I've thought about this for a week or so since I've joined. I want to share my story so that others know they are not alone and to find a way to turn it into a positive.
I start with VICTIM, because we were all victims at one time. What's important about that, is to acknowledge this first stage, to understand it, to face it, and to move from that place of victimization, into the place of SURVIVOR. There are other stages, too. I cite them in my signature. I've gone through them all, and am stepping into the OVERCOMER stage right now.
No matter where you are at along this continuum, if you agree with these names/labels, you can make progress and move forward. Likewise, you can stay where you're at as long as you need to. I don't believe you can regress in these stages, although you can most certainly indulge in self-destructive and sabotaging behavior while you struggle with a part of your healing.
Please don't do that. And, if you do hurt yourself through self loathing anyway, please catch yourself and get back on track and on course with your healing. That shit you do to destroy yourself, won't just destroy those parts of yourself you're ashamed of, they'll also destroy the good parts of who you are as well. Once you understand that, you'll realize you are better off investing in your healing, rather than your destruction.
Okay, so I've gotten a bit preachy there and on my soapbox. Sorry about that. Just laying some groundwork my brothers. Now, onto the stage I'm sharing here, myself as a VICTIM.
I was four years old when I was sexually abused by my step father. My mother and father divorced. He had PTSD from Vietnam and didn't know how to deal with it. The military did a piss poor job of helping him and he became violent. He was a wife beater, and progressed to my older sister and younger brother. My mother had terrible taste in men and selected one loser after another. She thought it was great someone could accept and love another man's children, but little did she know the reason why.
He molested my sister for 2 years, from the time she was 2 to age 5. He added me for approximately six months. During this time period, he also intimidated my siblings and I with contradictory punishments. He called his belt different names to scare us and punished us for cleaning our rooms or not cleaning our rooms. He came into the bathroom to pee with me. I wasn't afforded privacy or personal space. At the time, I had no idea this was all part of the grooming plan. I see it clearly now.
One day, he took me with him alone to his mother's house where he mowed the yard. I sat inside in the small livingroom and was bored. This was a farm, isolated and were were the only two people there. Looking out the front, there were rows of cornstalks and a wooden split rail fence. Beyond the farm were horses.
I could hear him mowing and watched him go back and forth through the screen door. I sat and rocked in the rocking chair. When he was done mowing, he came in and said he was going to take a shower. I waited.
After awhile, he called me from some room and told me to come here. I asked which room he was in and he called out again. When I turned into the room, he was standing nude with his clothes beside him. I don't remember if there was furniture or not. The room bent funny and I felt pulled toward him like he could reach across the room and pull the back of my head toward him like he was palming a melon in his hands.
He pulled me down on him and forced me to felate him. I tried to cry out or scream but this just made me choke. It didn't occur to me to bite him. I thought I'd be punished if I tried anything, but I didn't know what the hell was going on. I didn't understand and rightfully so. He was in his early 20's and I was four.
When he came, I thought he had pissed in my mouth. I gagged and spit it out and asked why he peed in my mouth. He thought this was funny and laughed. I got up and ran when I realized he had let go of me. This was the first of over a dozen encounters, all different, with as many as a couple dozen encounters over six months.
I don't know the exact amount. My memory became spotty as I learned to disassociate and float away or "leave" my body while it happened as a coping mechanism. Here's what I do know: He sodomized me in every way. If it was possible, he did it.
I think the second time, I was asleep in bed and on the top bunk. I saw him standing in our bedroom doorway. I pretended to be asleep, even when he came over and stood by the bed. The hall light was on. I squinted my eyes shut and watched him through my gaped eyelashes. He pulled my covers down, and then pulled down my pajamas. He pulled my penis out and felated me. I could feel his spit on my penis. It repulsed me. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I stiffened, but tried to relax, tried to tell myself to pretend to be asleep so he couldn't make me do anything else.
When he was done, he left, making terrible sounds to himself, and left me just like that, with my covers and pajamas down and his spit still on me. I remember some of these quite vividly. I can't get them entirely out of my mind. However, I can look at them more objectively now.
He liked to take my brother and sister and I fishing. Sometimes he watched the neighbor kids. Can you believe it? He was a babysitter! He started to take me into my mother's and his bedroom and abuse me on their bed or on the floor. He anally sodomized me, and even tried to make me do that to him once. After a few weeks, my body became attuned to the abuse. I even had erections.
Of course, I didn't want that to happen. I wanted to figure out how to stop him, but I couldn't stay away or avoid him forever, no matter how hard I tried. You see, he told me if I was good, and if I cooperated, he wouldn't do that to my brother or my sister. Remember how I told you he did abuse my sister? Well, neither of us realized that until about six months later. I thought I was taking the bullet for my siblings, when all along he was doing it to my sister too. And, let's not kid ourselves. He was probably abusing others, too.
He would lay me on the bed and felate me to start, and then make me sit on him for anal sodomy. Sometimes he made me felate him. Once, he was babysitting and took me in the bedroom to "punish" me for some made up, contrived reason. He left the other kids out watching TV. One of the boys walked in on us. I was so ashamed of that.
Eventually, my sister and I had a conversation where something, a phrase that was something he would say to us, came out. Something about a promise to go clothes shopping or something as a reward. This was simply more grooming. We both did a double take and said, what did you say? Once we realized he was doing it to both of us, we went to our mother and told her what had happened.
