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Little Girl

My father was the kind of dad that any kid would dream of most of the time. He played with my brothers and I. He would take us on hikes, throw us around in the pool, play baseball in the yard, croquet, take us to the movies, read us stories. Really, he seemed like an all American dad but then there was the other side to him. He was a drinker and a mean drunk. He was manipulative and violent. My brothers and I would sit along the couch as him and my mother would get in heated battles and he would hit her, threaten to kill her and himself. He started molesting me when I was four. I remember some of the times so vividly, the sights, the smells of the season, his words ingrained in my mind; other times are lost to me. My older brother was involved in some of the abuse and sometimes it was just me.

I finally told my Mom when I was eight, when I finally realized what he had been doing all this time was wrong. It was hard for me to tell her but I think the hardest thing, the thing I still deal with the most today is how this father that I loved and adored so much was both people. He was a good guy and a bad guy.

At 8 I was thrust in to a much more adult world. The first to come to talk to me was a social services worker, then a police detective and my pediatrician where they did a rape exam on me. Then the district attorney, then, my brother and I, stood in front of a grand jury, hiding behind a chalkboard too scared and embarrassed to show our faces. My father was arrested and charged with multiple counts but specifically, I don’t remember what they were.

The day of the trial I was terrified. I had seen the full fury of my father’s temper and I was positive that he was going to kill me. The detective who worked on my case sat beside me in the courtroom and told me to “look at Animal” if I got scared. He wore a special tie for me that day with Animal from The Muppets on it. When my father walked in, my breath I gasped and turned to “my detective” trying to focus on the crazy monster on his tie but the terror was all consuming. I screamed as if I had just had a limb torn off. “My detective” held me to his chest, picked me up and brought me to the DA’s office inside the courthouse.

I don’t know how long I drew and colored in that office but the next thing I knew I was told it was time to leave. My father had found out that my brother would be testifying along with me. His attorney didn’t like their chances. He pleaded guilty to some lessor charges and he would be sentenced another day. In the end, my father was given 4-8 years in prison and he was out in 3 years on good behavior. I was molested for longer then he was in jail and then I got life trying to figure out how to cope with what was done to me and how my father could be two people.

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