SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I’m going to tell my story.  If you have been sexually assaulted and you need a friend, I’m just one click away.  There are many resources available and before I begin, I feel I should share a few:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

National Center for Victims of Crime

NO MORE

There are so many resources at a national and local level. There are groups on social media with survivors who have dedicated their lives to helping others through this hell.  Please know that you are NOT alone

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My story starts here:

The first time it happened to me, I was in kindergarten. He was family, in his early teen years, and his mom was babysitting me. We were in his bedroom, playing house, when he led me into his closet. I was playing the role of mom and he was playing the role of dad. The closet was dark and daunting, but I was with someone I trusted, so I felt secure. That security quickly disappeared and was replaced by anxiety. The rules of the game were straightforward; we would do mom and dad things and I had to listen to him since he was older than me. He told me to kiss him. Innocent enough, right? It was until he told me to open my mouth so he could force his tongue inside mine. I was confused. He asked me if I liked it and when I told him no, he said if I wasn’t silent for the rest of the game, he would do it again. I sat on the floor of that closet, like a rock, as he put his hand inside my panties. I still remember what they looked like; they were yellow with pink trim and pink flowers printed on the front. He knew what he was doing and was very cautious not to be too forceful. There was never any penetration. As he gently fondled me with that hand, his other hand dropped to his lap and I noticed it was moving swiftly. It was dark and I couldn’t see what he was doing. It wasn’t until the next time we played his game that I figured out what he was doing to himself in that closet. He told me that if I told anyone, I would be in trouble for letting him put his hand in my panties. I didn’t say a word.

Months passed and school was out for summer. My dad was working so his mom was babysitting again. She went to the store one day and left us alone at home. He was old enough to babysit. While she was gone, he said it was nap time for us kids. The other kids were put to sleep in one room and I got to sleep in his bed. I didn’t think anything would happen again because he hadn’t touched me since the first time. He crawled into bed with me and covered us up with a blanket. He said he wanted to play a game and my heart sunk. He must have sensed my resistance, because he pulled the blanket over our heads and started to tickle me. He pulled me on top of him and placed my legs over his hips. I was straddled over his lap. He said we were going to play cowgirl and he was the horse and I was the cowgirl. I had to ride the horse to be the best cowgirl in the world. The 6 year old girl I was thought it was a fun game. I didn’t recognize how truly perverse and repulsive it was. He rewarded me wth verbal praise, telling me I was the best cowgirl! Then he turned me over onto my back on his bed and he kissed me. I was frightened and knew what was coming. This time, he did different things. He took his pants off and showed himself to me, while telling me that moms are supposed to kiss dads on their private parts. Then he pushed himself into my face. He told me I had to kiss it and when I did, he got upset with me for doing it wrong. He said I had to kiss him like he kissed me, with my mouth open and tongue out. I did what I was told. He thrusted himself into my tiny mouth until I vomited. He told me I was sick and that he needed to take care of me. He said moms get sick when they are pregnant and he pushed my legs apart and rubbed his penis on my vulva. He explained to me how moms get pregnant while he did it. I was so afraid he would do it to me, but he didn’t. He masturbated onto me and I wanted to vomit again. It felt so bad and so gross. I felt gross. I started crying and told him I didn’t want to play his games anymore. He stopped and we never played games again. I knew it was wrong, but I was embarrassed, so I never told. Even when it came out that he did it to other kids, I never told them that he did it to me too.

The second person who hurt me was my stepbrother at the time. He was sadistic and hostile. I was terrified of him. I think everyone was. He was a few years older than me, I was 9 and he was 12. I don’t have as much to tell about this because my brain shielded me from most of this and locked it away somewhere I can’t access. He would come into my room with a knife and put his fingers inside me while he masturbated. If I cried, he would put the knife to my throat until I was quiet again. He would threaten to take my little sister if I ever told on him. I knew what was happening to me this time and I was devastated. I couldn’t let it happen to her too, so I let him do it for almost a full year. That was the first time I thought about suicide.

