I grew up in an abusive household with an alcoholic father. Our daytime seemed the perfect middle class, church going family where all was polite, well and peaceful. Our night times where a living nightmare. My father became a different man drunk. I grew up physically and sexually abused, although all the marks where hidden under my clothing or maybe my mom took the brunt of it for awhile. My parents divorced when I was 11-12, and things got better physically but never mentally. We never discussed anything, all was private.
I left for college thinking I was escaping my past and building a better future. I insisted on going to school far away from home to have privacy and what I thought would be safety. Two weeks into school, I was raped at a frat house by someone I thought was a friend. I had a crush on him and I voluntarily kissed him but it instantaneously went from a kiss to being overpowered. He had me pinned down in the loft with my hands over head. I never felt so ashamed or lost or overwhelmed. I left that night and went straight to the showers to try and wash all of it away. I was never the same person again. I had been a virgin and now I wasn’t sure what.
I think that the most important things that were robbed from me from both my childhood and college was my sense of self worth, importance and safety. To have violence and abuse thrown upon you by those you trust is not something easily overcome. I will have to say, however, that it is something truly worth fighting for. Through journals, painting, music, poetry, therapy I have found outlets to deal with and ways to express and process. I have truly learned to lose (or at least lessen) the sense of shame and to turn the blame towards those that truly are at fault. The perpetrators and those that choose to ignore them (as my mom, my church and my school all chose to do).
I have managed to forgive my father and mother and to develop healthy relationships with them to whatever extent that may be. I let go of my anger for the rapist as well but for me not for him. I learned that overall forgiving them was more about releasing yourself and moving on then giving them pardon. Life in it’s own odd way is a circle. This is a beautiful thing that you have done here. Thank you!!!
— Survivor, age 47