When I was nine years old, without my parents’ knowledge, I went to an afternoon movie after school, where an older man, a stranger who sat next to me, molested me. Though I managed to escape relatively quickly, the shame from this experience was deeply stuck in my psyche, as I believed what happened was punishment for going to the movies without my parents’ permission. For many years, I believed I was “damaged goods,” and I repressed the memory as much as I could. It was only at the age of forty, when I suffered an emotional upheaval and started therapy, that the memory I had tried to repress resurfaced, and I dared to share it with my therapist. It took me many years of trauma therapy to unwind the shame and negative effects of such trauma. Daring to share it with others, and being accepted as I am, has brought great relief.
To read more, refer to my article "Manning Up to Shame."