Dang girl how old were you when you started having sex? My response typically became something like “yes I started early” or " probably the same age as you but I got caught and you didn’t”.

Defense became the means to some what protect my exterior because, deep inside I was filled with hurt and shame. Typically I’ve been they type of individual to feel the need to laugh instead of crying. So many of my family and friends can attest to my absolutely hilarious and comical personality. This seemingly developed as a way to cope with some of the most difficult situations.

I can admit that I am one of the most sincere and sentimental persons ever. Many probably would not believe this because of the tough girl persona I carried for many years.

Crazy thing is I desired affection but I felt awfully uncomfortable displaying that I actually enjoyed a hug or two every now and then. Partially because displays of affection had confused me due to elders insinuating the need for attention as a youth.

It’s like if you accept a hug you’re promiscuous, and if you don’t you’re mean. I was confused and quite unsure of what was appropriate in regards to intimacy.

Somewhere in the midst of trying to figure out what was acceptable and what wasn’t regarding intimacy I lost understanding.

Within my career, I have for some reason managed to bond with girls who’ve experienced sexual abuse. I could never understand how I could relate. I knew there was a reasoning for my encounters with so many girls. It took some time to figure out the connection.

I feel as though sometimes when traumatic situations happen we don’t always understand the extent of the event. Some how I managed to tuck away in the back of my mind some really uncomfortable situations and things that a young girl should have never experienced.

I can remember vaguely interactions from one person in particular as young as 11years old. This particular person wasn’t much older than myself. I do now know, that the type of things that were done to me was a violation to me sexually. At the time when the violations occurred I didn’t tell anyone. For some reason, I felt it was my fault or that I would be punished or blamed. The situation took me right back to the fact that I was already labeled as “fast”.

Some how throughout life I kept this secret until about two years ago when I was riding with my mom. I heard the voice of God say to me Annette you can relate to the individuals who’ve crossed your path and have been sexually abused. I don’t know how I hadn’t addressed or spoke of the situation for some many years. It just didn’t make sense to me. Maybe God was shielding me from my own demons until I was ready to confront them.

I do understand now that due to that abuse the blinders were pulled from my eyes early in life. There is a certain type of innocence that children possess. I'm well aware that my innocences was not very lengthy. When you endure things sometimes it opens a portal for the enemy to manipulate your mind and entice you to align with things that you may not intend to overtake you.

I know that my innocence was stripped from me. I also know that I didn’t deserve what took place. So when I hear others say they didn’t speak up or they weren’t ready. I truly understand. It’s so much easier for someone looking from the outside to try and determine the best time for someone to share pain or hurt. Tragedy and abuse manipulates your heart, mind, body and soul!

I felt embarrassment regarding the violations. It opened my soul to many other demons. I begin to feel worthless, insecure, angry, defensive and even sexual. I didn’t like anything related to sex at the time but as I got older I felt obligated in situations to give myself, so that I wouldn’t be violated without permission. Either way I was still violating my body. Every victim handles abuse differently. Many others feel opposite. They want absolutely nothing to do with sex, con sensual or non consensual. I can only speak for my feelings regarding my abuse.

I didn’t like what happened to me but I was to embarrassed and scared to speak up. I just knew I was about to put a target on my back. Although the abuse was from someone close in age, it still was abuse.

I still have a hard time understanding why I didn’t handle things differently but I am grateful that God kept me in-spite of.

Some of us carry tough exteriors because we are honestly unsure of boundaries. I’m learning to dig deep to get to the root of those uncomfortable places. I want to be able to help others become healed through my own healing.

Be sure to consistently ask your kid(s) questions about interactions with others. They won‘t always be willing to speak up. Abuse is a very uncomfortable conversation. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation you may be saving someone’s life!!! In order to heal we must start from the root.

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