Joe (the beginning of tue darkness)

The day after my 9th birthday, my Sister married Joe. This was in 1969, he was in the Navy and home on leave after boot camp. After the honeymoon, Joe would leave for Vietnam and parts unknown. When he was in on his next leave, Joe intorduced me to beer, the grooming had begun. While we were drinking, he asked if I ever messed around with other boys. This was during the cousin era and before the neighbor boy, but I told him that I had not done so. He explained to me that it was normal and that I should try it some time. When we returned home (my Sis still lived with us), Joe promptly told her that I'd had some beer knowing that it would get me in to trouble with her. He manipulated her in such a way that he would not be made the focus. This was his first step in taking taking control of my emotions and gaining power over me. I was sort of a cocky little punk, so this made it all the more interesting for him. His leave ended and off he went. The next time he was on leave, he would allow me to see him naked and after all " we were both guys". He had an incredible body and he knew that I noticed it. He was also very well endowed. During the lengthy grooming period that happened over many leaves during his 4 year stint in the navy, Joe's overtures were always made in a covert manner. He never tried to have sex with me. On one leave, he and my Sister were in her bedroom having sex during th middle of a day off work for her. I purposely walked in on them. I was 10 years old at that time. While my Sister ordered me out and rightly so, he told me that he was going to get me when they were finished. Around 30 minutes later, Joe came out of the bedroom and announced that he intended to kill me. I got up, ran out the back door and in to the woods behind our house. The woods spanned about an acre of land and while hiding there, i could here him yelling with intent, that he would find me, I could not stay out there forever and that when he did, I would die and neve be found. After 45 minutes or so he was growing tired of the game and I knew that my uncontrolled sobs of terror would give me in to his hands. He told me that if I would come out, he would not kill, but only beat me up. I felt that I had no choice, it was a deal I was willing to take.

I gave myself up to him. He hit me, knocking me to the ground. I got up and he hit me again, knocking me to the ground. He was smart and waled me in such a way that it left no marks. My Sister who was still in the house (I would later find out that she, herself was a victim) never came out. He told me that if I told her or my Mom what he had done, he would make good on killing me and that my body would never be found. I was terrified of him at that point. Later that evening when everyone was home, if I did or said anything to piss him off, he would ask under his breath, back out to the woods? After a couple of days of this, I told him in front of my Mom that I would tell her everything and it shut him up. She asked what I meant and I told her it was nothing. She let it go at that. I realized at that point if he pushed me too far, I could count on my Mom in a pinch. He watched himself in that manner because he knew that he had a bigger plan in mind for me. More leaves home would come and go over the next 2 years before he he finished his hitch in the Navy. I was 12 1/2 when he got out.
If someone throws trash on my lawn and drives away, it is mine to deal with. I make the decision whether to collect it or take responsibility for cleaning it up. We are the sum of our choices. For some, these were thrust upon us at an age when we were not qualified to take such resposibility. R.J.