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More Than a Survivor

I have had many experiences with sexual assault, starting at the age of seven. My parents had a foster son who molested me while my parents were in a different part of the house. When I screamed he claimed he was tickling me and then left me alone. I didn’t tell anyone because I somehow, in my seven year old brain, thought this was my fault and I was ashamed of the things he’d done to me.

Six years later, when I was thirteen, my father molested me…that became a daily occurrence for the next fifteen months. When he finally confessed what he’d been doing his explanation was that he was “having an affair” with me. I didn’t report him to the police, and I begged my mom not to as well. I didn’t want to go through the trauma of police and legal proceedings. He’d spent that fifteen months brainwashing me, grooming me so to speak.. I felt guilty that he wasn’t in our family anymore.. I missed him… my mom was in a car accident that nearly killed her, she was afraid..she got back together with my father. He apologized for what he did and promised it would never happen again… I was sixteen.

When I was twenty-two my father once again sexually assaulted me. Once again I didn’t go to the police. My parents split up and this time my mom got a divorce.

A year later I needed to face him to prove to myself he wasn’t a monster, but just a man. I was experiencing crippling anxiety every time I left the house, terrified I would run into him. I took my boyfriend with me and we met him for coffee. I told my boyfriend before we went that I would not be interested in anything sexual that night, or perhaps many nights after that meeting, because I expected some pretty strong flashbacks and emotional response to seeing him after a year. I was right, I was a mess that night and that night my boyfriend raped me. I broke up with him, and later found out I was pregnant.

I did go to the police three years later after I was married (to a wonderful man) and gave birth to my first daughter. (I did keep the baby from the rape, he is a beautiful little boy, the most sensitive little boy you’ll ever meet) I realized that by keeping silent I was doing my children a disservice. To end this epidemic we need to speak out, but in order to report the rape I would need to explain WHY I said no to my boyfriend that night, so I would need to report my father as well. So I reported them both.

My father was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation for sexual touching. He was sentenced to 2 years less a day in prison. He served just over one year. When I asked why he was never charged with incest, I was told because there was never any “penile penetration”. So “technically” he wasn’t guilty of incest. The system is archaic and broken.

My ex-boyfriend was never charged, the evidence was insufficient. I now get to see this man on a regular basis as he shares partial custody of my son. I get to endure being told in a courtroom that by fighting for custody I’m a bad parent because I want to “withhold a good father” from my son.

I will raise a man who respects women. A good man who understands that a woman is not an object.. He is already so sensitive and so loving. He will know how to treat a woman. I will raise strong daughters who walk with their heads high, ho know their value as human beings. I will raise children who stand up for what is right. I will raise adults who don’t take part in this sick rape culture we live in. I kept silent for too long and I was ashamed. Speaking out has given me hope. Freedom.

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