Non-Contact Abuse: “Well, I’m not sure it was really abuse, but…”

(TW: The first part of this post talks about the word victim, the second is a personal recollection of a non-contact abuse situation. A second TW will follow before the second half.)
Abuse in general can be hard to sort out.
I remember a friend who was experiencing domestic abuse, the physical and verbal kinds, denying what it was and downplaying it to the point where even I bought the story that friend kept telling, that it wasn’t *really* abuse because she wasn’t *really* a victim. But, it was, and she was victimized.
Really, I felt (feel?) the same sort of denial about my experiences, except they’re even harder to sort out.

Honestly, I’d like a different word than “victim” when it comes to this experience, because I feel like I’m just a person with an experience, a negative and unfortunate experience. Though I suppose I, thinking technically and realistically, was a victim (am? I’m never sure about the grammar).
Perhaps that lack of wanting attachment to the term is a product of hearing the cruddy narratives on victims our society pushes, which talk about victims as if they’re not people, with lives outside their experience, with hopes, dreams, desires, and passions, all their own. That they can have parts of their life which are unimpacted by their experience.
Also that to be a victim there isn’t really a bar you measure up to which says “you must be this traumatized to count”.
My brain thinks there is a bar though, and as though to call myself a victim would insult victims; I felt like my experience just isn’t “bad enough to matter”, or I feel rather, since it’s still where I’m at emotionally.
Also because my life wasn’t entirely torn apart by it (though it was affected negatively in a lot of ways) it feels like putting my experience in the same category as other systemic abuses is kind of… I don’t know, to use a cooking simile: I feel like I’m the water that would be a poor and tasteless way to thin a cream soup.

I want to write a more general post on our preconceptions of victims, and our misconceptions of the varieties of abuse, but this is not that post, so I’m going to stop rambling about it now.
The rest of this post will be a personal one on my experience with non-contact abuse.
The rest of this post, will also be rather hard to write. I guess I’ll just do my best.

So TRIGGER WARNING! If you are triggered by discussions of youths in the context of abuse, I’d suggest you tred carefully or skip the rest. If you are bothered by discussions of abuse which discuss sexual themes, likewise tread carefully or skip this post. If you are bothered by discussions that include talk about depression and suicide, be advised that is also a part of this post.

So now that having read my trigger warning has given you a whole bunch of hints at the aspects of this, I’ll just say I was 13 and since this is a case of non-contact abuse I wasn’t touched physically or harmed physically, nor did I harm myself within the confines of this situation. I was very depressed though, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
So the context is very important in this situation, because it lets you know what my mental state was like, and also why this situation was unpleasant, and even frightening, beyond just it’s direct impact.

So, when I was 12, I was deemed old enough to go visiting people by myself, and this included going for a week to see a family friend in our neighboring country, the states. That first visit went splendidly to the best of my recollection at this point, and a second slightly longer visit was planned for the following year. The family friend was a man close to my parents, and about a decade younger than them. I believe he was 31 at the time this happened.

Two months before I was due to leave, a friend of mine died of her own will, at the time I considered her my best friend; we talked on the phone most nights and hung out every school day, we had a lot in common, including our depression.
It hit me very hard.
My grief engulfed me, and my depression found new depths of despair. I felt guilty, and sorry, and culpable for her loss.
To be truthful that loss seemed to so far out-shadowed the brief abuse that my negative emotions about the abuse were utterly lost in the other negative emotions I was wading hip-deep in at the time. It’s possible it may have made the loss all that much worse, but it’s frankly really hard to know because I can’t compare me with it and me without it side by side.

So I’m 13, shook harshly by grief, and honestly I strongly considered canceling on the plans because of just how cruddy I felt, but my parents convinced me that a vacation from thing would be helpful so I got on the plane by myself, a mixture of trepidation, excitement, and sadness, and went to try and have fun. The first few days were in fact quite fun.

