Hello. When I was little, my dad used to pin me on the bed to pull my underwear down and bite my bum until it bruised, all the while I kicked and screamed. I wasn’t able to sit down at times afterward. I also have brief flashbacks to when I was left home alone with him. He would call out my name in a high-pitched voice to sound like my mum, and he would get me to go in the bathroom. From where our toilet was positioned, I could see him fully. He would laugh when I went in and turn to me (still exposed). The flashback ends there, but I get this sick feeling about it. I don’t remember leaving the bathroom, and I remember him doing this more than once. I also remember someone opening my bedroom door, and I would pretend to be asleep. That’s as far as that memory goes. A lot of the time at night I would listen through the wall, but I don’t know why.

My father tried to make contact again a couple years ago, and he seemed so normal. He asked multiple times what I remember. He doesn’t remember an awful lot (he was drunk/high a lot). He would apologise for what he did. But when I asked why, he shook his head and changed the subject.

When I was younger I knew about ‘adult things’. I knew about sex, and (I still feel sick and ashamed about this still) I knew about blow jobs. I even knew the basics on what to do. The fact that I knew all this considering how old I was has confused me even more, and I don’t even know what to think a 4/5-year-old shouldn’t know about these things, and I don’t know where or how I found out about them.

Is there even a small possibility that anything happened to me when I was younger? I’ve even tried looking at websites that have lists of possible indications of repressed sexual abuse, and I ticked off way more than I care to remember.

I have an assessment this month to see a trauma counsellor, as I was raped last year.
Would it be worth bringing this up, despite no concrete evidence? I have this gut feeling, but I don’t know if I’m worrying over possibilities.

Any help would be much appreciated.

A. It’s difficult to know if you were sexually abused and you may never truly know unless your father admits it. The fact that he inquired about your memories and offered an apology may be his way of admitting abuse. It’s also possible that he doesn’t remember what happened because he was high. He may have his own suspicions about being sexually inappropriate with you. That might be why he apologizes without saying anything more. Alternately, it may be that he is too frightened to admit the truth.

Exposing himself to you might have constituted sexual abuse. At minimum, it was inappropriate and wrong. Your knowing about sex acts at such a young age, and his biting your rear end is unusual, both of which might be considered circumstantial evidence of abuse.

Yes, it is possible that you were abused and, yes, you should report these experiences to your new therapist. Rarely do victims have “concrete evidence” of abuse. Even if your memories are unclear, your therapist needs to know everything about your history and what you think may have happened with your father. It is good that you are seeking treatment. It is the best place to address the aftermath of these experiences. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle