The secret Life
Have you ever been sitting at a table for Christmas dinner with the family, but part of you is absent? There’s dad carving the roast, and mother happily sharing all the news of the family around the table and getting all the conversation flowing. There’s your brothers and your sisters and all the in- laws and then there’s you.
They talk about babies and love and relationships, and you nod your head and agree where you can and laugh at the jokes, and you’re part of the family. To everybody present, you may be a little sullen, but your the brother and they know even though you are quite now, you can talk their ears off if given a chance.
In the business of eating, with plates and knives and forks being clanked and mouths being filled and emptied, the world at large at your dinner table might be forgiven in not noticing your emptiness. How could they know the turmoil that rages in your gut? How could they know the pain you feel inside, and the rejection you feel amongst these people who you call family?
I had a girlfriend once that was a prostitute. We were lying in each others arms one time, between clients, and she was sharing with me how she was dreading Christmas. Christmas to her, was a time where she had to put on a brave face, a pleasant smile and greet her abusers with a hug and a kiss. My dear Chloe had been abused by her own family, brothers and uncles and family friends, and Christmas was a very painful time for her. I felt my heart being torn in anguish for her, as she trembled and spoke with real fear and trepidation about the upcoming season. Christ’s birthday wasn’t her favorite day.
We all have worn a face for certain people haven’t we. Those of us who have been abused instinctively know that we can’t share all of our life with those we love. Somehow molestation has its own language and without meeting another sexually abused person, our spirits know what to do with those thoughts. We live a lonely, sad and depressed life behind those smiles we greet our loved ones with, and we don’t share the real truth, that’s something that wouldn’t be fair.
So we bear each family reunion with the best face we can wear. When we wash ourselves in the shower we cry, and as we wipe ourselves we wipe the pain away. We brush our hair and walk out into the world with fresh clothes, a fresh appearance and to all who know us as their relative or family member we are the same old person that they know and love. And in this action we rob ourselves of being loved for who we are.
Then one day we can’t hide the past any more. It seems with one conversation and with one person who has caught us vulnerable we are able to open up to the whole story of abuse and shame within us. Like a wave, it tumbles out of us and we enter a new season in life.
by Matthew Payneon 15 May 2005
I don't really know where to start...but I guess the beginning would probably be the best place. I was raised by my mother and her boyfriends, most of which were the worst kind of guys you could think of. I am 14 and I have four other siblings, Amy who's 19, Deven and Daina who are 16, and Holly who's 10.
The first boyfriend I can remember my mother having was Rick. We were living on the frites, in an old motor home, but when she met him we moved into his house (2 days after). I was 3 and he ignored me for the most part, but I often saw him doing bad stuff with Daina and Amy. I would be doing something and one of them would run out of the room naked, and wailing, often being pursued by Rick. It was after mom had gotten pregnant again with Holly that we were left homeless. Rick denied it was his and threw us out.
Soon after we were living in a small duplex with Tod. He was one of my least favorite. He was a beater. All someone had to do to get hit was walk by him, drunk or not. He sent my mother into early labor, and still she stayed with him.
I remember when I was 5 years old and I had broken a cup by accident, he picked me up and threw me on his bed. Then he removed my pants and took of his belt and started hitting me. We were there for 3 years, Amy, Daina and Deven (my protectors went to live with my grandparents after they accused Tod of physical abuse. But soon after my mother left him too, taking me and my little sister away in the middle of the night.
I was 7 and Holly had just turned 3. My mom lived straight for a few months, I remember because we were all happy. She had met a few guys, but she stayed with none. Until she met James, that is. She got a job working days and he worked nights so there was always someone there with us. I liked him at first, until he started making us play funny games with us. He would ask us if we wanted to play "dead". Then we would either lie on the floor of the bedroom and not move, while he pulled down our pants and touched us. I had no idea what was going through my mind, why hadn't I said no, or told someone. Sometimes he would play "house" with us, I was always the mommy and Holly was the baby. He would ask me if I wanted another baby, then he would take his clothes off, then mine. He would get on top of me and mimic having sex, rubbing his penis on my vagina for long periods of time.