Fortunately for my sister and myself, she believed us, and due to the law, we had to leave the state. All three of us flew from the east coast to the west coast (where I was born) and lived with my dad's parents while we had the court case.
The court case took nearly two years, because he lied and because those involved with helping us and protecting us botched the whole thing. He claimed he was innocent for a year and a half. When he finally confessed, his lawyer walked out on him and a new one was assigned.
My sister and I had to fly back and forth or travel by train to attend various steps in the court case. We had social workers and counselors to help us talk about what happened. I still remember that the counselors did the same things he did, but didn't see how ridiculous that was!
Here I was, the victim, and four to six years old, and I recognized that they offered candy bars and soda to me if I would agree to talk to them. I found this odd that they didn't realize how that might look to a victim of similar grooming tactics. In my mind I thought, "okay, what are you going to make me do?"
Worse yet, the judge took me into his chambers and made me recount all that happened. I was able to do that, and gave my testimony. They decided to test me (without warning) to see if I could say the same thing in court. While I wanted to, I was not convinced that I was safe. I didn't trust adults to keep me safe, so when they brought him in, wearing orange and shackles on his arms and legs, and when he growled at me and screamed and hollered and threatened to kill me and hurt me and a barrage of terrible frightening things, I clamped up.
Even though there were adults around, and there were armed officers around, no one told me they wouldn't let him hurt me and I could say what I needed to say with him in the room. Or, if they did (my memory's a bit hazy here, and my perception was likely off due to the situation...I was terrified), it still didn't assure me. I clamped up, and didn't talk, and they decided not to have me testify (without MY input, which pissed me off later.).
It happened to me. My rights were not protected. It should have been MY choice and MINE alone. Not theirs. Their job was to protect me and assure me that not all adults hurt children. They failed at their job. And he was given a lighter sentence because they couldn't show there was more than one victim via our testimony. My sister testified. He got seven years.
Having researched the case myself, with my own testimony, he would have had 12 or more counts of sodomy with aggravated sexual assault (due to my age, and due to the intimidation and grooming). He would have been put away for a lot longer.
Also, he was mentally retarded. His IQ was very low and it appeared he had likely been abused himself. I know this goes against most cases with the Vampire aspect (i.e. those who are abused become abusers, a total lie. It's the exception, not the rule.) but it was true for him. I always worried he'd do it again. The doctors and counselors said as much. It's what he knew. He couldn't stop himself.
I felt guilt for his future victims. That I hadn't done enough to stop him and if there were future victims it would be partially my fault for clamping up and refusing to answer questions with him in the room screaming at me and threatening me. (Later I revised this to: I was not afforded the ability to properly accuse him and hold him accountable for all he did to me, and keep him locked up so he couldn't do it to anyone else. This was not entirely my fault. Also, I should consider that I was young and afford myself some grace. Also, the adults failed to help me feel secure and safe, so how could I testify?)
There's tons more, and I will share a post on each stage of my story to share some of the processing and healing I've gone through since this first stage.
I don't share this to cause triggers for you. I share it to let you know as completely as I can share, that YOU are not alone. Those thoughts of guilt and shame and confusion over sexual identity, and self destructive behaviors I myself have indulged in from time to time, have all become steps for me to turn my ashes into beauty, hence my handle in these forums. I am also a Christian. I got saved in my grandmother's church. She read to us from the picture Bible and taught us about right from wrong. These are things my mother didn't really teach us.
Once I learned that God didn't want that to happen to me, and that because He gave all of us free will, sometimes we sin against one another. That's what happened to me. My abuse was another man's sin. He exercised his free will and power over me. He got away with it for a season, but was caught. It broke God's heart to watch me suffer through that, and feel like I was alone. But I wasn't alone. He was there, and He carried me through all of those valleys filled with shadows and death, meant to destroy me. He rescued me and revealed His love for me in the proper time.
Since then, I have learned that God can take anything and use it for good. He can take what was meant for evil and make it something to help and heal others. If that's you, I hope my words offer you some comfort. If you'd like to talk with me about something specific, I welcome your comments elsewhere, since these threads are locked. I hope this gets you thinking about your own situation. God didn't mean for that to happen to you either. It broke His heart to watch you suffer. But, He made a plan for you and your life. He'd like to help you attain victory and OVERCOME your abuse if you'll let Him.
Start today. Start right now. Ask Him to prove Himself to you and reveal Himself to you and allow Him to answer you, and He will. I don't mean with a manipulation. Just like with people, that doesn't work. He's not a gimmick. He's real. Open your heart and mind to Him and ask Him to make it clear to you so that you won't have any doubts, and He will. Believe it.
He did so for me, and I've come a long way since I was four. I turn 40 next year. I have a wife of nearly 13 years, four wonderful boys, and a purpose and a calling to my life. You can have those things to, in whatever fashion and detail that is for you. I pray you'll receive this and take it seriously.
I don't share my story lightly. I take it very seriously. Hear me on that. I take a risk here. I made myself vulnerable to you for a purpose. I thank you for sharing this with me and I count it a privilege and an honor. May God richly bless you and those you love. May you make progress on your healing journey, and may you take courage and comfort in the fact that you are not alone. You've got at least one other person who is with you. And, if you'll have Him, you can have God's help and an eternal relationship with Him if you'll let Him into your heart.
Edited by ModTeam (09/06/12 01:02 PM)
Edit Reason: Added Trigger warning
Taking it back one day at a time.