Night Night, Sleep Tight: A Look at Sexual Abuse….

In every story worth telling, there is a colorful beginning.

This one begins with me…

When my stepfather started caressing me, and lightly tickling my arms, legs, and back, it felt nice.

I felt loved.

I was often watching television when he would cuddle with me on the sofa.  My mother would scratch my back once in a while too. Problem was my mother’s caressing never lasted long.

When my stepfather caressed me, it often lasted a long, long time.

Until everyone else went to bed. Until I fell into a deep, sound sleep.

The first time he began to include and caress my breasts, it caused me to awaken but it also felt somewhat natural.

When it escalated and he first began to take down my underpants, I would awaken startled.

I felt sick, sad, and confused. I pretended to remain asleep out of embarrassment and shame.  My body naturally responded to the caressing so, even though I felt sick, some of it felt good. My body was being stimulated. That made me even more disgusted with myself.

Hence began a long, destructive journey of self-hate, ridicule and blame.

As with all abuse, it escalated over time. The disgust of having a grown man’s organ shoved between my legs when I was a young child was too disorienting and debilitating to put into words.

Was there penetration?  No, not with me.  I guess in his mind that made it OK. Sadly, in some minds, it does not constitute the same act as rape, but it is.

I believe that if a child is fondled, stimulated against their will, or forced to touch, look at, and have a grown man’s penis thrust between their legs, it is rape and should be treated as such.  For an adult to initiate sexual talk and innuendos with a small child, or force penetration with a finger, object or penis, all constitute the same thing. Rape against ones soul, life and future.

My stepfather is a pedophile.

Pedophilia is sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent children. It is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child. The pedophile has a psychosexual disorder that manifests in a sexual preference for a certain age and sex of prepubescent children.

Pedophiles are almost always males.

*Women and children account for over 90% of sexual abuse victims.

*The majority of child victimizers in state prison knew the victim before the crime.

*1/3 had committed their crime against their own child.

*1/2 had a relationship with the victim as a friend, acquaintance, or relative.

* 3/4’s of the violent victimizations took place in the victim’s or the offender’s home.

