Always Be Aware.

95% of child sexual abusers are known to the child.  The younger the victim, the more likely the abuser is a family member – in my case, my paternal grandfather.  He not only groomed me, he groomed my parents AND my grandmother.  She knew what was happening and did nothing to stop him, making her guilty as well.  Using my molestation in the summer of 1994 as an example, here are four signs to take caution of.

Child Sexual Abusers:

1.  Are ALWAYS available to take care of your child.
My paternal grandparents were ALWAYS our caregivers when they visited us or when we visited them.

2.  ALWAYS gives your child special treatment.
He ALWAYS called me his “favourite granddaughter”.  I remember when he saw my 10th grade school picture, he couldn’t stop gushing over it, telling me how beautiful I looked, that I was all grown up, blah, blah, blah.  When I visited my grandparents in 1997, three years after the last time time he molested me, I noticed that that school photo was framed in my grandparents room.  My siblings school pictures?  Outside in the living room.  Did my parents notice it?  Nope.

3.  ALWAYS gives your child gifts and showers your child with never ending compliments.
One of our summer routines included our grandfather taking my siblings and I to the corner store.  Guess who never had to share her candy?

4.  Manipulates you, the parent, to spend time alone with your child, or ALWAYS finds the time to be alone with your child.
He would molest me after lunch, when my siblings were outside playing with my grandmother, and I would be inside the house trapped with him.  My grandmother’s “job” was to usher my siblings out of the house right after lunch, while letting me know, as the eldest, it was my job to wash the dishes.

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Cut Through.

I have been asked quite a lot about why I used to cut and what led me to it.  I share with you an excerpt from an email I sent to a close friend.

When we met I was already cutting.  I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t really “dead” and in actuality, I was indeed living in Hell on Earth.  I started out making “points” on my skin of the constellation Orion (The Hunter) with a sharp pencil.  As an astronomy geek, I knew that Orion can be seen from anywhere in the world, and that comforted me, something constant in my fucked up life.  Dotting and tracing wasn’t exactly cutting, so I guess that doesn’t count.  A bobby pin was my first instrument of choice.  I broke it in half and removed the protective coating that makes it dull.  Then I would use a Swiss army knife, cutting characters onto my thighs.  I then progressed to the elusive box cutter.  I would cut “Samurai” in Kanji (Japanese) on my left thigh and on my right, “Warrior” in Chinese characters.  Kanji was easier, 3 cuts, Warrior took time.  It made me feel in control and in some way, having Samurai Warrior inscribed in my skin was more like an act of affirmation rather than self-injury, staring at it in the middle of night, terrified to go back to sleep because of recurring nightmares that would make any modern day scary movie look like a cartoon.  In the morning I would lie on my bed, with my legs propped up so it would be looking back at me.  Sometimes I would recut, bleeding and repeating it to myself until I believed it, and that I could leave my room and face the outside, this war zone, a world I knew from a very young age was not safe and I had lacked the weapons to survive.  I would stand in the shower and look at those two words trying to feel that I was that…and I would watch the blood from “Samurai Warrior” flow down and mix with the water.  The cuts made my whole body burn.  I would feel it underneath my clothes.  I was numb.  I was dead; a walking corpse.  Blade to skin was the only way I could check to see if I was still alive. 

Thank You.

I woke up on my 34th Birthday with one intention: let love in.

I was thrilled by all the Birthday wishes I wholeheartedly received that day as I continue my journey back to a connection with my body, a soul case that has, for most of my life, been a stranger to me. My day of birth has never been easy, and like many things in this world, I have a detachment from it. Being forced to evacuate my body at 4 years old because a monster made a choice to invade and steal my childhood is the primary reason that I have always woken up on the seventh of every July with an unexplainable emptiness. I would always ask myself, “How can I celebrate a life that I can’t wholly remember and was not allowed to live properly?” It has only been in the past three years that I have started to “like” it, but it was always a game day decision; whatever I felt when I woke up on my Birthday was the wave of emotion that I was going to ride.

