Coming (literally) into Personal Sexual Empowerment, Freed from the Shackles of Trauma
*content warning: descriptions of rape and sexual abuse*
Article was originally written in August of 2018
Emma is a Chakrubs customer who wanted to have her writing shared on our blog based off her experience with her Chakrub. If you ever would like to send us a bit of writing to post, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was a child, I was sexually abused and raped by a woman over some years. This older woman invaded and exploited my tiny body in ways I could not comprehend, could not allow myself to think of. I can still see myself on the floor, dress lifted up. I often cry for my past self, my previously so innocent soul.
I’m very open about what happened to me as a child. I have spent too much of my life wounding myself by keeping it a secret, even from myself. I no longer feel any shame about what happened to me. All the shame belongs to the pedophilic woman who so hurt me.
Not only am I open about my past for my own well-being, but I am open for other women with broken children inside them. In Australia, where I am from, University studies have shown that 20.6% of women report non-penetrative childhood sexual abuse before the age of 16, and 7.9% of women report penetrative childhood sexual abuse. (CASA).
This is a truly horrifying number of little girls being so violated, but when it is known that most survivors of childhood sexual abuse never disclose what happened to them, this number is likely higher. This is why I am open about my abuse. Too many times have I shared my story, only to be told by someone that they experienced a similar thing, and had never told anyone before. Abuse thrives in darkness, and so does a misplaced shame that sits rotten inside someone. I desperately need both of these things to change. Some of you reading this will know this weight inside you all too well. I write this for you.
My abuse left me with severe mental illnesses, issues with self-harm, among other things. But one thing it really damaged that I want to talk about now was parts of my sexuality. My abuse had a huge effect on my ability to be intimate with myself, and in some ways, others.
Having had an older woman violate me before I really knew about the sexual part of sexual organs, I was left with a sense of disgust, dirtiness and violation whenever I thought about a vagina. I have struggled a lot with ‘stage fright’ in front of male sexual partners, who I couldn’t believe found my body parts and their responses to pleasure attractive.
I came out as bisexual late last year. As a child I had been curious about my female friends in a way I knew wasn’t always reciprocated. But this subconscious (I was very unaware of it until I began to process everything that happened to me properly) disgust I felt around the sexual organs of a female, stopped me from acknowledging my attraction to some women for a long time. Even still, I feel nervous to write vagina. I realized only incredibly recently that a little part of me feared that if I was attracted to women, I was just like the woman (who is married to a man) who abused me, a child. Clearly this thinking was misguided, but trauma creates a lot of mental tangles.
What has been most damaged is my relationship with my own body and sexuality, unrelated to others. I’d very occasionally finger myself, but it was rushed, it was robotic, it was because I knew I was supposed to enjoy it. And it wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t have cared if someone told me I could never do it again.
Masturbation has always been accepted as a part of life for men but seen as shameful for women. There’s a pretty clear feminist issue involved in this notion – that men get to be in charge of their own sexual pleasure, and can choose to have that pleasure whenever they like, but for a woman to give this to herself, rather than be given it by someone else, that’s shameful.
In the last year I had begun talking to the young women in my life about masturbation. My friends enjoyed it much more than I did. I learnt from my friends and from a few different blogs around female sensuality that a lot of this increased pleasure was thanks to a sex toy. As I researched more into this world of pleasure, through blogging women like Juliet Allen especially, I discovered Chakrubs. I loved crystals and the energies they bring me within my normal life. I loved the idea of feeling this deeper understanding and connection to my own body through self-pleasure my friends described. My heart was heavy and sad knowing I wouldn’t be able to use one of these crystal wands.
I didn’t know if I would ever be able to have access to my personal sexuality like that, I thought it had been stolen from me. I was gutted, I felt simultaneously hopeless and furious to learn of another thing my abuser had robbed me of.
A little part of me had hope though. I’d come an incredibly long way since my abuse; maybe I could grow and heal more. For months and months I had a tab from the Chakrubs site open on my phone. I decided that if I were ever going to have an object to help me, it would be a crystal. I deserved it if I ever got there.
