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The Beat Down

I couldn’t hear her screams. I could feel her pain. I ran inside the home and saw why she was silenced. This young girl approximately seven years of age had a teenage boy’s hand over her mouth. With his other hand he was pulling down her underwear. He had already taken off her shirt and pants. I could see despite their difference is size this child was fighting for her life yet was no match for his persistence. He slammed her head against the floor, not seeing me there and making an effort to keep her still to accomplish his task.

When her head hit the floor her pain ignited my rage. I ran over grabbing him by the back of shirt, throwing him off her. He looked up at me, sensing a familiarity and a bit of fear. He tried to get away and I kicked him in the ribs as I hard a possibly could. He screamed. I kicked him again. I would ensure he would never touch her or her siblings again. He wants to hurt a little girl? Fine. I grabbed the hair on his head and slammed his face into floor hearing a break in his nose. Not satisfied I punched him in the face as I hard as I could making sure every time he looked in mirror at his nose he would remember this moment. 

Again he attempted to escape my rage. Throwing him against the wall I inflicted the blow I wanted, kicking him as hard as I could in his balls. His reaction giving me the satisfaction I wanted as he dropped to the floor in agony.

Turning around I could see she sat in the corner with her clothes in her arms, dazed and terrified. I picked her up in my arms. This is the protection she has needed and will always have.

Some might find the violence in this piece disturbing while others will applaud it. I have mentioned in a prior writing how expressing my anger has not been an easy task for me. Of course this is true for a child or adolescent during the trauma who is unable to process the emotions. Can you imagine at the age of 7 how I could have possibly stood up to the teenager attempting to rape me? And how to deal with the emotions surrounding the event. Anger is already not encouraged for women to express in our society let alone it being a challenge for me with my generally quiet temperament.

Over the last few years I have tapped into my anger, here and there. And recently I have noticed it is just under the surface ready to make yet another debut. I know this because I find myself generally irritated and moody and wanting to stand up for myself in certain situations and don’t and/or keeping my distance from people. Meanwhile I do my best not to judge this more isolated and introspective time. It is yet another phase of healing that will transition as the caterpillar becomes the butterfly.

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The Room With No View

Standing in the room I felt a dismal familiarity, a place I had no desire to return. I was just inside the doorway. Glancing around I saw two twin mattresses on the floor covered with a only fitted sheets. No other furniture or other items to demonstrate an ounce of love in this room.

Suddenly I noticed a figure seated under the window. A young girl with her back to me. My guess was her age was around 9 or 10. Wearing what looked like a thrift store sundress and hair that needed a good brush, I felt again that familiar dread.

“Are you okay?”

She seemed to be either lost in thought or something caught her eye outside the window. Yet as I took a closer look from where I stood the window was dark, almost painted black.

“Are you here alone?”

I took a step forward and she turned her head abruptly towards me and I gasped. As our eyes met I realized why this room was so familiar. I had been here before with my siblings. With my abusers. This girl is me.

She held my gaze and what her eyes told me with no words was to stay away. I saw both incredible sadness and repressed rage. 

“I can take you from here. So nobody will hurt you anymore. Do you want to come with me?”

For a few more seconds she continued to hold my gaze and my answer was there in her pain. The destruction that these male figures and an absent mother had caused her at such a young age told me my response. She would never trust anyone again. She turned her head back to stare into the darkness. Her forever home.

This excerpt is a creative piece, albeit a dark one, of inner child work. Over the years I have embraced and fought this process as it can be quite painful and very much rewarding. There is much information available for survivors on the subject and I encourage people to explore it. If not in a therapeutic setting at least try reading a book on inner child work or reading about topic on the web.

As for my journey there have been some interesting inner child experiences. For many years, if not decades I repressed my anger. I would be one to say, “I am not an angry person.” Granted it is my temperament to not express my anger so easily but with all of the trauma I experienced and never to feel the anger from it it was merely below the surface. Many years ago I would have dreams of beating a small female child over and over again. This was a repetitive dream. Other dreams included during the height of the stalking where the setting was back in my childhood home as I wrote about in this piece.

Often I would mediate, intentionally connecting with the young or adolescent girl of my youth. This gave me many opportunities to feel the range of emotions I was unable to express during the abuse. Although I find the need to connect with her is less (depending on circumstances in my life) I am grateful for the tools to find her.

