*****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 Living in a new home, going to yet another new school I was terribly confused and withdrawn.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.