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Interview with Tiffany Hamilton (@neveralonesupport)

My name is Tiffany and I’m 35 years old. as a child, the sexual abuse started when I was [about] three years old by my stepdad, who I viewed as my real dad. He started touching me while I was laying beside my mother and that just reassured me that what was going on was okay because my mother was right there. This happened for a few years and he gained my trust to the point where he began to do other stuff. At about 5, he performed oral sex on me and my body responded through orgasm, which obviously sparked feelings of shame because I [thought] I liked it. around 8 or 9, he took it all the way and my mom found out about it. she never spoke of it but after that, she hated me and would call me a whore. It got so bad that when I came forward at 21, my siblings all shamed me and called me the same thing. They said that our dad wouldn't have done this unless I asked for it and I did ask for it because it felt good. I had a sense of so much guilt for putting myself in this position and allowing it to happen [multiple times in my life].

Today, I know that I really didn’t allow for it to happen. I was really bullied in high school after that because while I was raped, I was super drunk and during it, I fell flat on my face. It took me until I was 25 to realize. A lot of us don’t come forward because of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. When I came forward with my abuse, I gave my mother a chance to love me because I really wanted her too. I thought I would give her a second chance and that I would have a support system this time. My husband kept telling me that she was going to believe me and I really wanted to give her a shot so I did. My mom called me a whore and my siblings called me a whore [too]. At that point, I was also a recreational drug dealer and when I lost my support system that I thought I would get, my drug addiction spiraled. I started smoking crack, and then needles came into play. My entire adult life has been an addiction so it [sexual abuse] really changed the trajectory of my life and I hold a lot of guilt because I wish I got help earlier. I didn’t know what to do.

There’s so much shame that comes through it. Maybe because of our family or our body’s response. So many people won’t come forward because their abuser is a part of our family but that’s what it is for so many of us. I loved my dad. To you, he’s a monster but to me, he was a sick man. I felt so much guilt for putting him in jail because I loved him. A lot of the time, we believe our abuser is different and there’s just a lot like the fear of not being believed. That’s why so many people don’t come forward.

I feel like if I had a couple words for what was happening to me since I didn’t know what sexual l abuse was, I might have disclosed in grade 1 or 2 what was happening to me. As the years went on and the shame got stronger, I probably wouldn’t have told. I share my story on TikTok so I have children reach out to me very often. These kids often say that they didn't know they were being abused until my TikTok and to me, that speaks volumes. Why isn’t the school system teaching this or providing education for young children? Not to mention, I didn’t have anyone to go to and everyone always says to tell someone but who was I to tell. These were my parents. I trusted them more than anyone. If I had a teacher I trusted who told me that, I probably would have told them. I just didn’t have the words and when I learned them, I didn’t understand them.

Sexual abuse was normalized in my house and most of the women in my family have dealt with sexual abuse. I saw creators like Britney Jade who focus on recovery. They all were just living their lives sober, which was weird to me because in my world, nobody recovered from addiction. I just kind of thought that I would be an addict forever. I got sober and fell in love with TikTok because it helped me. I was sitting their with my 2 cousins, who once supported me, and told them I wanted to share my story on TikTok. I just did it and received an overwhelming response. I built a support system that I needed to stay sober.

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