**3 in 4 child victims of violence were female.

~~~BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991~~

Sexually abused children are more often of the opposite sex (about twice as often) and are typically 13 years of age or younger. They may be within or outside the pedophile’s family.

The saddest fact of all to me is that most male and female children are sexually abused by someone they love, trust or know well:

Sexual fantasies, looking, or fondling are more common than genital contact, although abuse escalates as time goes on. Just like a drug addict or alcoholic, more intense sexual activity is needed to create the same high.

Many children who are not helped and forced to interact with their abuser develop a repressed memory in order to survive and make sense of their lives. They have a strong need to feel safe and their mind assists them by repressing the memory until they can handle it. Small triggers may occur along the way allowing snippets to come forward.

 Because my mother said she didn’t believe me…. and did nothing to help me… but extol my step father’s virtues, my mind protected me and I believed I had the two most wonderful loving parents in the world.

Horrifically, I personally discovered my dark truth on the day I discovered my daughters. My mind had protected me and allowed my daughter to be harmed.
I want you to know my daughter is doing beautifully because I rallied the troops and fought for her honor. Together we placed him in jail even though my mother paid big bucks for the best defense attorney in town to keep him out of jail and well fed at home.

 I want you to know I too, am doing really well, even though my mother told many family members and friends that we were lying and I was abandoned from some of their love and support. I want you to know that my daughter is living her dream and dancing and that I am now living mine.

 I want you to know that it is never too late to live your dream. As a young child I was going to be an actress and then my step father harmed me and all of my self esteem, creativity and confidence seeped out of me like a pin pricked balloon.

Today, I am working on a feature film project that will film here in Portland. I am having a blast and loving my life!

My husband and I want to assist you in living your dream and doing what you love! Coming soon to www.spiritoflivingwell.com will be an inspirational and powerful tele-seminar to catapult you into your dreams!

No matter what you have been through the time is here for you now to jump into your dreams. You can do this, you can! Trust me, I know.

 (If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused or has a loved one that has been, please join my free national sexual abuse tele-seminar at www.spiritoflivingwell.com)

                       

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About Lauren Simon

Lauren Simon is a screenwriter, speaker, therapist, certified hypnotist, Reiki Master, and the author of the empowering forthcoming book, “Cracked Wide Open, Letting the Light Pour In!" Lauren has been counseling people internationally for many years now, helping them find their own voice and have faith in their strength. Lauren understands that we all face trying times in our lives. She is a mother who wrote through sleepless nights to heal herself after finding out about her daughter’s sexual abuse at the hands of Lauren’s step-father. This realization triggered repressed memories of her own sexual abuse by the same man. "It is never too late to live your dream. The time is now to make peace with the past and let it go. You CAN move up to where you belong and even offer more to the world because of what you have gone through.” Lauren is living her dream working on a film project with her husband , Film Producer/Director Stephen Simon, near Portland Oregon.... where live in their dream home with two of their six children, and three beloved pets. www.spiritoflivingwell.com

Comments

  1. Lauren, thank you for your courage in sharing these painful memories with the Intent audience. One of my high school friends was sexually abused at the age of 12 by her stepfather, so reading your journal gives me more insight to the terrible emotional journey that she had to endure. Thankfully, like you, she is thriving now in a loving relationship with a creatively fulfilling career.

  2. Dear Lauren,

    What makes me sad reading your post is the fact that many mothers (as it's mostly men who abuse) either know of the abuse when it is happening or do nothing to stop it when they find out. That is an ultimate betrayal and one I find difficult to understand. I believe one of the most important relationships we have is with our mother or someone who loves us like a mother. Dr John Diamond calls this cantillation – a song of love for our mother. My heart goes out to you and anyone who has been or is in this position. You are so brave to write about this. Thank you. Our spirit can never be touched or broken.

    Lots of love

    Noreen.

  3. Yumi, reading that your friend is thriving…chokes me up. This is so wonderful, thank-you so much for sharing!

    Lauren

  4. Norren, than-you. It mkes me sad too….it is so difficult to understand. These women are just as ill as the abusers….sadly they never get treated.

    Love!

    Lauren

