Dear Dr. Archer,
First let me say I loved your " children tried as adults" blog. An effective sound bite I have used when proponents of the idea spout off, is " it makes as much sense to charge a child as an adult as it does to charge an adult as a child!"
Okay, my story, but first a question: Is it possible for someone who endured years of incest at the hands of their biological parents to have a normal adult relationship with the opposite sex? My dream has always been to help other people overcome what they consider insurmountable odds with my success story. Problem is, I have not become successful yet, and can barely support myself.
When my mother found my father with his hands in my diaper doing "inappropriate things," she dismissed it as being her imagination. Fast forward 14 years to where my memories of the incest began. My mom was doing one of her many stays in a nearby mental hospital, when I was left alone with my father. He informed me that it was time for me to take over the duties of the woman of the house since my mother was not there.
One evening he drugged me. I remember it being dad and myself in the living room. I couldn't make my body follow my mind's instructions, and I remember him coming over and pulling me out of my chair by my arms and dragging me to the bedroom where he had sex with me. This happened hundreds of times.
Add to this my other issues as a child of poverty, epileptic seizures, mentally ill mother, and I became one very angry and confused little girl. I acted out with drugs, promiscuous sex, breaking the law, getting in fights, etc. Then, before I knew it, I was a legal adult and charged with supporting myself in the world alone.
I have literally had 60 jobs in my life. I know this because of a social security print out. I have never held one over three months. I can maintain my mask for only so long, and then I will become tired of facing people and having to act a certain way; I will get panic attacks and I will have to leave.
I still suffer from extremely low self esteem, and feel that people I work with are better than me. If they knew my story I'm certain they would reject me. How ironic. As far as society's standards go, I am considered very pretty and very intelligent; I hold a Master's degree, and I have a patented invention and marketable ideas for many more.
I have volunteered in several capacities for the last 15 years, the last eight of which have been in hospice. I have started a couple of businesses, which ultimately did not work out, and now at age 45 am on SSI, but still plotting my successful future. I intend to take real estate classes in the spring.
It's funny how I can volunteer for years, but not hold a paying job for more than 3 months. I want to prove to myself, and to be an example for others so badly, that it is possible to overcome these sort of odds and that the average person can live the life they dream of living, no matter what. I pray I will be that example someday.
I pray to the God of the universe everyday to grant me the miracle of discovering where I sit in this world, and to guide me to the realization of my dreams. I respect and trust you, and this is why I felt good about opening up to you. I greatly welcome and appreciate any thoughts you may have.
Part of my urgency I felt in writing you comes from the fact that I have recently turned to having sex for money to support myself, because I feel I have tried everything else and I can't do it. I believe I can succeed in providing myself a decent life; I just don't know how.
I'm glad you enjoyed my article When Should A Child Be Charged As An Adult? It's a subject that touches each of us, and it's something that we need to talk more about. Juvenile crime affects you, me, society and our nation as a whole.
Childhood sexual abuse is devastating, but the fact that this happened at the hands of your father makes it even more hurtful for you, KC. The betrayal is immense, and the guilt, even though unwarranted, can be overwhelming. Even though you were an innocent, you still blame yourself and feel like a bad person who does not deserve success.
Victims of child abuse often resort to prostitution, KC, and I am not surprised you are making ends meet in this manner. It is one of the many consequences of sexual abuse, which ranges from chronic depression to low self esteem to multiple personalities. The dissociative signs of PTSD, chronic states of arousal, flashbacks and nightmares are also quite common.
You CAN turn your life around, KC. As long as you have breath in your body, you still have the capability to find meaning; and I think being a success story for others is important, but first you have to become a success in your own eyes.
I don’t think you will feel that way about yourself working as a prostitute, quite frankly. It may pay the bills, but you're 45 and this won’t be a viable option forever. It’s important you don’t give up and give in to this. Start looking for another job NOW.
Find a good counselor who specializes in childhood sexual abuse. You can recover from this! Be sure you are completely open and honest. Also, I suggest you keep volunteering, as this is an excellent way to help you feel good about yourself.
That you hold a Master's degree and a patent does not surprise me in the least. Many survivors of child abuse become overachievers. That you prostitute yourself doesn't surprise me, either. That's an easy way out.
Please seek help, and put your past to rest. You owe it to yourself to do that, KC. After you feel good about where you are, then you will be even more of an inspiration to others. Good luck.