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I Don’t Know if I Was Sexually Abused

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Hi, I’m a 17 year old girl, and the past couple of years I have many times caught myself wondering if I could have possibly been sexually abused around the age of 5-7, but I have no actual memory of such a thing ever happening to me.

The reasons I have though of this are many. First of all, I am very scared of initmacy, and even though I experience attraction (though only towards other girls), I could never picture myself acctually being in a relationship. If someone touches me, especially if it’s on the inner thigh or lower back, I get an either really high pitched or low pitched ringing in my ears, and I feel nauseous. The same thing happens if I try to use a tampon, which makes me unable to use them. I have also had the same vague dreams ever since I was around 6, which have always made me feel unsafe after having them, but they were never anything scary in them. Only in the recent years have I realized that I am being raped by a person I cannot identify, in all these dreams.

Around the same time these things started, I started to get anxious and antisocial, and I also developed a sleeping problem I have yet to overcome. I used to sleep only in my underwear when I was little, but in this period I often slept with all my clothes on, because I felt really unsafe without them. At one point, I wouldn’t even go out and play during the break, because I was genuinly scared to die, but I couldn’t explain anyone why. Luckily, most of this ended when I was 7-8.

However, I got no memory of actually being raped, and have no idea who could have done such a horrible thing to me. I haven’t told anyone about my suspicion and my current “sympthomes”, because I feel like it is a very serious claim to come with, and I want to be sure this is not something made up in my own head before I tell anyone.

I would be so grateful if you could help me, and please excuse any language mistakes, as English is my third language.

I Don’t Know if I Was Sexually Abused

Answered by on -

A.

Your experiences, your dreams and your fears are noteworthy. They could indicate sexual abuse, but there may be other explanations.

Not being able to remember sexual abuse is common. One theory is that you don’t remember the abuse because you were not psychologically able to handle the memories. Sexual abuse is traumatic and the unconscious mind has the power to block painful memories.

Alternatively, it is also possible that you were not sexually abused and that’s why you don’t have any memory of abuse.

The bottom line is this: you might never know if you were sexual abused. Even if you had memories of abuse, they are not always verifiable. We know from research that memories are malleable and sometimes unreliable.

Your symptoms are bothersome and should be addressed in counseling. A counselor could help you understand the nature of sexual abuse and how to deal with it, if it did happen. Most importantly, counseling can help you address your fears. It’s unusual to have such a negative response to being touched. Counseling is the ideal place to deal with these issues. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Don’t Know if I Was Sexually Abused

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). I Don’t Know if I Was Sexually Abused. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/03/22/i-dont-know-if-i-was-sexually-abused/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.