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Here’s How I Overcame my Childhood Sexual Abuse Trauma, and I Hope You Can Too

Updated: 1 day ago


Without fear, there will be no courage. Without new action, there will be no change. Without empowerment, there will be no healing. Illustration by @futile_odds for P#T

When my friend Raisa (the founder of the P#T movement in Indonesia) first opened up about her story, it felt that it was appropriate for me to reflect a similar - to share my story and inspire action. This article was written upon request in 2018 and edited for the purpose of sharing on the P#T platform. Slight revisions in early 2024 to reflect changing views of the author.


BY LIM SHIN


This is an edited version of the original article first featured and published in English on Perempuan Tagar Tegar (P#T) on Christmas Day. The translated Bahasa version is available on the P#T website since mid-Jan 2019.


I Went Through an Incident of Sexual Abuse

I was a simple eight-year-old girl in Primary Two, and definitely not someone very exposed to the dualities of humanity at that time. Though I was relatively psychically sensitive as a child – my sixth sense and body (our body never lies) told me that something was not quite right, but at that time, I didn’t know how to react or respond.


My sisters and I were released early from school due to the annual sports festival but one stayed back due to prefect duties and another stayed back as she was still within the kindergarten's school day with my grandmother waiting for her at her school gates. And so, there was no one at home.


My uncle had entered my family apartment with keys from my grandmother, intending to retrieve an item he had left. That intention changed when the opportunity to commit the act presented itself in opportune time – with apparent low risks of getting caught: I had invited him to play with me. He was a fun and friendly adult under my impression who liked to tickle his nieces’ backs, gave them piggyback rides and never seemed to hurt anyone. Never would I have known that that neutral invite to play from a child could have roused to satisfy any sexual desires.


The playing in the form of tickling progressed from my calves to my inner thighs and resulted in genital contact and continuous grazing for the next estimated quarter to half an hour. I remember my peals of joy-filled child laughter simply reducing from entertained giggles to extremely uncomfortable stiffness.


When my grandmother came home with the alarming tinkering sounds of the gates, he quickly halted and shot me an awkward serious look seeming to hinge on fear, as if a signal to shut my mouth for as long as I could. It was like an ironic blessing in disguise from the Universe that it did not progress into situations of penetration. I was wise to fully avoid situations of being alone with him thereafter.


There could be many individuals out there, not just females, who may have had a similar or more unfortunate experience. I want to highlight through this article that you are not alone in this (extremely cliche) and you can untie yourself from this attachment and let go, that we have ironically tied ourselves to.


I Tried to Hide it with Other Life Goals, But the 'Unfortunate' too, Actually Gives Life's Learning Curves

I am happy that I am able to share my perspectives on the P#T platform after a conversation with Raisa and importantly, also here with the Reiki community.


By law, the term and act of ‘sexual molestation’ or 'outrage of modesty' is recognised as a crime in which certain professional institutions currently classify under ‘Sexual Abuse’ (which the phrase as defined by the standard dictionary, brings across a heavier connotation).


I kept silent about the incident for fifteen teenage years for various reasons, including not wanting to disrupt familial relationships and face the pouring fears of judgment and hurt.


I behaved as I normally did, acted like nothing had happened out of the contrary, and had brushed that memory aside while growing up. Common. But we must recognise and realise that we are simply building up habits of perpetual ignorance and escapism. As far as I was concerned then, that incident simply served to make me stronger mentally as an independent female – I had not allowed myself situations to be ‘vulnerable’ again and believed I was perfectly fine. (Believe it, it was damn freaking exhausting.) Through those years, my personality was burning with ambition and competitive desires to win in as many aspects as I could, to be ‘successful’ as defined in society's terms; a natural individualised result from self-protection and a twisted belief (which definitely wasn’t my calling as I came to understand subsequently but rather, an experiential process that led me to the path I will walk eventually).


That destructive ambitious drive had blinded me and hidden an injured persona and a trauma on the subconscious level that no one even myself had realised or woken up from then.


A turning point came in University when I finally grasped the fact that I was really not comfortable being with males alone then, even if the person in question was a close friend because that naive trust as a child was no longer unblemished. Being the contemplative and self-reflective person I was (and still am), I constantly queried myself on daily observations and strove to be better than who I was yesterday, every day.

And so I discovered something about myself: I had never known that something I brushed under those rugs decades ago still affected me and on such a deep level, though subtle; I was shocked. That moment sparked my journey inwards, a progressive journey of six-seven years of self-exploration and healing that would shift my perspectives of Life then. I was ready to acknowledge and accept my memories of what I had experienced.

