Was I Molested and Don't Remember? | StrongerThan.org

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Was I Molested and Don’t Remember?

It is important to recognize the signs and ways for identifying memories associated with molestation. Recalling suppressed memories of molestation requires an intricate approach that should be handled with caution and professional support.

June 10, 2024
HomeSexual Abuse BlogWas I Molested and Don’t Remember?

Many survivors of sexual molestation struggle with forgotten memories, often wondering about their past and trying to recall specific details of an unwanted incident. It can be emotionally difficult for survivors with repressed memories of molestation to move forward in their lives with an important piece of the puzzle missing from their memories.

If you suspect that you were molested at some point in your life, you should know that you are not alone and help is available. Revelation of repressed memories of molestation can feel overwhelming; however, it can also be a part of your healing journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Sexual molestation involves unwanted or inappropriate sexual contact with another person.
  • It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Traumatic events, like childhood molestation, can sometimes be suppressed or forgotten, only to resurface later in various ways.

What Does ‘Molested’ Mean?

Molestation refers to a spectrum of nonconsensual sexual act and can impact a person’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being. Examples include:

  • Verbal Sexual Molestation: Making comments or remarks of a sexual nature, such as making lewd or sexually suggestive comments about someone’s appearance.
  • Psychological Molestation: Using manipulation, coercion, or emotional abuse, like denying inappropriate behavior.
  • Covert Molestation: Engaging in subtle or unnoticed physical contact, such as an adult regularly bathing or showering with a child past an appropriate age.
  • Aggravated Molestation: Involving violence or threats, like using a physical object to penetrate a person’s private parts.
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Each form of molestation impacts survivors differently, contributing to their trauma.

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Types of Molestation

Verbal and psychological molestation involve the use of inappropriate language, manipulation, and exploitation to control or harm a survivor emotionally. These forms of mistreatment can lead to significant mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and result in lasting emotional wounds, including low self-esteem, trust issues, and fear.

Covert molestation refers to subtle contact that violates personal boundaries, and may be difficult to identify as it can masquerade as affection. On the other hand, aggravated molestation can lead to severe emotional distress and trauma to the survivor, often damaging their sense of security and well-being.

While these forms of abuse may not always leave marks, they require therapeutic approaches to help in the process of healing and restoring one’s sense of identity and sexual autonomy.

Was I Molested?

Survivors of child molestation often have difficulty remembering or understanding the nature of the act. Typically, child molestation involves sexual behavior or activity performed by an adult or older adolescent. This may include touching, caressing, or having sexual interactions with a minor (who’s legally unable to consent). Child molestation also covers non-physical actions such as exposing a child to sexual material or regularly engaging in conversations of a sexually explicit nature with a child.

Was I Molested As a Child And Don’t Remember?

Each person processes sexual abuse and molestation in their own way. However, there are common signs of childhood molestation, such as:

  • Sudden shifts in behavior: Changes in mood or actions, such as feeling lethargic or aggressive.
  • Depression: Persistent sadness or continued feelings of unhappiness or disinterest in things you used to enjoy.
  • Anxiety: Worry or fear around certain individuals or places.
  • Unexplained fears: Seemingly irrational fear of certain locations or people; avoidance or distress when encountering specific environments or individuals.
  • Sleep problems and nightmares: Sleep troubles or frequent bad dreams; difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or coping with dreams.
  • Regressive behaviors: Going back to earlier stages of development like bedwetting or thumb-sucking.
  • Advanced knowledge of sexual topics for their age: Having an awareness of conversations that may not be appropriate for their stage of development.
  • Physical pain: Injuries, pain, or discomfort in the genital area, or stomach pain without a medical cause.
  • Changes in school performance: Decline in academic achievements or a lack of interest in school-related activities.
  • Withdrawal from social interactions: Avoiding contact with family and friends, or displaying reluctance to participate in social events.
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Is It Possible To Not Remember Being Molested?

