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, Letters From A Pedophile, Wake up

The conclusion

Beginning my journey of reaching out to my first attacker I was unsure how things would go and if I actually wanted to do it. I usually go to my older brother when I need to talk because I know he’s blunt and will tell me the truth. He told me that he was proud of me for confronting Tevrous but I needed to prepare myself for everything, me reaching out could go many ways and I could end up not getting what I wanted. Initially I wrote my attacker because I wanted to visit and tell him off for hurting me, I needed him to add me to his visitation. I wanted him to see me, see the pain I feel, and I wanted to tell him that I forgive him to his face so that I could be done with all of this. So, I reached out to him via letter and since November 2017 I have learned so much more about myself. After writing back and forth with my abuser, I have come to 3 conclusions.

The first conclusion is that he can’t change. I will be posting the letters’ that he has written to me and some of the things he says is like whoa. The first 2 letters are the ones that really made me feel some type of way. The second letter in general is what made me wish I hadn’t reached out in the first place. After he wrote me back the first time, I didn’t know how to respond so for a while I didn’t. In the process of thinking and waiting I received a second letter from him asking why I hadn’t responded yet. Truthfully, I never anticipated a response from him. I was expecting to not hear from him at all. Before sending off my first letter I had it in my head that he wasn’t even going to reply to me, I think because if I were in his position that’s what I would have done. I would be too ashamed to reply, but that’s the difference between he and I because he’s been very persistent in writing me. I say he can’t change because in the letters you will see his overly expressive affection for me. He wrote to me as if I were his wife or girlfriend not his cousin or the girl whose innocence he stripped away

The second is that I no longer needed to go visit. After reading his letters I know me going to see him would be just a win for him. He feels he has me back in his life, and I believe he thinks of me as his girlfriend or lover. It’s bad enough he’s comfortable enough writing me the things that he has. I don’t need to go meet him face to face so that he knows what I look like. He actually asked me for a picture in his letter. Wanted to know what I looked like now, of course that request was shot down. But, me sending him a letter brought many emotions for him all of which he didn’t mind sharing in his letters. He’s overly eager to take care of me, see me and make sure no one else hurts me. Mentally I don’t believe he understands how I feel or think about him. To him what he did is long gone and we are supposed to communicate like nothing ever happened. After his second letter I decided I would no longer be visiting but I would keep writing him because I wanted answers from him and was hoping for a meaningful apology. Let’s just say I realized I won’t be getting that either.

Lastly, Reaching out to my abuser helped me realize what I wanted to be in life. It’s crazy it took for me to talk to the guy who hurt me for me to be like boom! This is what i want to do and this is who I want to be. I juggled for a while with what i wanted to go to school for; social work or psychology. The deadline to enroll for school was approaching and after talking with him I decided on a major in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. Psychology is defined as “the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.” I am already a very observant person, so I feel I would be great at this. I love learning about people and reading people. I specifically want to be a victim advocate. I enjoy helping people and I know victims don’t always have anyone they can go to but, I want to change that. I guess in a way communicating with him helped me remove the cloud in my head and I became able to think clearer. I have since enrolled in school and have began to develop the idea of getting young girls together on weekends and taking them on trips. I have been in the position of being abused and not feeling like I can tell everyone. So, I want to create a safe place for girls where they can escape whatever they are facing and can talk freely without feeling like they have no one. I want girls and boys to grow up better than I did, no one should experience being abused. Everyone should be able to go somewhere where they feel free and can be themselves. The children are our future leaders, They will be our future voice so, we should treat them as such.

Overall I am split in the middle; between this was a good idea and I shouldn’t have done this. I am proud of myself because I did what I said I would do. Never in a million years did I think I would actually write him and he would actually respond, but I did and he replied. I definitely wasn’t prepared for his letters. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for that. Not knowing what he will say or how he will respond is probably the hardest part in this. None of his letters have given me anything I have wanted verbally from him. But, they have made me want to go harder. Every letter I have received I have cried and talked to my brother about. In every one of his letters he says something that irritates me more than anything. After every letter my mind goes to the same place, this has to be stopped. I think no child or adult should ever have to go through this. I begin brainstorming and to myself I always say my children will not go through what I went through. For so long I feared having children and wanting children because I have been afraid that they would go through what I went through. Family hurt me, and I can’t protect them from everyone, that’s been my thought process. But, after his letters I am no longer fearful for my future children because I know in my heart I will one day Break The Silence and Break The Cycle. That’s truthfully the reason I started my blog. Victims need to be heard and Abusers need to be prosecuted.

