My name is Carrie Aus. I am 36 years old and I am an empowered survivor of child sexual abuse. I say empowered because I have found the strength to step up and speak out. I have the ability to accomplish great things and help others see that it is okay to break the silence and find healing because of that strength.
I was 8 when it first happened to me and it occurred off and on for a year. When I wasn’t being sexually abused by one of my mom’s boyfriends, I was being physically abused by the other. It was a repetitious and vicious cycle because she was with one, they would break up. She would be with the second one, they would break up. This continued for a year. My dad had left the state to (he said) find work. He came back at the beginning of the summer, a whole year after he had left. At that point he took us and brought us out of state with him.
I was manipulated, threatened, confused and shamed into keeping quiet. I was made to believe that people would laugh at me, not believe me and that it was my fault that it happened. They threatened to kill my younger siblings and mom and they threatened to make the next time worse. I would pay if I ever told.
I was then having to deal with the after effects of the abuse. Things I didn’t have a name for and symptoms I couldn’t explain if and when I was asked. I kept quiet. I didn’t dare tell, but when I did tell the one church counselor (only after being promised it stayed in that room), he betrayed that trust. I was 11 at that time and he turned around and told the woman that was just our babysitter. She became my father’s second wife shortly after. I felt it was none of her business. She took that information and told my father that God had given her a vision of what we had been through and repeated word for word what had been said to the counselor. I trusted no one for a long time after.
The nightmares of those men coming to get me happened almost every night. I was angry all the time. Everything grew worse and worse and I came to the point of hopeless despair. I felt no one cared, not even God. How could He care? How could He allow something so horrible to happen? At 15 I planned my suicide. What hurt most is my dad making me feel like I didn’t matter. I wasn’t allowed to talk about the past or ask questions because it would “upset his wife”. We were forced to call her mom and she was the furthest thing from that. She had everyone fooled. I just wanted all the pain to go away.
I tested God. If He really cared, He would have things play out in a certain way. I had forgotten about my prayer until the Wednesday night before I planned to end my life. The youth pastor started and I slumped down in anger. I mumbled, “here we go with this how much God cares crap.” I heard a distinct voice, like it came from right next to me. “You asked for this, now listen.” God became very real to me in that moment.
I knew healing wouldn’t happen instantly, but I did have people in my life that cared, I could trust, listened to me and were able to help me. I worked hard on the problems one by one. It took me until I was in my mid-twenties before I was okay and at peace.
There are still things that make my heart race but I am able to face whatever it is and move on. I am trying to turn the bad into good by telling my story to help others. I write about it at www.exposingsexualabuse.WordPress.com
You are not alone. It is okay to speak up. There is help out there! You have nothing to fear or be ashamed of.