I’d like to welcome E.A. She has a story of abuse to share and I’m honoured that she chose to share it here.
At first glance you can’t see what is going on, then as you begin to realize everyone is staring at the girl, her left hand shoots boldly up into the air. With her arm straight up and her fingers spread in total rigidness you believe for a fraction of a second that she is calling the attention unto herself, yet as you begin to search for her eyes so you can see why, it becomes unmistakable that she is looking away and down with her hair and her right hand masking her face.
You’re stuck, because now you know she isn’t calling attention to herself… She isn’t breaking any bonds, but she is tired of the crap and you can no longer help it. You just know, sure as you know the sky is above and the ground is below, you too know her eyes are tired and closed. She is wary. Her arm begins to droop and she hunches down lower, lower, lower until she is finally squatting on the ground. Yet those eyes are still staring at her. In one more defiant move she pushes her hands firm as a mountains foundation out towards the prying eyes. Not one person has moved to help her, they all just stare… She’s alive, so she must be okay. Not a single person even questioned that logic…
What would you do if the above was true? How would you feel if your secret was not yours? I calculate sometimes, I used to ALWAYS calculate how it was that I was supposed to feel and therefore act/react. It’s taken a few years, but I’m finally beginning to understand that I can’t calculate my emotions because its utter nonsense that one plus one ALWAYS equals two. Today, I am doing well. I am happy. I am driven. I can feel love and joy, my cup has run over, but a month ago I was ready to quit.
No one told me that things have life long consequences outside of death, so at 10, 11, 12 or however the hell old I was, it never occurred to me, nor was I informed that molestation would mean a life long recovery. What was told to me was that I needed help in the form of therapists I hated, sometimes weekly, sometimes twice a week.
Then there was the week of the hospital for overdosing. I hated those therapists too. You would think that at least one of those therapists would have thought to mention triggers, but maybe they thought I wouldn’t have to deal with triggers? I don’t know. You see, I’ve never met anyone quite like me. I hope one day I will, but even with me looking now, I have not found anyone. Of course
I’ve met other children survivors, but none of them came from reunified families and there is where my calculations also failed. Everyone told me I should feel okay, but I didn’t and as such I didn’t know what to do.
A reunified family is a family that is taken a part by the state, typically due to abuse or drug use, and then after therapy, probation (maybe some jail time too), fines, legal fees and whatever else is required the family is put back together. From what I understand this is supposed to ease the pressure on our foster care system, which while an admirable goal, the reunification process is still a flawed process.
Somewhere around 12 my mother asked me if her husband was “touching me.” Can you believe it? I answered yes.
I’ve never been one to lie to direct questions though. So it begin with that question. To this day I am foggy on the timeline. Her husband did a few weeks in jail, but the lawyer ensured it was probation and no more jail time. I’m not sure when he moved out, nor am I sure which year it was my mom wasn’t even allowed to speak to him, but I do know I was about 15 once the process of beginning to see our family again took place. It started slowly, first with visits in public, then time at the house, the he could stay one night a week, then two nights, finally three and eventually he moved back in. The whole time my parents had counselling together and separately, as a family unit, myself, and me with my parents. As time wound on, as he slowly began moving back into our lives, one thing was certain, we had to follow the law. Any friends of the family and relatives with children under 18 had to be informed of the events that took place and they had to go to the county courthouse and sign that their children could come to the house despite him having plead guilty to charges of lewd actions against a minor aged 12 or younger.
You see as I read books and stories of survivors one thing stands out, the secret. Many survivors feel they have to keep this abuse such a secret that it drives us shovelling food in our mouths, numbing ourselves with heroine and alcohol. This secret cans deliver us into the clutches of insanity, with a smile on its disgusting face. However so can having your secret stolen. To repeatedly be subjected to people finding out your secret, so your family can enjoy their company. Or to the whisperings in the communities when yet again the secret has leaked out because someone came across dear ole dad’s internet posting. Or when the leaflets go out to your neighbors to not let your children go near that house with the child molester. Those to my friends can deliver you to insanity.
My secret was never mine. I feel robbed of my innocence, robbed of my youth, robbed of security and love and then those ass-holes even took away my secret. So that is me, hiding my face as everyone stares. I am a dancer and while that is the beginning of my piece and the middle is a jumbled cluster fuck I already know the ending. In the face of everyone milling around and boring their eyes into my existence as if they fucking know me, I stand tall, proud and defiant smiling, because I despite the past I am whole. I am one. And I did it for me.
There is hope.