I was very young the first time I remember something bad happening to me. That’s all I can remember- something bad happened. I remember being very small, naked, lying on a bed in the back bedroom of the house I grew up in. I could have been anywhere from 2 to 4 years old. I was confused and had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I still get until this day sometimes. It’s just a heavy feeling of confusion, guilt and fear. Mostly guilt. I remember thinking I had no idea how I had gotten there or why I was naked. I still don’t know exactly what happened and probably never will. It’s most likely better this way. I’ve had my suspicions over the years towards different family members/friends of the family, but its really impossible to blame anyone since the memories I have are extremely vague and mostly just emotions.
Growing up, I can remember having very strange feelings towards other kids. I can remember being 4 or 5 and having urges to hurt or touch other children inappropriately, but never acting on them. I knew those feelings were wrong and felt like I was wrong for having them. This was a large source of guilt as a child. I had strong feelings/urges that I didn’t understand at all. I was also not comfortable using the bathroom in my house. If I could get away with it, and weather permitted, I would go outside and hide behind our shed to urinate, where no one could see me. For some reason this felt like the safest way for me to relieve myself.
When I was 6 my parents became foster parents. This was a way for my mother to earn money and not have to work. They both harped on it being for my benefit- if they did this, my mother could stay home with me. Over the years, there were a lot of incidents. I was beat up, had my possessions ruined, etc. But there were good times too and I did develop relationships with some of the children who lived with us.
When I was 9 we had an older boy move in with us who was the older sibling of 3 children we had previously fostered. My parents didn’t usually take in older boys, but because they knew the younger siblings they decided to do the social worker a favor. It was the usual story- he was in foster care due to parental negligence and was not a behavioral problem. He seemed like a nice boy at first and we became friends. We would hang out in his bedroom frequently, play board games together, and spent a lot of time outside. I grew very attached to him and saw him as an older brother.
One day during the summer, we were outside when my parents weren’t home and he began attempting to wrestle with me. I was not at all into it and was trying to get him to stop, but he became more and more forceful. He was on top of me and attempting to get his penis into my mouth. He was not successful at that time, but he ejaculated on my face/chest during the struggle. I was completely in shock and confused as to what had happened. I pretended nothing happened, and didn’t say anything about it to him, or anyone.
The abuse continued. He would come into my room during the night and force me to perform various acts, but he didn’t vaginally rape me until 2 years had gone by, when he was 14 and I was 11. By that time my mental health had completely deteriorated. I would scream and cry if my parent’s tried to leave me home without them. I refused to sleep in my own room and would have a huge tantrum if my parent’s forced me too, sometimes staying awake for days at a time. I was irritable, argumentative and withdrawn at all times. My other family members pushed my parents to get me into therapy, and finally my mother had a counselor from social services come to the house to talk with me. I liked her very much, and after a few sessions I admitted what was happening. I didn’t want to keep it a secret anymore, but I didn’t want my parents to know. Dealing with guilt from such a young age made me believe they would blame me. The counselor of course told my parents. They never once mentioned it to me. It took social services a week to come and get the boy out of our house. I spent almost the entire week in my room, until I knew he was gone.
The DA got involved, but charges were never pressed against the boy due to his age, and because it was discovered that he had experienced severe sexual abuse as a child before being placed in foster care. His social worker said she had disclosed this to my parents, but that of course wasn’t true. The boy was simply moved to another home. I hope his issues were not continuously swept under the rug they way they previously had been, and that he got the help he needed so more girls didn’t have to suffer the way he and I both did. I still feel a sense of solidarity towards him and hope he found some inner peace wherever he ended up.
I became sexually active at 14 and suffered through a string of abusive relationships until meeting my fiancé at the age of 24. I still find it hard to associate sex with love/romance and it’s very difficult to not try to direct everything that happens. It’s something I’ll always have to work on. I still experience many PTSD symptoms. I want to seek help, but I’ve struggled to find a therapist I feel comfortable with. I may try again some day.
Thank you for sharing your story, Linor. I hope I’ve helped in even a small way by sharing mine.
-Liz, Age 29