Sometimes he would take pictures of us, without any clothes on. But I didn't know it was wrong. The day I turned 8 he raped me. I had been asleep, but woke up with him standing above me, pulling off my covers. He whispered, "Do you want to play dead?" I didn't say anything. He got into the bed with me and Holly (she was fast asleep). He pulled my nightie up, over the top of my head, and removed my panties. Then I felt a lot of pain in my private. I let out a cry of pain and he put his had under the nightie and over my mouth. That's my worst memory ever.
In the morning I went to pee and I screamed it hurt so much. He came up stairs to see the problem (my mother was at work). He smiled at me, then filled the bathtub with cold water and made me undress and get in it. Then he said "Don't worry it'll get better in time."
I lived through 3 years of that torture, Holly too. To this day I can't forgive myself for letting it happen to her. When Holly had told our mom what James was doing, we left. We lived at my grandparents until she found an apartment and we moved into that.
Soon she met another guy Edward and he moved in. And guess what? He started abusing us too. Almost every night...and this time I was sure mom knew about it! She even walked in on him doing it to me twice, but she just quietly closed the door and left me at his mercy!
Now I’m 14 and Holly's 10. We live at my grandparents with Deven and Daina, who are 16. Mom still visits us (sometimes) but we never go down there.
by julieon 15 May 2005
Don't want to trigger anyone so beware. When I was nine or 10 I went swimming at a neighbor’s pool. My 'friend' was a few years older than I and male like I am. After awhile, his mother came out and said she was going to the store and told him to 'watch' me.
As soon as she was gone, he asked me to do oral sex on him which I rejected. He locked his legs around my neck in the water and held me under for awhile and then let me breathe and 'asked' again. This happened a number of times with each time holding me under longer and longer. Finally, when I started to panic from lack of air I punched him in the groin.
Boom...that was it. I years later recalled being dragged semi-conscious into their basement and all types of sexual abuse occurred with threats of killing my parents if I said anything and saying I 'felt' as good as a woman. Terrible things said and threatened.
That night I had 5 grand mal seizures, one right in front of my parents. They took me to the hospital (for a week) and put me on drugs to control the seizures which continued for some time afterwards upping the dosages util they stopped.
The abuse continued even after all that. The last time he came running out of his house to abduct me and take me into his basement, I started getting away on my bicycle and he threw a crabapple and hit me in my back. I jumped off my bicycle and threw it back at him and hit him in the eye. He got a few stitches and unfortunately kept his evil eye. My mother made me go and apologize to him because his mother told what I had done. What a terrible thing to have to do.
I know to this day he carries that little scar over his right eye but my scars run so deep, there are no words in the English language to describe them. I told my mother when I was nineteen and she just swept it under the rug. All my siblings have done the same, they are sick of my saying anything about it and defend my now deceased mother to this day. I have rejected their religion and I have to reject them because despite all their supposed education and wealth they live in denial that their youngest brother has suffered so much and our parents failed me horribly.
I have experienced all the PTSD, drug addiction and other terrible things other survivors go through. I am beginning to become an old man now and my prayers for justice have still been unanswered. I found a cousin who is a psychiatrist and she went through the same type of abuse by her step father. What a relief from blind, unloving and uncompassionate siblings to have blood relative who KNOWS our tribulations.
My cousin is now experiencing voices and hallucinations and I am worried for her. I am lucky to have not fallen so far. May justice and healing be ours someday, somehow. I will pray that God, in His 'little too' mysterious way, bring healing and blessings to all of us survivors.
by JDon 14 May 2005
All my early memories as a child were of me being sexually abused by my brothers. I was accustomed to living with sexual abuse-sad to say. When I was 12 I was raped by a man in the Navy. He performed oral sex on me and raped me as a lay there in terror. When I was 15 I began dating a 27 year old man, no one would rescue me. I can honestly say I was sexually abused all my life. I never knew that all my emotional problems stemmed from these rapes. Fast forward to about 6 months ago. I was raped by my husband, who said to me after the raped me, that I deserved it because I was acting like a hoe. He totally degraded me and told me that he did this to me because he knew what I had gone through and he knew that this would hurt me. Ladies if you are in my situation or have been ---Please oh please get help.....
by Kayla on 13 May 2005
I was 12 years old when it happened. I had been telling my mom over the last couple years that he was making comments and grabbing my breasts, my school had taught me that is what you are supposed to do, tell someone you trust. All she ever said was “I will talk to him”, he was her husband after all she could get through to him.
