JOCELYN

 

When I was 14 my uncle (who is not a blood relative, thank god) molested me. It took me nearly 6 years before I could talk about it, and in that time I was in multiple abusive relationships, diagnosed with severe depression and moderate anxiety, and developed a number of suicidal tendencies that still rear up if I'm not careful. I was diagnosed and started therapy at 16 after my third abusive relationship. 

My first "boyfriend" was someone I'd met online, ten years older than me–very persuasive, subtly manipulative, easy to anger, very jealous. Definitely not a good first relationship. The second was short, the abuse was mostly verbal. The third was longer, more manipulative, and ultimately much worse. That was the first time I was raped. It was also the first time I had sex. Usually he'd guilt me into bed, but other times he was more aggressive. I had longer hair at the time, so it was easier to hide the marks he left on my neck with his teeth. The next boyfriend was worse. He stole, lied, cheated, and manipulated. He didn't coerce so much as force me to have sex with him. He left marks in places that were easy to hide, but they were a lot more than just teeth. I think that emotionally he hurt me the most. He was 25 when I was 17, but when I met him he let me think he was 19. I should have let my parents call the police.

Number five came out of Nowhere, MD and brought his cat and guitars straight here to Florida. No plan, no job, no place to live lined up, just left and drove straight through. I used to think it was kind of funny that we went to church and had sex on the same day. Now it just makes me sick. Guilt-sex wasn't uncommon with him, either. Shortly after that relationship ended, I was watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower with my parents. This was about a month or two before my 20th birthday, which is right when Pennsylvania law marks the cut off for reporting as a minor. If you've seen Perks, you can probably understand why watching it would make me feel suicidal. If not, I'll sum it up: Percy Jackson (well, 'Charlie' in the film, played by Logan Lerman) is sexually abused by his aunt as a child. Emma Watson's character, Sam, was also sexually abused by an adult in her life. 

My mom helped me deal with it; we called some hotlines, reported it, I gave statements and she wrote a letter to the entire family and anyone else we knew that thought my uncle was a "good christian man". I tried to get more therapy, but it didn't really help because the woman I was seeing didn't teach me anything to help with coping, she just asked me nearly the same questions every time and all that happened was an increase in my frustration with life. That summer I filed a report with the Sheriff's department, but nothing really came from it. Fortunately, he is no longer in contact with any members of my family as far as I know and he will never be able to hurt any of my other cousins the way that he hurt me. The way that he hurt my mom and her sisters. 

I still beat myself up about it. All of my unhealthy relationships. I don't forgive them and I sure can't forgive me. People tell me that I have to forgive myself to move on; that I have to let go, because the only person it's hurting is me. And I'm sure they're right, but I don't know how. 

Currently, I am in a healthy relationship. The first one I've ever been in. He's extremely sweet and caring and he never pressures me into anything. When I say "no", he stops. He's a feminist and he listens. I've told him about my past and he's told me about his. I had never thought I would find someone that could understand me, be supportive and get along with my family, but he does. He makes me feel like I'm not defective, the way everyone else did. He helps me when I feel overwhelmed by what's happened to me.