I don’t know how to approach this, if I should like just stick to points of things that happened or try to tell it like a story. I’m frankly not sure so this may be a mismashmangle.
So I’m a very inquisitive person, and in general I love having conversations about everything, so I didn’t mind talking to him about lots of things. Which included human workings. Which includes sexuality. I have always found human sexuality to be an interesting topic, and my parents always kept an open dialogue about it so I wasn’t super shy talking about it.
It happens that I don’t have a good sense of boundaries, and am compulsively honest, which means that I’ll answer any question, about almost any topic, especially if it’s asked of me directly, and this was all even more true when I was 13.
Which led to us discussing some questionably appropriate topics like, my opinions on his ex-wife’s choice to phone him(the man I was staying with) and give details about her current sex life with her new beau, what I thought about expectations (especially of sex) in relationships, and if I masturbated. We of course talked about lots of other things, but these are the ones which were probably illsuited to discussing with a 13 year old. Notably also one who has some aversions to personally-oriented  questions about sex, but I hadn’t known how to express that back then, and blamed myself for being weird…
So I answered all his questions, and only the last one I remember feeling awkward about. I said I did not (which was the truth). He found that odd, and though I can’t remember the specifics of the conversation he seemed to suggest that it’s normal (which it is for many people, but not all) and that many people do so (er, yes that’s true) and that many people start around my age so it’s nothing to be ashamed of (which is also true, and I knew that my mother had mentioned that of herself.) and that he did regularly. (Which, whatever, I guess?)
It wasn’t a conversation that posed concerns for me, it was relatively comfortable even if a little personal, but it does represent the first pushing in the direction of sexual themes.
A few more times the topic of masturbation came up, and at least twice he encouraged me to try it. He offered me the bedroom with the lock to do so if I wished, his room, I declined and found it only mildly unsettling. It wasn’t like he was trying to press me for any kind of touching of him after all, and so 13 year old me determined a line hadn’t been crossed.

Evenings were spent watching shows after day time outings to lots of cool places. I have a general trust that people share their likes ‘in good faith’ and so that includes in the quality of shows they like. We watched a whole bunch of varieties of shows, especially lots of animes because he happened to really enjoy them just as I did. Many of the things we watched had cute love stories, very allo oriented a lot of the time with sex references a plenty, but some of them had very distinctly sexual themes which were quite overt, and as he owned quite a few of them, they were on the rack for selection.
We’d talk about which shows to watch, so it wasn’t entirely out of my hands, but the back covers never really gave an accurate depiction of what the content was actually going to be they focused on the basic story lines, which were often either love stories or dramas. He didn’t seem to be discerning, so we watched whatever, including some which were basically soft core porn with some nudity and a lot of sexual situations but nothing super-explicit. Most of the things we watched were ecchi, but there was stuff that was definitely beyond cute ecchi things.
I’d seen shows with nudity before, but I avoided it and sexually oriented shows, both because I was young, but also frankly because I can’t recall a time I wasn’t averse to strong sex-themes, and this situation may have encouraged that discomfort to develop further.
The situation was kind of weird for me, of course partly because I was in an unfamiliar place, but also because the only tv in the house was in the bedroom, so naturally that’s where we’d watch shows. I felt very awkward any time he asked me what I thought of the show, and sometimes I’d ask about something in it only to learn it was more implied sex stuff which was also quite awkward.
I was uncomfortable with some of the content, namely the sexual stuff, but I didn’t feel like I could really complain, especially the times I’d picked it myself, I brushed off each pick like a gambler does a bad spin on a roulette wheel. I didn’t yet feel a line had been crossed.

