"Dear Carol, I was sexually assaulted"
A few years ago I was molested. I can’t stop dwelling on it. After I was molested, I felt like my soul was taken away from me and I’ve found it very hard to express my feelings. I have tried to tell two different therapists about it, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it. I just kind of shut off to other people. I also dress like a tomboy so I won’t get molested again. It’s really hard to get a boyfriend when you look like a boy. Can you give me some advice on how to forget my pathetic history? It’s messing up my life.
Dear Messed Up,
My heart goes out to you. I don’t know what happened years ago, but it wasn’t your fault, and you’ve held it inside long enough. Just as you wrote to me, you can open up to a therapist. Does your school have a counselor? If not, or if you don’t feel comfortable with him or her, get referrals from your doctor, a family friend, or member of the clergy, and have a quick talk on the phone with several therapists as you decide whom to talk to. Say, “Something happened to me and it’s messing me up and I need to talk.” See whose voice and manner you like best. Then set up an appointment and spill your story.
If you can’t say it out loud, write it down or draw a picture. You’ll never forget your past, but you will be able to move forward. Other girls have had terrible experiences and have pulled through and begun to trust people again. You will, too. In fact, as you begin to accept that your past is part of you but is behind you, you’ll confide in a few people and you’ll find that other girls with seemingly picture-perfect lives have secrets of their own.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please visit RAINN.org or reach out to their national, 24/7 hotline at 800-656-HOPE.
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