Once upon a time there was an idealistic little girl. Her parents had separated when she was 6 years old and her mother moved on with a new man. This man did everything he could to ruin the idealisms of this little girl and her two brothers for many years. He used his words, his fists, his strength & his authority to try to tear them down. This little girl was me and this is one piece to my story.
Years passed and I started to change into an idealistic young lady. One fateful day when I was 12 years old, I came home to find that the house was empty for my stepfather and me.
I had been in the house alone with him many times before, but lately I was growing more and more uncomfortable. It had started a few months prior, innocently enough. He would ask me to sit on the couch and watch TV with him.
He gradually began to ask me to lie down and cuddle with him. Caught somewhere between a little girl wanting to feel close to a father figure and a young women terrified to anger an abusive man, I obliged.
However on this particular day, our cuddling took a turn that I would never be able to erase or brush off.
“Come lay with me,” he said. I began to walk over, quietly saying “okay.”
As I started to lie down in my usual spot beside him, he grabbed hold of my hips and lifted me onto his body. He held his arms tightly around my wrists with his hands resting on my lower back. My legs were left to dangle between his legs and my belly rested on his.
I could feel his arousal hard against my leg, although I barely registered what that meant at the time. He began rubbing my back and stared at me.
“Do you love me?” he asked. “Yes, of course,” I said. As mean, abusive and hurtful as he could be, he had been a father figure in my life for nearly 6 years and we had shared some happy memories as a family. He seemed pleased with my answer and rested for a moment.
Taking a deep breath and looking noticeably nervous, he looked up at me again and said, “Kiss me.” I leaned down and gave him a quick kiss, no different than I had done many nights at bedtime for many years.
He laughed lightly and said, “no, kiss me like you kiss your boyfriends.”
Not fully understanding, I leaned down and kissed him exactly as I had before and said, ‘that is how I kiss my boyfriends.’
This was true, since I had only had one or two boyfriends at this point and had only made it to holding hands and chicken peck kisses.
When he realized that I wouldn’t or couldn’t give him the kiss he wanted, he looked upset. Sensing and fearing a shift in his gentle approach, I quickly told him I had a lot of homework to finish and that I needed to get started.
He hugged me to him again, then pulled back and asked, “Do you still love me?” I said yes again. I didn’t want to anger him.
This level of confused intimacy, with gentle kisses and caressing, carried on for 3 years before I had him arrested for physical abuse. I never told the police at the time about the sexual assault. It would take me 2 more years before I ever shared it with a few close friends and I was nearly 20 years old before sharing the details with my mother and father, at the suggestion of a therapist.
Although the acts never escalated too much more than his arousal and some physical movement with clothes on, his kissed became more determined and he would hold me tighter against him. As I grew older, I became more aware of the inappropriate nature of these moments. I grew increasingly distant while it would take place, abandoning my body to fend for itself as my soul went to somewhere better.
Looking back, I often wonder what he was taking from me saying that I still loved him. I still wonder if he would have pushed the sexual acts further if I had fought him off with more force and aggression. The fear of what could have happened & the memories of what did, cast a small shadow in my resilient idealistic nature.
I haven’t spoken more than a dozen words to him since he was arrested. I wish I were brave enough to confront him. To tell him that he didn't ruin my life. He overshadowed many good memories for nearly 10 years of my childhood, but I get the rest. I have a wonderful life and he is just a mean old bastard living in the same small town. I win.
I am happy. I am loved. I am endlessly idealistic.
More of Crys's writing can be found online on her blog Ideally Speaking
and on Twitter
When I age 5, I remember my dad hitting me for no apparent reason. I was forced me to hide underneath furniture (like the dining room table) for safety. My mom always looked on and never said or did anything when I was attacked. At the age of 8, it got so bad that I moved in with my grandparents (my mom's parents). In the fall of 1985 (when I was 9), my Grandma died from cancer and I took care of Grandpa and household duties the best that I could. I felt Grandpa's House was my safe haven. Grandpa told me that he would always protect me and that I would be safe at his place. He died in 2003.
But before that, when I was 15 in 1990, while visiting my parent's house my dad bit me in my left shoulder. My mom covered the attack by putting me in the hospital saying I was depressed and "mental." She promised the violence would never happen again, but it did. The staff wanted to put me in foster care and I wish I had taken them up on the offer. But my mom begged for me to not to enforce child abuse charges against her and my dad because she would lose her government job. She was the sole financial provider at the time and encouraged me to speak to the staff to discourage charges and foster care. So I did what my mom requested, and I greatly regret it. In 1997, my brother followed my dad's footsteps and attacked me in my apartment, threatening me with a knife. Due to my mom's and brother’s police connections, the charge was dropped to disorderly conduct.
