Could I have been sexually abused as a child?

by Amandalynne R
(Silver Springs, Nevada, USA)

Dear Darlene,
Recently, my mother came back to visit. I had asked her once if I was sexually abused by one of her boyfriends, referring to her boyfriend at the time when I was between 2-3 years of age. I have no memory of him, but I've seen pictures of him and me together. She told me that she would never put me in harms way. The way I acted when I was a kid, making my dolls have sex, and me playing a sexual game with a girl who was my age, and recently having a fear of men? I'm now 20 years old. This is leading me to wonder: Was I was sexually abused as a child?

Note from Darlene: My answer to this Ask Darlene question "Could I have been sexually abused as a child?" can be found below. If you do not see the comments I've written, please be patient, as there is a system glitch regarding comments going live on my site. Amandalynne, I replied to your query June 7, 2008, comments titled "I cannot give you a yes or no reply..." Keep checking back to this page. I thank you Amandalynne and my other visitors for your understanding while I work at getting this minor malfunction rectified.

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Jun 07, 2008
I cannot give you a yes or no reply...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Amandalynne, there is a possibility that you were sexually abused as a child, but there's no way for me to say with any degree of certainty. A therapist is in the best position to help you with that.

What I can tell you is that there is another explanation: Children who have inadvertently witnessed their parents in a sexual act—and many children do—can re-enact what they saw with their toys. It doesn't mean they were sexually abused. Nor does it mean that they are irreparably harmed by what they saw. Regarding any long term effects; much depends on the way parents and other adults in the child's life deal with what the child was doing. If the child was punished, the wrong messages can be sent and leave the child fearful. If the child was calmly taught the inappropriateness of playing in such a way with toys and other children, and further taught about "good touches" and "bad touches" etc., that can temper the effects, and encourage the child's healthy sexual development. But this topic can easily take up volumes of information, and as such, is beyond the limitations set out for these comments.

I can also say that it is natural for children of the same age and same developmental stage to be "curious" about one another. It is not unusual for those children to further innocently explore that curiosity. It can be difficult to determine the difference between this type of "childhood curiosity" and of what is termed "sexually intrusive children." The latter term generally refers to sexualized children who are exhibiting learned behaviour as a result of being sexually abused.

Amandalynne, I replied to a query yesterday that I believe applies to your situation and question. Please see the post by "A" on this site titled Very confused about whether or not I was abused? and my subsequent comment beneath that post. Another comment I made on Jan. 25, 2008 titled A coping mechanism... deals with the issue of repressed memories for the question No memory of childhood: Is this common?

I cannot speak to your fear of men, because there are too many variables; one of which could be from possibly having witnessed a sexual act between adults when you were a child. Again, Amandalynne, a therapist would be the professional to consult regarding your fears and suspicions.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jul 09, 2009
Could I have been abused?
by: Anonymous

I don't remember much of anything from my childhood. All of the memories I do have don't have my father in them. When I was 9 or 10 I remember getting in the car with my dad and sitting as close to the door with my hand on the door handle. I didn't know why I acted like this, but I know I was scared that something was going to happen. My attitude never changed until I moved out at 17. I would lock my bedroom door at night. My mom told me when I was 19 that my father molested my cousin. One day I finally got the courage to ask my mom if he had molested me she told me she was hoping I could tell her, but I can't remember anything about my dad as a kid. She then told me she caught him looking at me when i was undressing or taking a shower. Now that I have a daughter of my own I can't leave her with anyone who has a man in thier life and she doesnt go to daycare because I'm scared someone will abuse her there. I had a dream a week ago it was about my dad abusing me and i started crying in my dream and suddenly the image disappeared and i couldnt remember what just happened. Do you think I could of been abused? I just want to know why I feel like this why I cant leave my children with anyone.

From Darlene: Anonymous, I can only offer you space here as a comment, as I am no longer in the position to be able to answer questions for my visitors. Thank you for your understanding.

