Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Hardest Part of My Story

"The ax forgets, the tree remembers." -- African Proverb
One of the hardest but most important things for me to write about in Fat Woman on the Mountain was about being sexually assaulted at age 12.

The story about my 120-pound weight loss and quest to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, which will be released Sept. 14, also details my journey up the scale.

I gained 40 pounds the summer after after I was molested. I am not alone, several studies have shown a strong link between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and obesity.

"Abuse also is a form of control by adults over the child victims, and overeating may be a way for abused children to gain some control of their own... Others have argued that being overweight is a way to make oneself unattractive and ward off undesired attention," according to a 2007 issue of Psychiatric News.

I have spent years in therapy trying to sort out the aftermath of what amounted to a few afternoons as a pre-teen.

Perhaps I struggle with food because it was a comfort, a protection. (I wrote about how heading to the pantry actually saved me from one incident). Then, it became a "weigh" of life for me. While the abuse may be a distant memory the eating habits gained after it still gnaw at me.

Still, I do my best to move forward with strength and purpose. I hope to inspire others to do the same.



rrmom said...

Kara you are one of my daily inspirations. I hope you realize that.

Natalia said...

Kara - you are definitely an inspiration for all of us! Your journey help us to keep strong in tough moments. Thank you for sharing your history - Natalia Branco

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me remember that I am not alone in my own struggles. Like you and so many others, I was also sexually abused at a very young age, and I am confident it affected my eating habits and helped shape my ongoing, life-long weight struggles. You are such an inspiratio - thank you!

Anonymous said...

Kara and Melanie,

Me too.

I have heard that weight issues are really common with sexual abuse survivors because that extra weight can serve as a barrier for not having to deal with our own sexuality. It makes sense that when something has caused you pain, you'd want to run away from it.

Thank you for sharing your story, Kara. It takes bravery to honestly put it out there and I hope that's one more step on your journey toward healthy happiness.

cpratt said...

You are very brave to share your story. You have come a long way and I am very proud to know you. I am looking forward to getting your book. Keep up the good work girl!!

Sally said...

Kara- It takes courage to tell the hardest part of one's life story and I applaud you for having the strength to share this particular part of your past. Perhaps it will encourage others to speak out against what is truly a despicable crime - Sally