At the age of 9 – almost 10, I was sexually abused by a young woman. I’m unsure of her actual age but she in her young 20’s. She was very kind and very maternal. She treated me with so much kindness. She only showed love and care. It just so happened to include inappropriate touching and penetration. It was always the same routine. She would take me into her bedroom to watch TV and we would get under the covers. She would hold me like a mother would hold a child. I didn’t hate what she did. The only feeling I could feel during those times, was confusion. I knew my own mother didn’t do this to me. But then again, my own mother was emotionally unavailable and never just held me.
Recently, I’ve been discussing this with Ms. A. I still feel numb and unsure of how to get angry or feel that it was extremely wrong. In my mind, it was no where near as bad as being victimized by a male perpetrator. Or was it?
Society has a common belief that mostly just men are sexual abusers. In general, stories of women abusing sexually or physically aren’t usually discussed. And if a woman abuses, people tend to be of the belief that she has just “lost it”, or she’s under the influence of her male partner. Women are generally much more forgiven and are held to a different standard than men.
Victims that are abused by both male and female perpetrators are generally psychologically more damaged by the female abusers than the males. Especially in the case of a mother abusing her own child. Usually the victim will have trouble developing his or her own sense of identity.
Women perpetrators always are given a much lighter punishment than a male perpetrator and most women are believed to have a mental illness that caused them to commit such a crime.
The same belief applies to women who physically abuse their children. The explanation is given that she was “overwhelmed” and just “lost it”.
Even with Child Protection Services, women are generally treated with much more forgiveness than a male abuser. The goal is always to bring the child home because the mother can be rehabilitated.
Regardless of what excuses we give to women, the psychological damage is immense and should not be forgiven or written off as a stress related incident. I’ve even heard people say that she probably was abused herself. As if that is a good enough reason.
I mentioned in my previous blog about my newly adopted “daughter” (MB) who has changed my life for the better. MB was abused by her mother for 12+ years. The abuse has left her doubting herself and her judgement of others. It has left her scared of people and unable to trust in general. MB doesn’t believe that she has worth. She doesn’t believe that she’s loveable. She doesn’t believe that to me, she is perfect. I want to show her that there are good parents. I want her to know that not all parents are abusive. I want her to know that I would never hit her or scream at her. I want her to know that I would never call her hurtful names.
One thing I learned from my own mother was that I never want to be like her. I want my child/children to know that they are loved and accepted no matter what.
My own abuse by a female perpetrator has left me confused. Because I was abused by both men and women, my own value is always in question. Why didn’t someone value me? Why didn’t someone protect me? What was it about me that made people want to harm me? Did I show some type of sexuality from a very young age?
These are all questions I ask myself. I don’t know if I will ever have a sufficient answer but I’m going to keep working on these questions until I am able to have some peace.
Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.