What happened to sleeping at night?

Here I am a 29 year-old woman and I can’t sleep next to men. I literally mean I can’t sleep; you know close your eyes and fall into a deep relaxation state of mind. Where your mind and body can recharge as it prepares for the next day. I think I have been able to fall asleep next to four men my entire life. Not only does this make dating difficult but, my sleeping patterns are not the best either in general. I have been functioning off of very little sleep for as long as I can remember. Sleep is something that just comes so easily for most people. Really, I’m jealous of that. It took me a long time to feel safe enough to sleep.

I was four years old playing outside. On my way into the house he grabbed my elbow and pulled me down. He slid me on his lap and whispered in my ear how I was such a pretty little girl. Sliding his hands up my legs, under my dress and rubbing on the outside of my panties. He told me to be quiet and be a good little girl. He touched me; he touched me five different times before he was caught.

I was eleven and at a babysitters asleep on the couch. He woke me with his hand over my mouth as he told me to be quiet; puts his hands on my body and his lips. He told me to never tell or he would hurt me. I believed him. I never told.

I was thirteen when my best friend told me her mom’s friend was raping her. She told me stories like mine. She was taken from a movie theater when I was with her. She was raped again. She finally told and we went to court. He was found guilty.

I was sixteen with a few friends at a party. Some older guys in their thirties were there. They were fixing everyone drinks. I drank one drink. I woke up in an abandon trailer with no clothes on. There were used condoms on the carpet. All of my clothes were in a corner but, my panties.

I was almost seventeen and kissed a boy on date. His hands moved down my shirt and I told him no. He got mad and told me that I knew I liked it. I told him no again. He slapped me in the face and called me a bitch. He did stop though.

I was sixteen when the doctor told me I had severe scar tissue damage and abnormal cervical cells. I had also contracted a virus which thankfully was treatable. I had to take medications and had surgeries.

I have five more stories I could tell you, all before the age of seventeen. I never experienced anymore sexually abuse after I was seventeen. Most of these things haunted my sleep when I was younger. I can’t tell you how many times I had a friend or someone wake me up crying in my sleep; how many times I would fight someone in my sleep, and other stories my friends and ex-husband have told me.

I strongly urge anyone, man or woman, girl or boy who has experienced sexually abuse to please tell someone you trust. Seek support and help from groups and resources available to you. You do not have to feel like you are alone. These things are not your fault.

I’m single now and scared of dating. I don’t trust men. I can’t get comfortable enough around them to fall asleep. To feel that comfortable and that safe to actually fall asleep has only happened to me once since my ex-husband. Sex will come up when you are dating… It’s like a big elephant in the room waiting for someone to drop it.

Sex is very important part of a successful relationship. It took me a long time to sort out the feelings around the rights and wrong of sex, lust, affection and love.

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