When I was 3 years old my mom married my step-dad. He was on, and stayed on parole, for sexually abusing a young girl. My mom didn’t see a problem though. She married him anyway. I don’t even remember when he started abusing me. It had gone on so long. I remember specific instances; the ones that I was really scared, the ones that were out in public, the times he really took humiliation to a whole new level. I remember being really young though, I still played dress up, still played with dolls, still in elementary school. I remember just being so embarrassed about it. I felt like it was my fault and that if anyone knew they’d mock me. Humiliate me even more. That they’d think I wanted it, or liked it. I finally, the summer before I started high school, told my step-brother, who was in the army. He called social services. He couldn’t come home but he saved me in so many ways. My mom, however, did not believe me. She threw me out. After my step-dad was arrested and took a plea deal (something like 99 years), she tole me she felt like I had had an affair with him, like I was the other woman, and like she had to compete with me. Keep in mind, I’m 12 or 13 years old. I’ve been abused since I can remember and my whole world just changed. But now, I’m getting told, by my MOM, that that fear that kept me from telling anyone was absolutely 100% right. But it wasn’t school mates or society saying it, it was my mom. That scar is one that may never heal.
— Elizabeth, age 21