Letting go: The Babysitter’s Daughter

I’ve touched on the abuses of my days at the Babysitter’s house in a previous post. Now I want to tell the other part of that story. This is about The Babysitter’s Daughter.

This is the most personal, most raw story I think I could ever tell. I’m wanting to tell it now because it has coloured my life in ways I’m still discovering. It happened probably around 35 years ago and it burns in me with a growing pain that I can’t seem to escape. I’ve told the story to a few people, including a psychologist. Every time I tell it my heart feels a little lighter. I’m hoping that sharing it here will release that burden so much more. Holding the secret is too much to bear. Letting it go might just go some way to helping me move on. It might even explain a little bit about my character and why I am the way I am.

In confronting the story within myself I’ve used different ways to talk about it. I think I didn’t want to face what really happened. I’m not going to go into specifics here. They are too awful to share. The language I choose to use here I choose knowingly to protect myself. It will be somewhat obfuscatory but this is for my benefit.

Something happened to me when I was a little girl. Something that no little girl should ever have to go through. Someone abused my trust. Worse than that, this person abused me.

There is a misconception about child sexual abuse that dirty old men are the perpetrators. I am here to say that is not always the case. I was sexually abused at the age of 4 by a girl who was 15.

I didn’t know what what happening to me at the time. How could I? I was just a little child. I just knew that the babysitter’s daughter promised me something nice would happen but a nice thing didn’t happen. I processed the disappointment as her just simply lying to me. It wasn’t until many years later (around the age of 16) that I processed what really happened. I was pretty horrified when I thought of it but I was determined not to be a “victim of sexual abuse” so I used words and expressions that explained it away and played it down.

As I have grown into adulthood and now into middle age, I continue to reflect on what happened to me. That one incident has left me with serious trust issues, particularly with women. Actually, I have struggled throughout my life to have meaningful relationships with women. I do have female friends but I am far more guarded in any dealings with women than I am with men.

Having “issues” with women is probably one of the most damaging aspects of what happened. I could say that I sometimes even fear women. That might seem an odd thing to say because I am one…and that’s why it’s the most damaging thing.

I hated myself. I don’t trust myself. I interchange tenses here because this isn’t all in the past. I second guess myself. I question whether my motives are true and good. Or is my innate womanly evil manipulating me again. Yes, that’s how I felt…and, on bad days, how I still feel.

Fearing one’s own gender has lead me down a path of general self-loathing. It has really only been in recent years that I’ve developed any sense of true self-acceptance. Those who’ve known me well might attest to a version of me who puts on an act or that I “wear a mask”…which I actually blogged about way back in 2010.

Being comfortable in the company of women is something I have learned to do. Part of me still can’t fully relax. I value the female friends I have because they are so few and because they have, probably unknowingly, taught me how to be in the world as a functioning woman.

I’m not sure how to finish this post. The catharsis isn’t over and neither is the conversation. But that is as much as I can do for now.

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9 Responses to Letting go: The Babysitter’s Daughter

  1. X says:

    This is a very brave post to put out there and I think it’s awesome that you’re able to come out and say it. I understand not wanting to be defined as a victim of abuse, for myself I felt I had a stage of being a victim but I was always moving towards being a survivor rather than a victim. Survivor always felt stronger to me as it seemed to denote that I would win, that I wouldn’t let what happened destroy me. I think you’re a survivor too and I hope the catharsis of this post helps. Much love and well wishes. 🙂

  2. J says:

    Oh sweet Fi, that is so horrible… I myself was sexually abused as a child in a babysitter’s house by her male de facto partner. I can share some of your feelings of betrayal and difficulty with trust – and to this day I swear to my death I will never allow my children outside-the-family care except daycare centres and schools, not even best friends. But the blow to your identity… Wow I always knew you were gutsy but my respect for you for becoming a mother (and a bloody brilliant one) and a good woman (I think you are an excellent female role model) is now infinite! Thank you for sharing. If you would accept a hug, albeit virtual, it is given freely and absolutely!

  3. Nicole says:

    Wow Fi, you have amazing strength and courage to share your experiences. In all the years I’ve known you I never would have guessed you held this secret. I hope this post helps to bring the peace you need. Xx

  4. seanmurgatroyd says:

  5. Y says:

    Having been through something similar as a young child, your recent posts have stirred up a lot of old memories for me, some not so easy. You are brave beyond measure Fiona and indeed a survivor. Thank you for having the strength to share your story, you are truly an inspirational woman and mother.

  6. Laurel says:

    Dear Fi, can only hope others’ tears (and, being honest, anger) for your experience and its effects eases a little more of the burden. My heart aches that trust, of yourself and others, has had to be such a hard fought battle. You are a brave and beautiful person, may your journey to self acceptance become easier each day. Hugs.

  7. TRP says:

    Victim is not a word I chose to own. Neither is ‘brave’ one doesn’t chose to deal. One just does. Events from the past linger in your psyche. But they can be written over. My heart is with you Feebs. Xx

  8. I “Liked” in support, but have now gone back and “Un-Liked” in retrospect and respect. Just sending the support instead. I hope this comes with a vibe of friendship and solidarity that you will feel you can trust.

  9. Pingback: Still blogging after all these years | Bun-toting Librarian

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