Dawn Hendrickson: How I Survived Childhood Sexual Abuse

*Content Warning: Childhood Sexual Abuse*

Topic: Child Sexual Abuse

My Story

Healing takes such courage and strength. My main abuser, my father, died when I was 24 years old. It is at that time that I felt I was actually born, or reborn.

Looking back, I realize I fell through a lot of cracks, including medical personnel. I had always thought that it had started when I was eight. Then I remember age 7 years. I have medical records that state things like “her hymen was broken” and her “vaginal opening is large for a child of her age.”

The nightmares were plaguing me badly, so I went to therapy. This was one of the more difficult things as I was raised in a very strict independent Fundamental Baptist home/church/school which taught the Bible has all the answers. When he abused me, my father, would quote the scriptures to me. “Children obey your parents….” and many other verses. He would also beat into me to “never tell.” At this young age, the abuse was physical, mental, spiritual and of course, sexual. He would come into my room late at night and pick me up and carry me to his bed. My mom slept at the other end of the house. He would r*pe me and then take me to the bathroom, clean me up and take me back to my bedroom. This he would do maybe three or four times a week.

As I got older his abuse escalated into torture. It escalated to him parading me naked in front of three men at a time, bending me over, showing them the goods and selling me to them to “do as they please for an hour,” and they did. It escalated to him using restraints on me so he could hurt me more. Tying me up, hanging my by my wrists, using ties on my wrists and ankles to hold me in place while he raped me. He also used different devices.

Healing From Sexual Abuse
Healing has involved many things. Going to therapy, support groups, Seminars on celebrating healing, artistic, physical, and mental healing are all tools I use currently.

Today, I am a strong Warrior Woman. I hold down a good job and I am raising my boys to respect people and their own boundaries. I work at giving back and teaching my coworkers how to be able to help someone who exhibits signs of being an abuse survivor. I reach out in support groups and to others who are survivors. We can make a difference.

Have you sought any sort of medical help, therapy etc?
Yes

Any particular resources that you recommend or have used to help you recover?
Therapy, Celebration of Healing (South Bend Indiana), Books by Authors who are survivors, email therapy, Anger Expression Tools, Online Support Groups

About Dawn Hendrickson
I am 52 years old. I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. I have a wife and two boys (ages 14 and 10).

Twitter Account Facebook account

Speak Our Stories is a joint project of Dr. Shruti Kapoor’s SayftyCom and Rachel Thompson’s SexAbuseChat. Our mission: We believe in the strength of our many voices, in community, that speaking our truths helps others know they are not alone. On top of all of that, providing shared resources and solutions helps every survivor find the help they need.

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