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I'm having a hard time figuring out if several incidents were sexual abuse or just really bad bullying. The first incident happened when I was in 5th grade but I can't recall the actual events - just what happened before and afterwards. The even that I do recall was when I was in 7th grade and a group of peers pushed me to the floor, pulled down my pants and anally penatrated me with an object. The definition of sexual abuse I've been able to find says the child has to be 3 or more years older than you. These kids were the same age as me. Was it sexual abuse or bullying?
 

HA

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Welcome feelingconfused,

I can't imagine that a group of kids in 7th grade would do such a thing. You were sexually abused. Did these kinds of things happen on many occasions?
 
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Yeah. The physical stuff lasted 7 years and the terror and vanadlism lasted almost 20 years because they past it on to their younger siblings to do. They did stuff like burn a cross on my front yard, shot fire crackers off under my vehical and threw a molly (it won't let me write the word even though it's a clean word) bomb on my front porch during the 20 years (among other stuff)
 

HA

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What a frightening and painful childhood you have had, Feelingconfused. I hope you had adults in your life who helped you. I'm assuming that your post here about being confused around if your experiences were just bullying or sexual abuse, means that you have not talked with a therapist about these things. Try and find yourself a therapist to go over your abuse experiences with. That will take care of all of your confusion and heal the wounds of trauma.

Here is a link that discusses the effects of community violence.
http://www.ncptsd.org/facts/specific/fs_child_com_viol.html

To maybe give you some hope...here is a link on youth violence prevention.
http://www.safeyouth.org/scripts/teens/community.asp
 
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I'm fortunate enough to have a real good therapist who told me that it was sexual abuse. Even though logically I could understand why she felt so, emotionally I can't accepted it. I was hoping to hear from several people how they felt about it to confirm or deny the reality of the situation.
Another thing that is making it hard to accept is all of the books I've read have talked about the abuser being older and responsible. Out of the 8 books I've read there's been no mention about same age kids. It's always an older person, usually a relative or a friend of the family and results in fondling or intercourse. There's nothing written that is similar to me which is another reason why I'm having a hard time accepting it.
 

David Baxter

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confused, the age and relationship of the perpetrator may make a difference in terms of the long-term effects on the victim but it doesn't alter that it was abuse and in your case assault and harrassment.

Under the law, in most cases if no force or coercion is involved, the "5-year" rule of thumb will come into play. In your case, since it also involved assault and pjhysical restraint, even that doesn't apply.
 
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feelingconfused said:
I'm fortunate enough to have a real good therapist who told me that it was sexual abuse. Even though logically I could understand why she felt so, emotionally I can't accepted it. I was hoping to hear from several people how they felt about it to confirm or deny the reality of the situation.

I definitely agree that it was abuse. I'm so sorry that you went through that.

Why do you think you're having so much trouble accepting it emotionally? I can relate to that. There are things that have happened in my life that I just cannot call abuse and I'm not sure why.
 
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I have no idea why I can't call it abuse. We've spent at least part of my last 4 or 5 sessions talking about what's making it hard and I'm no closer to understanding it. I just know I don't want it to be true. It's easier to think of it as it was explained to me when it was happening and that was that it was bullying and it's just part of growing up.
 

HA

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Feelingconfused,

I think you are right that not seeing any literature or personal examples that are similar to yours, would make it more confusing. It is probably easier to accept that as a boy (if this is your gender) you were just being ganged up on and beaten/roughed up versus sexually abused. There would be less shame in being beaten. The only comparison that I can think of is the sexual assault of male prisoners by other male prisoners. Perhaps the same pathology was involved with the group who hurt you.

Maybe this happens more often but is not reported or talked about and that may be why you don't see it in the literature.

You did not deserve to have these terrible things happen to you. Is it possible to take legal action against your perpetrators?

Dr Baxter, what is the 5 yr rule?
 