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Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Oct 12, 2009
I geuss time will tell
by: Anonymous

I have always had a feeling i was sexually abused and have always had the ability to brush it off and move on but now lately i find myself more curious and i read these stories about all these other women and i can't believe how not alone I am. No one wants to be able to say i was sexually abused when I was a child but why do we act the way we do? I have no memory of being sexually abused and the more I try I am afraid my imagintaion will go wild and create fake memories, so I geuss there really is no answer for me yet. I believe I was sexually abused for few reasons. I Have had a fear of men, since i was little, even my father, I was afraid somthing was wrong or going to happen. I had dreams when i was a little kid, usually the same one, of kids and myself being sexually abused, I didnt know what was being done to us, but I knew it was wrong. I have asked my mother and of course she just doesn't want to even imagine it. So good luck with everyone else on trying to figure it out, its hard not knowing..

Oct 12, 2009
The dream...
by: Anonymous

one night i was dreaming... it was so clear. it was like a black curtain was being pulled from over my eyes and it was something i didnt want to see. suddenly i started crying and the blackness came back. i cant remember exactly what happened in my dream but i can rememeber when i woke up i had a feeling of hate toward my father.

Nov 15, 2009
Why now?
by: Sara

I'm 22 and still live at home and I'm scared that I was sexually abused. I had a dream two nights ago that I had sex with my father. I've had similar dreams before but never actual intercourse, but some sort of sex act. My dad used to drink a lot when I was younger, and I know he didn't always treat us good, but I can't remember anything specific to lead me to think that without a doubt something happened. But for as long as I can remember I've suffered from depression and as I got older, anxiety as well. I figured it was just genetics because my dads like that too. I can't describe the feeling but I've always been very, I guess afraid, of my dad and older brother. I remember waking up on a several occasions in the morning with my pants off, underwear still on though, but I figure I just took it off in my sleep cuz I got too hot. I can't ever sleep a whole night through, but when I was younger, I could sleep through lightening strikes right outside my window. I was closer to my dad and brother when I was little, but my brother has always had some aggression towards me. And I've never had a really good relationship wiht my father. I don't want to accuse anyone of anything but I can't make this feeling stop because everything makes so much sense. About two years ago I was raped by a close friend but it took a while for me to admit it was rape because even though I had told him no and I didn't want him to, I feel like I let him and that intoxicated or not, I didn't do enough to stop him. I have a hard time trusting anyone, especially men, or I'll trust them too easily. I'm not promiscuous, but sex for me is more like just lie there and get it over with.
I know I need to go talk to a doctor but I feel like I should talk to my mom first. When I mentioned my unexplained feeling of fear towards my brother and my dad, I know it just scared her. How could I accuse her husband or son of something like that? Everything that's wrong with me has a more rational explanation than sexual abuse, but I just can't get this feeling to stop. It's making me scared to go anywhere near my dad now. My family is not very close and any physical contact makes me uneasy. I remember once for about a week I couldn't sleep in my room. I don't know why, I would just get too upset to sleep there. I don't know, I don't know who to talk to about this, because I can't trust anyone with this. I just want some conformation that my fears are legit, or that I'm just a crazy nut who watches way too much law and order. please help.

Jan 11, 2010
sexual abuse
by: Chantelle

if a child was not sexually abused they wudnt no about sex and a child who has had abuse can use there dolls to show whats happening i was sexually abused when i was around 9 to ten years old till i was 14 by someone close to my my brother i didnt tell any body and only a few people no now i only just starting to get over it and to tell truth it is so hard after what happend with brother i was rapped by a lad same age as me he always wanted sex with me i did it at times stop him hurting me but after a year i said no he forced himself in me i have litchen scloroses to which causes terrible itchin and painful to have sex which only found i had this few years ago i was in pain alot and him forcing himself in me i didnt no what to do i cudnt cope u know at 15 years of age i had no smile at all i remember mum takin a photo and kept sayin smile i cudnt i am nearly 20 now and finally tryin sort life i have had few things happen in life as well as bullying i am now overwight and tryna loose is u no sexual abbuse people should do more no one even asked me in school or anything if i was ok but i couldnt tell anyone because how can u
many thanks chan

From Darlene Chantelle I have a strict policy that does not permit email addresses in comments. This is in order to keep all my visitors safe. Thank you for your understanding.

