“Was I Abused?”

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Sexual Abuse
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In the Midwest, January is marked by bitter temperatures and long dark nights. It was during this season that a handful of women met together every week to process their childhood sexual abuse through a study of Diane Langber’s book, Threshold of Hope.

One night one of our members blurted, “I shouldn’t be here.” When we asked why, she stated, “Because my father never had sexual intercourse with me.”

True, he hadn’t. Instead he made my prepubescent friend wear a skimpy bikini around the house, felt her body for “fat checks,” forced her to watch him work out in his skivvies, and routinely commented on aspects of her physical development. Was my  friend sexually abused?

In Dan Allender’s book, Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, he defines sexual abuse as, “… any contact or interaction (visual, verbal, or psychological) between a child/adolescent and an adult when the child/adolescent is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or any other person.”

Any visual, verbal, or psychological contact or interaction.

The kind of sexual abuse my friend suffered is especially insidious because it’s difficult enough for an adult to identify, let alone a 10 year old. At the time, this little girl’s God-given warning system was ringing, yet with what could she accuse her father? When she asked him about the body checks, he countered with health concerns. Why the bikini? Well, it was summer after all. And so on.  What did she do?  She did what children do; she obeyed her daddy and buried the guilt and shame deep inside.

Our friend needed to be in our group and yet twenty years later, she was still asking “Was I abused?” What she didn’t understand was that covert abuse is every bit as damaging and real as an overt assault.

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, we’d love to interact with you. RLM is a safe place where you can anonymously post a comment or have your questions answered. Send specific questions to: RealLifeMinistriesUSA@gmail.com

  1. bobrlm says:

    The most common form of rape does not feel like rape. It is often dismissed as something far less.
    Boyfriend rape doesn’t fit the image we have in our minds of a predator and assault, Rape is any sexual activity (oral, manual, and other non-consentual touching) that is attempted or completed by force, threat of force or by coercion, duress or intimidation against another’s will or consent. The person does not consent if she cannot reasonably choose to consent or refuse because of age, circumstances, mental condition (including that induced by drugs or alcohol), level of understanding, or dependency/relationship to the offender. An exerpt from The Silent Scream (understanding the distressing path and aftermath of sexual coersion and betrayal… by Bob Barnett RLM-USA)