I am a survivor of emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse. As a young child, I was sexually abused by another male in the private school that I attended. Afraid of being rejected by my friends, parents, and other family members, I did not tell anyone about the incident for more than 3 years. Those three years were endless days of inner torture, feeling guilty while I knew that I was not to blame. I spent most of my childhood ashamed and desperately seeking the acceptance of my peers, afraid that they would find out about my dark secret and I would be alone.

As I grew older and became a teenager, I developed a fear of my abuser. Although there was little possibility that he would be able to re-victimize me, I was afraid of showering alone because he “might crawl through the bathroom window and hurt me or kill me.” Reality told me I was safe from further abuse by my attacker, but I was unable to reconcile my feelings of intense fear with my knowledge of reality, and insisted that my mother or father stand outside the bathroom door while I showered.

During my late teens, I developed a need for physical intimacy with other males. I felt that I needed to be loved, and the only way to meet that need was to be involved with someone. I ran from relationship to relationship, giving my body to any man that would give me the physical attention I longed for.

While attempting to resolve the feelings that were a result of this sexual trauma, I was also a victim of emotional, physical, and spiritual trauma. My father had been unable or unwilling to resolve his own childhood trauma, and as a result, abused his son through ignorance of a more appropriate method of resolving his emotions. An incident seemingly insignificant and unimportant would escalate into physical violence and emotional battering. He also used the Bible and religion as a method of achieving what he wanted and needed, selfishly unwilling to consider the needs of those around him.

My mother was also emotionally abusive, and would openly criticize my father in my presence. Some of these incidents would also escalate into physical and often emotional violence. I felt as if I had to be the referee or mediator and ensure that neither my mother nor my father resorted to physical violence, and more than once I contacted the police. My mother would leave for weeks, sometimes months, taking me away from the situation that caused me so much emotional pain, and then return to my father, dashing my hopes for a more “normal” life. I would escape to the neighbours and became involved in the community to avoid being at home.

My parents have now moved to South Korea, where they teach English to university students and businesspeople. I am in the process of healing from the trauma experienced during my childhood, and refuse to use the experiences as an excuse for my behaviour as a young adult. Is it possible to fully recover from trauma and abuse? I certainly hope and pray that it is, and I strongly believe that a person with enough determination to succeed can be healed. It is a constant process requiring the support of friends and acquaintances, but happiness is possible.

This article is dedicated to those who have taken the first step toward healing, and are experiencing the emotions that the healing process surfaces. God bless you on your journey toward emotional health and happiness!