 

Self Worth, Intuition and Stalking

Greetings. It has been too long since my last post. The last few months have been challenging which explains my absence yet writing would have been therapeutic. Nothing is without purpose. Given this lapse in time, I have the luxury of looking back not only on these recent months but also over an 18 month period.

In line with the theme of my blog, it is not uncommon for survivors of sexual abuse to have low self worth. I am no exception. Granted it has greatly improved of the last few decades. Depending on life situations I have moments where I am not the most confident. Given my history of depression this can exacerbate my dark moments.

Eighteen months ago my home went into foreclosure, I had a bankruptcy, fractured my arm, my dog died and I moved after being in my home for a decade.  I didn’t realize at the time how much I was hurting emotionally since I was so caught up with my transition. A man, who I will call Brandon, came into my life. I met him through a spiritual group that we both belonged to on social media. When we met there were some men I dated over the previous years who were contacting me, not really worthy of my heart. I had prayed for someone worthy of me and Brandon appeared. I thought it was Divine timing.

Brandon wrote me poems, appeared to treat me with respect, matched my intelligence, honored who I was and believed in following a romantic courtship which seemed to be missing in the men I had been meeting. Given he lived out of state I didn’t have the benefit of getting to know him face to face, relying on Skype and phone calls as well as messaging through social media.

Looking back I realize I ignored my intuition from the moment I met him, He would say the right words yet unable to follow-up on on his promises and commitments. He appeared to have a very serious problem with lying. In fact by the time I broke it off I could not discern what were the lies and truth or possibly I didn’t want to believe I allowed someone into my life who could lie to such an extent.

I could never understand how he fell in love with me before meeting me, telling me when he saw my picture on social media he knew he loved me. There was always something that seemed “not right” and I kept ignoring all of the red flags and my friends telling me to stay away from him. I thought maybe he was more spiritually advanced and knew something I didn’t.

Then when I told him I didn’t want to see him the behavior became bizarre and frightening. Following me, hiding behind trees to watch me, looking in my yard, standing outside my bathroom window. When I would ask him what he was doing after catching him he told me, “I am protecting you or praying for you.” Well the protection I needed was from him and he never took responsibility for his actions. He would write me these long obsessive emails saying we needed to be together, I was meant to be his wife and we should have a family. I tried to ignore him over and over or send him a brief email telling him to please leave me alone. He would not listen.

Finally I called the police after he followed me one night and I saw him outside my window yet again. He had been watching me earlier while I was out to dinner with a male friend and said, “That should have been us together.” His behavior that night and after the police came to talk to me resulted in him going to jail. Now I have a restraining order and he is on probation. Despite the consequences for his behavior he has continued to follow me and watch me. I have gone to the police twice since then. There must be some pathology in his mind. I don’t understand and will not try to begin.

Looking back on my time with Brandon I see it was a very dark period for me. I had changed much and still am not the same person I was before. He believed he was meant to heal me, especially from my past. He could not be more wrong. Once I decided I could not be in relationship with him I felt a darkness leave me.

His behavior reminds me of my stepfather. Frank would follow me, watch me, try to control me. Thus the past few months has put me into a PTSD state. It has been incredibly stressful yet also healing. I have always been a very strong person and even more so now. I learned that my intuition is my most valuable gift and I ignored it for months. It kept trying to tell me that Brandon was not for my highest good. Of course there are never any coincidences in life and my meeting him was for a purpose.

My Story – Part III – Ages 11 – 18

*****As a reminder to any survivors reading this there are many triggers*****

My family moved to this new residence when I was 11 years of age. It was a house riddled with holes in the walls, a dirty basement that was mostly undone, a kitchen that nobody used and an attic that would become a haunting place for me. To this day I loathe this home. I have fantasies of going back, saving my younger self, watching Frank being ripped apart and burning the place down.

Frank started to offer me money to show parts of my body. A few dollars to lift my top, a few more to drop my pants. Then he offered me 500 hundred dollars to have sex with him. Incredibly I said no. Keep in mind I was an introverted, shy, scared and mostly quiet child. Living in a new home, going to yet another new school I was terribly confused and withdrawn. My mother worked at the casino and it seemed I never saw her.