The world has become filled with too many victims and it’s sickening. Children should never know what it means to be molested, Never. Yet, too many do and that really hurts me more than anything. After communicating with the man who molested me beginning at 5 years old, after reading and feeling him not being remorseful I need there to be a change. I can’t change the things that happened to me but I can make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. My letters are proof that a pedophile can’t change or feel. Tevrous is scheduled for parole in 2022. That is a few years away but I’m not ready. The fact that I could walk into the grocery store and he be there is something I don’t believe I will ever be ready for. Honestly, I do believe he will hurt someone again I pray he doesn’t but I am not his first victim, nor was I his last. Reading his letters made things so real for me. Made me realize how strong I am now and also how weak I had been. I gained insight to myself that I may have never seen if I hadn’t reached out to him. It helped me realize hat he won’t change not to hold my breath. Also helped me realize I need to go harder so that I could make a difference. I know it won’t be easy but it will definitely be worth the effort. Going forward any letter I receive I will be posting it to my blog and writing how I reacted and feel reading it. Some are painful to read and others aren’t. I know one thing for sure no matter how painful it may be, I won’t let him win. He doesn’t deserve to. Have any of you ever reached out to your abuser? If so how did it turn out?

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…

Breaking The Silence

Chain Reaction

Every action comes with a consequence some good and some bad. We are able to control the outcome of our circumstances and have the power to correct the consequences from our own actions. But, when we are faced with consequences as a result of someone else’s doing the end result is not the same. Think before you act, because what you do can have an impact not just on you but also everyone around you. Being subjected to someone else’s wrong choices during my lifespan has left me with many unwanted side effects which have put me in uncomfortable circumstances.

According to American Counseling Association “Childhood sexual abuse has been correlated with higher levels of depression,guilt, shame, self-blame, eating disorders, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociation patterns, repression, denial, sexual problems, and relationship problems.” And, ” 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.” which means , “There are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the united states.”42 million people walking around with consequences caused by someone else bad decision. 42 million people who may never be able to live a normal life. 42 million people subjected to predators forced to become a victim, forced to join the survivors. I am 1 of those 42 million who was left with bad side effects. I suffer or have suffered from not 1 not 2 but all of the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse listed above.

As stated in a previous blog post I have suffered from depression since the age of 9. Most days are down days for me. Even with treatment taking medication I still had down days and suicidal thoughts. Depression is by far to me the worst on the list because, its something I have never been able to completely shake. I could wake up in the morning after a good nights rest and start off happy and ready but before the day is over I sink into the funk of depression. But, like stated in my blog its grown with me and I have learned to adapt to the mood of the sinking “Big D”. It shouldn’t be that way though, I should be able to enjoy 1 day without feeling down and losing interest in the things I set out wanting to do the most. It just isn’t fair.

For so long I felt that the way I felt was my fault because I allowed those things to happen. But being a young child against a teenage boy I know there was nothing I could do. Guilt eats away at me because often times I wish I had spoken up or tried even harder to get him to stop. For a while I blamed myself for the things he had done and sometimes still do. I gave him a power over me let him strip away my innocence. I wish more would have been done.

Growing up I was always thinner than everyone around me, and I hated it. It made me feel inferior to everyone else. I tried so hard to gain weight for so long it became a obsession. Hearing everyone comment on me being under weight never helped either. Eventually I grew out of feeling my body wasn’t enough and learned to love every pound that I did have. I now love my size, my shape and everything about me physically.

