*** STRONG TRIGGER WARNING – CHILDHOOD SEXUAL VIOLENCE, DEPRESSION, SUBSTANCE ABUSE***
I remember writing the song ‘It Wasn’t My Fault’ in the thick of trying to work through the various times I was assaulted. What it did was shed light on how often I was in a disassociated state, but also how much I needed to let myself know that nothing that happened was my fault; that there was nothing I could have done to stop it; that no matter how hard I tried to forget, I couldn’t.
I was four years old.
Both of my parents worked, so I had to go to a daycare like so many children do. I was a really happy kid. I smiled all the time. I didn’t cry that often because all of my needs were taken care of. I was so fortunate and privileged to have parents who loved me so much.
When I went to this daycare in Sahali in Kamloops, everything changed.
There were four boys who were older than me.
To this day, other than brief moments, their faces are blurry. It was my first or second day at the daycare, all of them must have been around twelve. I was taken upstairs where there was no adult supervision. It started out as just playing. We all were just playing I thought. One of the boys started to take my clothes off and I thought it was totally normal. Then they started to touch me in personal places which I thought was not normal. Then they made me perform similar acts on them. Every time I tried to resist they would hit me in the face or grab me by the chin and make me do it anyway.
I remember saying to my mom that I was terrified that the “bad kids” would get her and kill her because that’s what they said they would do if I ever told on them. My mom remembers me just being anti-social, sitting on the couch, staring off into space.
I realize now that I stayed in that disassociated state for years.
The abuse got so much worse. I was raped daily, had multiple things shoved into parts of me I didn’t even know existed. I would silently cry and just let it happen because I was trying to protect my mom from their supposed threats. From my understanding, these kinds of things happened to at least one of them as they brought items into the sessions that only an adult would have access to. I have lost count of how many times I was gang raped by these boys, but it was many, many times.
Luckily, I wasn’t in this daycare for that long, maybe a month, I don’t know for sure because I was so young. What I do know is that immediately after I left this daycare I forgot that it ever even happened. My body was trying to protect me because it knew that I wouldn’t be able to even function if I knew what was going on.
So for about 11 years my brain kept that secret away from me until I was being intimate with someone who wanted to have sex and I had a major panic attack and told them a very brief account of what had happened. This person broke up with me three days later.
I tried to hide from the floods of what was to come. I used self-harming in the form of cutting to be able to just feel anything, I was so damn numb constantly. I tried to kill myself a few days after my 15th birthday because I hated myself so much and because I blamed myself for what had happened. I was admitted into the children’s psychiatric ward of the RIH in Kamloops. That is where I told my parents and the professionals trying to help me what had happened.
Flashbacks started to come daily. I was completely debilitated most of the time. I could only do half days at school because I would essentially have psychotic breaks and be unable to control it. The most they got to was 10-15 flashbacks a day, and they would last sometimes ten minutes at a time.
One of the biggest reasons why I used substances was to forget about what happened, to pretend not to be me, to act like everything was under control. But no matter how much I used, how many parties I went to, how many nights I spent walking along wanting to feel the thrill of anything, it couldn’t even touch the hole that was burned in my soul.
This tragedy is something that still haunts me. I have had issues around sex and relationships my entire life, I still feel like I don’t know who I am half the time, and the amount I am triggered is still something I am working through. I am now recovering from practicing BDSM because I started to see the link between me feeling pain while being intimate and the abuse that happened when I was younger. This struggle is something that I used to think was just a cross to bear, I thought God hated me for some reason. I think that’s why I spent so much of my life just shut down because my body had no idea how to process what had happened. I know now that it wasn’t my fault.
My life now is not perfect but it is manageable for the most part. I have been clean and sober for 5 years and I work on healing from my trauma daily. I am currently in school to become a social worker and to help folks who have been through the things I have. I want to work in healing and trauma because I think it’s something that is seen as much as other issues in our society.
It gets better.
I chose to share this part of my story for the other people who may have gone through something similar.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.