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I Think I Might Have Been Sexually Assaulted

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From a 14 year old in Canada: Ever since I can remember I have had very detailed thoughts about sex, most of which involved me personally being harmed and/or shamed. I had dreams were I was violated while large groups of people stood around and watched. Dreams were I was tied up in a glass cage, naked and in public, while people gathered around. I’ve dreamt that I was tied down and tortured, being told that if I made the slightest noise they (the torturer, whose face was never seen) would start the methodical torture over again, until I could endure it without making noise. In these dreams the torture was very overtly sexual.

I know none of these dreams were memories, due to the fact that some of what was happening wasn’t possible. Example, being given medication that made me heal instantly so they could continue the acts without there being any chance of me dying.

The most disturbing part of these re-accruing dreams is that they started when I was about 3. Literally as far back as I can remember. I always felt so helpless but also like I deserved it.¬†Since then I’ve self harmed, suffered from bulimia, I’ve been suicidal and even gave a half hearted attempt once. I have had panic attacks too.

I know that my father was a pedophile and a psychopath. He did some pretty bad things and tried to kill my mom (Not just a fight, he had a knife) He’s not around anymore.

I feel like I know deep down that he did something to me, but I can’t for the life of me remember. The reasons I think it was him is that 1. He was a pedophile 2. In my dreams I wanted to call my mom for help, not my dad 3.I remember his voice being in my dreams 4. my mom suspected he did something

My problems are that I can’t remember, and I need to remember. I can’t get hypnosis (for reason, ok?) and I can’t get professional help because of money, location and transportation issues.

So please, please, I need some advice on how to remember. I know something happened, but it’s not knowing that drives me nuts. I should also mention I don’t really remember any of my childhood other than these dreams. Please help me.

I Think I Might Have Been Sexually Assaulted

Answered by on -

A.

 Unfortunately, memories are not like movies that can be called up on demand. Memories are very much influenced by what we have been told, what we think we know, and our feelings, as well as pieces of accurate memory.

Hypnosis doesn’t help either because of the very same confusing assortment of input. In fact, hypnosis can yield false positives because people are often very convinced that anything that comes up in hypnosis must be true.

Far more important than retrieving memories (which you may not be able to do) is to validate that something has happened to you that should not have happened. Three year olds do not know a thing about sex or torture unless they’ve been exposed to it in some way.

I think your dreams are a way you are telling yourself that you have issues to deal with that won’t go away unless you get some help. Yes, you do need help. Please don’t expect yourself to deal with such difficult material on your own. You deserve the support, encouragement and guidance of an experienced therapist.

Although it can be difficult to find help when money is scarce and transportation is unreliable, it’s not impossible. Talk to your school counselor about how to find low cost services for teens in your area. You don’t have to share the details of your problem to ask for help finding a therapist.

Another source of support are forums and support groups that you can join right here on PsychCentral. Members are people who have abuse histories and who are doing their best to heal. You can learn a great deal from listening to their stories.

While you look for a personal therapist, do make use of the Boys Town Hot Line. (1 800 448 3000). Yes, girls can use it too. There are counselors available 24/7 for teens like you who need someone to talk to. It’s free and confidential. If you want more information, check out the website at http://www.boystown.org/hotline.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Think I Might Have Been Sexually Assaulted

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). I Think I Might Have Been Sexually Assaulted. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/07/03/i-think-i-might-have-been-sexually-assaulted/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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