This movement is fantastic. Whilst it’s part of my life that I’ve closed a chapter on, I want to share – just to add my voice in support of every other person who has added theirs.
I don’t like to think of myself as a ‘survivor’ but I am. I don’t like to think I’m a survivor because to me, that kinda gives power to my abusers.
By the age of 15, I’d experienced more ugliness than is comprehensible yet, having spent years fixing myself emotionally, I am now unbreakable.
I wasn’t always though. It’s been a long journey and despite what people say to you – it’s a journey taken by yourself. I had counselling but I always left with the same feelings inside me – all that had changed was that I had told someone else my story – I was still left with the ugliness.
I think there is a common misconception that the worst point is during the event itself. I disagree. From a young age, maybe 5 or 6, I learned to project my mind into ‘tomorrow’. I would live out what lovely things I might get up to tomorrow, like walk in the woods, eat ice cream, build a lego house – anything to save my own sanity from the sheer pain and sickness of being held down on the floor whilst he laughed and fucked me. Children are so small and adults are so big. You would think that a Doctor would do something more when he suspects the child he has just examined internally has been ‘interfered’ with. Something more than ask the child in front of the child’s Dad “Has someone been touching you?”.
It wasn’t my Dad but he got the finger pointed at him all the same. It was a step-Grandfather. Nothing further happened at that stage. I was too young and too scared. I felt my Dad pull away from me, too scared to show affection in case anyone suspected him I guess. I don’t know. We don’t talk about it.
It went on for years. I dreaded going there. Once when I knew I had to stay there a whole 2 weeks, I cried and begged my parents not to leave me there whilst they went on holiday. I remember holding on to my Mother’s leg pleading with her. To no avail.
Having a violent Mother made things so much worse. Years later I still haven’t met another person who carries so much anger in themselves. We have no contact. That makes me happy.
It all stopped when I was about 11 I think. One day, he went to do it and I shouted out “No!” and ran to another room. My Grandmother had been in the other room. She followed me to that other room and found me sitting on her bed crying. The first thing that came out of her mouth was “Has someone been touching you?”…………….perhaps it was her day to make a stand too as she clearly knew what had been happening to me. Years later I would force a confession from her when she was on her death bed dying of cancer. I did force her to tell me even though she only had a couple of days of life left in and I’m glad I did it. It is the one time I feel really good about doing something so horrible.
Other than that sustained abuse at his hands, I have a couple of other stories to tell you. A child minder who I went to as a kid had an older son. He would take me to his room and try to get me to ‘join up’ with him. He was 12, I was about 8 I think. I remember several afternoons of him trying to get my clothes off. I wrestled his hands each time whilst saying no. I can’t remember his name now but I wonder if he ever thinks back to that time – I wonder if he laughs and thinks “it’s all part of growing up.” which is what I’ve heard so often from people about those ‘Doctors and Nurses’ games.
Another time was when I was lying on the sofa with my maternal Grandfather. I loved him more than anything and despite the other horror, I trusted him implicitly. One time, his wife had gone to bed early and we were watching TV. I must’ve fallen asleep because I woke to feel his hands down my pyjama bottoms and his fingers touching me. I jumped up in dismay and I said whilst crying “no, not again. Not you.”. This event almost made me hate men for life. I couldn’t believe it was happening and by someone I loved and trusted especially when he knew about my other abuse (it had come out a few years earlier and there was a court case etc). His excuse was that he had fallen asleep and thought I was his wife. Really?! REALLY??? Tell me – is this likely?
I coped in various ways. The first coping mechanism was I bullied another girl. I did it for 2 weeks. I did it to pass the pain on so I didn’t have to feel it. It made me feel worse though – I hated myself for doing it. I fessed up to the teacher. I was 8 years old. Next I turned the table and bullied myself. I would take the screw out of the pencil sharper to release the blade and then sit in teh bath and cut myself on my arms. Every cut felt grand but then I had to hide it all the time. I was 10 years old. In the end the only way to cope was to run hard and listen to music. Run wild and free. I would take myself off into the woods or across fields and just be alone – where I felt safe. It is something that has followed me into adulthood – I feel safe and happy when I’m alone.
Today I am an awesome person. Not in a vain sort of way but in a way that I got my shit together and I’m sorted. I have friends, a good job, a nice house and I’m living my dream.
Don’t let them take your future – it’s yours to write, just pick up the pen.