So I didn’t have a bedroom of my own while staying at his place, but that wasn’t really concerning as I had the alcove of the living-room, and was able to feel some modicum of privacy because of the position of the computer desk, also he’d close his door at night and since the bathroom had an access both through his closet and from the hall he told me he didn’t need to open it til morning so I’d have some space.
Just in case you forgot, I was feeling bloody miserable because of the loss of my friend, and though I was enjoying myself during the daytime and trying to put my grief aside, I was always hit hard by it when I tried to go to sleep. A few of the nights I’d cried myself to sleep. I wrote in the journal I’d taken along, and one of the things I’d written in it were the names of my friends, to try to remind myself that there are good things in my life. But also wrote about all the bad qualities I thought I had, and did a lot of self depreciating.
I’m an insomniac, that’s always been true, so sometimes I’d have a really hard time falling asleep, and I am generally a light sleeper. Unless I was completely exhausted, such as from crying myself to sleep, I’d usually wake up at the mere sound of feet moving nearby. I think this was a cry myself to sleep night.
I didn’t wake until I saw the light, it was a mistake to use a light, but really it was a mistake to do this at all. He peeped at me when I was sleeping, but ‘peeped’ makes it sound more innocent, let me put it blatantly: He had lifted up my sheets and blanket to look at my bare legs, and genitals, which I was suddenly self conscious of probably not being covered entirely by my nighty.
As I woke I was confused, confused by the situation especially, I considered my options, and decided on asking him what he was doing. He immediately moved away from me, and at this point I definitively remember feeling a line was crossed: He lied.
I suddenly felt profoundly unsafe and awful. I actually genuinely might have been able to brush even his invading my personal space to look at me in an inappropriate way, while I was helpless and sleeping, except that he lied about it.
Lying is something I dislike to the core of my being, I have a visceral negative reaction to lying which I why I avoid lying myself, and from others there is that same negative feeling but also the deep sense of betrayal.
I won’t tell you the lie he gave because it’s triggering to hear it, and I don’t want to give anyone but people I deeply trust that kind of power over me. It’s bad enough that people could say it by accident. But it was not a smooth lie.
He went back to bed, and I put on pajama pants and couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

Visiting people in other countries poses unique problems, because you don’t know where anything is, but that includes not knowing where or how to get help should you suddenly need it. 911 is the number for emergencies in both Canada and the States, and I could even have looked up the non-emergency line on the computer I had access to.
Something had happened, but I wasn’t sure if it was worth calling anyone over. I wasn’t sure if I needed to, or should, tell anyone at all.
I got up and wrote in my journal, next to each of my friends names I wrote a reason why they might hate me, and about how useless and unimportant I felt. I felt not just grieved but like I wasn’t sure I wanted to be alive.
The rest of the journal doesn’t have this tone, so I am pretty sure the sudden wave of suicidal ideation came straight from my stress and fear and discomfort with that situation.

I can’t remember if it was the morning or the evening the next day, but I pressed to go home. I said that losing my friend had just been too hard on me, and that I felt like I needed to be with my parents. I was telling the truth, but omitting a serious source of fear and distrust, even from my own thoughts.
When I called my parents they tried to convince me out of it, but I cried and insisted I needed to come home I was too depressed and not doing well.
He agreed to pay extra to bump up my flight so I could go home early the next day. I was relieved, and thanked him. Although it was really like thanking someone for releasing you from the awkward and unpleasant situation they have caused.
In retrospect I guess he must have felt I transparently was trying to escape from the thing with him, and though that was part of it, the truth is that I had just barely been clinging to feeling okay to begin with, and his actions opened the waiting can of worms which I’d been keeping a lid on. When I could no longer feel safe the chance to relax ended, and feeling even slightly happy however briefly flew out the window along with it. The flood gates were open again to all my prior sorrows, which overwhelmed me even more completely than they had before, and had their weight added to by the situation.

When I get triggered I go back to that place emotionally. That dark place I was at, as a little 13 year old who had just lost her best-friend, hated herself, was in a foreign country far from home, with no place to run, and no one safe to talk to, having just had someone cross a boundary which left her feeling nauseated from anxiety, confused and angry at having her trust broken by someone not even having the decency to tell the truth about their actions, desperately wanting a way to fix things while not thinking they can be fixed. It’s profound helplessness with a hefty dose of depression and fear.
When I get triggered I feel suicidal all over again, even if it’s quite out of place with everything else I feel and think prior to feeling triggered.
It took me years to realize that’s why I felt inexplicably suicidal and all those other awful sensations just all of a sudden when something tripped me up. I didn’t know what it was relating back to, but when I think about where I was emotionally then, it makes sense. It makes an awful kind of perfect sense. (Though there isn’t such a thing as perfect, except conceptually, but forgive me my little pedantry on that.)

