3 Things I Learned from Being Sexually Assualted

Scared Child

 

I was between the ages of 2 & 3 ….probably closer to 2 years old. It is one of my first memories. I can recall the layout of the apartment to the detail. My dad had left me with a family friend/babysitter – a teenager. Someone I knew well and had watched me before. I trusted him completely. It was probably early afternoon.

I sat on the couch with him as we read a magazine together. He was “cuddled” next to me the way someone reading a child a story would be. As we looked through the magazine we came across a picture of a naked man with a briefcase. He pointed out to me that the man was naked. I distinctly recall going from a place of safety, trust, and comfort to fear, guarded and confused. He then asked me if I had ever seen “one” before and if I wanted to see his. I told him no. He proceeded to pull down his pants around his knees, exposing his penis and tried to convince me it was ok. I don’t know how, but at that very young age I KNEW it wasn’t ok. I created space between us by going over to the other sofa and putting the coffee table in between us.

He then began to ask me to kiss it – telling me it was ok to do so. Again, I don’t know how I knew it wasn’t, I was too young for anyone to have explained that yet, but I knew. I told him no and began creating more distance. He started following me around pleading with me to kiss it. I was scared. I had to use the bathroom and thought i would get some privacy/escape. But, he followed me in, standing in the doorway. He sat on the floor in the doorway with his pants still down. Telling me it was ok. He then told me he would kiss mine if I kissed his. I still told him no. I was scared and knew I couldn’t let him see “mine” so I used 2/3 year old logic and sat backwards on the toilet. When I was done he continued to follow me, asking me to PLEEEAAASE kiss it. I did what any 2/3 year old would do to escape – I went to the bedroom to take a nap. He didn’t follow me and left me alone. At some point during his following he begged me not to tell our parents, that they would be upset.

I don’t know how much time passed before we saw them again, a day..weeks? Its only snapshot memories – like a movie in my head. I think that day may have been the day I told my parents. I recall being scared and clinging to my dad. I recall the friends etc that were there asking why I was so quite and not as talkative as usual. I don’t recall ever seeing them again after that day.

All through my childhood I had nightmares about this day. Reliving it over and over in my sleep waking up screaming, crying and scared but never recalling the dream. My parents had no idea – and with the exception of these dreams I did not remember what had happened. When I was in 5th grade they had a session on molestation etc. I started having the dreams every night for a couple weeks. I remembered them now – finally I said to my mom, I keep having these weird dreams every night and I told her about the dream. She said, you remember that. I realized the nightmares and dreams I had been having were my memories replaying over and over.

As a young teen I was hanging out with some friends who always stopped in and visited this old man who would always have candy for the neighborhood kids. We had visited a couple times and it was always weird and uncomfortable. My instincts said bad place – but my friends went there all the time – so I ignored it. When we were there the last time, he reached out and grabbed my breast, hard, and wouldn’t let go. I froze – completely shut down in shock – my friend grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the house. I told our parents and they called the police.

Why do I share this? Because I never want to feel that again. The fear, trauma, nightmares. I for years couldn’t have an older man standing near me. I would get tense and stressed. I never want that feeling back.

Self defense training specifically like Krav Maga gives you the tools to protect yourself, but more then that… the confidence in which you carry yourself reduces your likeliness of being a victim. Now of course there is no self defense I could have learned for when I was so young..but understanding the feelings help me understand why it is so important.

So what can be learned form my experiences?

1. Listen to your instincts. 

Listening to my instincts at that young age saved what could have become an even more traumatizing event. If I didn’t listen and did as he asked, “kissed it”, what would have come next…. not listening got me into “trouble” as a teenager.

