Warning - For those who have been abused - this may cause triggers!
I donít remember everything, but what I remember is more than enough. I was sitting on the floor playing with my toys when my uncle walked into my bedroom. He sat down on my bed and watched me play for a couple minutes, then he made his decision. He stood me up and removed my pants, then my underwear, and let me go back to playing as he sat and watched. I sat Indian style, he reached down between my legs and began playing with my lips, fingering me. I just looked at him and then continued playing around his intrusion. I didnít know what he was doing, I didnít really know him, and I was only seven.
He picked me up and put me on my bed, sprawled out, face down across the yellow, flowered bedspread. He pinned me down with one hand on my back as he used the other hand to begin to sodomize me. As he eased his weight on top of me he shifted positions placing each hand on top of mine. I was pinned, my legs reaching, thatís where the memory ends. It happened two more times, that I remember anyway, the next two were more to the point. He would walk into the room, throw me on the bed, and pull down the back of my pants. Just like that I became a victim of incest.
I didnít tell anyone, I donít know why, a lot of reasons I suppose. Maybe I didnít think anyone would believe me. Maybe I didnít want to add to the family problems, my father was already beating the shit out of my mother and older brother on a regular basis. Maybe I didnít talk because I blamed my self. Whichever the reason, I stayed silent, and began denying reality.
Shortly thereafter my parents divorced, my mother, brother and I moved halfway across the country. My mother began drinking every night and my brother began what would be fifteen years worth of run-ins with the law. I began taking care of both my brother and mother since my mother was too drunk to do either, but I completely neglected myself. My mother and brother both resented me and rarely missed an opportunity to tell me.
Once I began developing certain family members took an increased interest in me. My grandfather would throw a blanket over both of us and begin tickling me, ending in him fondling my breasts. I only had to play this game a few times before I was certain this was indeed a creepy ingress rather an innocent, misguided tickle. I started avoiding him. My uncle, different from the prior, asked for a dance at my cousins wedding, he expressed his pleasure by rubbing his hard penis on my thigh. He began calling and cornering me at family parties when he was drunk, telling me I had to go out with him or I would see the ďmean uncleĒ. I avoided him also. Again, I was a victim.
I seemed to attract the worst society had to offer. My mom would send me into the gas station on the corner to get her cigarettes, I told her I didnít like how the guy made me give him a kiss before he would hand me the pack. She told me to, ďshut up and get her cigarettesĒ, so I did, I was eight. I went over to a friendís house to play one day and came running back to my aunt and unclesí, refusing to go back. I had forgotten about it until they brought it up recently, I only remember lying on top of the father underneath an unusually soft blanket. Even when it was made abundantly clear that something inappropriate had occurred, my family offered no assistance.
I began to self-destruct, trying to cope with the abuse while attempting to survive in my family. My father eventually came back into the picture proudly representing the epitome of a deadbeat dad. Like the rest of my family, he felt the need to tell me what was wrong with me, who I needed to be, and how disappointed he was. At an early age I developed ďoddĒ food habits which evolved into anorexia. In high school I began drinking and using drugs, became an addict. Finally, I began self-injuring and tried to kill myself. Every year was worse than the one before, I began believing my family, I hated myself.
My sophomore year of college a friend asked me if I wanted to go to Acapulco. One night we decided to go to Senior Frogís for dinner and drinks, mostly drinks. As the night went on we became more and more drunk, it was Spring Break. We each met a guy and I brought mine back to the hotel room. We started messiní around and then he wanted to have sex. I said ďnoĒ again and again and again Öbut he wasnít listening. I tried to push him off, pointless, he didnít budge. He won, and again, I was a victim. I just laid there and cried, cried because of the situation and cried because of the pain. I wasnít ďexperiencedĒ so sex wasnít a pleasurable act for me.
After Acapulco, sex meant nothing to me, what I had waited over a year to give to my boyfriend had just been stripped away. I began to believe that sex was the only thing that people wanted from me, the only thing I had to offer and I no longer thought it was sacred. I began to use sex to relate, giving it away freely, you had to be sleeping with me or want to sleep with me or I didnít understand what business you had in my life.
Over the years my self-injury, anorexia and drug use steadily got worse until I felt so miserable I felt I had no choice but to seek professional help. I ended up in inpatient treatment, a completely broken victim of childhood sexual abuse and a less than adequate upbringing. I spent four months in the hospital. I left drug free and sober, had managed to get my self-injury under control and was eating regularly and exercising at an appropriate level, however, I still hadnít talked about the abuse. So with all my negative coping skills stripped away it wasnít long before the PTSD came on full force, flashbacks and all. I relapsed, my self-injury and anorexia were worse than ever.
Finally, I wanted to tell someone about the abuse, I didnít want the secret anymore, no matter the consequences. Denying myself, my life, had brought me nothing but more pain. I was scared but I decided to tell my therapist. I ended up going back into the hospital for another three months. Iíve been out for a year now now, Iím clean and sober and havenít injured. I still struggle with the food but I eat everyday, multiple times a day, better than before. Iíve talked about what happened and I told my family.
I thought my family would disown me, stunned to the core that I would slander our good name. Yet they stand by my side. I expected my uncle to fight back, vehemently deny the accusations with some drunken crusade fought through emails and voice messages. However, he simply said, ďPlease tell your parents that it wasnít meĒ. Then I realized that wasnít only how I thought they would react but what I wanted. I had only begun to accept and work through my past and this was my last chance at denial, my last chance to just make it all go away, and they werenít cooperating.
So itís harder lately, to sleep in my bed, to eat, to feel safe, but thatís okay. Because today I know that facing it isnít nearly as bad as running away from it. I know I still have a long way to go but I can safely say today that I am no longer a victim of abuse. Today I will do what I need to do to recover, even though I know that part of that means I still have to keep talking about what happened. Today I am telling my story. Today I am confident that I will recover, whether I stay still today or go backwards, because eventually I know I will make it to the end. Today I am no longer a victim, I am a rape survivor.
This story is dedicated to the women of Alexian, thank you for helping me find my voice. If you would like to talk or just want someone to listen drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks for reading my story.
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