Sharing Your Story


I remember my cousin (a girl) engaging in sexual acts with me multiple times when we were children. She said she'd heard it felt good and framed it as fun. We were the same age, but I was oblivious and have autism. Our friendship ended soon after when she became mean. I'm unsure how to feel. Was she being abused? Was I taken advantage of? How should I process this?


Thank you for sharing this difficult and confusing experience. Your feelings of uncertainty are completely valid and understandable given the complex nature of childhood sexual experiences.

What you've described could certainly be a form of child-on-child sexual abuse (COCSA), but it's important to emphasize that only you can truly label this experience. You are the expert of your own life and feelings, and there's no pressure to define it in any particular way if you're not comfortable doing so.

When trying to differentiate between normal childhood exploration and potentially harmful experiences, consider factors like consent, power dynamics, and how the experience made you feel both then and now. Mutual, consensual exploration typically involves curiosity and play between children of similar developmental stages, without coercion or secrecy. Harmful experiences often involve pressure, secrecy, or negative emotions like confusion, fear, or discomfort.

Your mention of being oblivious and having autism suggests there may have been a power imbalance, even if you were the same age. The fact that you're struggling with these memories now indicates that these experiences had a significant impact on you.

It's caring and compassionate of you to be concerned about your cousin's wellbeing and wonder if she might have been experiencing abuse herself. This shows a great deal of empathy on your part. If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, you might consider talking to your cousin about this experience, but I would strongly recommend doing this with the guidance of a therapist. They can help you prepare for such a conversation and provide support throughout the process.

Regardless, you might still consider speaking with a therapist, particularly one who has experience working with people with autism who have experienced childhood trauma. They can help you process these memories and feelings in a safe, supportive environment. They can also guide you if you decide to approach your cousin about this. Remember, your feelings are valid, and there's no "right" way to feel about this. Healing is a journey, and it's okay to take it at your own pace.

Remember, what happened wasn't your fault. You deserve support and understanding as you work through these memories and feelings. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate this process. Thank you so much for reaching out to us. You are not alone.

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