Fast forward to age 11. It started with my aunt’s brothers, adult men in their 30s, who liked to play grab ass with me. They got me drunk and high for the first time and used that as leverage to keep me quiet. I became their toy, often both of them at the same time. For the first few months, their actions never went beyond second base. One weekend, we were camping and canoeing on the Caddo River. River trips always mean getting fucked up at night. Everyone was smashed, as expected, and my aunt and uncle went to bed. I was left awake with the brothers and their friend S. S was married and his wife was asleep a few campsites down. Since we were belligerent and loud, we decided to walk down to the riverbank so we wouldn’t disturb anyone. I thought the presence of a third adult would protect me from sexual advances. The conversation shifted to how S’s wife wasn’t very good at giving blowjobs. The brothers said I should learn to do it the right way so I could keep my future husband happy. The older brother told me they would teach me on S. I told him no so he reminded me of how disappointed my dad would be to learn of my behavior. My dad had attempted suicide in the previous months, by driving his car into a tree. I couldn’t bare the thought of causing him more stress. S told me to be a good little slut and suck his dick. And I did what I was told. That became the new normal with the brothers. I was grateful when my aunt and uncle divorced. I was 12 when I tried to commit suicide the first time.

Let’s jump to age 14. My parents worked at a hotel and their boss had a very charming son. C was hot and all the girls had a crush on him, including me. He was engaged to another employee of the hotel. My sister and I babysat her son as a summer job. C was there often and he knew we loved to party, so he would supply our substances. We would get messed up and he would watch the kid but we still got paid. Sometimes it was just me babysitting. One night when my sister didn’t come, C showed up with tequila and weed. I was taking shots and we were both smoking. He taught me to shotgun a joint that night and would intentionally drop it so he could kiss me. I thought I was special since he was kissing me. That night was my first time to experience cross fading. I was disoriented, dizzy, and disassociating. I just wanted it to end so he took me to the couch so I could sleep. I dimly remember waking up to him carrying me into another room and putting me on a blanket on the floor. I remember feeling his weight on my body and being washed over with panic because I couldn’t tell if I was awake or dreaming. The last thing I remember was his breath on my face; it smelled like tequila and cigarettes.

The next morning, I woke up on the floor and in pain. I went to the bathroom and noticed blood in my panties. I just dismissed it as my period starting. My entire body ached, inside and out. My pelvis felt bruised inside and walking was particularly uncomfortable. I had never actually had sex before, but I suspected it had happened the night before. I was too embarrassed to ask him. He gave me a bag of weed and paid me for babysitting and I went home. I tried not to focus on it, but that night was all I could think about. The next time I babysat, he was there again. He showed me a webcam video that captured me passed out on the floor and him having sex with my wilted body. I was holding onto the lone piece of my virtue that the others did not steal from me. I wanted to be the one to choose when to give that away. He picked it from me that night, like a flower in his own garden. That part of me belonged to him now and I never had the option of granting him the consent to have me.

I ran away from home soon after that. When I came home, I told my parents what happened. They were livid with me. My mom screamed atrocious things at me, including the declaration that I was a whore. She allowed his fiance to be alone with me to release her fury. I was a child and I was at fault. I was humiliated by the adults that I trusted. The worst part was not that I was raped; it was that I was blamed for his actions. I wore a red letter from that day forward. In my mind, that’s the only thing anyone noticed about me. My shame was painted on my face and I felt exposed to every person I encountered. I was a disgrace and I didn’t care anymore. My grades dropped and I transformed from a straight-A student to a troubled teen, living a life filled with reckless sex, drinking, and drug use. My worst and longest lasting addiction was self harm. I had lost my value, my worth, and my childhood.

I will be 30 in 2 weeks and I still have the red letter. I still feel the darkness that was created back then. Through all the pain, I do know that I’m not alone. Unfortunately, so many people have lived through similar tragedies. My heart may never heal, but I survived so I guess there’s something positive that came from my hell.

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2 thoughts on “SAAM

    • Thank you. These things all happened when I was a child and I’m now 30 years old. Time has a way of closing these wounds. They may have closed incorrectly because sometimes they open back up and hurt, but for the most part, I’m okay.

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