Was this sexual abuse?

Hello everyone. Since I’ve received good advice and perspective posting here before, I hope it is appropriate to post about a very personal issue here, as it has been on mind recently. It is a memory that I have tried to shut out of my mind for a while. However, I am wondering if this experience is affecting me now, especially with regard to boundaries with the opposite sex.

My father has had a borderline drinking problem (at least) for as long as I can remember. He will always drink at least 3 beers every night, sometimes a bottle of wine, sometimes some liquor. When he was drunk he was often a mean drunk, saying nasty things, sometimes becoming violent, etc. I have come to terms with the fact that he was emotionally and physically abusive at times.

However, there is another behavior he engaged in while drunk, that I am wondering if it would count as sexual abuse. Sometimes he would pin me down on the bed, kiss me on the mouth, and drunkenly murmur that he loved me. Sadly, this is the only time I remember him telling me he loved me! :frowning: I do not remember any actual molestation, and I have spoken to others who think that since he did not touch me “down there” it was not sexual abuse.

But on the other hand, I recall engaging in the exact same behavior with many boys growing up, and I think it did affect my sense of sexuality badly. I don’t even remember who my first kiss was with. I grew out of that behavior in high school, thankfully, and I am happy to say that I am still a virgin where intercourse is concerned. But I wonder if this experience has affected my boundaries.

BTW, regarding the married man who seemed to be hitting on me before; we did have a few more conversations where he said some strange things, and did things such as slipping his wedding ring off, and I have decided the best course is to flee temptation. So I have rearranged my work schedule so that I will not be seeing him at all for at least a month. Hopefully that will cool everything off.

Well. Fathers do not show love to their children in that manner. That is not normal. Being drunk doesn’t make this behavior excusable…well I was drunk just doesn’t cut it anymore than if someone who was drunk shot & killed someone. The thinking that because nothing was touched “supposedly” is somewhat out there. Perhaps they meant because you were not groped-by his hands. But it is the whole behavior and you said he was lying on top of you, there are other ways of groping. Only you know what happened. When I was young my dad was drunk & he was hugging me like he never did before and telling me how much I looked like my mom, it was the tone & the touch-it was as man to a woman, not a father to his child it bothered me then and it still does today. Even attempted sexual abuse on a child has long lasting affects… If you asked this question then this is something you need to address until you get it resolved, It would do you well to go to a therapist who can help you look at this and help you with your boundary issues. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and your spiritual health. Just don’t let yourself get “stuck”

I wouldn’t call it sexual abuse, since no sex took place (as far as you remember), but it is certainly abuse anyway, and your father has no excuse for it. :mad:

Yes, that was sexual abuse. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Au contraire…it indeed was sexual abuse. The fact that the "sex act’ was not involved doesn’t change what he did or didn’t do.


Yes, it IS sexual abuse. Please, find a therapist or someone you trust to work this out. I think a good therapist would really help.

Close relatives kiss on the lips all of the time… but never with hands pinned down (or on the bed). His intent may not have been sexual, but your father crossed the line of appropriate behavior with you. It sounds like the alcohol was the factor behind his loss of good sense.

Don’t classify yourself as victim of sexual abuse because of this, but you need talk to him sometime in private and tell him that you are not happy about what happened. He owes you an apology. I would demand one!

You also have to be aware of false memory syndrome. If you are reasonably sure that’s all that happened… then I wouldn’t give it one more minute of my life!


This is not sexual abuse. It was a disgusting and inappropriate display of affection as a result of his alcohol clouded judgement. The worst thing she can do is blow this out of proportion and become a sex abuse victim! Her boundaries were violated. That’s it!


Actually, if it involves romantic, inappropriate touching, it does count as sexual abuse.

“Blowing out of proportion?” “Becoming a victim?” If it bothers you so much you have to question whether you were abused or not…

There is always that fear, when something like that happens, “What if they had done more…” After all, those boundaries are serious and when a parent or relative acts like that to a child, that is a severe abuse of power and overstepping of those boundaries. Even if you KNOW the fear may be “out of proportion”, your subconscious doesn’t.