For the ace readers who are interested in the sex-aversion aspect: I would have to say that the same things that trigger aversion sometimes trigger me about this as well. The two seem to be tied. It’s not always the same, but it’s very hard to pull them apart, and many things it could be either or both. Something like game of thrones for instance can make me want to hide in the bathroom and not come out at times. It’s why porn is out of the question.
It’s why I’m only okay with discussions of sex that are more ‘clinical’, but I’m careful to shut out all my own emotions when discussing the topic, because if I think of how I feel about it, it’s not good. It’s why flirting can sometimes make me have that same on edge sensation of ‘this is about to cross a line and make me feel awful’ rather than ‘this is fun’.

I’m 26 now, double the age I was when it happened, and I still don’t know how to process it.
I don’t hate the person who did it, I think he made a profound mistake, one that impacted me in ways he clearly wasn’t considering. I still don’t feel like I’m exactly a victim, but I am scarred, I am someone who had something happen which impacted them profoundly negatively. I do think it was abuse, though I think that it wasn’t done with malicious intent.
And I also think that the lack of malicious intent doesn’t matter, in point of fact it still impacted me really poorly, and I’m the one who has to live with that, despite the fact I don’t want it to be a big deal my brain reacts of its own accord remembering that shitty situation, and that sucks. It’s going to keep being sucky for an indeterminate amount of time because that visceral association and reaction, in the form of being triggered, is not something I get to choose. (If I did, I’d pick not to react.)
My parents don’t know, and their friend cut of contact of his own accord afterwards. My parents blamed me for that, thinking it might have to do with my demanding to come back early, and I likewise blamed myself for not sticking things out no matter how much cognitive dissonance that blame created as my brain screamed ‘You couldn’t have stayed!”
Perhaps he felt guilty?(I think, frankly, that he should!) I don’t have a means of knowing what he felt. Even when I talked to him on the phone after the fact I don’t recall him ever having brought it up, and I know I didn’t.
Maybe he cut off contact just didn’t want to deal with the fallout if I told someone? Impossible to guess, too many options.

I don’t know if putting this out there will help anyone to understand the ways in which even non-contact sexual abuse can be truly scarring, but perhaps it will. I hope so.
It’s still something I feel awkward about, something I’m still not sure how to feel about really, and though I’m putting it out here on my blog, in person I’ve only ever told two people about this.
My nervousness about posting this is outweighed by the hope that breaking my silence will make someone else feel better about their own situation.
One request: Please, please, please, be nice to anyone who bears their heart about a trauma. It’s scary to do.

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12 thoughts on “Non-Contact Abuse: “Well, I’m not sure it was really abuse, but…”

  1. Thank you for having the courage to share this. I’ve also had some not-sure-if/borderline abuse endured, and seeing that others endured similar experiences and seeing their perspectives does help.

    “I don’t hate the person who did it, I think he made a profound mistake, one that impacted me in ways he clearly wasn’t considering. I still don’t feel like I’m exactly a victim, but I am scarred, I am someone who had something happen which impacted them profoundly negatively. I do think it was abuse, though I think that it wasn’t done with malicious intent. ”

    The things he did sound a lot like a stage in victim grooming. Sexualizing the relationship between themselves and the victim, attempting to desensitize the victim to sexual situations with the adult and slowing breaking down their barriers.

    • *smiles* I’m really glad. Abuse of any sort, no matter how minute is something that no one should feel they have to stay silent about. I really do feel like that invisible bar of “you must be this traumatized to speak” is insidious, it makes people silence themselves, when really speaking would probably support survivors and victims of more intense forms of abuse if there are a whole bunch of people speaking so that they don’t feel quite so alone.