Because of these failed attempts of communication, and because he was a drunk and all around an abusive ass*ole, I had grown to really dislike the man, and earlier that day I had voiced my opinion with the typical flare of a 12 year old. It was the only time I remember my mother hitting me.
I was flirting on the phone with my boyfriend the night it happened.
My mom and her husband had gone bowling, they often did that, and I was left alone in the house. I was in my typical sleepwear T-Shirt and red underwear that said Wednesday, even though I am pretty sure it was Monday, I have always been a little unconventional. I was in my mom’s room talking to my friend on mom’s phone because I wanted privacy and cordless phones barely existed, when I thought I heard a car pull up. I looked out the window and didn’t see anything so, I just dismissed it as someone driving by. A little while later I thought I heard a click on the line like someone was picking up the phone in the kitchen, I asked my friend if he had heard it, he hadn’t. I looked around there was no noise in the house, I hadn’t heard the front door opening, or the T.V. turning on again I dismissed it as the late night jumpies. I talked with my friend a little longer, and then we hung up. I was lying on my mom’s bed glowing with feelings of new love, when he came in.
I knew immediately that he was drunk, and went into defensive mode. I knew the routine by then, be polite, lock your self in your room and pray for daybreak. Only my room didn’t actually have a lock. I listened but I didn’t hear mom, we were alone. I immediately jumped off the bed and made towards my room. He blocked my exit. “Did you really mean all those things you said earlier, do you really love me?” After mom had slapped me earlier she made me go apologize and tell him that I loved him. “Of course,” I lied. He pushed me onto his bed and I went into my negotiation mode. He kept up with the questions about love, as I assured him politely everything was water under the bridge, and eased my self off the bed making excuses about school in the morning and needing my sleep. All smiles and sugar. I knew first hand you did NOT want to piss this mother f**ker off, especially when he smelled 100 proof.
I quickly closed the door to my room which was down the hall and closest to the door in our duplex. I didn’t feel safe but I thought “whew, that was looking ugly” and at least I had avoided what ever it was and where it was going, I didn’t even want to think about where that was going, I made up a whole lot of excuses and told myself mom would be walking through the door any second.
A little while latter he was calling to me from the living room couch. I had a dilemma, if I didn’t do what he said he would most likely get violent, but I really did not want to go near him.
I cautiously opened the door. I could here the T.V. The living room was just across from my room, I saw him sitting on the couch in his ugly black terry cloth robe, opened at the waste to expose his pasty white beer belly and his nasty white fruit of the loom underwear. I froze and tried to act casual. This is not a road we had been down before, but it was not entirely unfamiliar. He told me to come closer. I took a tiny step forward "What’s up?" I said in the most casual voice I could muster. He said “come closer.” I maneuvered my self one step closer and to the side trying to look like I was getting closer with out actually getting closer. “What’s up?” I said I had gotten as close to him as I dared, and believe me I was barely out of the door way. He replied “come closer, I want to talk.” “We are close enough to talk” I said At that very second I felt my feet come out from under me and the rug tearing at my back, I held on desperately to my t-shirt trying to ensure it did not come up and expose my breasts as he pulled me across the carpet to him. I remember thinking damn I was no where near him, how did he get a hold of my ankle. We struggled on the floor in front of the couch. I was still trying not to piss him off, trying to keep the upper hand. I managed to wrestle loose, I can’t remember what I said to keep him calm, I had seen him knock my mom around, and I knew I wouldn’t have a chance if he got pissed off. I was terrified at this point probably blabbering uncontrollably about school and tests and not having time to play, the sort of lame reasoning that made since to a s**t faced middle aged salesman who made a living off of bulls**t.
I made it to my room, completely surprised he hadn’t tried to grab me again. Unfortunately the night was still young.