I made friends with Joanne, a peer who was also being sexually abused by her father figure. He was terribly cruel to her, burning parts of her body with cigarettes. We decided to run away together. Early one morning instead of going to school we went to local store, picked up supplies and traveled together on her bike. Throughout the day and night we made it several hundred miles. Finally we were picked up by the police near Delaware. At the police station Joanne’s mother came to pick her up, quite worried for her. Who came to get me? Frank. He told the policeman he was going to beat my ass. Even the policeman looked concerned for me. During the long drive home he kept asking why I would run away? How could I say it was because of him.

I had taken my youngest sister’s (his biological daughter with my mother) silver piggy bank that was a special gift. I was beaten quite bad with a belt buckle. Within a few days Joanne had told her family about my abuse. The police summoned me and my mother to the station. At first I denied it and then I told them the truth. Frank was arrested and convicted. He received a year of probation and counseling.

During this year he did not touch me or attempt any inappropriate sexual behavior. However he made sure my life was hell. Everyday day he told me he hated me and was very cruel. I was also experiencing some bullying from peers at middle school. I felt quite separate from my classmates. In fact this is a feeling I had most of my school years. Ironically if you were to ask some of the people I was friends with in school they would tell you I was quite friendly. I am not sure if it was the front I was presenting to them or I was both very lonely and also an affable person.

There was a significant moment around the time my mother was pregnant with my youngest sister. It was a definable moment in my life and one I only realized in my mid-forties how much of an impact it had on me. Frank, my mother and I were driving in our neighborhood. They had been having some problems in their relationship and were telling me how they were going to make some changes. They seemed very happy. I recall feeling such hope, a feeling I never had before. My thought was he would finally set me free from the abuse now that he was working things out with my mother. I felt so happy at that time. The next time he touched me he took it away from me, forever.

During my freshman year in high school he approached me again. I don’t recall exactly what he wanted. I only remember he wanted to resume what he had before. I told him no. He became very angry and went into the kitchen throwing dished and utensils at me. He told me, “This is war, you go your way and I will go mine!” Well, where was I supposed to go? I tried to stand up for myself a few times. It was just he and I, nobody was there to help me. I felt the police and justice system failed me and no doubt my mother was not around to be of any support.

Eventually I gave in and fully accepted this is the way of life I was to live. He had control of who I was in how I dressed, how I was sexually with him, where I socialized, etc. One exception is I never let him french kiss me. I found it too intimate. Maybe it was that last bit of control I could have over my body. And being intimate was a challenge as he was not the most sanitary person. He wore the same clothes a few days in a row and being uncircumcised he chose not to bathe his penis on a regular basis. Yet he had the audacity to to tell me often I was dirty.

He believed I was his wife. I took the place of my mother. In fact she ended up sleeping on the couch and took away her car. I recall him beating her and leaving her out in the cold during the winter. Fortunately I did not sleep in his bed. I had no privacy with him. Even in our bathroom the ceiling was falling apart and he would watch me from the attic while I bathed and he masturbated. I could hear him breathing and talking to me.

Around the age of 15 he took my virginity. I still can recall the act of sexual intercourse. My mind has blocked out those memories. I do recall the oral sex he performed on me and the betrayal of my body when it had orgasms. Yes of course it is natural for the body to respond yet the shame lingers. I would hold pillow over my face while he did this as I was completely horrified.

I was ever so grateful for some freedom when I received my driver’s license. Here I was able to have some distance from him. By this time I learned the art of manipulation. Frank was a very controlling and jealous person. In order for me to have some sense of sanity if he suspected I was truly devoted to him I would merely write a love note or tell him I loved him. I meant not of it. I never cared for him or loved this person. I always despised him and merely tolerated him as it was purely survival for me. He had brainwashed and groomed me at an early age and I knew I was stuck in this role. Even when my mother wanted to leave when I was a teenager I would not go. He spoke so poorly of my mother for so long I lost respect for her.

There are many dirt roads, wooden areas and even graveyards that have been infected by his sexual acts on me. Being bent over the hood of a car while surrounded by beautiful trees with the splendor of the sun shining through. Giving him a blow job on the side of dirt road with the moon high in the sky. Finding an open area in the middle of vacant wooded lot with only the squirrels to witness. One afternoon he was about to have me perform oral sex and a police car pulled up behind us. The police officer approached the window. He asked if everything was okay looking at me. Again I had no idea that anyone could help me, ever, so I told him everything was fine.

The night of my 18th birthday he gave me jewelry (one of his ways to bribe me) and took me to the graveyard for sex. He asked me to promise him two more years with him. I had quit high school and told him I wanted to make up for it by getting my GED and going to school, away from this area. I told him yes I would stay with him and felt sick to my stomach, knowing this would never end.

