I’m in my 30’s now and am not all there any more but I try to be a good and happy person. The thing is I don’t remember much of what happened to me. People exclaim that if you go through trauma you’ll remember every detail but that isn’t true.
My Dad died when I was two. Mom felt pressured to remarry. Maybe that’s why she stayed with my brother’s father. He moved in around the time she got pregnant.
I remember a storm. I was afraid of thunder and slept on the floor of my Mom’s room. The next morning I slept in and he was there over me touching me and telling me it was okay. I don’t remember much after that but I know he told me he would kill my family if I told anyone what he’d done.
I know I was miserable. After that I’ve almost forgotten everything from the time he lived with us. I pulled my hair out as children sometimes do. I have a scar from that and wear bangs to cover up the place where my hair never grew back. I did the same thing after my Dad died.
I wanted to tell an adult but I was scared for my family. I kept quiet for them but it was terrifying living like that.
It was Christmas Eve and the whole family was there. The house was full of all my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Everyone was having fun passing around presents. I realized there were so many grown ups that I could tell and would be safe. I thought they could protect me. So, I tugged on my Mom. She leaned in and I told her what he’d done.
From there it’s all what I’ve been told. I don’t remember him grabbing me. I don’t remember him holding me hostage. He held a knife to my throat. He was going to kill me. My aunt escaped and called the police who were a block away. They saved me.
I remember going to court but I was so traumatized that I wouldn’t talk to anyone. It had already been years since I’d spoken to a boy and I didn’t try until I was in High School. The only male I spoke to before then was my Step-Father (who is amazing). Because I wouldn’t tell anyone what happened I don’t even know if he was charged. I was in and out of the hospital for other health reasons all the time so I don’t know if one of those times was them testing me to see if I’d been raped. I don’t even remember if he did rape me or if he only touched me. My mind is blank. All I remember is the terror and the night with the washing machine.
That night the police were driving by all the time because he kept breaking the restraining order. I felt safe because of that. I wasn’t yet afraid of the dark. The moon was shining very bright and I woke up so thirsty that I had to go downstairs. I didn’t bother turning on any lights because I could see. I had to lean on my toes to reach the sink. As I was pouring a glass I saw a shadow go over the window. It was very dark so I couldn’t tell who it was but I wonder now if it was him. I turned the water off and ran to the only hiding place near enough; the laundry room. The window broke and I squeezed in behind the washer and sat there all night shivering and trying to be quiet. I woke up to the sun in my face and my family screaming my name.
The next thing I remember is him going to prison. We visited him once and it was awful so we never had to go again.
He was let out early on when his sister vouched for him. No one told me. They let it be a surprise on Halloween when we showed up trick-or-treating at my brother’s grandparent’s house. The trick was on me that time. I didn’t stay long. It wasn’t long and I’d heard he was back in prison so I was relieved but horrified he’d done the same thing to some other little kid.
I grew up with very low self-esteem. I had several problems and only found out last year that I’m actually Autistic. In the 80’s they never would have diagnosed a girl with Asperger’s. You add everything together and I don’t feel so weak any more. As a kid I was sick from a birth defect and almost died a few times, was sexually abused by my brother’s father, was isolated at school from these problems and social problems related to Autism. All this led to being raped again in High School by a guy I don’t know and couldn’t tell you what he looked like. The one person who could tell you thinks it’s hilarious and laughed at me, even years after it happened. It seems unreal how far I’ve come. And yet I’m struggling with the decision to go on disability because I can’t work. Wow, writing this down is becoming very powerful right now.
The next time I saw Tom (made up name), my brother’s father, I was a married adult. I was in the military and home to introduce my husband to my family since we lived overseas and they hadn’t met before the wedding. I’d forgiven Tom and moved on with my life. It was hard work to heal the way I had and I did it all in silence. Only my husband knew what I knew.
I took my husband for a walk in the park. That’s where Tom was. I was walking straight toward him. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run and wanted to hurt him but I was also scared. At this point I knew how to handle a gun and was still scared of him. I grabbed onto my husband and didn’t say a word. Last thing I wanted was for him to go to jail for beating up my childhood abuser. It took years for me to confess what had happened. Tom stared me down but my husband only had eyes for me and didn’t notice a thing. We were still so new to marriage that he couldn’t yet read me.
That should have been the end of it. I found out he’d gone back to prison, yet again and that was that. I was supposed to be healing but he was in prison. For a long time I tried to remember but I thought there was no good in it since he’s already put away.
Then I got a phone call. Tom had been let out when his sister vouched for him again. I guess he’d gotten a girlfriend and he was hunting her. He tracked her down in Florida and he murdered her with a frying pan. He’s in prison for good but sometimes I think how that could have been me.
It wasn’t until last year that I found out some of my intimacy issues have been caused directly from his abuse. It happened so long ago but after that doctor sat me down and asked me to tell her everything; especially after all the trouble my husband and I have had in having children (stillbirths, miscarriages which led to a diagnosis of a Balanced Translocation – we decided not to have children and my tubes are tied while all my kids are in heaven or wherever) that I lost it. I have only recently been able to kind of function normally again. That day I felt so dirty. I was scrubbing myself and shaking. I showered in hot water and tried to scrub myself clean. When women would say they did that it never made sense until that moment when I experienced it.
I have cried so much and been in so much pain. I have been so crazy. I mean that I’m really not a stable person though I try to be. I wonder how I’ll ever be able to function like other people. 80% of people with Asperger’s are unemployed. It kind of makes me feel like everything is meaningless. But I have hope that I can maybe someday do something beautiful and helpful and not feel like I’m somehow “less than” everyone else in the room.
I’m going to college but it’s more to avoid getting a job. I want to make something of myself. I want to believe I can get a degree and have that amazing ending. Somehow I feel like I’m headed toward a doomed future where I will end up a disabled housewife who happens to have a degree and “no excuse.” I want to succeed. For now I will keep trying, like I always have. I will keep up the fight and I will try my hardest not to be jealous of my amazing husband for all his eloquent talents.
I did marry a good man. He is the most understanding person and for that reason when he separated from the military he chose to major in Psychology. He’s going to be a wonderful therapist and will help many people the way he’s helped me. His professors have already taken to asking him to check their work so I know he’s chosen the right path. I just want to make him proud by also getting that dream job you are supposed to get with a degree. I am not a ruined person and I will not let someone from my past or any loss or trauma beat me!
Thank you for listening and perhaps this can go on to help someone. Maybe then I will have done that good thing I’ve always hoped I could do. Life is good and I am so lucky to be where I am living it.