world topics

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

“It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past but the past refusing to let go of the person”. PTSD is a mental illness that affects 7.8 million Americans . Most people believe PTSD only affects people who were or are in the military and they are wrong because I am one of those people. PTSD is a disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. My PTSD derives from my abusive childhood. Something that started over 17 years ago still affecting me today. I have been victim to PTSD and I have also been the culprit to pushing my pain onto others.

For me PTSD is not sleeping well at night because I am still afraid that someone will come through my door and abuse me. PTSD for me is having nightmares when ever I do sleep so I wake up multiple times throughout the night. It’s crying uncontrollably. It’s being paranoid of every man who I see. It’s being afraid of being alone. It’s only sleeping when there’s someone who I trust near me holding me. I tend to lash out emotionally when I feel I’m unsafe or scared. PTSD for me is a reminder that no matter how far I’ve come my past will always follow. PTSD comes in many forms and for me PTSD is fear.

Growing up in my teenage years my step father also had PTSD. He was a former marine and couldn’t cope with the thought that something was wrong with him. He was prescribed medication to take for his condition but to him he didn’t need them so he didn’t take them. As a result, he would randomly spaz out. It was usually the simplest things that would set him off. Anything that resulted in him feeling weak ended with my him breaking anything in his path. Whether it be Tv’s, furniture, anything in his path was destructed. As a result my younger brother and I would lock ourselves in our rooms until he was no longer screaming at the top of his lungs, threatening to kill us or trying to break down the bedroom door. Until we could hear no more chaos. After it was silent we would go out to see what damage had been done. All of his episodes usually resulted in his blood being splattered everywhere from breaking or throwing everything with his bare hands. Me and my mom would clean up what looked to be a massacre and she would try to get him to take his medication which never ended well. This was denial and rage what we most often associate with PTSD in our military personnel when they have “snapped”.

At the time of my step father’s out cries I was 15 years old while my younger brother was 11. This was something we had never witnessed before so it scared us. I feared for my life at all times of the day or night. You never knew when he might flip or what would set him off. Often times while under attack he would threaten to kill us, you hear something so much you start to believe it. My mother and younger brother and I stayed up all night one night just listening to him , taking turns watching the door, waiting and praying. Although we weren’t really young that still affected us. No child should have to ensure this.

PTSD is our minds reaction to us being unable to cope with a traumatic experience. PTSD is another topic that is rarely discussed but should be. There are people dealing with this constant fight within themselves everyday and need help. If my step father had allowed us to help him, if he had taken his medications all those times he switched on us wouldn’t have happened. My brother and I wouldn’t have had to see something that dramatic at a young age. We shouldn’t have had to fear for our lives in our own home.

If you suffer from PTSD or know anyone who does I beg you to get help or help them get the treatment that they need. They may go through a stage of denial but at the end of the day you’re doing what’s best for them and in severe cases what’s best for you as well. With treatment PTSD can reduce and even elimate the symptoms of PTSD. The thought process one has with PTSD can go away and in that sense PTSD can be improved or “cured”.

In severe cases you have to think of your loved ones. You don’t want them to fear you. You don’t want to be afraid of what you’ll say or do around them either. Take the first step in understanding your diagnosis and begin getting treatment. In getting treatment you allow yourself to be able to lead a better life. The nightmares can stop, The thoughts can stop, it can all go away. I don’t know about you but I want to be able to have a full nights sleep without waking up from a nightmare paranoid. I’m 22 years old and I deserve to live as normal as I possibly can. That’s why I went and got the help I’ve been needing. It’s never too late to better yourself So, what’s stopping you?

Breaking The Silence

Secrets

” Family patterns, Like family secrets repeat themselves.” According to The American Counseling Association ” Every 8 minutes a child is sexually assaulted in the untied states and 93% know their perpetrator. Many perpetrators of sexual abuse are in a position of trust or responsible for the child’s care such as a family member , teacher, clergy member, or coach.” All 3 of my predators were family to me, they were men put in a position to protect me but they didn’t. They abused the power. Over the years I have watched as accusations against family have come out and it has been swept under the rug. Watched as accusations against public figures have been made and the cases seemed to disappear. Watched in the media as men high in power have been accused of being predators to women or children and yet again people feel it shouldn’t be discussed. That things such as these should disappear. I disagree, I believe no matter the relationship, Status or power people should be held accountable for their actions. Especially those accused of being sexual predators. No child, little boy, little girl, woman or man should be abused by anyone. Keeping it secret doesn’t help either, secrets destroy lives.

In my last blog post I mentioned a close friend who had been accused of being a predator. Before posting I told him I would be writing about him. His response was more so concerned with me leaking his name and who he or his family was . “You know I’m a private person”, and “that’s a family thing.” Which I get, people don’t like everyone in their business. But, looking at things from a different perspective say you had actually been proven to be a predator would it still need to be private? I can tell you from first hand experience not saying something, keeping things ” in the family” is what in the end hurts the family the most. If you had been proven to be a predator and your family was like you and wanted to keep things private then what would happen when you weren’t charged? What would happen when you were placed around more children? What would happen when you got the urge and you hurt someone else; a stranger, a friend’s child, or even another family member? Would privacy still be the main concern? Would Pride and fear of what other people thought still be more important than the safety of another individual? People say they are for something until shit hits the fan, until shit gets real. I guess my step father was right about one thing Man’s worst fear is being found out. And you are part of the problem.