And demanding an apology? When they can deny it and say, “I was just drunk at the time!” It doesn’t matter!

OP, prayer and counseling would be good. I’ve gotten into too many near misses that DID have an impact on me (even if it wasn’t actual rape) and I found, rather than making me a victim, counseling and admitting that yes, things have happened have made me empowered and when I did end up sharing, girls I knew ended up sharing their stories with me.

This isn’t “blowing something out of proportion.” This is serious matter and should be taken seriously. Violation of boundaries is not something to take lightly and even if time is long past, counseling could be a huge help.

Close relatives kissing on the lips? It depends on the family. My dad is very affectionate with all three of us, but he’d NEVER kiss anyone on the lips except my mom. It depends on family and context.

And alcohol doesn’t excuse anything. You can still get arrested for murder you commit while under the influence. You certainly would for DWI. Why should sexual crimes be any different? Why are they excused? And yes, this would count.

It was not appropriate behavior for any adult to do this to any child…It seems like it was abuse to me…I am not sure if it is exactly sexual if you were not touched,I would put it in the same category as someone who tickles a person until they cry…not good touching and not good feelings for the victim

If you acted out with other boys perhaps you are blocking more about these episodes than you know

I would discuss it with someone who is qualified to help you understand what happened

That’s it?

Have you ever been sexually abused? I have and this man’s actions sounds very much like sexual abuse - may not be “as bad” as being penetrated, but it is still horrible. Normal adults and especially parents do not do this to their children. They don’t pin down their children with their hands and body and kiss them in a sexual nature. Just because she was not penetrated or molested in her private areas, doesn’t mean it’s not sexual abuse. His kisses and actions were inappropriate - they were sexual in nature. I don’t think she is blowing it of proportion. She is trying to make sense of this and is obviously affected by this. The best thing she can do is find professional help to assist her in sorting it out. Alcohol is not an excuse to lessen his actions from sexual abuse to just inappropriate behavior. Yes, his judgement was blurred and you can learn to forgive his actions, but it doesn’t mean you can just dismiss it as nothing more than that and tell a person to just put it past you. If it is affecting her with her relationships, there is something seriously wrong. She needs help.

P.S. I’m not upset with you… I just don’t understand how you are coming to that conclusion.

Totally agree!

Go talk to a therapist. What you described is not the way a father should express love for his child. Did he kiss you like lovers kiss?

Doesn’t matter what you want to label it. Your sense of control over your own person was violated and now you are confused and searching for a name for it. The fact that this clouds your relationships with men now- tells me the act was quite possibly sexual in nature and even if it wasn’t- that is how you experienced it and how it is affecting you currently.

How it has effected you is what matters and you need to work through that, along with the other abuse that was happening as you described it.

Oh, and don’t listen to the ignorant comments of other posters who believe sexual abuse only involves sex or touching private parts. They don’t get to qualify or disqualify, and frankly, there are many ways to sexually abuse someone with all clothes on and no actual sex involved. Pitiful remarks.

She didn’t state I think this happened, she said it did happen…there doesn’t appear to be any question about it.I believe she said it already has impacted her life, she is just now realizing it. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away. Acknowledgement of a problem is not victimizing but the first step in overcoming no matter what the problem is. Also, there is a new program specifically for victims of sexual abuse that includes licensed counselors and the Catholic faith it was started by the same people who started Rachel’s Vineyard, it is called Grief to Grace. It is only available in two states Texas & Florida here is the link grieftograce.org/founders.html. I am now in my mid 40s and I spent most of my life trying not to give it another minute of my life, it just manifest itself in other ways. I am now in counseling and its the one of the best things I’ve ever done. I now feel like a human being, a child of God; whereas before I didn’t even feel like a human being, overwhelmed with confusion, fear, shame, & self-loathing. Never knowing what it was I felt because it has been with me since I was a child. The light at the end of the tunnel is that one has already been through the most agonizing part…now we are cleaning up the wreckage of our past and God is creating a clean heart in me. I have heard the one phrase that is stated over 600 times in the Bible is “Be Not Afraid”…it is so wonderful to finally be not afraid, to not have to worry what is around the corner, because I know who is holding my hand and “With Christ as my warrior, whom do I have to fear?”