How I Started My Journey Of Healing

That incident made me wise up by leaps; it allowed me to see clearly aspects of humanity that were far from the ‘unicorn-ish’ world we lived in as children. When there is white, there must be black. When there is good, there must be bad. The duality of this world is one of the natural laws of the Universe and cannot be denied.


To begin, Reiki played an appropriate kickstarting role in my healing journey, even as there were many avenues for making peace with my experiences. I was led to learn the Reiki practice by my inner wisdom, or whichever you liked to call it regardless of religion and beliefs. From the moment I signed up for it then, I knew I was in it for a pretty long run, regardless of whether the practice would stay with me all the way.

Reiki provided a safe and non-invasive, non-intrusive healing I needed on a deeper holistic level. It was personal and private (you may have a different experience compared to mine; Reiki experiences are unique to every person); there was no one to judge me, no one to call me ‘sick’.

Without even knowing or wanting to know the exact reason why, my heart gradually dropped the weight of that decades-long burden, releasing the trauma over those years. I also understood that an accumulated burden or issue would not be lifted in one day, it's like releasing the gas out of a filled balloon about to burst; there needed to be an appropriate flow of time to gently nudge us toward letting go and rediscovering our inner wisdom and ease.


I’m heartened to share my experience and journey with you here; every step I took was a decision I had made on my own accord and even if time was to turn back, I probably could not have made a different choice – I would not have known then in those circumstances and unable to steer away from the karmic pull.


Every step in our lives is a growth and learning by itself. I implore you to treasure your steps, to never regret your decisions, to cherish your place in this world and to love yourself. Do not be violent to ourselves. Show kindness to our bodies and souls through our daily actions and habits. Only then, can we start loving others and the world.

Every journey begins from inside your 'Self'. So start allowing yourself to be empowered; start allowing yourself to take your life by its reins. Have trust and faith in yourself and the divine - your challenges are thrown your way because you are so so capable of overcoming them. I cannot stress that more.

Last but not least, it is important to know that you shouldn’t have to struggle by yourself; find support, whether through your inner Buddha, God, Source, the Universe, your angels, guides, close friends and family or even external groups. I thank, if for not what I have gone through, I would not have become the person I am today. Regardless of what gender, ethnicity or religion you are, or what you have gone through, make a commitment to yourself to live your life well.

The beauty of Life can be very easily obscured by our tainted minds and injured hearts. When it gets tough, try going beyond your five senses; try closing your eyes, shutting your ears and switching off your senses for a moment; the words, sounds and feelings disappear, the judgment vanishes.

Then switch on your senses again, open your eyes and see and respond with clarity. The faster and braver you face your devils, the faster and cleaner they dissolve. And if you are curious on what happened to my story; there is no need to know actually; every incident and experience is about how we come to terms with it, positively move forward and take the necessary steps, whether in my shoes or in my uncle's shoes, the rest, is really not your business. Forgiveness rings. I can face the truth, my whole Self and everyone else. And now, I would like to pass on the gift of healing to you, via acceptance and acknowledgement.


While some of our experiences can seem nothing to most people, they can amusingly give us one of the toughest lessons to overcome.


When faced with overwhelming experiences in life, we can easily succumb to them and choose the easy way out by escape, which may manifest itself in the form of mental and emotional illnesses and subsequently physical illnesses or in extreme cases, severe depression and suicide. However, escape does not end your suffering.


You merely hide it temporarily while accumulating the burden and continue it either in the next phase of your current life or plainly, your next life. Facing up to it is the only way to get it out of your system.


Stay present and move forward, Life does not stay in the past; Life rises with the Sun every day.


I pray and urge that you may go above and beyond your own hurdles, trust wisely (instead of trusting naively) in all your situations and inspire others to do the same, making life decisions with clarity, wisdom and love.


I faced Life’s challenges courageously, will you too?


I do hope that you may receive inspiration and kickstart your inner journey in any way through my story, rediscover and bring out the courage, wisdom and peace that have always been inside you that you never thought you have.

"Perhaps the greatest irony of healing is that it occurs when we accept our felt experience, rather than rely on willpower or focused effort to get rid of the unwanted." —Josh Korda

Blessings,

Shin 💕


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Further Information: Can Reiki healing help me or my child?

Reiki is a spiritual practice that gently encourages our systems back to balance; deep healing from within is evoked when our nervous system is balanced. By moving towards balance, Reiki practice can help any one, including you or your child in any situation or challenge, even when it isn't the only help or support we may need. Reiki is also known as a health-promoting, non-invasive practice that eases discomfort and helps us to function better, without pharmaceuticals. Reiki practice is safe, and cannot interfere with any (medical) forms of care we are receiving. Read more about Reiki here.

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