It has been a little over twenty months since my first speaking engagement, and the number one question I get asked is why I have chosen to do “this” publicly, why I choose to blog, to speak, to rant, to rave. My answer has stayed the same; nothing positive came from staying silent. In silence, I was cutting, purging, bingeing, over exercising, depressed, suicidal, you name it, it was happening. I don’t know about you, but I like the whole Breaking My Silence thing a whole lot better. I woke up on the morning of my thirty fourth with no shame of my traumas and acceptance that I will never receive apologies from my abusers. But I have also accepted that as long as I am alive, I will always be a work in progress, and that I am living life with intention now, instead of waiting to die. Thank you to everyone that has stood by me, you guys are my real family. And to those that have walked away, you guys have been my greatest teachers, teaching me that rejection is protection in disguise, and that silence is, I believe, a staple in the cultural identity of Asians.  I am thankful to these people for clearing so much room for amazing possibilities. My fellow survivors, in the wake of our monsters destructions, we will always rise victorious. One day at a time. ‘Coz they win when your soul dies.

10 Warning Signs Of Possible Child Sexual Abuse.

This list are warning signs that I exhibited and my parents missed.

1. Nightmares. (I have not slept through the night since I was 14.)
2. Bedwetting. (Defense mechanism)
3. Easily startled when touched or if a particular person enters the room.
4. Suicide attempts.
5. Self-injury. (My mutilation of choice was cutting, over exercising coupled with under eating.)
6. Sudden changes in school performance.  (I went from being on the top of the Honour Roll to sitting in detention during Summer School.)
7. Overly protective and concerned for siblings. (He threatened that he would go to my little sister instead if I didn’t comply.)
8. Wearing very loose-fitting clothing or more clothing than the weather requires. (Scarves in the summer anyone?  Yup.  That was me.)
9. Outbursts of anger. (Demotion of a belt rank in tae-kwon-do, yellow and red cards at field hockey games…)
10.  Dissociation. (Unexplained crying, blanking out, unresponsiveness)

10 Child Sexual Abuse Statistics

  1. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  2. 95% of sexual offenders are known to the child. Only 5% are strangers.
  3. 84% of sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence.
  4. 453 pedophiles were collectively responsible for the molestation of over 67,000 children, averaging 148 children per individual.
  5. 3 to 8 years is the most likely age for children to be exposed to sexual assault.
  6. 71% of sexually abused women were first abused under the age of 12.
  7. In 98% of reported child abuse cases, children’s statements were found to be true.
  8. 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse.
  9. 73% of child victims do not tell about the abuse for at least 1 year.  45% do not tell for 5 years; some never disclose.
  10. As high as 81% of men and women in psychiatric hospitals have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse.  67% were abused as children.

The “missing” letter.

September of last year I had messaged my Uncle on Facebook asking if he knew the whereabouts of the letter.  After telling my parents about my molestation, I decided to write my “Grandfather” a letter, which was to be mailed to my Uncle, who was going to pass it on to him.  Imagine my surprise when my Uncle replied four days later saying that “I don’t think I ever saw this letter and if I did I don’t have a copy of it.”  Bullshit.  He was the appointed messenger.  And I wrote that damn thing twice.  So not only did he lie about ever seeing it, he then downsized my ten year ordeal to an incident.  Isn’t an incident something like accidentally rear ending somebody in the parking lot of a shopping mall?

Okay, I guess then that letter has conveniently gone missing, swept under the proverbial rug of The Cultural Code of Silence.  Surprise, surprise.

It’s a good thing I remembered what I wrote, huh?

I started off the letter with, “Do you remember the summer of 1994? I do. I remember everything. You have murdered my childhood.”

“I am writing this as a living corpse.  I am numb.  The only way I can feel alive is to put a blade to my skin and cut. The blood signifies that I am unfortunately still here.”

Then I made some points very clear to him.

– “I have told my parents.”

– “You will never see me again.”

– “I cannot wait to get married and take on a last name that I could be proud of.”

– “You will never meet my future husband and my future children.”

– “I am in prison for the rest of my life for your crime.”

– “I will never know what it will be like to lead a normal life.”

– “I pray you die alone.  I pray you die slowly, just like how my death was.”

–  “On the day of your death, I will smile and laugh.  I will come to your funeral wearing the brightest colours to celebrate your impending arrival into Hell.”

———-
My “family” can keep the original letter.  It has probably collected a lot of dust anyway.  I wonder what else is under there?

Nothing will stop me.

“Even if you are in the minority of one, the Truth is still the Truth.” – Mahatma Ghandi.