The Boy Next Door...

Dear Dr.Patti

My name is Shannon and I'm 15, and I live in Canada. I was molested when i was 8 and it ended right before i turned 10. The guy who did it was my brothers best friend. He lived behind me and still does. In the beginning he just started touching me and a little while after he started making me give him oral sex. After he realized i wouldn't tell, he started making me have sex with him. This went on for almost 2 years. My brother caught him touching me and told my mom and the next day i had to go down to the police station to file a report. Nothing happened to the guy. He was 14 so they said all they could do is recommend counseling but nothing happening to him was my fault because i didn't tell them how far it really went. I only told them it was touching. I didn't really think about what had happened to me so i wasn't really ashamed or anything but during October 2007 my dad was falsely accused of statutory rape. He didn't do anything to the girl that lied about it. So when all of this stuff started to happen my situation started reoccurring in my head. I had already been depressed before this and I'd been cutting since i was 12. after this all happened with my dad the cutting started getting a lot worse. I started seeing a therapist and I've been hospitalized once. While i was in the hospital i had to talk about the sexual abuse. And when i got out i finally told my therapist what had happened. I told her he made me give him oral sex and i realized me not telling her the complete truth wouldn't help. So i told her about 2 months ago that he raped me. My parents know that he made me give him oral sex but they don't know he raped me. I don't want them to know. Since i started thinking about the rape and confronting it, the shame and guilt have arrived. i feel so ashamed of what happened because i didn't stop it and i actually did it. i feel guilty because i think its my fault. Ive come to accept that this is apart of my past, but I'm not comfortable with it and i really wish it didn't happen! I don't know what i can do to be okay again. He took something from me. He took my childhood, my soul, and my body. I just want to get everything back. I want to feel like ill be okay again and i need to feel alright about it or else I'm not going to be able to stop cutting. The cutting isn't the only thing the rape has brought to my life. Ive started binge drinking, overdosing on pills, smoking, and snorting pain killers. I hate what I've become and i know its my fault because i let my life get to the point its at now. I just think me coming to an understanding of what happened to me will help.

What can i do to get my life back on track? My therapist doesn't know about the pills, drinking, and the smoking. How do i tell her i think i need to be hospitalized again? And how do i get the courage to do that?


Dr. Patti responds:

Dear Shannon;

         Ok here is what I have to say: First of all you are a very bright young woman. I can tell that from the way you have written down what has happened to you. You are clear about what happened, clear about how hard it was to tell, clear that you are self destructive now. I find that there can be more things happening in a girls life than only the abuse that make her cut and drink and take pills. I am guessing that there are issues with your parents. That somehow you do not totally trust that they will take care of you emotionally for some reason. Perhaps they are not strong enough? Perhaps they love you but you do not trust the love? I am glad that you are in therapy.

         I am glad that you told your therapist about the rape. I am glad you are getting help. Now.... When you tell me: "Ive started binge drinking, overdosing on pills, smoking, and snorting pain killers. I hate what I've become and i know its my fault because i let my life get to the point its at now. I just think me coming to an understanding of what happened to me will help," I have to take this very seriously. You are totally correct that understanding what happened to you will help you. But you are engaged in really dangerous behaviors. Please tell your therapist. I think you could print out your email and my response. That would be an easier way to tell her/him. You need to tell about the behavior. I understand you are feeling the shame and the guilt. Have you read "Invisible Girls: The Truth About Sexual Abuse"? Has your therapist? I will be happy to send you a copy of the book.

         I want you to keep going forward with your healing. I am guessing if you see this abuser in the neighborhood, it is difficult.... This abuse is not your fault. You need to understand why you did not tell your parents..... You probably believed they could not stop it, or help you. Please read or re-read "Invisible Girls" - there are so many girls that also carried around shame and guilt, and now they are doing great! You can too! You may be right about the hospitalization if you cannot feel safe. But first talk about all of this with your therapist. I am really impressed with your clarity and strength! Write back.

................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.

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