2. Train – the more the better.

I froze.. I FROZE!!!!!! Sure I didn’t have any practical self defense training at that point..but I considered myself a confident don’t take nothing from anyone kinda girl… but my shock froze me in place. My goodness, I responded better at 2 years old keeping distance and furniture between us then I did when I was older. This is more common then you realize, do some research on how people respond in an attack situation. Taking a self defense seminar or two is great. But to know how to respond, to keep your skills sharpened train weekly, daily. Training in a good program like Krav Maga also puts you through stress drills..allowing you to push through the stress..and the “freeze” moment to protect yourself.

3. Tell

If something does happen make sure you tell some right away. Get help and support. Report them right away, you may protect someone else.

So get the training. Learn the facts. Be aware.

Feel free to check out one of my facilities.

www.abdspencer.com or www.abdshrewsbury.com

Or for a Krav Maga school near you visit

www.kravmagaalliance.com  

#liveitloveit #blackbeltlifestyle

4 Ways to make your interactions more powerful

Worcester SharksThis weekend my Rock star staff and I had the amazing opportunity to perform on the Ice for the Worcester Sharks. 125 of our members came – had an amazing time ABD style.

 

Sometimes one person tells you to...
Sometimes one person tells you to…

When we finished performing – waiting by our table was a young man and his mother. He was so excited to see me he ran over and gave me a huge hug. He then began quickly speaking about how good it was to see me again, how much he had missed me, and how excited he had been when he realized it was me on the ice.

He shared how he would soon be 18, how time flies. He shared how the last few years had been incredibly challenging for him. He had gotten himself into some bad situations, but he was turning his life around. He shared how much I had inspired him. He even commented how close we had been. How excited he was to be back, and get back to our relationship.

 

The thing is, I hadn’t seen him in at least 6 years, so I didn’t recognize him (12 & 18 a lot of growing happens). I have known him for about 15 years, since he was 3, But I only saw him a handful of times between the ages 3 & 4. Then again years later when I visited his school for the ABC of success seminars I do for school children.  He then took martial arts classes from us for a while.

 

What amazed me is in that 15 years the few times we interacted had such a powerful influence on him. It got me thinking, you never know how powerful your impact is on people. You don’t realize how giving positive encouragement that 1 time could drastically affect the influence how people see things. As I thought on this I recalled being in 5th grade and a science teacher who’s 2 minute chat and 5 second praise changed how I saw my potential as a student. See the teacher I had the previous year always noticed everything I did wrong, every mistake, every short coming. Entering 5th grade I fully believed I was a “bad” student and not very smart. We had just had our first science test of the year, the class did not do well. The teacher discussed the importance of studying – how it makes all the difference, then said only one student in all of the 5th grade classes got a 100 on the test. She then pointed me out and comment that I clearly was a smart student and was going to have a very successful school year because of my work ethic. I did, I had my best school year ever…because she took a moment to praise my success.

 

I promise, that teacher probably does not remember me, or that day, but I do. I remember and it had such an impact on me here I am sharing it now. Just like the young man I saw this weekend the positive energy she fed into me had a massive effect.

 

So how can you change someones outlook?

1. Point out the positive, in everyone you come in contact with. 

 

Yes, even your coffee barista should hear how much you appreciate their energy and passion.

 

2. Don’t harp on the negative.

 

My teacher the year before only cared about everything I did wrong.. I don’t ever recall her saying anything positive about me.

 

3. Make the praise public.

When ever public “brag” on those around you.. children, friends, spouse, coworkers, employees. Don’t keep their victories a secret. Just like my teacher that day – she highlighted me to all my peers.. boosting my confidence and helping to bring the best me to the surface.

 

4. Never Assume it doesn’t matter.

I never would have thought my interactions with this young man would have been so intense, the was clearly a major influence and after many years he still saw me as someone he could trust and rely on. It does not seem like this young man had very many positive people in his life who poured into and cared about him. My few interactions showed him a life worth living.

 

So every day, be a positive encouraging force..its not always easy, BUT ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT. 

