Friday, March 21, 2014

Sexual Abuse. Impacts on perception. Turn to Christ.

I am going to post about some of the sexual abuses that happened to me as a child and how they impacted me and some of my perceptions.  As others come to understand this side of my life they come to understand more of me and why I take many of the stands I do in my life.

I know a number of others who have gone through sexual abuse and these are some of the darkest and worst struggles faced in this world.  Before I start the Lord says that he values the chastity of women and the purity of women and children, in many places.  In Jacob the Lord states through the Prophet Jacob, "For I, the Lord God, delight in the achastity of women. And bwhoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts." (Jacob 2:28)  Chastity is valued of the Lord greatly and for this reason the Lord says, Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery in his heart.  This applies equally to men and children as well.

I was very young the first time I was sexually abused.  I may have been abused before my first memories, and likely was, but I will start at my first memories.

I first remember being sexually abused a few times in the home of one of my aunts by her daughter(s).  I explicitly remember once in the bathroom downstairs, and once in one of the bedrooms upstairs.  I do not know how extensive this was or on how many occasions it occurred, but I remember the home well.  We went there often through my childhood and into my youth, and would go to go swimming or to stay with their family.  I also think on this because one of those who sexually abused me at this time in my life later came back to me and apologized for doing so.

The next time I remember being sexually abused was by one of my relatives that stayed with one of my grandmothers.  She became our babysitter and often would take me aside to perform sexual acts with her of varying sorts.  These were quite varied and extreme in many cases, and occurred regularly over a number of years, from my first memories, until I was at least 6 or 7, maybe even 8 or 9.

The point of sharing this is to helps others to understand that to me these were very normal and the thought of the sexual actions that took place were regular.  They were not looked at as out of the ordinary or even a bad thing.  I actually believed these actions were how a person showed love. I was often told you don't talk about them because they are special to the people they were with, so until I was 13 or 14 I never talked about any of these things with anyone.  I believe signs were there, but they were likely overlooked since they would have been my norm, and common to me throughout my life up to that point.

I will also share one other experience along with these others.  When I was around 8 or 9 years old I went to stay with an aunt for a few weeks in Southern Utah.  While I stayed with her and her family there was an occurrence where I was again with a cousin (different than the others up to this point) and experienced sexual abuse at this point.  Where she not much older than I and a relative I may have at this point already have considered this a sexual situation rather than abuse, because I completely consented and at this point rather enjoyed the experience.

The point of this post is two-fold first I want to point out that when a person grows up with certain circumstances they consider them typically normal and regular.  I believe this to be the case with all forms of abuse and addictions as well.  Second, when these types of perceptions are imposed upon a person especially from infancy or early childhood, they deal with them for an extremely long time, if not forever. 

I believe people can over come the past.  To go beyond this I believe a person can overcome anything from their past with one exception, and I will not go into this here.  I will say it is extremely rare and most likely none reading this will ever deal with it, or even have exposure to it. 

A person can change their behavior and beliefs and actions.  Many of the emotions and desires and appetites that come are far harder to overcome, but can also be overcome similar to how any addiction is overcome.  Remnants of the experience forever remain with those that are affected to some degree or another even in the best of cases.

I also believe strongly that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ often allow terrible things to happen for a number of reasons.  One is free agency, and to allow justice to be fulfilled.  The one I want to focus on is that trials and tribulations build us up and allow us to become strong, and in some cases exceptionally strong. 

I despise sexual abuse in all its forms.  I also understand that in some cases the abuser is just as addicted or acting out of habit as much as any other addict.  I know the struggles of sexual abuse (and other sexual addictions) are some of the hardest things in the world to overcome.  In fact this goes for physical and mental abuse as well.  I have gone through many of them.  I have overcome smoking addictions, and drinking and other bad habits, and multiple forms of abuse.  I have some level of comparison to how difficult these addictions were to get over.  For me the sexual addictions I faced as a result of my circumstances were by far harder to overcome than any other addiction I faced in my life.  I can truly say they will likely be something I deal with throughout this life, and the same goes for other abuses.

Although these situations led me through many of the most difficult struggles I have faced in life, I am extremely grateful for them.  They gave me insight into the heart of man that I otherwise would never have gained.  More importantly they helped me gain a relationship with my Heavenly Father that likely could not have been obtained in any other way.  I believe the abuses I faced were meant to strengthen me so I could become the man the Savior needed me to be in this life. 

I have been told on many occasions through the spirit and by others that understanding these things has been a strength and support to them.  I hope and pray others who face similar or even different struggles can find this same comfort and the same strength I have found.  And more importantly that their resolution will be in Christ and his infinite atonement.  That is where my greatest growth and forgiveness and relief have come from.

For more information on this please feel free to comment.  I will gladly discuss anything written here and even talk personally with those who would like as possible.  That being said, I will likely not go into much more if any more detail of the abuses that took place.  Though I remember each of them clearly the purpose of this is not to expound on abuse, but to give comfort that anything we face in life can be overcome by turning to Christ.

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