Understanding whether you were subjected to molestation as a child can be an emotionally difficult process, especially if your memories are blurry. Traumatic events, like childhood molestation, can sometimes be suppressed or forgotten, only to resurface later in various ways. Research and personal accounts point toward the possibility of repressed trauma, especially for someone subjected to sexual molestation in their formative years.

What Are Repressed Memories?

Repressed memories, like those linked to experiences like child sexual abuse, are a topic of ongoing discussion and debate among psychologists and researchers. While some experts believe that traumatic memories can be suppressed, others warn about the possibility of “false” memories.

Signs of repressed memories include physical ailments like chronic pain or digestive issues without a clear medical cause. Individuals may also experience flashbacks or intrusive thoughts, or suffer from sleep disturbances like insomnia or nightmares. They may also struggle with forming and maintaining relationships due to trust issues and fear of intimacy, and grapple with self-esteem marked by feelings of inadequacy and self-blame. Many may turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

In addition, preexisting factors like disability or neurodivergence can influence how traumatic memories are processed and stored. Childhood neglect or exposure to prolonged environmental stress can also contribute to memory suppression.

It is important to recognize these signs and factors for identifying memories associated with molestation. If you suspect that you have buried memories of trauma, please consult a licensed therapist or counselor experienced in handling trauma and memory recovery.

Are Repressed Memories Real?

While some experts argue in favor of the notion that traumatic memories can be pushed out of one’s consciousness and later resurface, others advise caution due to the risk of false recollections.

False memories refer to instances where individuals recall events that never actually occurred, due to our brain’s vulnerability to influences and factors like the framing of certain questions or the environment in which such memories are explored.

How To Remember Repressed Memories of Molestation

Recalling suppressed memories of molestation requires an intricate approach that should be handled with caution and professional support. Various therapeutic techniques and professional guidance can help people uncover concealed memories:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT or trauma-focused CBT is an evidence-backed approach known to help survivors address symptoms and emotional distress linked to potentially suppressed memories. By recognizing and challenging thought patterns, CBT can aid in managing anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges stemming from trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR helps individuals process and integrate memories through eye movements and bilateral stimulation. EMDR relies on the theory that our brain stores normal and traumatic memories differently.
  • Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT): This method focuses on helping individuals remember suppressed memories using techniques like guided imagery, hypnosis, and age regression. However, this is a controversial process that may cause memory distortion rather than recollection.
  • Somatic Experiencing: This body-centered therapy aims to release tension and trauma stored in the body. By focusing on sensations and movements, individuals can access and process suppressed childhood sexual abuse memories safely.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Mindfulness exercises, like meditation, can help one stay present and mindful so that past trauma-induced pain and behavioral patterns can wither away over time.

It is essential to seek guidance from seasoned professionals while trying to decipher and heal from painful memories of past molestation.

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Healing takes time and effort, which is why having the right support system can significantly assist in navigating this path.

Can I Report Molestation Years Later?

Yes, if you believe you were sexually abused or molested as a child, you can take legal action. However, whether you can press charges or file a lawsuit depends on the statute of limitations. These limitations vary by state and the nature of the offense.

Certain states have removed time limits for abuse cases while others have extended them, allowing survivors to seek justice in adulthood. Many states follow the “discovery rule,” where the statute begins on the day you recognize the impact of the abuse (rather than when it occurred). This rule is beneficial for individuals with suppressed memories or delayed realization of sexual molestation.

Considering the intricacies of state laws, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer specializing in sexual abuse cases so you may discuss your options and work toward achieving your goals.

Resources for Survivors of Sexual Molestation

Survivors who have experienced molestation can find resources to seek help, guidance, and healing. Below are some options for support:

Hotlines and Support Groups



  • National Center for Victims of Crime: Offers resources and support for all crime victims, including those of sexual abuse.
  • Childhelp: Provides resources and support for child abuse survivors and their families.
  • Pandora’s Project: An online community and resource center for survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Transform your pain into your greatest strength

You’re Not Alone | Reach Out to StrongerThan.org to Learn More

If you or someone you’re close to is dealing with the impact of sexual molestation, please know that you are not alone. Recovery is a process, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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