I lay in my bed praying my mom would come home. Convincing myself if I was quiet he would forget about me. I huddled under the covers not daring to close my eyes. Then my door opened. He was still wearing his robe opened at the front, I new in that second I was in some serious trouble. I told him to leave, that mom would be here any second. He pulled my covers back and climbed on top of me. Groping me and kissing my face probably trying to kiss my lips but I was moving my head making sure he couldn’t. Everything becomes a little foggy after that, I remember making sure my hands were covering my crotch, which is why he had full access to my face. I remember telling him it was wrong and asking about mom. Trying to get through to him how hurt she would be. He was mumbling all kinds of nonsense about she wouldn’t mind, then that I was mom, he never called me her name, I don’t think he believed it, it was like he was trying to convince me I was her. I felt like I was trying to negotiate with the devil. I gave up on reasoning pretty quickly and resorted to begging him to stop. Finally he pulled back. He had a proposition. “If you take your underwear off I will leave you alone.” I didn’t believe him “You swear to God that if I take my underwear off you will leave me alone?” He swore to God. I knew it was a bad idea but he was holding all the chips. He was pretty religious and he did swear to God. I made him swear again, and told him not unless he got away from me. He stood by the door watching. Slowly and with as much modesty as I could create, keeping my legs together trying not to show anything I took my underwear off. The look on his face was an indescribable mix of power hunger, and smug pleasure, I imagine it is a look you might find on a man that had just conquered a country. I felt like I could have been staring at Hitler. Then he turned and left. I was left sobbing in the dark trying to wrap my brain around everything that just happened.
He returned shortly. He was still wearing his robe opened, but now his erection was sticking out of the slit in his underwear. The struggle began immediately. Memories from this assault become blurry at this point. Foreplay was over there was no kissing, he wanted in. I remember I had my hands covering my crotch, and I was not moving them. He would pull one hand and hold it over my head and the other would go down, finally he just started choking me. I remember him choking me; I remember my head banging against my headboard. I remember telling myself I would die before I moved my hand, which is when I learned that it is an involuntary reaction to move your hands to your neck when someone is choking you. Then I felt him starting to slide inside me. I found myself thinking “Just let him get it over with.” Then something snapped inside me, my anger kicked in I remember hearing someone screaming NO It is wrong! I can’t say for sure if the screaming was in my head or if the words actually left my mouth and I honestly don’t remember what happened after that. The next thing I remember is looking over at him standing next to the bed keeled over like he was hurt. He left my room bent at the waist, moving slow and scowling “You tell anyone and I will kill your mother, do you here me I will kill your mother!” I immediately jumped out of my bed and wriggled into a pair of jeans that was lying on my floor. I had to find my mom I had to make sure she was safe! He said he would kill her and I believed him. I had to make sure she didn’t come home. I heard him calling me into his room. I said “I will be right there” trying to sound as sincere as I possibly could but I could hear my voice trembling and had a hard time believing he bought it. I peeked out my bedroom door half expecting he would be there ready to grab me and that my voice had revealed my true plan. I heard “Are you coming?” trying to keep my voice steady I replied “on my way” then I bolted out the front door.
It was raining; maybe that is why he didn’t go after me. I looked back when I was half way down my street. Light from our open front door was silhouetting him as he stood at the top of the stairs watching me as I ran barefoot and hysterical. The irony of the story is that she chose him. I was so worried about her safety, and she never left him. There were the usual court orders and what not. He pled guilty so there was no formal trial just a meeting with the judge and witnesses, he served a couple months was ordered into rehab and had a large stint of being on parole. I knew my mom was seeing him, when a couple months after it happened she brought a birthday card for me from him. That is when things became really tough. I was hurt and scared from the trauma of the night, but I felt pretty lucky, after all my mom was safe, I was sure I would be fine too eventually, her choice is really what killed me.
by Anna on 13 May 2005
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This site is offered for support of other survivors, it is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help. I don't have any qualifications or training in therapy, I am by no means a professional. I claim no responsibility for the use of this web site, use of content, or content of any links leading from this site. If you are in a crisis situation I urge you to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.