Share yours, come out of the shadows and share with other women. Tell them your stories so they can arm themselves with knowledge and share to lessen your burdens.
Here is mine:
I’m a survivor of two different kinds of Rape.
The first, began when I was five years old. It was 1976, in the days when these sorts of things weren’t openly talked about. I’m so glad times have changed.
I was playing at the house of a little German girl about four. We couldn’t talk to each other, but we still played. Cause kids don’t need language to share innocent play. I lived in a Trailer park and they were temporarily living there because her Dad was doing a job and they would only be living in the united states about six months. So they rented a trailer a few trailers down from mine.
Stephanie. I still remember her.
We were in the yard, playing with dolls. My Mom was home and I was only about five houses down the road, she felt perfectly safe letting me play outside with my new friend.
That was when Harold (he was a grown up to me, he was actually 16, But to a five year old, anyone that TALL was a ‘grown-up’.) I knew him, he was the son of the owner of the trailer park. And he always rode around in a little yellow golf cart running errands for his mother. He stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride in the cart. That they had a brand new trailer in the park and he asked me if I’d like to see it.
Naturally, an innocent five year old being offered a ride in a nifty golf cart to see a brand new trailer was thrilling. I knew Harold so I felt safe. I went with him.
Once inside the new trailer, he locked the door, pushed me down on the living room carpet floor in this empty trailer and he raped me. Repeatedly. I will never forget how much it hurt.
Then I remember when he was done him saying. “If you tell your parents, they won’t love you anymore and they’ll give you up for adoption. You can’t tell anyone or you’ll be sorry and sent to an orphanage. You have to do what I tell you to do.”
I was so scared, so terrified. I only nodded and walked home.
Every time he saw me, he made me go with him and he’d rape me again and again and again. This went on for six years. When I was eleven, he committed suicide. I remember feeling happy he was dead. Then I remember feeling bad for being happy. Because I was always taught you should never be happy when someone dies. It was a bad thing. And you’d go to hell if you ever wished someone dead or rejoiced in death. So I was in a sick self depreciating cycle of self-loathing.
I was eighteen, getting ready to start college when I was watching some ABC after school special. I remember it starred Sarah Jessica Parker as a babysitter who suspected the girl she babysat was being molested. I was sobbing, it hit so close to home for me.
My mom got home from work and caught me sobbing and I finally told her. She sat there for a minute crying and then said. “I remember seeing blood on your underwear when I washed it, I asked you what happened and you said you fell down. I should have asked more, I knew you were lying to me, because you can’t lie, you’ve always been too truthful and when you lied, it was easy to tell because you hated lying. I should have pressed the issue, I should have gone with my suspicions. I’m so sorry.”
It wasn’t my mom’s fault. This was a time women didn’t talk about these things. If you were raped or your husband beat you you were told “Well you made your bed, you sleep in it.” attitudes. You didn’t press for answers. It was the TIME this happened. This wasn’t my mother’s fault it was her upbringing in the 1950s that created this attitude in her. It was as natural as breathing not to speak out.
We never told my father, to this day. It would destroy him to know it. He’d feel just as guilty.
Now, this damaged me and my self-esteem. Four years later I married the first man to ever pay me any attention. He turned out to be emotionally abusive. He belittled me, he made me feel inferior and stupid and that I was fat and ugly and lucky because he was the only man who would ever love me. He isolated me from family and friends and after about five years of marriage he began raping me.
He was my husband, it was his RIGHT. I couldn’t say “no” because we were married. Me not being “in the mood” was irrelevant. I did what he wanted, when he wanted as often as he wanted. I don’t know how many times I woke up from a dead sleep because he was all over me. I felt dirty and vile and TRAPPED! I had nowhere to go, I made pennies on the dollar in comparrison to him. I couldn’t afford to LEAVE. I didn’t know HOW to leave. For eight years I was a doormat to him. I had to service him and his whims. I got no cards or words of love. I got no flowers or gifts for ANY HOLIDAY or birthday or anniversary.
But I had better not forget. If I didn’t get him things on those days, I was verbally abused until I was sobbing. For being a terrible wife. My self-esteem was never lower. He also cheated on me too, a lot. I took it, and took it and took it. Because I made vows for “forever”. I had “made my bed and now had to sleep in it.”
Then one day, Christmas Day. After he opened his gift from me, and I sat there empty handed as usual. I expected nothing at this point. I didn’t deserve it. I was a terrible wife. My husband announced after I made him dinner. He had gotten a new job, he was moving across the country from California to South Carolina in February and he was GOING without me.
It was like the floor dropped out beneath me. What was I going to do? I was hundreds of miles away from my parents. I had no money. I had to cash my paychecks every week and give him every PENNY. I had $20 a week to buy lunch and gas for my gas guzzling car. I hadn’t eaten lunch in YEARS. I had been broken and was now in shock.
Oh and he wasn’t leaving the house. I could go sleep in the car. (I did). So I had better get used to it, oh and he had already called the landlord, as of February 1st. I was going to be out of a home too.
I called my mother, on New Years and told her what was happening. She was going to come and get me at the end of the month.
So I put in my notice at my job, because I’d be moving 500 miles away. With nothing to my name.
While I was at work, my husband packed up almost everything and took it with him. I got home to an EMPTY HOUSE. The furniture my parents bought us, he took. The TV, all the movies, the BED.
He left me my pillow and my clothes and the few things of mine he didn’t want. Which wasn’t much. I didn’t have anything to begin with. He did leave the dog. But took the dog bowl and all the dishes. That had been in my hope chest. Those were mine. He took everything.
So it made packing easy. I slept on the floor with my pillow and my German shepherd crying every night for two weeks. Then my parent’s arrived with a u-haul and support I very much needed and brought me home to start all over again. I was 30 years old then.
The past eleven years, I reinvented myself. I crawled out of the MIRE of life that had made me so sick, so unhealthy, so emotionally scarred.
And I decided to FIGHT BACK. I filed for Divorce. I had just found the internet about a year before my then husband left, and I made FRIENDS, friends I still have today.
They too became my rocks and anchors and helped me morph into a strong, independent woman. They gave me back all I had lost. I couldn’t get back the health problems, but I now fight them and have reasons to fight them.
When I loved myself again, I met my current husband. He’s such a wonderful support, he treats me like a treasure, he values me, he never fails to tell me he loves me and he encourages me to be strong. I love him very much. He is a partner in every way that matters most.
I now stand up for other women as support and encouragement and I let them know they CAN endure, we can overcome, we can heal our hearts and souls. We can take back some of what was taken from us.
I discovered I wasn’t alone. An neither are YOU. Share your story too, it’s a battle scar, but it doesn’t DEFINE who you are!
We are NOT slaves to men
We may have been hurt, but we are STRONG and we OVERCOME!
I am proud to be me. My experiences taught me that I can walk through “hell” and come out stronger. I can hold my hand out in solidarity to others like me and together we can start making changes in hopes that other women never have to walk a mile in our shoes.
What is your tale of survival? Share and let other Women know they are not ALONE.