It is my honor to highlight the words of author Tremayne Moore as he courageously shares his story and offers advice for healing:
Hi. My name is Tremayne Moore and yes, I’m a sexual abuse survivor.
Most children are raped/abused by someone that they or their family/friends know well.
My uncle came to live with us in 1982. I was 8 years old. He was 10 years. And, he was my mother’s half-brother.
Abusers groom their victims for a long time. That is, they use manipulation, coercion, or other means to gain control over them.
He made my life a living hell. My uncle made me do things forbidden by my parents. Things my parents might consider misbehaving or being disobedient. But in order to keep him from telling on me, I’d have to submit to whatever he wanted.
He asked for much more than an 8-year-old should ever have to do. Most of the time, if I complied, he would not tell. But, sometimes he’d tell on me either way.
In August of 1984, my uncle took his hellish behavior a step further by initiating sex with me. By now, I didn’t think anything of it and submitted to his request.
He was always telling me what to do. I was used to going along. He used the sexual abuse to control and manipulate me for about a year.
Finally, I was relieved when my uncle stated that he wanted to go back home to his mom.
The Aftermath: One question that often goes unasked of children is how they dealt with the abuse. Children will find ways to try to deal with this trauma in their lives. Often their methods lead to more pain.
Not long afterwards, I told a classmate in confidence what my uncle did to me. In my youthful innocence, I thought it was done in fun and games. It wasn’t.
To my utter shock and disbelief, everything I told my classmate had spread throughout the school! The next thing I knew; I was sitting in the principal’s office telling the school administrator and my parents what my uncle did to me. I didn’t tell them everything. I lied saying that it only happened once. I was afraid that I’d get in trouble.
My uncle had manipulated everyone to the point that even my own parents assumed me to be a natural-born liar. Unfortunately, the abuse didn’t stop, as sadly my abuser had changed.
It might be surprising to some to learn that many victims of child sexual abuse were targeted and assaulted by more than one abuser. In my study of this, I noted that people who abuse others might be able to pick up on certain indicators that make a person a “good victim”.
During the summer of 1985, a female relative took me into the kitchen and began oral sex. I was still scared and frightened; because of what my uncle had done to me. She then led me down to the basement stating that she was going to teach me how to have sexual relations; her words and deeds were vile and repulsive to me.
I was still very afraid, but after about 5 minutes, I loosened up and surrendered to her. My 11-year-old body was being abused during my entire two weeks visit with them.
Many families don’t know how to handle child sexual abuse.
The next year, my uncle was failing in school again and my mother wanted to bring him back into the house. My sister and I protested vehemently, but we lost. My mother told me that what my uncle did, wouldn’t happen again and I still had to love him.
Her reasoning made me angry. Eventually the sexual abuse by my uncle did stop, unfortunately the physical and verbal abuse didn’t. I did tell my parents about the abuse, but he would say something else and I’d get in trouble for lying.
The burden of healing and repairing the family often falls upon the victim.
Two years after graduating from high school, I enlisted in the military. During my time in the military, I told my parents the truth about my uncle abusing me.
That was in 1996. What was their response? Why didn’t you say anything then?
I had to explain to them, “I was 10 years old and afraid of you because of him.” I don’t think it sank through, but it freed me to live.
So Tremayne, what methods of healing have you found were most effective?
One method I found very effective was talking to a professional counselor.
Be sure it’s somebody you can trust and that is concerned about your healing and not filling their pockets with money. Also, be sure they’re not belittling you (and will allow you to get wants on your heart out).
How can we make things better for victims/Survivors?
People need to understand the importance of these issues. This is one major reason why teens and even some adults are committing suicide.
Can you tell me about any books, films or other media that I would recommend for survivors, parents, friends, family, etc.?
OK, I’m going to be a bit biased because I wrote a book called “Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid” (in the middle of my suicide spell). This book is a fictional account of the story you read above.
But it also addresses mental illness (which I dealt with in my childhood), Autism (which I would be diagnosed with a year ago. I have the form called Asperger’s and suicide. I also struggle with PTSD.
There are plenty of books that I would recommend for anybody who needs an encouragement, a lesson on sexual abuse and its ramifications. Writing helps. Reading helps.
What has been the biggest obstacle to your healing?
Surprisingly, coming to the realization that I need to talk to someone and get it out before I self-destruct.
What are your thoughts on forgiveness and guilt?
Please, please, please, forgive yourself. You didn’t know when you were young. I need you to be free in your heart and spirit. Don’t feel guilty for what you have been through, because it’s not your fault.
What are your thoughts on race/ethnicity?
This is going to come off mean, but I have to be truthful when I say this. As I am an African-American, our culture is big on “what goes on in the house, stays in the house.” And as a result, we stand a high risk of illnesses and juvenile delinquency.
What is needed for victims/survivors?
Freedom! Freedom to be who they’re designed to be and Love! We need to be embraced and not from the perspective of “I feel sorry for you.”
Tremayne Moore is committed to educate youth, parents, pastors, and community members concerning child sexual abuse/teenage suicide through social media and community involvement. Moore holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Florida State University. His book “Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid: Michael Anderson’s Fight for Life” was listed on OOSA Bookclub’s The Best of 2012.
Feel free to visit his site at: www.mayneman.com