      Yes someone else mentioned that too, and I agree, I do think it was part of a ‘grooming’ process.
      I have zero doubt, given some of the things he said and did that he would have desired to have a fully sexual relationship with me. I thought that might be the case even at the time, and wasn’t sure what to do/say about it. I doubted myself, I had to learn body language as it doesn’t come to my naturally, and though I try really hard I’m not always good at reading intent, so I wondered if I was misjudging. (It must have been pretty obvious for me to notice in the first place, subtle stuff flies over my head most times. Thta or I was so uncomfortable that I was getting paranoid, which is also a possibility.)

      I remember anytime I took a stand against something he backed off, which makes me wonder if the situation would have been different if he knew that ‘lack of no’ does not mean yes. If someone had given him the 101 on consent, including how children/teenagers can’t give it to adults.
      The matter of no was complicated by the fact I’d spent half a decade at that point, learning to repress my “no reflex”, because I’m ODD, and I would say no constantly to everything (and though I wouldn’t have said yes to this, I would say no in general even when I meant yes). That repressing meant that I sometimes wouldn’t say no or take a stand even when I wanted to. Which I think is yet another reason why compliance training is dangerous stuff, because ‘no’ is a tool, and we need to be able to use it.

      He wasn’t a monster, but perfectly human people do not nice things, and sometimes don’t exercise their empathy enough to realize that the choices they are making will be profoundly bad for someone else.
      Some peoples abusers behave in profoundly evil and inhumane ways, but mine did not, he was very human. I think he could have been taught not to behave the way he did.
      I think it’s important to remember that most people could be taught that it’s straight up Wrong.
      Every time I hear some one say “how are you gonna teach someone not to rape” I think “the same way you teach them not to transgress boundaries”, you inform them about boundaries and about consent, and emphatically tell them that *anything but* an *enthusiastic yes*, is a *no*.

    • You mean like using “survivor” instead of victim?
      Well, to be clear I have no problem with either term, (I hope no one got the wrong idea and thought I was suggesting there was anything wrong with the terms, I’m totally not!) I view them both similarly… I really meant it when I said I feel like water to cream soup, I’d feel guilty using either term for myself.
      There are all sorts of survivors, and victims, and I just don’t feel like I’m one of them, you know at least not on this topic.
      I guess it’s irrational, I know it’d be supportive of any term that someone in a similar situation wanted to use, because not denying people their experience or minimizing it is allyship 101 for survivors/victims. When it comes to myself though I don’t feel like it fits; maybe it’s because I’m still struggling to call it abuse in the first place, I’ve spent over a decade silent about it, feeling like it wasn’t “that bad”.
      And then I realized how I felt when I was triggered about the lie, was the same way I felt when I was triggered by some other things, and realized they might be related, and maybe it was worse for me than I had originally thought, and maybe it deserved a bit more consideration.

      • Thank you so much for sharing this whole story. It is really important that people understand all of the different forms sexual abuse can come in, including this form. I’ve never read a story like yours before, but I’m really glad I have now. I am sorry this happened to you and I’m glad you’ve now come to the realization that what happened is something significant enough to share.

        I also hesitate to use some terms sometimes when it comes to my own experiences and who I am. I have been calling myself a child abuse survivor, recently, and trying to embrace the term, but half of the time I feel like what I went through wasn’t bad enough to warrant the term. I know what my mother did to me and my brother was abuse. But I don’t feel very scarred from it. I have never struggled with depression or mental health issues of any kind (because of it, or unrelated – either way I have not had to deal with that, luckily). I am reminded of my mother by certain things – or by hearing her name out of context, because it’s a somewhat common name – but I try to avoid saying I’m “Triggered” because it’s not like I have a PTSD reaction. I have a visceral, negative reaction to my mother’s name coming up in the world but I can keep it private and no one can tell. I don’t feel as bad about calling myself a survivor because, when I reflect back on it, I do realize what my mother did to me (and my brother) was quite abusive. But for a long time, growing up, while it was happening, I wasn’t even sure it could count as abuse. But now that I’ve had years to sit back and reflect, while yes I could have had it worse, what I did have to endure was bad enough, and I didn’t deserve what happened to me, just as no one deserves any level of abuse.

