No one wants strife in their life... but somehow I have managed to have an inordinate amount.
I don't like to think of myself as a victim of this series of unfortunate events...
I am a survivor...
This blog is about some of the tough times in my life... and how I survived.
Warning: Some of these blog posts will contain real life content that may shock or confront some readers, or trigger PTSD.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Generally in life, when a person commits a crime, they leave an evidence trail of some kind, which leads to them being caught. They've slipped up somehow, there's something that they didn't factor in when planning their crime.
But child molesters don't often fall into that 'general' crime category. Firstly, they prey on children. Secondly, as an adult (and usually as a family member or trusted family friend) they are in a position of power over that child. Finally, they have the time and access to groom the child - developing a 'special relationship' with the child, often using a significant level of threats, worries and concerns to ensure that the child will not reveal their 'secret' to anyone.
The evidence of their crime is locked away in hearts and minds of their victims. They leave scars that aren't really visible to those who aren't looking.
Scars that can take a lifetime to heal.
Initially, I was sexually abused by my stepfather. From what I recall, I was about 5 or 6 years old when this started - and I gave an account of this in my first blog post. If you haven't read it, you can read it here. Later I was also sexually abused my paternal grandfather - you can read about this here.
My stepfather fell into a regular pattern of abuse. He would find opportunities to be alone with me, so that he could touch me, and so that I could touch him and perform the usual kinds of acts. In the swimming pool, in the laundry, even in the lounge room - as long as no one else was around.
But he got a little bit too greedy. .. And became just a little too brazen... He slipped up...
We had recently adopted a little puppy. He was a cute little guy. He bit us a lot, so we called him nipper. Because he was still so little, we were keeping him in the laundry, which was located in the back of the house.
One morning, I woke up early and decided to go and play with nipper in the laundry. My stepfather happened to be in there too - I think he was about to put his boots on so that he could go to work. He said something to me like, "Oh, Ok, just quickly" and as he got me to touch him again, also said something like, "We are going to have to be more careful, or Mum will find out".
When I think about this now (after my blood stops boiling), I can't help but shake my head in disbelief at his statement. I wouldn't have been any more than about seven years old. But somehow I was imposing on him? He was giving into my sexual wants and needs? He was doing me a favour? Hmmm.... I don't think so!
A few seconds later, Mum walked through the door.
I don't actually remember what happened then. I don't know what kind of view she had of what was happening. All I remember is seeing her in the doorway, and the feeling of fear - of knowing that she had seen us.
The next thing I remember is being in the front yard. I think I must have been scared. Mum told me it was very important that I tell her the truth, and asked me if my stepfather had been 'rude' with me.
I remember the sound of my voice. I remember my answer so clearly. It shocks me.
"Yes.... but Mum... Don't be mad... It's not his fault..."
That's all that I remember about that moment. I don't know what happened next, (I think they had a huge argument), but I knew that it was bad, and I knew that it was my fault.
Then life went on. Like nothing ever happened. The world didn't end. And he did stop touching me, for a while.
Mum didn't pack up and leave, but I am pretty sure that for a while, she watched me like a hawk. One night, I came out of my bedroom and walked into the lounge room, in my nightgown (it was like a partially see-through night dress), with no underpants on. My mother and stepfather were on the lounge watching tv. Mum saw that I had no underpants on and yelled at me.
"What are you doing with no undies on?! ... Are you trying to show "J"?! ... Are you trying to be rude again?"
She smacked me and sent me back to my room to get underpants on and to go to bed. I learned that I was the bad one. I was the cause of it all - it was my fault.
And so I began to exist the way many abused children do.
I think about these events a lot. I don't think of it every day. Not even every week. But I do think of it a lot.
Sometimes it can be the littlest thing, that brings it to the front of my mind.... like last year when we added a puppy to our family, reminding me of Nipper, which in turn makes me think of the events in the laundry. Or a mundane activity like doing a load of washing, and thinking about the events in the laundry. Or seeing a pair of blundstone workboots (or whatever brand they were).
And I sometimes I get mad. I get so mad that Mum didn't leave him. I was so young. You can't explain away sexual abuse as an accident... or a once off... And I get mad that I thought it was my fault.
Sometimes I feel sad, and cry about the innocence I lost. Cry that Mum didn't love me enough to protect me. Was I worth so little that she would choose a man over the safety and well being of her child?
I will never understand. One day, when I am ready I will ask why. But I am not ready today.
For now, I don't need to know. The scars are still there, but I am starting to heal. I am building my life. I have a loving husband, and three beautiful children that I cherish with every fibre of my being.