When people learn that I was molested as a child, they tend to say, “That explains it.” The promiscuity, the loose sexual boundaries, the Jerry Springer-like quality of my sexual indiscretions… they all tend to make sense when you look at the fact that my initiation into sex was pretty messed up. I had an ex-boyfriend once who said, with no small amount of embarrassment, that when he learned a girl was molested as a child there was a guilty sense of excitement. Sort of like: “Oh yeah! She’s a freak!” He hated that my innocence was taken from me, but recognized that he benefited from it.
Incest is one of those areas where everyone has an opinion. Most people hate pedophiles; most people feel sorry for children who have been molested; most people are horrified by the thought of relatives having sex. Hell, I didn’t even like typing the words “relatives having sex.” I’m not sure if it was my resistance to equating incest (an act most people see as violently sick and twisted) to sex (something less emotionally charged) or simply a reaction to the social taboo.
The truth is that the trauma caused by experiencing sex with a relative at an early age is so much more convoluted and shocking than most people suspect that they would likely stare in horrified fascination at the bloody emotional wreckage, and then self-righteously blame the victim because they have no clue how to process something that goes against all reason. Allow me to elaborate:
I enjoyed being molested as a child. I liked it. I sought it out. I got jealous if my molester paid attention to anyone else. I was intrigued by being able to do adult things and knowing things that only adults knew. I loved being desired and I found power in my sexuality. I learned to be sexy at an early age and it gained me attention and favor that most women do not fully appreciate until their boobs begin to droop and their waistlines thicken.
While I recognize that my reaction to childhood abuse is not the only kind of reaction—others may act like people expect them to… hating sex, afraid of their sexuality, victim-like—my reaction is not an uncommon one. The true shame of being abused as a child is that you don’t feel about it the way you “should” feel about it. People want to pity you and when you don’t give them anything to pity, they say you are as sick as your molester.
The reason pedophiles get away with their abuse for so long is that they pick their victims well. It’s like they have a homing beacon that lights up when they are near a child who is lonely and neglected and desperate for love. It works because they give the child the very things it craves: attention, support, approval, respect and all the other things we associate with love. It also works because sex feels good. It feels good from the inside out. It doesn’t not feel good simply because you’re not old enough for it to feel good. It creeps most people out to think of a pre-pubescent child experiencing sexual pleasure, but they can and do so all the time… that is unless they get caught with their hands in their pants and get into trouble for it.
That being said, do I wish I hadn’t been molested? I spent my whole life trying to be normal. I had no clue what it was like to have platonic friends because I would wind up fucking them all sooner or later. My identity was so entangled with my sexuality that if you had taken that part of me away, there would have been precious little left. I lived with the shame of not feeling the way people expected me to feel for so long that I learned to hide the deepest parts of me even from myself. I was conditioned to believe that the truth would damn you and that lies protected the things you cherished. I learned to lie well.
If you noticed I didn’t really answer the question, you are perceptive. I don’t begrudge any of my experiences. They have made me who I am and some days I really like that person. Being molested has allowed me to explore issues of sexuality and right and wrong in a way that would have been difficult if I had not experienced it personally. Of course, I would cut the penis off a pedophile in a heartbeat and chop it up with unholy glee into tiny little bits. I’m just saying.
Also view this blog at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/10/confessions-of-an-incest-survivor-it-wasnt-all-bad/