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I'm not really interested in seeking legal action. I just want to stop the flashbacks and physically build myself back up to where I can run a few blocks or physically fight back if I was attacked. Right now I have problems lifting more than 70 lbs. I also want to make peace with it inside myself. All the kids have moved out of the neighborhood and the last of the physical attacks happened over 15 years ago. Making adults pay for what they did as kids (with the exception of the group leader) doesn't feel right. The group leader I wish would rot in hell but since I still live in the house next to her's I know her adult life is no picnic. She doesn't even come home during the holidays. She was involved with drugs in high school so her life is either messed up enough to be incarcerate somewhere or she's dead. Either way I don't want to let her know how bad she hurt me.
Along with not really being interested in seeking retribution is I don't think my parents will acknowledge it. Their the ones who told me it wasn't that bad, that it was just part of growing up, etc. Confronting my parents by taking action on this would bad. I don't think I could handle them denying the severity of what happened.
 
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feelingconfused said:
Along with not really being interested in seeking retribution is I don't think my parents will acknowledge it. Their the ones who told me it wasn't that bad, that it was just part of growing up, etc. Confronting my parents by taking action on this would bad. I don't think I could handle them denying the severity of what happened.

Maybe that's part of why it is so hard to call is abuse? If you just call it bullying then you don't have to face the pain of your parents not admitting how severe this really was.

Also to me, not admitting it is also not admitting how powerless I felt and how afraid I was. Maybe that's part of it too?

I hope I'm not causing you any pain by asking these questions. I am just so sorry for all that you went through.
 
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I don't feel any pain about writing about what happened. It would be harder face to face. To have my parents deny what happened to me would be devistating so therefore I won't risk talking to them about it. I tried a few years back before I knew it was anything other than bullying and they denied it then. I don't think calling it by what it is is going to make them change their view of how they see what the kids did and their roll in allowing it to continue or not protecting me (depending on which way they see it).

I'm not sure if calling it as abuse is to avoid feeling powerless or not. I just know sexual abuse is a very serious thing and I feel like I don't qualify as such (mostly because I can't find anything in writing that's similar to what happened to me). Even when I thought it was just bullying I had a hard time accepting that I was powerless to stop it. My therapist has gone as far as having me look at photos, a t-shirt that I wore when I was the age it started (for some reason I saved it for over 20 years. The thread desolved but the material was still there) and talk to a 2 kids who are close to that age to see what their thought process was like. I still think I should have been able to stop it.
 

David Baxter

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HeartArt said:
Dr Baxter, what is the 5 yr rule?
It's a rule of thumb defining whether sexual contact between two individuals may be considered sexual assault even if no force was used and the "victim" either gave consent or did not resist the sexual approach. For example, if a 20 year old man were to have sex with a 13 or 14 year old girl, he would be charged with sexual assault whether or not she consented. However, in some jurisdictions, as long as not force or coercion was used, the individual may not be charged if he is not at least 5 years older.

In practice, this depends on the age of the victim as well as the age of the perpretrator but it is sometimes used as a rough guide.

Of course, if the act involves force, coercion, or threat, there would be a charge of sexual assault anyway, providing the perpetrator was old enough to be charged.
 

HA

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Feelingconfused,

Were they children when they threw a bomb on your porch among other things?

I always thought art therapy would be really useful for sexual assault traumas. Maybe through art therapy you could begin to call it what it was and make peace with it.

I'm sorry to hear that your parents thought of your horrible experiences as just a part of growing up. I lived on an army base for all of my childhood and teen years and there were many kids. I had never even heard of what you experienced. It most definitely is not a normal part of growing up.

I hardly think it would be possible to fight off a *group* of kids let alone prevent it from happening to you.

{{Healing hugs for you}}
 
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The kids were somewhere between 12-15 years old. I don't remember what year this happened in. I just remember stupid stuff like my parents telling me not to look out the door and that my little sister was upstairs sleeping and thinking we wouldn't have been able to reach her if the house caught fire. I remember it was cool out but not cold enough to wear a coat. Most likely beacuse of how dark it was and this happened between 8 & 9 at night it should have been after the clocks changed.

I had the opportunity to switch to an art therapist when my therapist was away on vacation. She was o.k. and worth trying, but I liked my current therapist too much. We do do non-verbal therapy though in the form of sandtray work from time to time. Unconsciously it helps the process even though I don't understand how because after doing a few trays, new matieral comes up or we're able to talk about things in a new light.
 

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