Trigger warning: rape.
Long post. It’s graphic and is not easy to read. Even harder for me to write.
I got encouraged to tell a small part of my story after watching Halsey’s poem at the women’s march this weekend. My story isn’t one I tell easily, or even often. There are so few who know my story that it may shock some, and some it may make you angry, or make you cry but I’m not asking for pity or hugs or even an explanation to why.
I’m telling my story because silence is hurting me too much. Because It’s past time I stop hiding as if I did something wrong, when I’m not the criminal in this telling. I’m tired of hiding in the shadows as if I did this to myself.
I was about nine the first time my mother’s long term boyfriend who she said was my step father touched me. My mother was working a double at Medial lodge, a nursing home, where she was a CNA. It was on Halloween. I had been sent home from school with a fever and hadn’t been feeling good. I was in the shower of our tiny rented house on Mechanic street in Butler and he walked in, even though I was showering. He wouldn’t leave until I took the towel from his hand. I took it quickly and wrapped about myself. Back then I was tiny, slender but tall for my age. I started to go to the bedroom, where my brother’s slept, but I had a drawer with clothes in it, since I slept in the living room cause the house was tiny and at the time I slept on the sofa.
He followed me, and then I was pushed against the wall, and for my sanity I am not telling details, just that an hour later I was curled up on the floor of my brother’s bedroom, bruises on my wrists, and thighs, blood on them, hurting from what had just happened to me, and him covering my mouth with his big hand telling to be quiet or he’ll make sure I wasn’t welcome in the house anymore.
I hated being alone with him after that. If my mother had errands, she would take the boys and Bill would tell her I had homework when I didn’t, or make up some reason I shouldn’t go. He would do things to me then, or make me do things to him, all the time reminding me that If he wasn’t happy I’d pay for it.
When we moved to the house on Dakota street and I finally had my own room and not just a sofa to sleep on, I wanted a lock. I wasn’t allowed to have one for years because by then mom had been injured and unable to do things on her own all the time, because of damage to her nerves and her own mental health issue that I’m not going into right now. I hated the nights, or even being home, cause I knew what would happen when everyone was sleeping.
He would come to my bedroom in the middle of the night, and rape me.
This lasted for 11 years.
It finally ended just after my 18th birthday when I finally took the chance to tell my mouth one August day in 1995, outside where we were hanging laundry. I told my mother, with tears sliding down my face what he had been doing, and she hit me so hard I fell, as her first response was to call me a liar and a whore. That night, I started sleeping with a knife under my pillow. It was old, and crappy, but I kept it under my pillow, and the next time he came into my room I pulled it. I threaten to cut his penis off if he ever touched me again. He tired again and I screamed, not caring anymore if I woke the house up. He shoved me against the wall and I cut his arm with that dull knife.. he never touched me after that, because he knew I meant business.
Yes I was a child, my childhood ended the first time he raped me in that tiny house. I still fight the demons left behind from these years of rape. I still have nightmares, and moments where the cologne he wore, when I smell it, it triggers a panic attack. I still wake up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, thinking I’m in that house, shoved against a bedroom wall, with his hand on my mouth as he rapes me. His voice telling me to be quiet, that I want this, that I need to keep my mouth shut or else my brothers will pay for it with a beating, that my mom will blame me and I’ll be kicked out. That if I want to keep the peace I’d better just shut up and let him do what he wants.
My story is not that unusual. I am one of the millions of women who have dealt with sexual crimes in their lifetimes. This isn’t even the only male to do such.
I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I am one the lucky ones. I got the hell out of the situation.