February 18, 2014

Body image

I was sexually abused as a child by my father so I wouldn't say it changed me; more accurately, it shaped me. I grew up with a horrible body image; I was/am disgusted with myself and ashamed of my body. I struggled for years with bulimia. Also, I turned to self injury from the time I was really young to take out my anger and sadness and self loathing. Relationships are hard for me, because I always feel like everyone hates me and I'm a nuisance to everyone. I can't say no because I always want to please everyone because I think that that's the only way ill be able to keep people around.
Socially, I was/still am somewhat terrified of getting close to people. I'm afraid that I'm unlovable, because even my own father hated me enough to hurt me. It made me hate myself, and it made me hide away from social contact. I've always been really shy and introverted. Also, it has made me hyper sensitive to male attention. Guys sometimes make comments or gawk at me when I'm walking down the street and it makes me really uncomfortable and even scared sometimes. It's been made even worse by other men in my life who have made comments like that they wanted to rape me, or that I dressed in a manner that was "asking for it."
Academically, I think the history of abuse made me try to work really hard to get good grades to prove that I was good enough or worth loving. It made me push myself too much, to the point where 99s would give me panic attacks because they weren't perfect.

[Note from the editor: This is one of the many anonymous anecdotes and survey responses collected for the dx/dt project that were not used in the film. They are being posted here as contributions to the discussion of sexual violence, relationship abuse, and stalking in the MIT community. Thank you to all of the authors of these posts for your willingness to speak out.]