  5. Your courage in presenting this story is admirable. You speak in passing, of the self-hate that clouded your mind. Let's not forget mixed messages of sexual identity and the difficulties of lovemaking with a partner in later life, that something like this brings on to the victim. You are blessed that what couldn't break you made you stronger. It is wonderful how you have moved beyond the pain to find a strong supportive man to stand by you and live your life with. There are those who couldn't because they placed limits on their sexual identity due to early childhood trauma. I have a friend who believes she attracted the wrong kind of attention because of who she is. She went on to accept that fact about her own body and thus followed a long line of unpleasant sexual attachments – a burden she still carries around locked in her soul. Sad but true. She is terrified of having children lest they turn out "corrupt" like her.

    Reminds me of the time when my daughter was learning to ride a bike – it was adorable – she wouldn't pedal her bike for fear of falling if she took her feet off the ground. That was until I convinced her on the 11th day that if she pedaled fast enough it would keep her bike upright and she wouldn't fall. What we are terrified of is often our redemption. I wish my friend would someday soon be able to find love, support and a family – perhaps have a child with someone she loves – I know that brings a smile to my face at the end of a hard day. http://toriroy.com/

  6. Hi Tori, Thank-you for your insights and for sharing.

    It is extremely important and I write about this in my book and will be blogging about it as well.

    Overcoming this abuse is a life journey…..my beloved partner has a great deal to say as well…

    A great gift for your friend my be the book Allies In Healing by Ellen Bass…it was a great tool for my husband and it helped me understand what those who love us go through while we heal.

    I send you and your friend prayers and love….

    Lauren

  7. Lauren

    Sometimes your posts are so hard for me to read, but at the same time, as a mom I know that your work, your words, are probably some of the most important ones I will read in my life. I thank you so so much for bringing awareness to the issue of pedophilia and sexual abuse. You are courageous and your personal stories make the lessons so much more personal.

    Thank you.

    Mallika

  8. Dearest Mallika, Thank-you so much.

    Mother to mother, sister to sister…

    This means so much to me…

    (They aren't always easy to write and share:)

    XOXO

    Laren

  9. Lauren,

    this is deeply touching. You have extreme courage to share and to take action to put him away. Wow. This puts things in perspective.

  10. Lauren, reading this gave me chills. I think your courage and willingness to share your own story will help so many overcome their own darkness. Thank you

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. As a father and moreover as a human being, stories like these make me sad, disturbed and just plain ill– and more then that, angry. In fact, furious.

    When I read stories of trust being abused, of people preying on the easiest and weakest victims, and of others concealing or enabling the abuse it makes my blood boil and I think of revenge and retribution. I am amazed at your strength and ability to write calmly and powerfully about this topic and I hope many people read this and open their eyes.

  12. Prachi, thank-you so much. I never realized I would make so many friends who mean so muh to me over the internet! Thank-you for the edits….I am a passionate writer I write and push send…..I am now going to edit a few things a saw….

    When it is this personal I rarely re-read what I write….I push submit and take off to work.

    Gratitude!

    Lauren

  13. GOOD AFTERNOON and THANK-YOU Sister Lauren!!!

    … indeed, you often leave me speechless with your generosity of love, spirit, deed and compassion.

    … indeed, you often leave me breathless with your generosity of love, spirit, deed and compassion.

    … indeed, when I am left speechless and breathless, I often simply write from the heart, not knowing where it is going to take me.

    … indeed, here goes.

    … indeed, I recently confirmed in this place that my favourite sandwich was a peanut butter sandwich. Many years ago, when I was a child, My Mother would often lovingly prepare and serve to me a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk when I was sad, scared or fearfull about something. She would just sit with me, listen to me, not judge me and reassure me that everything was going to be all right. And she was always right. My Mother has long crossed the Rainbow Bridge Home but to this day, a peanut butter sandwich and chocolate mile always takes me to a warm, loving, comfortable and peacefull place.

    …indeed, you are the full "Loving" Meal Deal: the bread, the butter, the peanut butter and a glass of chocolate milk.

    … indeed, my journey, along with so many others, is Richly Blessed and Informed from the Truth that you are always out there, somewhere out there, defying gravity,enrichening, enlightening and loving the way forward for so many of us with your Courage, Unconditional Love, Trust, Faith and Compassion.

    … indeed, You are hero to me.

    PEANUT BUTTER and CHOCOLATE MILK BLESSINGS, LOVE and PEACE TO YOU, ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE, NOW and FOREVER!!!

  14. and,

    … indeed, You are a Perfect Peanut Butter Sandwich and Glass of Chocolate Milk Full Meal Deal that could not even be improved with a Glass of Red Wine.

    CHEERS TO YOU!!!

  15. Ok I am delighted and laughing really hard and I needed this!!!!!

    I just told my cildren that I am a perfect peanut butter sandwich and glass of chocolate milk….

    they said…."What?" …..

    But I got it!!!!!!!.

    XOXO

    Too much fun!!!!

  16. Dearest "A" Blazedale….thank-you. I understand, I feel these same feelings as a parent.

    So much love to you for being who you are!!!!

    Lauren