I also decided that if I were ever to get a sexual object, a partner would have to give it to me. I still felt I wasn’t allowed to please myself if I hadn’t been granted that pleasure by another. Perhaps being used as a child like that, treated as an object, did this to me. Having someone place their sick and twisted pleasure above my entire wellbeing – my mental health, bodily health, my childhood, my innocence, my entire being, meant I thought I didn’t deserve pleasure, or that my feelings in general were not as important as someone else’s.
A fair few months ago, I was seeing someone who talked to me about masturbating for longer periods of time. He encouraged me to spend time becoming intimate with myself – giving myself time, allowing myself pleasure, and feeling that physical euphoria that cannot help but seep into your mental wellbeing, creating contentedness within yourself and your body. I tried it, and it was a better experience of self-pleasure than I had had before, but I thought again of the women around me who told me their hands could do nothing compared to what their ‘eggs’, ‘wands’ and vibrators could.
A few weeks ago, I was spending a lot of time with someone before I left to go overseas. He had known me back when I was younger, when I was, in private, struggling deeply with mental illness. Reconnecting, no longer freshly teenagers, he was kind, gentle, supportive. He knew about what had happened to me in the past (I now make sure to tell anyone I’m seeing intimately about it, as in the past I’ve had flashbacks while being intimate with someone that could have been avoided if I’d told them certain things that triggered me).
This person had a small, silver vibrating ‘egg’ with a remote attached to it by a cord, that he’d had from a previous relationship. We talked about it, first jokingly. I laughed about whether it had been washed; I suppose I hinted at my interest without being forthcoming. A night after we spoke about it, we used it. He used it to make me feel things that I had not before. I was made to feel like I deserved these feelings, as he was happy to be giving me more pleasure than he could alone (something other partners of mine have struggled with when I wasn’t able to finish with them).
We lay together and I thanked him and told him how happy and proud I was of myself. I may not have done it alone, but I allowed it to happen, I did it. I allowed myself pleasure, I moved past a fear that previously had left me in a cold sweat (in the past I’d sometimes see a flashing image of the bright pink dildo this woman used on me. This particular pink is my most hated colour). I had discovered a part of myself I thought had been irreparably damaged, and found it perfectly whole, despite scarring.
The next morning, he went to work very early, an hour of the morning I was certainly not willing to wake up for. He left the egg on his bedside table and told me that if I felt comfortable, perhaps I could see how it was by myself. I felt a golden warmth and joy flow through my body that I hadn’t before. I could feel the energy moving within me. I could feel parts of myself that I had numbed for the sake of self-preservation. The egg itself, like my friends had previously attested to, made me feel physically brilliant. But my having taken back my sexual self, that was what felt best. I had kept a part of my sexuality shackled away. I had seen it as dirty. I had seen it as connected to a pedophile. I reclaimed it. This person gave me the egg to keep, and I feel a surge of pride that I even feel comfortable to have it in my possession.
I know these feelings aren’t unique. I know there are other women around me who feel there is a part of themselves they can’t access – because it had been stolen, been broken, been locked away. I know I am not the only one to feel ashamed of a natural part of myself, because a very unnatural, very evil person violated me. I want you to know that nothing has been robbed from you. You have always been whole. You may have been wounded but you can never be broken. You don’t need to be ashamed of your scars. Every aspect of you is yours, and you deserve to feel every bit of yourself (I suppose I mean that in two ways).
I hope that perhaps you will read this and begin to reclaim parts of yourself too. Please know that I am always here to talk to every one of my sisters.
My reclamation isn’t complete either. I’m working up to buying an obsidian wand from Chakrubs, but I’m not ready for an object to penetrate me again. The ‘again’ will always deeply sadden me – that my first experience with an object like that was far from sexual. It was heinous and it was a cruel abuse of power. But I read about obsidian and how it can help you to unblock and release negative energies within you, and I know that I will work to get there. There will be a time where I will eel no black tar inside me. No heaviness, no ugliness. Only light. You will have that time too. First you must realize you deserve that. You really do deserve that.
Feature Image by Larissa Hofmann