I was molested by my mother from the time I can remember (around age 5) until age 12. My father passed away when I was 3 and I never met him, so it was always just my mom and I. We lived with my grandparents in a separate wing of the house. My mom would use “bath time” to her advantage to fondle and molest me. She assured me that it was just to “make sure everything is okay.” I remember it feeling odd to me, but since she was my mom, I didn’t know any better. She would also do regular “checks” on my vagina as a child and always told me “I’m your mom. I have to make sure everything is okay down there.” So again, I never questioned this because I always assumed it was normal. She would also expose myself to her friends bragging that I had pubic hair at a young age. She would also insist on knowing the moment I started my period and what it was like in full detail. She would walk around the house naked, and again I never realized this was not a normal or common thing. As a child, she would have me come in to “talk” while she was taking a bath and expose herself to me and as I got slightly older, around age 10, started having me shave her legs for her. If I ever got embarrassed or tried to refuse, she would manipulate me into believing it was normal or give me a guilt trip that she just needed my help. It made me feel dirty and ashamed for thinking anything was wrong with it. For as long as I can remember, I was always a very sexual person and felt that was how I showed and received love, most likely because of my upbringing from my mom. I started entering into sexual relationships at the age of 15 with random men I would meet on the internet. I continued this unsafe behavior as an escape from everything that had happened in my childhood and as a way to block everything out. I believed this was the way to being accepted and loved. At the age of 20, I entered into yet another purely sexual relationship with a man 10 years older than me that I met online. This continued back and forth for several years with a lot of mind games and manipulation on his part. However, I was hooked and often did things I didn’t condone. However, when he requested something from me I was comfortable giving, he was not about to take “no” for an answer. I usually complied with all of his requests except this one instance. He told me to get out if I wasn’t going to obey him so I got up to leave when he grabbed me by the arm and told me I wasn’t going anywhere. He pushed me against his couch, pulled my pants down, and forced his fingers in my anus and told me this is what I was getting whether I liked it or not. I cried and asked him to just let me leave but that only made it worse. He threw me down on his floor and raped my anally. When he finished he screamed at me to get out of his house and never contact him again. I cried the entire way home shocked that someone I knew for years would take it this far. We always had a consensual sexual relationship up until that point. I felt like had I just gone along with his wishes, I could have avoided the rape. I blamed myself because I went there willingly so I questioned whether or not it was even rape. I also believed that I deserved it. Weeks passed and he contacted me apologizing trying to make light of the situation. Ultimately, I went back several times after until I finally reached a breaking point and sought professional help. I was diagnosed with a sex addiction likely due to my childhood trauma. I have eliminated all contact with him and have since tried to go about living a healthy lifestyle refraining from putting myself in dangerous situations and taking better care of myself.
— Survivor, age 26