Please, find a Catholic therapist and make an appointment. www.catholictherapists.com or your diocese office of Catholic Charities will help you find someone.

Prayers for you.

I couldn’t agree with this more. Therapy and counseling over my own sexual abuse has helped me become a full and complete person and has changed my life completely for the better. All of the feelings you described is what all abuse victims feel. To tell another to forget about it and that they are blowing it out of proportion just don’t know.

OP - I will stress this again and again, please find a professional to assist you in this. I only say this continuously because it kills me seeing and hearing about people continually hurt by these actions of the perpertrators and by those who aren’t as sensitive towards it. Therapy can be painful reliving the events and accepting that you can be a victim, but it was the best thing for me, for my family and especially for my relationship with my husband. You rid yourself of all the shame, self-hate, self-blame and fear. It makes you a much stronger person spiritually, emotionally and physically. God bless.


I don’t want to get in to the discussions and arguments here. I just want to tell you that I am praying for you.

My belief (doctorate in psychology, MD and more than a decade of experience don’t make me any more qualified to determine the answer to your question than anyone else here) is that if you experienced this clearly abusive behavior as sexual abuse, then you need to deal with it as sexual abuse. I agree with every person who has suggested counseling. I do think you should find a Catholic counselor if possible. I also agree with the poster who said “don’t get stuck.” I believe what they meant is that it is easy to let such experiences consume you and become the entire focus of your life. As a survivor of abuse as a child and a vicious rape as a young, wife and mother, I made that mistake and lost some potentially beautiful years of my life. It is also just as easy (often easier) to try to ignore the issue. However, if you need to address it, it will manifest itself in other ways and affect you negatively. You have to take an active step to turn it in to a positive.

The most helpful thing that I can do for you (and everyone else here, as well) is to offer my prayers and petitions to God on your behalf. Rest assured you have them.

I think you are right, and from what I understand a Dr would take a lot of time before he labeled it as sexual abuse…I think everyone agrees it is abuse, but it might not have sexual implications for everyone

I am now in counseling and its the one of the best things I’ve ever done. I now feel like a human being, a child of God; whereas before I didn’t even feel like a human being, overwhelmed with confusion, fear, shame, & self-loathing.

Lainey63, this is exactly how I have felt for a long time. I have felt that there was something “wrong” about me that was shameful and loathsome, and I have feared that if people found out I what I really was, they would reject me.

I appreciate all of the replies (aside from the smiley-faced ones, I do not think this is a topic to smile about). Especially the posters who have shared their own abuse experiences. I actually am in counseling now with a secular therapist regarding the emotional and physical abuse, but I had not brought up this particular issue because I wasn’t sure if it was a big deal or if I should spend my limited counseling time on other issues. I agree that it doesn’t matter what label I put on the experience as much as coming to terms with it, and understanding what repercussions it is having on my life now.

I also agree that this is an issue that should be addressed before entering any serious romantic relationship and certainly if I ever marry. For I have always had issues figuring out what proper boundaries are in opposite-sex relationships. Regarding the married man I posted about earlier, it took a while for me to figure out he was crossing boundaries that should not be crossed, especially as I had been attracted to him first and I felt for some time that I had “asked for it”. When he took his wedding ring off, that was something that was so obviously inappropriate that I realized I needed to flee the situation.

Thank you for your support and prayers!

Doesn’t matter what you want to label it. Your sense of control over your own person was violated and now you are confused and searching for a name for it. The fact that this clouds your relationships with men now- tells me the act was quite possibly sexual in nature and even if it wasn’t- that is how you experienced it and how it is affecting you currently.

How it has effected you is what matters and you need to work through that, along with the other abuse that was happening as you described it.


Please get counseling. I’ll pray for you,


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