I tend to suffer from great physical pain over my entire body at times. I’ve learned the cause to be fibromyalgia and depression. These can be connected to somatic symptoms. Our bodies tend to give off pain when in distress. When my mind is under stress from the depression and anxiety and many other things going on my body becomes distressed as well causing pain. Often times before my body becomes taken over I feel fine and then suddenly its as if my world is sinking and my body is under construction. Pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Depression and anxiety are like brother and sister. At times it seems they tend to work together with one another and other times they go against one another. In my most stressful moments anxiety has caused me to go into a panic mode. Before leaving for basic training I was so nervous, more nervous than I had ever been in life. Sitting over a friend’s house one day I was calm sitting and talking when someone told a joke. I  like everyone else laughed at the joke. Only difference is that they stopped laughing. I tried to stop but didn’t I laughed and laughed until I cried until I eventually passed out when I panicked and  realized I couldn’t stop. With my anxiety I also begin to worry about things that aren’t or may never even happen. I worry most about the safety of my family. It’s during those times that I message them long text messages or send pictures and check on them more frequently. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing until it begins to worry them because they begin to believe somethings wrong with me because of my actions.

Growing up whenever faced with reminders of my past I would try erase the thoughts from my mind. For a while I repressed the thoughts until I found a picture or would hear their name. I have tried dissociating things and people with the situation. When I am triggered by words or seeing something I space out and go back to those moments. Moments I wish I was able to forget.

When a cousin of mine came out and publicly admitted being abused by the same predator who attacked me I was in shock. For so long I believed no one ever find out.  I wanted to forget and get over that dark past. When my mother initially asked me I told her no. I was afraid and I didn’t want to talk about what had been done to me. By this time I was in middle school and was on verge of suppressing every bad moment and memory. I Know denial wasn’t the answer.

Growing into a young adult I have gained experience in dating, relationships and what come with them. In my relationships I have learned alot about myself over the years. I dated the same guy for 5 years, he wasn’t my first boyfriend but was my first real love. In being with him I learned that I am hard to love. I’m needy and need constant confirmation that I am enough and that they want to be around. I like to feel wanted and because of that I am often too honest. I speak on probably everything. I am an open book when it comes to love. But, I can also shutdown and shutout loved ones as well. When I am hurt no matter how big or small I shutdown. As a result my relationships with people becomes broken. I’ve had to mend many broken bridges again and again because of the way I feel at times. Because I was subjected to  unwanted actions from others the people I love the most are exposed   to my emotions which put strains on any relationship I try to form.

Sexually I have learned that I have my ups and my downs. After first losing my virginity I believed it would be more, I never received that big “omg” feeling or clingy reaction the first time. My first time was me wanting to get it over with, with someone who was a virgin just like me. I honestly wouldn’t do it again. After finding a suitable partner I learned that I enjoyed sex with him because we had an emotional connection. I learned if I am emotionally in tune with someone I am able to actually enjoy intercourse without being triggered about my past.  I also learned that partners trying to give “wake up calls” isn’t really my thing. Being touched during the night is a trigger because as a child that was what happened. I learned that at times during mid action I can lose interest because although I’m aroused a certain move or a certain look from my partner can change my mood. On the flip side I have learned that overall I love sex and the power it gives me. Sex is about connection and control shared between two people. At a point it seemed I loved it too much, but that has changed.

I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I suffer from many emotional and physical consequences because of it. I know I will never lead a normal life. I may forever suffer from depression and anxiety. My self-esteem may never be where it should. Emotionally I have mood swings that can sometimes be uncontrollable, causing me to hurt those I love. How  I am , and the things I suffer from affect the people around me. Because someone chose to betray me my life will never be “normal. I am not alone, I am just  1 of  42 million people who live with symptoms. No one should have to adjust their life and revolve it around symptoms and characteristics caused by the actions of someone else. Its time to raise awareness on sexual abuse! Its time to stop predators from preying. It’s also time to give recognition to survivors and the day-to-day things they are faced with. The effects of abuse are not easy to live with and no one should be forced to live with them. Its time to Give someone a chance to live without suffering. Break The Silence and Raise Awareness!