Speaking Out.

My name is Abigail. I am 31. I am a white, cisgendered, female, bisexual, college graduate. I am married. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and a rosebush at the corner of the deck of my rented house. I enjoy reading, knitting, and helping my husband with his latest crochet project [among other things]. I am disabled due to bipolar 2 disorder and fibromyalgia. I also have disability-level PTSD due to being sexually molested at 5 and at 16 by two different men, one of whom was my stepfather. I didn’t remember the sexual abuse for a long time – until I was 29. By then, I was separated from my emotionally neglectful first husband and was in an emotionally abusive polyamorous relationship with a man and another woman. When the poly relationship ended, I tried to kill myself – my third and most serious attempt in 5 years. I am now waiting to receive SSI benefits, because I cannot work out in the ‘regular’ world anymore.
If you met me, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell right away that I’m disabled. I don’t ‘look’ disabled – at least, that’s what many people have told me when I have disclosed to them the reality of my day-today life. And when I start to tell people about my childhood, I have to stop sometimes and laugh, because it sounds so unreal, so Jerry Springer-esque, even to me, at times. But it’s all true. I was forced to perform oral sex on an adult man when I was in kindergarten. I did have a gun held to my chin when I was being raped at 16. I did have to watch my stepfather throw my mom around like a ragdoll when I was a junior in high school, while I was simultaneously earning a place on the honor roll and acting as vice-president of the Latin Club and holding down a part-time job at the local gas station. I did weigh 115 pounds at that time, at a height of almost 5’7”, because I was throwing up almost every day and could barely keep anything of nutritive value in my stomach.
I don’t tell many people about my childhood. Like many survivors, I have a really hard time trusting anyone. And, well, I don’t look like what most people consider to be a domestic violence victim. I’m well-spoken. I’m happily married. My only scars are from self-inflicted injuries [and you have to look pretty close to see even those]. But I am a survivor. And finally, I am proud of myself for the woman I have become, and am still becoming.
If you’re reading this, and you’re a survivor, I am proud of you, too. All of we who have survived this crap that the wider world so clinically calls ‘domestic violence’ are amazing, and beautiful, and wonderful. Whoever and wherever you are, I am giving you the biggest high-five there is. And if you are reading this and you are being abused and haven’t been able to get out of it yet, I am sending you my love and my encouragement. No one deserves to be treated like garbage – it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or how you got into the situation. You are worthy of love, and respect, and to be treated well. You can get out of it and get through it. I believe in you.
Thank you for reading.

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