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Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

Mar 29, 2010
molested/raped
by: Anonymous

hello there,i have been molested growing up by different people,guys around my area,relatives,and random guys,i dont trust guys i dont like to be around them alone,and feel unsafe around them including any guy relatives,and i hate when guys touch me(hugs,handshakes,ect.)and i cant seem to be in a relasionship with any guy so far.i was wondering if this is normal or a cause from what happend?

Apr 24, 2010
Needing Guidance
by: Morgan

Let me start off my saying I know there was some definite abuse, or at least dysfunctional parenting in my childhood. I was homeschooled from ages 4-12 by my mom & grandparents. I used to have a close relationship w/ him. When I was little, I used to not wear a shirt. He would rub his chest all over mine in a weird hug thing. When I was 7, I started really resenting him. This was also in the same time frame that I felt disgusting when ever he'd touch me. I have a faint memory of his toungue touching mine. I remember him watching some very softcore, censored porn w/ me in the room, but only turning it when someone else walked in. I remember him putting his hand down my shirt and feeling of my breasts the same year, and me feeling uncomfortable and telling my g-mom to make him stop. When I was 11, he walked in on me masturbating, then said "You've gotten so big." Was I molested?

Nov 11, 2010
was i sexually abused??
by: Anonymous

this is soo wierd.. i thought i was the only one feeling this way. i dont rememeber any memory of my father until i was 7 but he did visit me when i was 3.. i dont know why but i feel as if i was sexually abused as a child.. i remember my older cousin telling me nasty things in my ears.. i also remember fearing men and whenever my brothers friend came near me or put me on the bike that he was going to touch me or i cant explain it but i just had this nasty feeling, uncomfortable.. and i remember making my dolls/barbies have sex.. i was also sexually playing with my girl and guy friends.. i felt so disgusted because my mom caught me and said it was wrong and she was disgusted.. but i know something happened, i just cant tememeber.. but eveen when my father hugged me i felt uncomfortabel. i still kinda do when an older man hugges me or anything.. does this mean i was?

Jun 19, 2011
scared...
by: Anonymous

iwell i'm 17 and i always thought something was wrong with me sexually. i've been pretty much obsessed with sex eventhough i'm a virgin for the most part. i've touched myself since i was four and also played with dolls sexually and my mom often caught me then beat me. i never felt genuinley comfortable with my dad and had dreams we did things but its one of those dreams u cant stop. but my dad left when i was 13. and i'm scared of guys and having sex even though i want it. i feel like something happened to me before but i dont know what it was. ive been wondering, whats wrong with me?
please help, i cant take this constant depression.

Oct 27, 2011
Was he too young to know it wasn't ok?
by: Anonymous

I have a memory of my older cousin sexually abusing me in a swimming pool. I really don't remember how old I was, but I think I might have been 5 or 6. That means my cousin would have been about 10 or 11. Other things with him happened on more than one occasion when I was a child, but I really don't remember them well. Did he sexually abuse me or was he too young to know that it wasn't right? Often times I feel like it was partly my fault too, because I allowed these things to happen and I think part of me wanted them to happen because I felt wanted or something. I am now 16 and every single relationship I have had with a guy has been sexual and they have all been 18 and older. I don't really have much of a relationship with my brother, dad or my uncles.