 

btw you can check out the video of the instructors performing last saturday at the Worcester Sharks here,

 

ABD Team at Sharks game

#liveitloveit #alifeworthliving

I was in an Abusive Relationship

in scripture

Not all abusive relationship are what you first think. When you hear abusive, you assume violence to a woman, from her boyfriend or husband. We also would assume the same of an emotional abusive relationship. The truth is any relationship that is destructive can be abusive. It can be a teacher, parent, friend, coworker, employer. These types are often referred to as bullies.

Now most of you who know me or have taken class for me have probably yet to wrap your head around how I could have been in an abusive relationship. Someone tear me down, or talk down to me? Not happening. That’s the thing about these kind of relationships, they are subtle..they creep up. the highs are high and the lows are low. But you cant picture yourself able to function without them in your life.Pain to myself

This was not a romantic relationship, and I was not the only victim. We had a “friend” this friend was so cool, they where very charismatic and seemed to know everyone and everything. They had things in life we thought we wanted and we “knew” if we hung around this friend life would be awesome. They where so much fun to be around. They planned the best trips. We couldn’t wait till the next time we all hung out.–I never experienced any physical violence – although i witnessed many explosive outburst and destruction of property when my friend would get mad at me. There was one occasion that one person in our circle was physically attacked– and yet, we stayed in this relationship, knowing it would “get better”…. I mean the friend did apologize.

I recall the first emotional attack. I recall, because I fought back. I was a strong, confident, confrontational  individual who would not take nothing from anyone. This “attack” like most, was public. That day I got toe to toe with my attacker and told them under no circumstances where they ever to speak to me that way again. If they had an issue or concern they could address me privately, and we would determine what needed to happen.

It was many years before my attacker or bully, some might say ever spoke to me that way again. But by then, the smaller attacks over the years had torn me down and destroyed who I had once been.

cycle_of_abuseAn emotionally abusive relationship is when someone tears you down, then builds you up, only to tear you down all over again. Its a cycle and when they build you up, they do so well you “forgive” everything else that happened because you are so excited by what they have promised or the compliments they paid etc etc. They have everything you want, life will be perfect, you will be the best of friends. Its a viscous cycle. One you may not even know you are in.

I didn’t have any idea. I thought the problems where all in me. I began to believe what they said. I even began to think I had or had not done things based on what I was told, not what

am I crazyactually had happened. I was going crazy, It was all in my head, I was a failure. It was at that point, I was on 2 different anti depressant medications and anti anxiety.  I also began looking forward to my Friday nights at the local bar  for “stress relief” I lost myself, who I was, who I wanted to be in that relationship.

I didn’t see until after I was out of that relationship, I recall the day I realized how much I had changed. I was at a new job, on my team conference call and I didn’t talk, I didn’t  say anything. Another manager was sharing a challenge he was having and I knew exactly what he should do, but I said nothing. I called my manager after the call to share what I thought should happen, She asked, why on earth didn’t you share? She gave me a great “pep talk” on not being shy etc. The whole time she was talking I couldn’t understand how on earth she thought I was shy and quiet. It was after she hung up and I sat down that I realized how different I was. That was the day I started rebuilding me. It was much harder then one could imagine and the damage was very deeply rooted .

I wish I could say what would have made me recognize the issue while I was there, so I could get out, but I was so blind. I spoke with one of the other victims the other day, the one who had been physically attacked, neither of us could comprehend why we did not end the relationship that day. Why did we consider that ok?

An abusive relationship, physical or mental, can happen to or with anyone. Sometimes referred to as a bully. Noticing the signs or changes in yourself or a loved one can help you recognize and remove yourself from the destructive cycle.

If you find that you relate, and are in an abusive relationship it is important to get out, be free. Find a trusted friend or family member and share with them what is going on and have them help you end things and make the necessary changes. If you don’t have a friend you trust, you local church pastor will have the resources to help you. If you are unsure of churches in you area, I know you can contact my church at http://www.fellowshipne.com and they will connect you with the best people to find yourself again.