Abuse and it’s consequences

When I was a child and young adolescent, I had several very inappropriate experiences with significantly older youth and with men. This was pretty hurtful to me. I ended up acting out sexually, promiscuously. I think there was connection, but who knows? I was in the time period of drug, sex, rock and roll, so perhaps my behavior would have been the same. But, I didn’t have any adult that I felt loved and respected me. I didn’t have any adult I felt I could talk to. I was in pain and bewildered and I didn’t know where to turn, so I tried turning to physical comfort, which turned into sexuality, which was not comforting at all. But, I didn’t know how to stop it.
When I had my children, I tried to tell them every way I could find that they could always talk to me, that I was a safe person for them, that their body was their own and no one else was allowed to touch them if it made them uncomfortable. But still, my younger daughter was molested by a family member and did not tell me for some time, during which time, the abuse continued.
When I found out about the abuse, I was very protective and I got her the best therapy I could find (I never felt that it was very helpful, but I knew she needed more than I know how to give to resolve it). I tried to give her privacy, but still check in that she was okay. I felt inadequate and scared for her and for me. But, I was very aware when she was moving into early and middle adolescence that the past could reach out and bite her again. I worried with some of her boyfriends – they reminded me of the abusive family member and I was scared for her. She turned out fine. She has tremendous emotional heath and resiliency and I believe she has a healthy sexual life and attitude.
Building relationship with your children, from the earliest possible time, so that they know they can trust you – this is the best protection you can give them. Without that foundation (which still wasn’t enough) my daughter might have gone on being molested for years. Instead, it stopped within 9 months of the first occurance, because she did finally tell me. Build your relationship with your children. Let them know that you will believe them and listen to them and consider what they say thoughtfully.