In 2011, I moved into my childhood bedroom with my then fiancée and my dog due to avoid being homeless due to the harsh economy. In Nov of 2011, we got married. My family did not acknowledge our marriage. We never received a congratulations card or a wedding gift. About a month later on the day before Christmas Eve, my life changed forever and will never be the same. We both were attacked, and my mom looked on and said or did nothing again (just like the last 30 years). I physically witnessed my dad attempt to stab my husband in the side with a screw driver, and my brother attacked me, slamming me down onto the living room floor while threatening me by waving a blue handled knife in the air. Worse, we had just learned a few days earlier that I had gotten pregnant on our wedding night.
Christmas Eve arrived and my husband and I were in jail falsely arrested because of my Mom's political connections and my brother's friends on the police force covering things up for him. The charges against me were dropped and I was released on the 24th. The charges were reduced to two disorderly conducts for my husband although he was innocent. He sat 30 days until I could afford to make bail. I had to sell my wedding ring and confirmation rings to make bail of $500. We missed our first Christmas and New Years together as a married couple as well as his birthday in January.
I worked for my Mom's business for over four yrs. Because I had called 911 to report the attacks, she fired me on Christmas Eve after she picked me up from jail. (I had no record with the law only a $10 seat belt violation in the last decade.) I was forced to spend my Christmas Eve homeless alone while my husband was in jail as an innocent man. My frozen tears were attached to my face like ice. It was in the 30's outside and I was leaning against the gas station wall for warmth. Had to leave our dog behind and come back for her. Cars drove past me and did not acknowledge me outside freezing. Then one man stopped to gas his SUV up and asked if he could help. He looked a lot like my husband. On December 26th with a sprained ankle I walked approx 5 miles to the nearest taxi pick-up to be taken the the next town 10 minutes away. There I was greeted with a bus driver (the old high school football coach) who knew my late aunt and my late cousin. He drove me another 10 miles away from where I was attacked so I would be safe and shared his great memories of Shirley and Oscar.
It was then that I realized that my late Aunt Shirley was my Guardian Angel. She opened the doors for me to reach safety against all odds. Her late parent's church paid for my hotel room although my grandpa and step-grandma have been dead since the 1980's.
In May 2012, is when a piece of me died. During a routine ultrasound, the doctor said our baby had no heartbeat and that I would have a miscarriage. In June, I went to my primary doctor about a month after my miscarriage because I was not feeling right. They took a urine pregnancy test and told me to come back in a month. In July, we relocated out of state for a fresh start and for safety reasons. (I even got a PO Box and a prepaid phone to guarantee our safety.) I was rushed to the ER where they discovered via an ultrasound that our baby still was inside me. They had to do an ER DNC surgery because of the toxicity.
Since August, my Mom has made attempts to have a relationship with me via email, phone, and text. She has not shown any compassion for our loss as of this letter, asked for forgiveness, or showed by her actions that she's sorry about giving the violence towards me a blind eye for nearly 30 years which recently cost us the life of our baby. I doubt she ever will. I am disconnecting our phone number and will get another and will continue to use my PO Box.
This is my heartbreaking story. I may never see justice for what was done to us nor be able to hire an attorney for damages. But what I do have is my life and a great husband that loves me unconditionally with all his heart. It doesn’t matter if I have a dollar to my name. He loves me just the same.
Dedicated in loving Memory of Aunt Shirley, Grandpa Ralph, and our friend Doug for being there in spirit during my most darkest hours and guiding me to safety when I needed help the most.
For a long time I thought I wore a Triple Crown of Abuse. Child sexual abuse, raped in my early 20s, alcohol-related domestic violence from my first husband. I know I'm not alone in this, far from it. Some people win lotteries, others represent a different type of statistic. Being a woman who was victimized by violence sadly isn't a rare thing, not yet.
I really didn't deal with the childhood sexual abuse until I was raped by a stranger in my own little Toyota truck in the parking lot of a bar when I was in college. A man just opened the door and got in. He raped me. I didn't feel much of anything except my neck and jaw under extreme pain from the way he pinned me down and held my mouth closed. My only thoughts were I can't breathe, he's going to break my neck, I'm going to die.
That led me to a rape crisis program. The damn holding back everything from my childhood broke open. I had a breakdown. I'm not exactly sure how I made it from the ages of 21 to 25. Somehow support groups and counselors got me through. I can't say that friends did, I really didn't have friends at that stage in my life. With my childhood it took me a long time to trust anyone and to feel safe to tell the truth, two things required of friendship. When there is so much damage it's hard to see yourself of much use to anyone, anyway.
But I rebuilt my life, somehow. I fell in love with my husband fast. In retrospect I was really inexperienced and flattered by his promises. His alcoholism was obvious, but I told myself once the fun of dating was behind us he'd settle down. I was going to help him. In my deep heart of hearts, I also knew he would never, ever leave me. His sickness made him feel so safe to me, so trustworthy.