        What you shared here, this incident with this man… when you were just a (grieving) thirteen-year-old… as I read about it I felt a bit guilty calling myself a survivor//victim, when you don’t even feel what you went through is enough for that term. But I know these things always seem more obviously horrible once they’re written down like this. It’s so common, when you’re inside of it, to minimize everything – what happened, your feelings, etc. I really appreciate your bravery and insight as you shared all of this with us. Your experience was very easy to follow, very well written, and I will not soon forget the details. You wrote it poignantly and I am just so sorry you had to go through it at all. Thank you for sharing.

        • Until recently it wasn’t anything I’d had the words for either, I hadn’t even known for sure that it was a type of abuse until I found the term non-contact sexual abuse on an article about grooming victims.
          People sharing their stories can also help that way, giving someone a new way to quantify their own experience.
          I think that’s true of all kinds of struggles too, I’m really glad I was able to find things written by people with sensory processing disorder, because otherwise I never would have known the term for something I’ve experienced for as long as I can remember.

          Thanks, maybe saying ‘I’m a survivor’ is something I’ll come to feel more comfortable with over time, like you did. While the experience isn’t fresh, examining it from this vantage is a new thing for me.
          Though, please don’t feel bad about using the term for yourself. I certainly wasn’t trying to advocate for anyone else to not feel comfortable using the term, just express my own wonkiness and current sensation of being out of sync with it.

          Ah since I have more than one type of trigger to more than one thing I can kind of compare my responses to each. I don’t want to label your experiences for you, but I will say that for me when I have even the lesser negative responses, I still call them triggers because it’s an involuntary emotion that’s been “triggered” by something which results in a negative response I can’t control.
          But I don’t know if I’m using it wrong, I’m not an expert; maybe there needs to be words for degrees or something? (I’ve never seen any <.<)

          Thank you so much for those last few sentences, I have been feeling really worried that I was even more rambly than normal and incoherent.
          It's good to know that it helps someone to learn of a new perspective/situation; it makes me feel good about writing it down, even if it sucked to live it.

      • This is a reply to your “September 1, 2014 at 12:42 pm” comment:

        I just read this last night: http://prismaticentanglements.com/2014/08/31/shutting-up-on-writing-audience-and-representation/ and her point of view:

        When you ask victims* of sexual abuse to talk about their stories publicly, you are asking them to make themselves vulnerable to their abusers again.

        [* I question the use of “survivor” in this context, as it plays nice with the framing of sexual assault as some sort of unavoidable natural disaster.]

        Was really interesting to me, to read. I think it’s fascinating to consider the nuances of all of the words and how none of them always have quite the right connotations.

        I’ve been trying to share my own experiences with being abused when I was growing up on my own blog: http://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/the-story-of-hansel-and-gretel-really-resonated-with-me-as-a-child/

        And hopefully I’ll post more specifics sometime soon. So far I’ve been more talking about my emotions rather than what exactly happened. I’ve been talking in vague terms, because it’s so hard to explain what it was really like growing up with my particular mother. But your post here has reminded me just how powerful and important telling the specifics of your story can be.

        Also, I’m glad you think it all can count as triggers – even the smaller, uncontrollable negative reactions. I’m sure some people disagree, but you’re right, there is no other word for it, so… I don’t know. I’ll still probably continue to sidestep the term, but I like knowing that it is a possibility to use it.

