m 16 in 11th grade now and its made me a horrible person. I constantly suffer from ptsd attacks, it ruined my prevision of what healthy sex was, I grew up believe that all these horrible things were normal, I’m still learning what’s healthy and healthy relationship boundaries. I have an in school restraining order against my abuser, but it has to be renewed before every school year and he has the right to deny it and have us go to court for it. he denied it for next school year, meaning were going to court on June 20th. I’m so scared. this guy has done unspeakable things to me physically and mentally. I’ve talked some about it but I’ve never said the entire story. now I have no choice, in front of him and a judge. I’m so scared, and what if he isn’t found guilty?
- FIRST… You are an extremely BRAVE and STRONG person for not only surviving abuse but having the courage to put your story out there. Thank you so much for reaching out again to TeenCentral about this really sensitive topic. Feelings of fear and being alone in your pain are unfortunately far too common in those who’ve experienced sexual abuse. You are not alone… we are here listening and appreciate that you trusted us.
- Talking about such a difficult trauma is absolutely scary – especially when you haven’t fully opened up about it yet. This isn’t unusual as many people don’t tell their story out of feelings of shame, embarrassment, or fear. If you do have to share your story, we think it’s really important to try and open up to someone you do trust first. It will help take the pressure off and also give you someone who can support you. It sounds like you could use the support.
- Part of the journey to overcoming sexual assault is taking back control of your story by using it to help yourself grow. You have already done a good job by trying to learn about healthy sex and boundaries. A few really helpful sites for knowledge, support, resources, or chat options are RAINN (www.rainn.org) or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (www.nsvrc.org). We encourage you to check them out. There are also a lot of stories here on TeenCentral from others who have had similar experiences. It can be beneficial to read about other’s experiences just like someone will read your story one day and it could help them.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE:
- There are other ways to “tell” your story if talking is too difficult. You could try writing down your story and allowing someone to read it first. We also recommend journaling for yourself to help you process and cope. You can check out our WHAT’S NEW section for information about Art Journaling as a Coping Skill for Stress, and Journaling to Cope with Stress.
- Self-Care during this time is extremely important. Having PTSD symptoms and negative feelings about yourself is a shared reality of many who experienced sexual assault but it’s important that it’s managed. We have resources under the LEARN tab about coping with things like anxiety and depression symptoms. Another great way to manage these symptoms is by having coping skills. What are the things that help you feel calm? Grounding techniques that engage the senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound) can also help get you through PTSD attacks. Blasting a song you love, eating a hot/sour candy, smelling your favorite candle are examples.
- As you get closer to this court date, you could have an increase in anxiety and stress level. It’s going to be important to stay busy and connected. Consider spending at least 10 minutes a day doing something that gives you peace and makes you happy even when you are already having a good day. It could be taking a walk, taking a few deep breaths, doing some artwork, listening to your favorite music, playing a sport, really anything that you enjoy. We also think you should spend time with people who you trust and feel happy around. Who are those people in your life? But no matter what happens at court – keep fighting to overcome this. You can do it!