Thursday 27 September 2018

The memories of sexual abuse never fade

No two are the same
Each case of sexual abuse is different and unique. The age at which that abuse first happened can be life-defining. However, one thing you cannot discount is the personal memory of the abuse to the individual, to the person and to the child.
Following a blog written about friendship early last year, the write-up went viral and by happenstance ended up in the readership of my father.
He had a perspective and an expectation of who I was supposed to be and where I might have been lacking, in another conversation from over a decade ago, it was one lacking responsibility. That comes with all sorts of connotations, but I challenged it.
Stand up for who you are
My response was, “If after all this while, you think I am irresponsible, that is unfortunate.”
He replied, sensing my hurt and disappointment, that was not what he meant. As I shook and trembled, I was not backing down when I said, “I know what you meant, I speak English too.”
Even to our parents, we have to come to a point where we are ready to stand up for who were are, regardless of who they expect us to be.
Soon, we continued our conversation on other topics until I received a text message of instructions to follow and respond to last August, following his knowledge of that blog.
The memories well up again
I was a few months short of my 52nd birthday when my father learnt that as a child under his roof and where people employed to care for us, were on the side, taking sexual favours.
It was not my intention to share certain dark episodes of my early life that my parents were completely oblivious of, but occasion warranted the need to talk about it at that time.
My memories of these events over 40 years ago are keen and vivid, they are not insignificant and for all that I have written about abuse in well over a decade, I have been fortunate not to consider myself a victim or be victimised for the experiences I have had. I have been blessed and lucky.
I know how the loss of sexual innocence consequently affects relationships, healthy choices, trust and confidence. This is always on my mind when people talk about their experiences of sexual abuse. We would prefer we never had to recall and recount any of it, and whether or not anyone believes us, one thing they can never do it consign us to irrelevance and relegate our lives or history to obloquy.

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