  2. You know, I do understand your aversion to the word “victim”. It depicts a certain “weakness”. Even the sound of the very word elicits images of helplessness, and if we have an experience that doesn’t leave us feeling exactly helpless, although negative or even devastating, it’s hard to properly define that term. Still, he transgressed and indeed took something from you that you didn’t offer or give: that’s “theft” in my book. Some thefts can never be repaid: he took a piece of your innocence. Also, the word “victim” conjures up imagery of a fetal-positioned person sucking his or her thumb, rocking back and forth, you know? That just doesn’t really do it justice. My own anger at an injustice has caused me to reject the ideology of “victim”, but in the end, my anger is a weak defense against the rage that comes along with being victimized. After I got acquainted with the word, and even befriended it- I discovered it wasn’t the bad guy. Heck- it got a bad rap too! I learned how to redirect my anger. Hey, we have to put it SOMEWHERE, right? There’s a scripture in the Bible that absolutely saved me- “hate the evil, love the good”. Six little words, but so powerful. And so I’ve learned to hate the evil inflicted upon me here or there, but mot the “giver of that evil”. We don’t always know why things happen, eh? But we can take away the good bits (in even the worst of situations) and apply them to our lives, and burn away the ugly parts (that others put on us) as we go on.

    I too have a horror story from when I was 13. Ugh. It’s a real doozy. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. x

    p.s. I was a real mess at 26! (still) It gets sooooooo much easier in your 40’s. 😉

    • Thank you so much for this. *offers e-hugs if wanted* I need the thoughts, more than on most topics they help me kind of sort through the mess. It really helps to hear from someone who has their own story.

      I’m still really not sure what to think about it. I didn’t admit, even to myself, that it had hurt me, til very recently. I felt like it wasn’t worth talking about because it’d just detract from people who had… I don’t know, worse experiences? Different kinds of experiences? I’m not sure, I just felt like mine would muddy the waters.
      It’s related to my thoughts on the word victim and survivor too, because I have a lot of guilt to do with the idea that I might be appropriating the term. I mean the narratives on it certainly also don’t help because you’re right the word victim is really stigmatized, but I also feel like I’d be detracting from survivors and victims if I called myself that.
      Maybe it’s a kind of self-minimizing. I’d never deny someone else in my place either term, but with myself I feel like I don’t deserve them because I didn’t have it ‘bad enough’ for that.

      “We don’t always know why things happen, eh? But we can take away the good bits (in even the worst of situations) and apply them to our lives, and burn away the ugly parts (that others put on us) as we go on. ”
      I’m definitely in the process of trying to sort through the good bits and raise the bad. heh
      It’s good to hear it from the outside though.

      I hope you do feel up to sharing sometime. I think it’s important for us to raise our voices when we can, about any of our hard experiences, which is why I try to about my mental health struggles even if that can be a hard topic to tackle at times, so that other people like us don’t feel alone.
      And thank you so much for making me not feel so alone. It’s sincerely hard to share this for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is worrying that other people with similar, or especially more frightening experiences, will shoot me down and tell me to shut up. So it’s really nice to hear from someone else with similar struggles, but in solidarity. Thank you.

      • You’re right. It’s so easy to not allow ourselves to be labeled this or that because we’re not “worthy” in comparison to someone else- but that’s a total lie. You are definitely worthy- just like the next guy/gal- and your pain is no less than others’. We do tend to minimilize our own distress (etc.) and we feel silly when we think about our bleep on the radar on the bigger scheme of things- but consider this: you’re a very important dot in the bigger picture of things. A picture is only complete when all of the bigger and smaller dots come together in unison. You may see yourself as a tiny little dot here or there in the picture, but somebody else may see the whole picture when you’re “present’. You never know just who you’re going to touch, help, heal, save, or change from day to day. So I say all of this to say, your pain and experiences are no less significant than anyone else’s. I absolutely love your blog and your ability to SPEAK UP. It’s the silence that crushes the soul: speaking up frees it. Love ya. ;0) xo

  3. Pingback: Mapping the grey area of sexual experience: consent, compulsory sexuality, and sex normativity | The Asexual Agenda

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