Survivor Shame

Emily Fern
Posted November 14, 2017 from United States

When your protector becomes your abuser... The shameful life of an incest survivor.

You were meant to be my protector, I looked to you for support, love and safety. You showed me how to plant carrotts and peas. You told me I was special, you held me close and called me "Ferna". I trusted you.

I built my life around a lie. Sure my family had "issues", my father was an alcoholic, my mother was emotionally absent, but all families have "stuff", I would gingerly exclaim to my pre-pubescent self. I was a happy child, who grew up exploring the surronding forests and streams with my brothers. My parents exclaimed that I was such a "lucky kid", I led a "priveledged childhood", unlike so many other struggling children.

My life was shattered one rainy evening, around 7 years ago when I awoke from restless sleep stuck within a nightmare that felt too real to be imagined. I was in my early thirties, fresh out of graduate school. I'd written my thesis on my personal experience with transforming sexual trauma from my experiences with childhood sexual abuse, and a recent rape. I used my body as my tool for healing while integrating principles of Dance/ movement Therapy, Creative Dance, and Authentic Movement. I had completeled my healing journey and was ready for the next phase in my life. Yet every time I tried to move forward, I was pushed back with the weight of a deeply hidden past, a past that I could no longer run from.

As days rolled into weeks, and months rolled into years; I continued to break open dishaveled memories that caused my body to feel tainted to it's core. I tried to scrub away the feelings, scolding showers, my body numb, skin reddened to a deep hue. There you stand, towering with that sheepish manipulate grin.

After seven years of silence I still feel your pull, your power, your weight. The push to be the "good daughter", "the peace keeper". "Don't leave", you beg, "be a good little girl", stay with your Dad.

I am no longer your vehicle for your pain, shame, and hurt. I am not a "bitch" for speaking out, the silence is killing my soul. It's deadly roots will no longer ravage these parched lips.

This story was submitted in response to After #MeToo: Stories of Change.

Comments 2

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bridggyella
Jan 12, 2018
Jan 12, 2018

hello Emily,

This is a very strong piece.I am sorry you went through this traumatic experience. Coming from someone you trust will be more hurting , it is heart breaking. You are a strong woman. I am sure most women who have faced same will speak up . 

I believe someday these people will be punished for their actions and not judging the innocent victims they preyed on.

My heart is with you. Remain strong

Emily Fern
Jan 12, 2018
Jan 12, 2018

Thank you so much for your support and love Bridggella. There is so much secrecy surronding incest, sadly it's quite common in the US, but pushed behind closed doors. 

I'm grateful for my connection with nature, and my ongoing journey of healing. As traumatizing as my past was, it has made me who I am, and I'm able to support other survivors thru thier healing journeys because I've been thru the pain, and have a deeply empathetic understanding. I hope to stay connected to you, I enjoy having girlfriends all over the world to chat with! Best wishes!