I had a job at a very small boutique where I worked as the only employee most of the time. He would pick me up from work most days. The next day when I went to work I decided it was time to leave the abuse. I called a good friend and told him everything. We had to leave the store early and find a place for me to go. I went to stay with a female friend where he would not be able to find me.

Frank spent the weekend trying to find me. I spoke to my mother who had to wait until Monday before she could leave with the kids while he went to work.

Looking back I wonder if my decision to leave after all this time was a spontaneous one. I suspect not. Here I was finally 18 years of age and nobody would be able to make return home. I was free.

My Story – Part II – Ages 8 – 11

This was the beginning of ten years of hell. How I endured this period of time still amazes me and is a testament to my strength and courage. It also breaks my heart to know the loneliness I felt for so long.

The one person who showed me kindness while living in this particular home for the three years was my stepbrother, Brian. He also was one of my perpetrators. I recall sitting on the bed with him while he brushed my hair and spoke kindly to me. After he had me fondle and pleasure him. Brian was a teenager at the time. It was not until many years later I discovered his father, Frank, my stepfather had sexually abused him and his sister Denise.

Across the street living in a home made from a chicken lived Sam and his family. Sam was our babysitter and another pedophile. I did’t feel the same affection for Sam that I had for Brian. I found him on sodomizing my brothers on the bathroom floor as I peeked under the door. One evening while he attempted to rape me and was close to succeeding until my mother and Frank arrived home. Another occasion I masturbated both him and Brian, who were around the same age, while sitting on the living room couch. My middle sister shared with me as I have blocked this out of my memory that Sam had me perform sexual acts on my siblings. As you can imagine this is incredibly painful for me to deal with and I understand why I do not remember it.

During the summer I would visit my maternal grandparents and uncles in Canada. While there one summer it was discovered that the abuse with Sam and Brian had taken place. The police were not called but it did stop. Sort of. This is when Frank started to groom me as his victim.

At first he would sit with me in the dark, holding me for long periods of time. Then he would spend time only with me and not my siblings. He took his time garnering my trust. It was not until we were to move into another home when I was 11 years of age did he make his first sexual advance. This memory is quite vivid.

He took me into the room that was to be my bedroom. There was no furniture except for a mattress on the floor. After he had me lay on the mattress he requested I take off my shirt. I could see his sexual excitement and felt both confused and sad. Next he unbuttoned his jeans, taking out his erect penis and began to fondle himself. To enhance his pleasure he asked that I touch my breasts which I had none at that time. He appeared to have no shame in his self pleasure. After he ejaculated I lay there feeling disgusted, like a piece of garbage. I also accepted this was my life.

My solace during the ages of 8 to 11 was spending time in the woods. The house was surrounded by lots of trees and creeks. I would go alone to explore and this is where I discovered my connection to nature. Nobody could hurt me here. In fact, later in life this would be one my greatest resources to healing.

Next blog will be 12 – 18 years of age.

My Story – Part I – Birth to Age 8

For any survivors reading this there will be many triggers

It has been quite awhile since I have shared my “story” in any detail. I have blocked out many things. My middle sister has an incredible memory and has shared some details that I would rather forget. I suppose my mind is protecting my emotional well being.

Birth – 8 years of age

I was born in April of 1967 in Canada. My mother who was in her late teens had a love affair with a 17 year old boy. It was a typical summer romance for teens I suppose. When I met my eccentric father years later he was fond of sharing how they had sex under a big tree. Even though I was not raised by this man I have inherited his quirkiness and free spirit.

In my 30’s I discovered I was taken at birth and placed with a foster family who my mother told me was very good to me. While pregnant my mother was at a Salvation Army hospital for unwed mothers. My father did not know of me and was traveling around Canada by then. She was not ready with the necessities for me so this family cared for me. After she was settled in she met who would become her first husband, an American. According to her he was there with some of his peers to blow up a Cuban ship which never took place. Still not sure of the truth of this tale but makes for a good story. He brought her to New Jersey and many other states during the first few years of my life. Apparently I was well traveled at a young age, always clinging to my mother’s side.

While with James, her first husband, she had three children. We are all very close in age. He was not so kind to my mother. He was an alcoholic, had affairs with other women and there was domestic violence. I recall when I was very young the police coming to our home to arrest him. Eventually he left my mother and never came back, never having any communication with his biological children which has always saddened me.

