What do I do about long forgotten abuse?
October 7, 2013 2:38 PM Subscribe
The short version: I was sexually abused as a child and my abuser recently tried to get in touch with me. I declined contact but I'm worried that he'll try again. So I'm wondering about my recourse.
posted by anonymous to law & government (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The long version: When I was 12 or 13 I dated 19-year-old guy. We didn't live that close to each other and so opportunities for private physical contact were few and far between anyhow. So we talked on the phone a lot. But there was one occasion on which we ... I guess ... fooled around. I don't think you need the precise details. But my very strong memories of that afternoon were of being kind of frightened and having to be coaxed into touching him. Probably because I was 13 years old and he was 19 and it was totally inappropriate.
Recently I happened to take a workshop about sexually abused youth that got me thinking about that afternoon. In this workshop, we talked about victims of sexual abuse and particularly the idea that sometimes young teens either like the sexual contact or they're torn by mixed feelings about their experience, and in either case it is still abuse. All these lights went on for me. "ooooh, that was sexual abuse. That was me being molested. That was not even remotely me being so cool and mature that a guy who was almost a grown man was interested in me." It has been kind of liberating to recognize it for what it was. A lot of other things about my adolescence make sense in that context. I didn't take the opportunity to talk to my husband about what I went through, though. It felt private. It still does.
It only happened the once. He went off to be a forest fire fighter or something and we talked on the phone a lot and eventually lost touch, though I also remember that I felt like I should avoid being actually alone with him after that day because I was pretty sure what we did was "not okay."
So okay, I haven't seen him in more than 20 years. And who the hell knows but I don't really think he's actually a menace to society or a serial child molester. I think he was not that old himself. I don't have any interest in prosecuting him now, but I am definitely not interested in seeing him again either. I live far from where I lived then, both were big cities. It didn't seem that likely that I'd run into him.
But then this morning I get this chipper message from LinkedIn that is all "Hey, hey! Blast from the past!" and I'm standing at my desk talking to my husband about dinner tonight and what time I'll be home and trying to figure out, do I tell him about this? Right this second? Ever?
On LinkedIn, it was easy enough to "refuse" the message with "No opinion at this time" which is part of the weirdness of LinkedIn, but I did that. I thought about what to say and realized I shouldn't/don't have to/don't want to say anything. So I just refused the contact without explanation.
But now I'm worried that he is going to try to reach out through some other avenue and I really don't want anything to do with him and I don't want to have to be the one to explain to him that he molested me because I really don't want to actually argue about whether or not it was abuse. I was 13 years old, he was 19. Ipso facto, it was abuse.
I don't know what to do. I guess I am looking for some clean lines to use if he doesn't take the hint. And some guidance. How do I deal with this if he does try again?