From Canada: I’m in treatment for bulimia and alcoholism and I’ve been consumed by thoughts of past events. When I was 12, a stranger touched my breast outside my shirt, and said very vulgar things to me. That isn’t sexual abuse, is it? That’s all he did. I just can’t stop thinking about it. Then, as a young adult, I had three encounters that I don’t really understand: 1. A stranger in college fondled me while I was sleeping on a couch at school. I woke to him touching me, BUT I always assumed it my fault because I think I felt the touch/responded before waking. 2. I got very drunk at a club one night and brought a stranger back to the hotel room my friend and I were sharing. I was in a blackout, this I know. But the next day, my friend told me I ended up passing out and the man had sex with me while I was passed out. 3. A female friend of mine invited me over. I knew she was gay, had no idea she liked me. I was (obviously) in active addiction and drinking, and she was very encouraging of my drinking. she asked if she could braid my hair, I said yes, and she started touching me after playing with my hair for a minute. We had sex. I didn’t say no. I think I even said yes. When I woke up and realized, I was distraught. But is this just because I regret having had sex, or was something wrong?
Sorry for the four-in-one — I’m just so ashamed to bring these to my team here in treatment.. I’m scared they’ll judge me. I’m scared it’s all my fault and that I’m just a really bad person.
Please do talk to your team. They are healers, not judges. They are there to help you deal with your feelings and learn from your experiences.
Clearly, it was in no way your fault that a man touched you inappropriately and said terrible things to you when you were so young. It’s very fortunate that it stopped with words and some touching. The fact you can’t stop thinking about it now tells me that you were profoundly affected by it and that you need some help processing it.
My guess is that the incident at school felt like a repeat of what happened when you were 12. You were frozen in fear and didn’t know what to do in both situations Your therapy should help you forgive yourself for being scared and should focus on developing skills so it doesn’t happen again.
As for the other two events: Part of your therapeutic work is figuring out why you let yourself get into dangerous or inappropriate situations and learning how to love and take care of yourself. Your team can’t help you do those things unless you find the courage to be honest with them and fully engage in treatment. I hope you will. You’ve begun the important work of treatment. Now take it to the next level so you can get relief.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Was I Raped and/or Abused?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Was I Raped and/or Abused?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/07/09/was-i-raped-andor-abused/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Jul 2015) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.