Natalie

When I was three years old, I went to my father and told him that it hurt to go to the toilet. He responded by having a doctor come to the house to examine me. When the doctor arrived, I was asleep and she told dad that to examine me, she would have to wake me up and that if anything had happened to me, the examination would be traumatising and that she felt it was best that they didn’t proceed. Nothing more was done.

At that time, there were four of us kids, 3 older brothers and me, the only female. My eldest brother, who is 9 years older than me, had been abusing my brothers for a long time, and it was only a matter of time before he would abuse me too.

The first distinct memory I have of being sexually abused was when I was six. He came into my room late one night while he was babysitting, He was 15. He took off my knickers and pyjama pants and straddled me. Touching my vagina all over with his hands and rubbing his penis on me. Every so often he would lean back and touch me with one hand, while masturbating with the other. I remember telling him that I needed to go to the toilet, just to get away from him. When I didn’t come back, he came into the toilet and led me back to the bedroom. I was so young, I didn’t understand what he was doing, and I didn’t know at that time that I wasn’t the first. I wanted so much to please my brother and as a result, I “let” him. I didn’t fight, I didn’t struggle, I just let him do what he wanted to do and hoped that he wouldn’t do it again.

Over the nest few months, it happened again, and again. Then when I was 7, I received a reprieve when he went and lived elsewhere. I didn’t tell anyone until I was twelve. I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting with my dad, and two of my younger siblings at a round kitchen table. I said to my dad, “what would you do, if someone had hurt me?” He said, who are we talking about here? and I said, “We are talking about S****”, my father promptly burst into tears. I didn’t even need to tell him what S**** had done, he already knew. The whole experience was horrible, dad crying at the table and my stepmother yelling at me, “did he put his penis into your vagina??” over and over, all the time with me in my head screaming, stop saying that to me, please just stop saying that to me. Why is she saying these revolting things to me? Dad had had suspicions for years, from the day that I told him that it hurt to go to the toilet. Turns out that one of my older brothers told his mother (my stepmother) when he was 6 (I was 4), that he had been molested. She told him that he had had a bad dream and to go back to bed. She just sent him back into that room, with his abuser, and the abuse continued over the next few years. That brother can’t even be in the same room as me anymore, we haven’t seen each other in about 8 years, we spoke on the phone a few years ago, and he expressed guilt and sadness in not being able to protect me and he told me that when he was 7 and taken into foster care, he was so sorry to leave me there, because he knew with all the older siblings gone, that it would be open season on me. He told me that he doesn’t want to see me again, as I am a constant reminder of what happened to him.

My eldest brother molested me, two of my older brothers and a male cousin. I was the only female, and to this day, I am the only one who refuses to let it go, I will not be silenced! Not now and not ever again.

I wanted to share a little of my journey since those days, as I feel that it all stems from the abuse anyway. After I told my family what had happened to me, there was a process put in place to get some counselling through ACC’s sensitive claims. I still remember my stepmother filling in the paperwork when I was 14, reading the question out loud “To what extent do you feel that these events have impacted upon you?”, she turned to me, and said “well, hasn’t really affected you at all has it?”. She accepted that I believed that I had been abused, but I don’t think she ever really accepted that it was true. She even tried to tell me that it was a story that my mother invented.

As a teenager, I was angry, so angry, broken and scarred and becoming more and more twisted. I got drunk, did drugs, had sex with anyone who would have me, including men 20 to 30 years my senior, and ran away at any chance I got. Looking back, there was a giant neon flashing sign on my forehead that was screaming “HELP ME!”, but noone ever did. When I was 14, I ran away again and stayed with some guys that I had met a few months previous. One night, one of the guys came up to me and said “we need some money, so we’re going to put you on the corner”. Another girl, a girlfriend of one of the guys, dressed me in a mini skirt and a little top and put me on a street corner. I gave a 40 year old man a blowjob in the front seat of his car, for $40, all the time begging him not to hurt me.

By the time I was 15, I was sex working 5 days a week, servicing up to 30 men a week, including the man I was working for, and police officers who were sent to make sure everything was above board at the brothel. I felt worthless, men had only ever wanted one thing from me, and it was between my legs. I deluded myself, believing that I was in control, after all, they were paying me for it now, so I must have been in control right?

I got pregnant to a boyfriend when I was 16, and welcomed my young son into the world just after I turned 17. My then boyfriend was arrested and charged with distribution of child porn. Turns out, I was another of his victims.

The next 8 years was a blur of drugs and sex work. Anything I could get my hands on to numb the pain, to drown out the screaming child in my head.

When I was 25, now with two children, I had finally had enough, enough of the running, enough of trying to escape my past. I started talking about being molested with my family, with mixed results. To this day, my stepmother refuses to talk about what happened to me under her watch, telling me that she doesn’t remember the times that I have discussed with her. Doesn’t remember her son throwing himself through the wall of a glass house to escape his abuser, doesn’t remember getting angry with me when i was 7 because i changed the way I wore a towel when my abuser was around, so that he couldn’t see my body……
I haven’t spoken to her in two years, and I doubt that I ever will again. My dad and I worked very hard, had some very difficult and painful conversations and we now have a very strong relationship.

My abuser still rears his head from time to time, most recently a few months back, when he sent me a facebook message telling me that i needed to “get over the past”. This “man” who stole my innocence, who destroyed my childhood, has the audacity to tell me to get over it.

I left the sex industry 3 and a half years ago, studied, and have just recently got my degree in social work. I am hypersensitive, and hypervigilant about protecting my daughter. She wonders why she can’t stay at other people’s houses like her friends do. I can’t tell her that it is because I am terrified that she will be molested and have to endure the pain that I have.

I am 29 years old, my children are 12 and 7 and I have been single for 6 years. I have made the decision to remain single for my children’s upbringing, I can’t trust a man with my children, or with myself. I have been celibate for a year, with no plans to have sex anytime soon. Sex has often been a weapon that I use to hurt myself. Not anymore. The loneliness is crippling at times.

The experiences of my childhood and adolescence almost destroyed me. But here I stand, I AM A SURVIVOR.

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