By her mid-twenties my mother was single with four children. We lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey. My first experience with inappropriate sexual behavior was at this time. There were some people watching us, possibly teenagers. They were having sex and I seem to recall some pornography.

We relocated to low-income housing, still in Atlantic City. One side of the street was low income and the other what I perceived at that age was a class beyond me. My mother was on welfare and also had some issues with drugs and alcohol. She would party with a female neighbor, sometimes leaving us alone or so she thought with babysitters who were unreliable. She worked for a time at a bar about half mile away. One evening when I was around 6 or 7 I went looking for her as there was nobody watching us. Many mornings there would be little food in the house, my mother would be hungover in bed. As the oldest I would try to find something for us kids to eat. Sugar and ketchup sandwiches on white bread were my specialty.

Despite the challenges at home I recall some positive moments. I did very well in school. I was a bright child. I even won a spelling bee and was so proud of my trophy. My mother used to take us to the Atlantic City beach. I would walk to the local store and get some candy, enjoying the little neighborhood.

I socialized well with other kids yet felt less than in many ways especially with material things like toys. Playing at one friend’s home I fell asleep in their living room and had this wonderful dream that I had every toy I wanted. It was so vivid only to wake up and they were not there. I remember being very confused. My mother worked at a department store for a brief period. Around Christmas one year, not having enough to buy gifts for her four children, she filled up two shopping cards and walked out past security. They thought she purchased the items. If you knew my mother you would be quite surprised at this. Sadly I don’t recall any of those toys or that Christmas.

My second experience with sexual abuse took place while living here. I would often wonder around the neighborhood by myself. I was independent and a loner even at young age, as I am now. A woman who I didn’t know, living in the neighborhood asked me to come into her apartment. Once in side she laid on her bed, fully nude and spread her legs. I remember a terrible smell and realized later it was coming from her vagina. She asked me to touch her there, kiss it. I ran out.

While living in Atlantic City, my mother met Frank, the son of our neighbors. He would come and visit his parents. I do remember much of him until we were told we would be living with him and son. Suddenly we were relocated to a three bedroom home, where my siblings and I shared one room.

Next blog will be ages 8-11 which I actually already typed but it somehow deleted itself.

The Tub

This house is filled with innocence and evil. Tonight one will be elevated, the other extinguished.

Standing out front I sense the timing is soon. I look at my lioness, Themis, ready to assist me. Always at my side I am grateful for her loyalty and fierce nature. It will be needed tonight. My heart aches suddenly. I feel the fear and deadened spirit of the child in this house. She needs my strength and most certainly my love. I walk towards the front door with Themis following.

Entering the home I am surrounded by the years of pain caused to this child. Living in fear of a man using control and intimidation daily. Using her body as a tool for his pleasure. Where was her mother with five children enduring abuse, not only this precious child? A whimper interrupts the anger building in me. I quickly head towards the child.

Entering the bathroom I see the old fashioned tub. Were it not for the evil taking place one would see its beauty. The child, ten years of age, lays inside the tub facing inward in fear and shame. She is trying to cover her nude body from someone not in the room but who is present. I know where he is. Looking up at the ceiling with its missing pieces I “see” him. I feel him. This is a coward. He is afraid of me. Glaring at him I feel his fear even more. This will be the last time he hurts this child. Or any child.

I take off my cloak laying it on the ground and then gently lift the child out of the tub, cradling her in my arms pressed against my heart giving her my love and protection. With one hand I lift the robe to cover her body. She puts her face in my hair sobbing with relief. I look at the ceiling, at him one more time. Then I give a nod to Themis. She heads up the stairs to the attic. 

Leaving the home with the child I comfort her, promise her she is safe and never to be harmed again. Her spirit is divine as well as her nature. My mission is to always be her guardian.  

This writing is based on my experiences in the tub. The home I lived in from the ages of 10-18 was rundown which is exemplified by the holes in the ceiling. My stepfather would go in the attic and watch me while I bathed and pleasured himself on numerous occasions. One would think they had privacy in the bathroom? He would talk to me and I would hear his heavy breathing. I hated it. For years after I left the abuse I would look up at the ceiling of every bathroom in a private residence. So this creative piece represents my desire to be rescued.

the tub

Artwork by Dharma, excerpt from a larger painting.