A Trauma Trigger is “an experience that causes someone to recall a previous traumatic memory, although the trigger itself need not be frightening or traumatic it can be indirectly or superficially reminiscent of an earlier traumatic incident.” My experience with my first predator lead me to recognize signs in everyday people. Being an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse I often have triggers that tend to set me back.
A few months ago a video surfaced on the internet of a young girl being forced to give oral to a grown man. Many people shared the video instead of reporting it. This enraged me because not only were they helping to exploit the child but no one tried to help. It also enraged me because it brought back suppressed memories. Tevrous, the first predator I encountered lived with my great-aunt, her 2 children and his father. His room sat in the back of the house. It had 3 doors; one leading out the back door, another to the hallway and the last to the laundry room. One day we were sitting in the 2 chairs sitting near the back door. He pulled out his penis and told me to touch it. When I backed away he grabbed my hand and forced me to stroke it. After that he made me perform oral on him. But being a child this was more so uncomfortable than anything trying to shove him in my mouth. I cried as he forced my head onto his penis. He stopped because I wasn’t doing it right. He sat me back into the chair and just had me rub him until he was startled by my aunt, but that’s another story all in itself. Anytime someone jokes about abuse or sex it triggers me. Anytime a picture or new case of abuse surfaces it reminds me that at one point that was me.
As stated before certain sex acts tend to take me back. During intercourse I lose interest because out of nowhere Tevrous will pop up in my head and the things he did. Because of the previous story when it comes to oral sex I can only perform when I truly have a connection with that person. That is the only way that I won’t be reminded that I was forced to do that as a child. When I don’t want to have sex it triggers me when people are overly persistent in trying to. I found myself losing interest during 1 sexual act because my partner was overly eager and ready. I was connected to the person so sex had never been an issue. But that day, he was overly eager and like before used his dominance over me, wanting me to be submissive. A role we often played with one another each taking control while the other becomes submissive. Yet, this day I was triggered by playing the submissive role, it reminded me that as a child I was submissive.
Predators have a way of getting what they want no matter the circumstances. Tevrous was a true example of that. He took chances , in a house full of people, in a room full of people, anywhere. It seemed that no matter where I was and who I was with Tevrous always managed to find me. In the middle of the night he always managed to find me and abuse me. Two stories stick with me most because of the people involved.
The first started at a family gathering. Like most ended with the adults going out and us being left with Tevrous in charge. I had fallen asleep during the occasion and was placed in my aunt’s room which sat in the middle of the house. The room had 2 doors that opened to get into it. As I slept tevrous made his way into the room and got behind me as I laid on my side. He pulled down my pants and penetrated me. Tears began to run down and I began to cry. “Shhhhh” he would always say. As he was pleasing himself my older brother walked into the dark room with the light from the dining area shining in. He asked ” What’s wrong with my sister?” Tevrous answered, “She’s okay I got it, Hey hand me that pillow over there.” My brother obeyed and Tevrous told him to close the door so that he could get me back to bed.
The second is the night that all of us children stayed at my cousin Meica’s apartment. It started as an ordinary day, the kids played outside all day. We ate, bathed and then went to bed. We all slept in the living room on the floor. During the middle of the night Tevrous climbed through the window. He came behind me and again began to penetrate me. “Shhhhh” he said as I cried. He then finished and moved to a different area in the living room. The next morning everyone was asking “When did you get here?” because when we went to bed he wasn’t there. When people hush others it’s a constant reminder of those nights.
Because of the memories I am now left with, I often observe others. I pay attention to the interactions between men and children the most. How do they act when placed with young boys and girls. I have learned and picked up on signs. I am triggered by Men and young girls. I am a very observant person which is both good and bad. I listen more than I talk and watch more than I listen because actions and body language tell you everything you need to know about a man. When first meeting a man specifically I look at how he introduces himself if he does at all, also how his demeanor is. I pick up on bad men almost instantly, why? because throughout my life I have had 3 predators and have met many bad men. When I meet people I am distant. I met a predator just last month, it was my first time meeting him but his demeanor made me resistant. His energy felt dark and he never even turned around to speak after being introduced to me by his own woman. He had the demeanor of someone who drinks. I found out not even a week after meeting him that he had preyed on an adolescent family member of mine more than once. This triggered me because predators show signs of how they really are. People just choose to see what they want to see.
I had a friend who was accused not to long ago of being a predator. When they came to me to talk I didn’t say much, I mainly listened. As stated before actions and demeanor tell more than words. Words can be changed and misguided but body language and the way you act tells all. The accusation didn’t startle me. Nowadays anyone is capable of anything. I called him bear because He was a big guy like a bear but had a soft heart, soft like a teddy bear.My first encounter with him, his energy was smooth and comforting. I could also tell he had been hurt but overall he was a good guy. After hearing what was told I had to be sure for myself that I hadn’t trusted someone like that. So, for a while I listened and I watched the interaction between the two. From watching I and I’m sure the accuser’s concluded that the child hasn’t been preyed on. She was never resistant to being around him, she didn’t run and hide when he came. The accusations never came from her, and no one ever said they saw him actually do anything. Because he is a big guy and that is a young girl assumptions were made. She never tried to touch or act out any sexual act at anytime. You could see that she loved him and she lights up when ever he is around. I could see he loved her very much and looked at her as his own. The accusations hurt him a lot and because of that he tried distancing himself. He didn’t want to hurt her by not speaking or giving her a hug. But, didn’t want to keep being accused either. Life is a tricky thing, we get put into circumstance to see how strong we are. He was strong.
A close friend like Bear being accused made me reevaluate myself and my life. It brought back memories from my past. It brought back all the encounters with the men placed into my life who were supposed to protect me. It made me question myself, Did I attract predators and bad people? For a while it seemed that way. But, like stated before I have learned to avoid and stray away from people with bad intentions.
In my day-to-day activities I am triggered by simple words or phrases such as “shhhhh.” I know people use this frequently when trying to get someone to be quiet but part of me still feels trapped. I become enraged when abuse occurs and no one does anything about it. Like that video of the young girl, sharing the video doesn’t stop that man from abusing her. Reporting it to police gives her a chance at being found and a chance to recover. No young child should have to live like this as an adult. Sex and sexual acts are something that should be practiced by someone who is mature enough to handle the things that come along with it. Triggers, emotions and symptoms of abuse affect my life daily. I have to revolve everything around them and how I am feeling at the moment. I have to be understanding in moments that people use or do things that trigger me because to them its a normal act. What is normal to someone else is a reminder to me that I am not the same. That I am different and will never lead a normal life. One day without being triggered or reminded that I am different, that I am a victim would be nice. I want to know what normal means, but I know that may never happen. BREAK THE SILENCE!