  17. This is really beautiful Tim…and touching….I really would love to make you the perfect peanut butter sandwich with chocolate milk. I love the image….truly lovely. Thank-you for toucing me and sharing someting so beautiful.

    Lauren

  18. Lauren, I agree with all these voices singing about how brave and strong you are. I am full of admiration of how well you have handled things. A few months ago I read an autoboigraphy of a lady called Ulrika who had been sexually abused (Raped.) by her father since she was four years old. It was heart clenching. Her suppressed memories locked her in a pattern of repeating what she had been through by becoming a sex addict. She raped herself through other men. This continued until she was 38 when she came across a man who refused but still showed her kindness. He was confounded and wondered what she was about. She got to sleep on his couch. Later they became a couple and for the first time she was in a relationship where she was not afraid to love. They married and had children and Ulrika is still working with listening to "little Ulrika", her inner child and comforting her. Seing you, Lauren, as you are now really gives me reason to hope. Thank you.

    Sara

  19. Lauren,

    What a brave and beautiful post. I work with adult survivors of sexual abuse and you have touched on every topic here. One's body responds to the touch, though it makes you sick because it is wrong. That is natural and normal. People need to hear this. You also make the excellent point that "stranger danger" is not where the greatest danger lies. Most of our children are harmed in their own homes. You listened to your daughter, believed her and fought for her. Bravo. So many women I work with were not believed, were not defended, and this makes all the difference.

    I admire your courage to speak the truth and your generosity in sharing with others. I know how important it is to other women who have experienced this to know they are not alone and their responses to this horrible experience are normal. I hope this helps to heal you as well.

    Peace,

    Kellen

  20. Sara, This is really moving. I just want to hug and comfort all of these inner children…..and struggling adults. I also want to do other things to these perpetrators that harm are beautiful children. Thank-you for sharing your heart and this story with me.

    XO

    L

  21. Dearest kellen,

    What wonderful work you do. Your words and response means the world to me. I just honor your work so much…..I bet we would have a lot to share with each other.

    Right now I send you a big hug and much respect and love,

    Lauren

  22. Lauren, it is so hard for me to express to you how my heart truly goes out for you.. this has been hard to read, but I guess time to share.. It was 20 years ago that my own daughter was molested by a family member. I was not present at the initial discovery of this, and my family decided not to tell me. My daughter was 4 years old. To keep her quiet and hide the incident, my mother did to her what she had so often in my past did. She told her that if she told anyone that we would call her a liar and would know she was dirty and not love her anymore. (I found this out from her psychiatrist years later). After the initial molesting, my parents asked me to sign over custody of her, but I wouldn't do that and they did send her back to me. It was a couple of weeks later I had to flee where we were living to return to that house. I did not know of the molesting, and put my daughter right back into it.

    As a mother, I was there. I remember myself now, some of the incidents, but when they happened, I thought it was harmless play. This was my brother, and I would never think that my brother would do such a thing. Thinking back I am sickened that I didn't know what he was doing. We lived there 6 months, and then my parents approached me and told me of the first time they caught him because they had just caught him attempting again.. Now you would think they would get him help, or do any thing but what they did.. they told me that my brother had attempted,, never touched her, but in his being caught we were asked to leave. Yes.. my daughter and I were kicked out of the house. I was upset,, but thinking my brother had been caught and had never touched my daughter.. I did leave and just went about making a new life.

    Then when she hit 7 years old, it all hit the fan. You see, my daughter didn't know what had happened to her was wrong, so in her health class she began to explain the difference to the other children between sperm and urine.. that is when we knew. The state came in and produced 4 drawings from my daughter depicting the molestation, and I was informed as a parent that since we now knew, I had no choice but to prosecute or loose my daughter. They were going to make her a ward of the state. I was never angry at the state and absolutely agree.. if a parent knows of the molestation, then of course it is my job to protect her or keep him from doing it to others. Not having even a second though, I prosecuted..

    It was at that point that my daughter and I were told we were not family any more. We were abandoned by all my family members. Aunt's, Uncles, Grandparents.. etc.. all of them. I spent a lot of years feeling guilty over it all and for loosing my family,, but I knew I did the right thing.. reconciling this was very difficult. I reared my daughter and cared for my dying husband on my own all these years. Then they came into our lives once again. My mother called last year wanting us to "come home" and be embraced by family. I had spoken with them on the phone and emails and such.. It was 5 months ago that all this family business was brought up again.. This time though, it was an ultimatum. I am going to be accepted by family if, and only if, I say that I was a trouble maker and had no right to prosecute this man who molested my daughter. I was told most literally "sit in a corner, keep your mouth shut, and loose your convictions because you were wrong".

