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Violence

My Name is Sheri, I was sort of molested, by a friend. When I was 7, my Mom babysat my neighbors kids. The oldest one was 9. He touched me and my brother, me more so then him. Anyway, his little brother told my Mom and it was over. I had to make a statement to police, but, never had to go to court. I'm 16 now, and I keep having flashbacks of this and they won't go away. I'm so embarrassed because it's like nothing to everyone else now. Is this normal what should I do? I don't want to talk to any one I know about it because it's too embarrassing. I actually had a crush on this guy, and I thought at the time that's what I was supposed to do. You see, he never raped me so, I didn't think it was that bad until I started having flashbacks.

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. First, I'm so sorry that you had to experience this when you were 7--and now again be so painfully reminded of it when you are 16. Although, I was not personally molested some of my closest friends were--and because of the nature of my work, which is broadly "women," I know that what you are experiencing is very common. In many instances we suppress these experiences because we can't deal with them or because we don't have the means to understand what has happened. These memories resurface when we are experiencing something similar, when we can no longer avoid it or when someone helps us to remember him or her. There are a few great books out there that can help you with this--and also some resources on-line. Some books you might want to reference are: Judith Herman's--Father Daughter Incest, and Trauma and Recovery; and Ellen Bass and Laura Davis' The Courage to Heal. You can order these books through the FEMINIST.COM bookstore. Also, if you look through past "Ask Amy's" you will see other resources that might be of help to you.

So you know that it isn't just me, I also wanted to share the thoughts of another FEMINIST.COM board member:

"I would EMPHASIZE that her feelings of embarrassment, fear and confusion are so normal. I would also say that she should not in any way feel bad or, more importantly, responsible for what happened. Obviously, it had a big impact on her and going forward from here is what's most important. You should probably advise her to seek the advice of a counselor, especially if she doesn't feel comfortable talking to anyone she knows about this. I would try to help her find a resource in her area."
I hope this helps. If not, please let me know how we can be of further assistance.


Amy

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