Dec 13, 2011
unreal
by: Anonymous

I thought I was alone in feeling this way, like it was supposed to be normal because my sister feels the same way too. I have always felt wierd around men and have never had a normal relationship. I either go for unavailable guys, meaning they have a girlfriend already or guys that are way too old for me. This makes me feel like something happened to me as a child with my father, that I have always feared. My sister fears him too til this day and is 3 years older than me. When I was younger I had reoccuring nightmeres for months that I was being tied down to my bed and had a feeling of hopelessness. I dont know if it was my father or his hockey buddies that always came over and drank, but its a very uneasy feeling to carry around with me.
I was sexually assulted at work when I was 16 and finally spoke up and got him fired. I worked with my friends father and was able to confide in him about how worthless I felt and alone. He convinced me to meet him at a park after work to talk and ended up sexually assulting me. I had nightmeres for years and though Ive gone to the police and to therapy still feel like it was my fault. I let it happen. I didnt do enough to stop it and in some way wanted to just feel desired. I am on anti depressants now and anxiety pills because it affected my entire being. I am 20 now and have decided to go out of town for my univeristy schooling. I live with all girls and am wondering why I would date someone who was 34. Clearly too old for me and ended up being abusive and attempted suicide to scare me. I have a feeling all of this has come from something that happened in my childhood. Im not trying to make excuses, im just trying to figure out why I do the things I do. Why do I behave like this? I don't want to anymore. I want to have confidence in myself and respect myself, but I just don't think Im good enough.

Jan 18, 2012
Trying to remember, so I can finally let go.
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I stumbled on this site very unintentionally, but everything is for a reason. I'm a 51 year old woman who has been searching for the truth for the past 10 years.

For the first 40 something years of my life, I had no recollection of being a child of sexual abuse nor a 'feeling' of there being any. But then it happened.

There was a trauma in my life that acted as the trigger or the on switch to my abuse memories that came crashing in, except they felt like dreams. I mean I did dream some things like my stepfather making me perform oral sex and I was choking when he came in my mouth. I woke up choking. Dream? or unconscious memory surfacing?

The first thought I had upon waking was the thought that I had been molested. Now, I know what the word molested means, the definition of it, but suddenly it APPLIED to ME. I actually looked the word molestation up online. This started years of therapy as that was only one of the many 'memories' I had.

My body, my emotions, remember the abuse, but it's hard to to attach them to me. They still don't seem real. The therapist said when I feel safe in life, I'll probably remember because my mind just can't take it yet. The pain would be overwhelming. Right now, it just feels like watching a movie when I do have a memory.

What I've learned is that, if your body is telling you something is wrong, it is whether you remember it or not. Your body never forgets! When I would talk to my therapist, I FELT like I was lying or making things up and I told him that. Apparently, feeling that way is normal when in fact, you are telling the truth.

Child abuse changes the core of who you are and all of the relationships you'll have throughout your life so please get help. I grew up in an alcoholic home full of dysfunction. I was a key target for sexual abuse.

Two failed marriages and one called off engagement later, I'm learning and seeking knowledge to have a better life, a good life, like WE ALL deserve.

If you have to ask yourself the question: I wonder if I was sexually abused? Please please please get help from a counselor, therapist, someone who will be in YOUR corner.

All of my love and prayers go with you!!



Mar 13, 2012
was I or wasn't I?
by: Anonymous

It all started when I was about 19yrs old I would have a reoccurring dream about waking up in my mother and fathers bed (after my mom left my dad)and a man had his hand down the back of my panties. I can't see his face in the dream so im unsure of who it is. I always lean toward my dad when I think about it. When I was about 22 i told my mom about it and she started crying telling me I would come home from my dads telling her he took baths with me and kept washing me over and over in my private area. i can still remember the house. Also I my dad has always been really strange to me. Like tickling my thighs and making weird comments. asking me to sit on his lap as an adult. just a lot of different things. Well i don't see my father cause I dont get along with my crazy step mother. Do I blame her cause Im unsure of if he abused me or not?

Aug 23, 2012
i dont know what to do
by: ariel

well i dont know much but i think i was melosted because my mom was going to a resterant. and she was gone for a while i was like 18 at the time so when she got back there was a guy with her. I thought he was a friend of hers so when he said could you put your dogs away. so i did when he came in my mom left the room and left me alone with him. I remember him looking around and then i blocked out for idk how long it felt like a black fog came over me so when i did remember i was on the ground looking up at him. and when he was leaving he patting my head.

Sep 11, 2012
sexually abused
by: siiky

I can remember back as early as 2 yrs old. I knew how to masturbate & reach orgasms at 4 yrs old. How could I possibly know how to do that at 4? .I had many uncle s lived with me growing up but have no recall anything sexually happening. I had the same night mAre for years of some man without face grabbing me on the way to restroom. Could see his body outline but no detail.

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