    I have had a lot of suffering because of all this. I was elated thinking that my family really wanted us back.. I could have never seen the conditions they would lay out this many years later. Their attitude of it all. She was so young she wouldn't remember anyway, so I made a big deal of nothing and should have kept my mouth shut. I am walking away again Lauren.. If I don't stand for my child, for all children,, then what kind of person would I be. I had hoped that time would bring understanding, but I had no idea they felt the way they did.. Women in my family are expendable. At least in their eyes.. I will find family out in the world that doesn't think this way. It is hard to make amends dear Lauren.. I understand all too well.. but I will be one mother who stands on my own actions in defense of my own daughter,, and I promise.. I will not be sitting in silence.

    I support you as I supported my own daughter sweetie.. and do so with a loving heart. Thank you for sharing this and allowing me to tell this story.. It has been my toxin for too many years.. but I know I was right in standing up for my child then,, and I will not back down now..

    loving hugs to you.. and all the healing the angels can provide you..

    Marylynn

  23. My Dearest soul friend Mary Lynn,

    I am hugging you, I hope you can feel it. This is so brave, heart wrenching…and vulnerable. I am so proud of you for sharing it! I am honored to have read it. This is why I need my friends in person….but I can feel you, I hope you can feel my support and love.

    If I have your permission I would like to have my assistant Cari get in touch with you for a private call. Then I would love to have you on my small free tele-support group call that has just changed to the first thursday of every month at 6pm PST. You will be a huge source of support for others and I know we will all become like family. You can sign up by going to http://www.spiritoflivingwell.com

    I am healing so well because of all of you.

    Loving hugs to you my angelic sister…..and all of the healing the angels can provide!

    Lauren

  24. Dear Mary-Lynn, they do say that you can't choose your family! oh boy, what a horrific set of circumstances, followed by betrayal and rejection. You are not on your own, you have the loving thoughts and feelings from loving Mothers everywhere. Betrayal from a Mother is the harshest betrayal of all, and you are being a loving Mother to your daughter, and that is all you need to be. Sending you love and prayers

    Tamasin

  25. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Today, in the news, another little girl's life has been taken by a sexual predator. We see this little girl as a security camera captures in her last moments, innocently skipping away from her home, happy in her feeling of security as she walks to her friends home to play, totally, unaware, that a sexual predator is waiting for her somewhere close by to take her innocence and her young life.

    The other day I was helping my sister-in-law watch her grandchildren, two girls, four and five and a half. The younger needed to use the potty and I said I would help her get the potty seat since her grandama was busy. I helped her put the potty seat on and the she said to me, "okay, you need to leave now because this is private." I was very impressed with the fact that she is being taught about her physical privacy.

    Young children, both girls and boys, need to be taught from the very first that they have rights to physical privacy, boundries that are not for others to cross, no matter who these other are in relation to them.

    Adults need to face the fact that no matter who is who, relatives, or friends, teachers, even Doctors can and do cross sexual lines with children and that we must simply accept this as a fact and teach ourselves and our children that it is okay to speak up an tell.

    Sexual abuse, still, has much more power over us than it should in this day and age. There is still a curtain of shame and fear when it comes to dealing with our sexuality as human beings.

    Look at all the fuss about teen sex and the "just say no" campaign that so-called adults think is the best way to deal with teen sex.

    Child sexual abuse IS, IS, IS, IS and has been and will be until we arm our young children right from the potty training stage that they have a right to physical privacy and they have physical boundries that no one is allowed to cross. Not that this will do away with it altogether but it will eventually loosen it's power over us.

    Sharing the story of sexual abuse in a very public way is a great, great help in the awareness and prevention of sexual abuse….so again, thankyou Lauren and Mary lynn.

    rann

  26. Lauren, offering you much support for your courage to express this and protect your daughter.

    It is very sad that family members will often deny the horrible effects of any kind of inappropriate touching, to deny the pain of the survivor, because they cannot face themselves their own complicity.

    The definition of molestation is some thing that happens against a person's will, forced on someone, and it is an example of the sickness of thinking that anyone has the right to another's energy.

    thank you for standing up for those survivors in need of healing, it is a very brave and right thing you have done/are doing.

    in deep respect, Jasmina