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Was I Sexually Abused?

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From the U.S.: All my life I had the feeling that I was a victim of rape but I don’t remember being raped. I had what felt like a flash back while having sex with my partner. In the flash back it was dark, I was very young and someone was on top of me breathing very heavily. I have dealt with pain around private parts since I was a preteen. Signs seem to point to sexual abuse but how can I know if I was truly assaulted or my brain is just playing tricks on me?

Was I Sexually Abused?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing. I’m sure this is disturbing. But it would be irresponsible of me to answer your question on the basis of a short letter.

The human mind is a remarkable thing. When we can’t consciously deal with something, the unconscious sometimes gets activated and helps us through. As you noted, it could be that you were sexually assaulted when you were young and that you coped by dissociating from the experience. However, it is also possible that there is something about sex that is disturbing to you and your mind is helping you by creating a reasonable explanation for your feelings. What you call “playing tricks” may be a way your mind is helping you cope with something in the present, not the past.

The only way I know to tease out what is real is for you to see a qualified therapist who is experienced in working with trauma survivors. Please do yourself the great service of making an appointment. It is too painful for you to live with the unanswered question.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Was I Sexually 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. (2019). Was I Sexually Abused?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Apr 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 28 Apr 2019
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