It backfired. His rage against himself took shape as rage against me. I became the reason everything had been denied to him. The reason he wasn't a successful man. The reason he failed. He spit on me, yelled at me, tore me down, got in the way of every possible opportunity that came my way, isolated me, controlled every penny, and overall tried to keep me so tiny I would fit like a pinch inside of a can of tobacco in his front pocket.
I don't even remember how I managed to leave. I have a lifetime of foggy memory bits, and leaving him about seven years ago is one of them. It feels like an old, fading movie, with clicking sounds instead of a soundtrack. I didn't even know how bad it was until long after I left. One day I was sitting on my porch after cutting the yard in my new house and it hit me. I'm happy. I was filthy and the air smelled so green and it was a beautiful day...and nothing else. It's so simple, really, but I had not felt that simple feeling too many times in my life up to that point. It turned out all this time happiness wasn't a thing, happiness was just the absence of feeling broken. Now I judge everything else by that simple happy feeling and won't ever give it away.
I don't know if I'll ever get married or even fall in love again. I certainly am not looking for a relationship. I know I'll never have children. I don't need to win the lottery in money or love or anything material. I just want to feel like everything is behind me. I want to keep my friends and take care of them. I want to help others who have been hurt get safe and feel peace. I just want to live a good life and be happy.
It all started when I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years. I was madly in love with him, we were going to get married. But it was a bad relationship, a really bad one. I was constantly pulling him out of trouble, constantly trying to prove to my friends and family he was everything I thought he was. It became exhausting; he had destroyed my trust in any way imaginable. But I still loved him. After he cheated on me, I put my brain in charge instead of my heart. We broke up. His last comment was, “But I still love you” to which I replied, “Not enough.”
It took a while to even think about moving on from him. But when I finally started to, I began having what I thought were nightmares. The nightmares were always a little different, but very similar. And part of some of them involved my brother, who was 3 years younger than me, standing by the side of my bed. He would touch my breasts, feel around under my underwear. Sometimes they even involved him taking my hand and touching his penis.
The first time this happened I could have swore was real but my brain couldn't make sense of it. I remember looking at my brother the next day. I remember thinking, how could I ever even think he would do something like that? He’s my sweet baby brother. That same day I asked him if he had been in my room the previous night, he answered no. I believed him.
A few weeks later, I had another nightmare. During the nightmare I woke up, and I pretended to be asleep. He remained in the room with me. He took my hand and made me touch it. As soon as I thought he was gone, I ran into my mother’s room barely able to spit out what had happened. Part of me was convinced it was real; part of me wasn’t sure what to believe. I remember puking up water, then dry heaving. Then I remember having my very first panic attack, I felt like I was going to suffocate. My mother calmed me down, I explained to her how real it felt. She believed me and went to check on my brother. When she came back she told me he was sound asleep, there was no way he could have just been in my room. My mom and I talked, and concluded that I was having hallucinations that were perfectly rational in moving on from my abusive boyfriend.
Something still didn’t seem right. Why did the nightmares start all of a sudden? I began to wonder if this was what it was like for people who become psychotic. Was I crossing the line from reality to crazy? I did not want to be someone who was too weak to handle life. If I crossed into imaginary land, would I ever be able to find my way back? If I became crazy, did my ex win? Surely I was stronger and better than that. My parents and I talked the next day. The plan was to get through the next few weeks until graduation. If the hallucinations continued, we would see about putting me in an institution. We all agreed that they would have the best resources for me to get help. I made one of my best friends make a promise to me. I made her promise that if I ever was in a mental institution and became crazy, that she would come visit me.
Later that week, my mother came to me. She had been having doubts about the “hallucinations” too. In a car ride she had gotten my brother to confess. He came to me later that night, to say he was sorry. I told him to get out of my room. How dare he think that this was something that could be forgiven with a simple “sorry?"
My ex- found out what had happened. He didn’t call, he didn’t text, he didn’t offer any kind of support.
At first I couldn’t even look at my brother, but things eventually got better. But even after what he had done, I still loved him. I wanted him to get help. As a family, we slowly began recovering. It is fall now, and that was last summer.
For part of my counseling, I did tell a couple of my friends. Most of them just sat quiet and nodded. That being said, there are some of my friends who I will never tell.
As for my abusive ex? I have since raised my standards, by a landslide! If I ever do meet someone who is worthy of me, I probably will tell him about my brother when the timing is right. Part of me is a little scared about getting to the intimate part of a relationship again. Will I be able to have a normal sexual relationship with anyone again? To be honest, I’m not sure. Some things may never be the same. But, if these past few months have taught me anything, it’s that you have to have faith. Three months ago I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to look at my brother again. I’m very proud about how far I’ve come.
Next Page »