My first predator had been caught in the act with me two times. The issue is no one ever tried to stop it from happening again. His room was in back of the house with three entrances. One leading to hallway the other leading outside the last to the laundry area. All doors were closed except the one leading to the laundry area ; that door was cracked. In the mist of forcing me to participate in oral and stroke his penis my aunt his step mother had walked into the laundry area. To get there she had to walk past the cracked door. It was open wide enough that when she walked past the door I saw her, I looked into her eyes. Tevrous kind of jumped up fixed his self and then moved me , so that I sat in the chair beside him. After he had adjusted himself my aunt came into the room and asked, ” what y’all doing in here?” Tevrous response was “nothing” and my aunt said okay and turned around and closed the door. She never came back either. She saw what had occurred , you could see it across her face but it was as if she had seen it before. She didn’t say a thing and it never came back up. She saw the act happening but kept quiet.

I learned early on that I wasn’t the only one. It wasn’t until I got older that I found out the number was greater than I knew. After being released from Tevrous one morning I ran into the hallway trying to get as far away as possible. In the process of getting away I ran into my cousin, his stepsister. She asked, “What y’all be doing in there?” Scared I would be in trouble, I said “nothing.” She looked at me with a sad look on her face, and said “I know what ya’ll be doing in there.” I didn’t understand how she knew until I saw her head in the direction of his room. She watched me as she closed the door to his room locking it behind her. That was the day that I discovered I wasn’t the only one.

When the accusations against Tevrous began to come out, family was divided. Some family members were angry but most wanted it to be hushed. At the time of the accusations the statute of limitations had not run out. If charges had been brought against him at the time of the accusations Tevrous could have been charged. He wouldn’t have been able to go on to Michigan where he was arrested for being with an underage girl. Tevrous wouldn’t have been able to go on and hurt more family members. People care too much about what other people think. Outsiders are going to talk about you whether you are doing good or bad. There will always be someone saying something. I would rather have someone talking about the truth. Family is family but if they do something wrong they should be held accountable You can’t and shouldn’t protect a predator.

Over the years I have learned my family has many secrets. Secrets no one was ever supposed to know about. My generation was not the first nor last generation to be sexually abused by a predator. Those who came before me, those who helped to raise me; my mother, aunts, grand parents, cousins and many others were victims. So my story wasn’t something new to them. They had either heard it , seen it, or experienced it themselves. Like experience though they hushed the things that were brought up. They continued to allow the men who were predators to be in a position that allowed them to be able to hurt someone else. Even if the people being hurt were family.

I learned that the home I enjoyed going over as a child was the home of a predator. Who in his younger age preyed on the women who came before me. People knowing that this man was a predator still allowed me and other family members to go over to his home and stay. Still allowed us to be left alone with him because they didn’t want what he had done to be known by someone else. Predators always strike again. A pedophile doesn’t stop wanting to be with a certain type of victim just because you tell him to. The ratio of women to men in my family is high. It is sad that there’s a small group of men and almost all of them have preyed on victims. Majority of the women in my family should not know what it feels like to be victimized. When someone does something they need to be held accountable. Not disclosing information and not punishing people when they do wrong only lets them know that they can do it again. Regardless of the relationship they should be held accountable. Those men not being held accountable is what led them to do it again and again and again. That’s what led to the sexual abuse victim rate within my family to be so high. They may not tell their story but unlike them I don’t care what other people think. I want to stop the victimization from our own blood. You stop it head on they won’t make into the community to hurt someone else. It starts at home.

“What’s done in the dark, always come to light. ” Secrets like these have found a way to manifest themselves up. Even after many years, they didn’t die down. Those predators who were allowed to be free preyed on someone else, again and again it became repetitive until there was no one new left. They knew they could do this without getting in trouble for it, so why not continue. After they were tired of the usual they went outside the boundaries family had created for them. They preyed on someone else someone new, only this time it wasn’t family. Family can’t protect you forever. Eventually you mess with the wrong person and you get caught. That is what happened to my first Predator Tevrous. If he hadn’t been caught he would still be out there ruining more lives.

I wrote this blog because speaking from experience Black families sweep molestation under the rug and protect the predators more often than it is spoken on. The victim is forced to live in silence while their predator is set free, able to live and see the person he hurt, able to live like they have done nothing. I’m ready for that to stop, because it needs to stop. My niece, and My future children will not be exposed. The next generations should not be exposed to this lifestyle, to the secrets and cover ups. Black communities already deal with so much. The odds are already stacked against us, why add to it? Why make the future generation, your future legacies go through more than they have to?

A pedophile can’t change the way that they think or feel. A predator will always be a predator, we can’t change that. We can change how we handle them and the circumstances people get placed in . We can change things by taking away the positions of power they are given, where they can freely can victimize someone else. In the moments that abuse has happened the predator needs to be charged. If they can be caught before they hurt someone that would be even better. Sexual abuse is something that has become too common. Predators have become too comfortable preying on people because they know that they can get away with it. They know that no one will do anything, it has to change. 42 million adults who were victims of childhood sexual abuse. 42 million, that number is too high. Of those 42 million how many of their abusers do you believe were caught? I am 1 of the 42 million with 3 predators. Of the three predators none were ever charged. I wasn’t the first victim and not the last. It should have never gotten to me. It should have been stopped way before me. Stop sweeping everything under the rug, because of your pride. Put your self in the victims shoes. How would you feel if you knew your pain, your innocence being stripped away was for nothing. That it meant nothing. That the people who hurt you could do it again and again with no repercussions. How would you feel if your child, your sister or brother was sexually abused and nothing had been done to their predator? It’s time to make a change. Its time to wake up before its too late. Its time to stop the secrets and time to Break The Silence! You can’t stop the inevitable and you won’t be able to save everyone. People will talk no matter the circumstances. It is how you handle those circumstances and the information that matter most. “Secrets and lies kill relationships. No matter how careful you are, you will get caught.” Speak Up…