When I was six years old, I was raped by a nine-year-old boy who lived down the street. His mother walked in on the act and yelled at us to stop. She told me to put on my clothes and that I could never come back over to play with her daughter who was my friend. I felt as if I had done a bad thing and I was very afraid she would tell my mom. She never did and neither did I.
At that same age I was already an excellent reader and curious about everything which led me to always wanting to explore. Unfortunately the explorer in me led me to searching through the dresser drawers in my parent’s room one day when they were outside. I found pornographic magazines and a book called The Family That Lays Together Stays Together. That was huge because my dad used to get drunk and hit my mom and they were always arguing, so I was so afraid of them getting a divorce.
I began sneaking opportunities to look at and read the porn magazines and that horrible book. At that young age I had no way of knowing what many of the vile words and expressions meant, yet sexual arousal happened within me. That was the beginning of a lifetime of masturbation that made me feel more and more ashamed.
At the age of twelve, I shared a bedroom with my sister. One night, she and her boyfriend thought I was asleep, so they started making out in her bed. I closed my eyes tightly because I thought it was gross, but then my dad walked in drunk and got in bed with them. My sister begged him to leave her alone and so he finally walked out. Nobody ever told a soul, but from that point on I lived in fear that he would try the same thing with me.
A year later, I had major spine surgery for Scoliosis and had to be in a body cast for three months lying down. One day my sister was elected to stay home and care for me while everyone else went out. She was pregnant at the time, so she went to take a nap in her bedroom on the other side of the house after making sure I had all my needs met. While she was napping, a friend of a friend came to my bedroom window and said he wanted to visit and see how I was doing. The house was not locked, so I told him to come on in because I was just so happy to have somebody to talk to you. Lying in bed for three months when you were only 13 years old can be very very boring! Unfortunately, he took advantage of that situation and raped me. I was lying there in my body cast helpless. The body cast went from the top of my shoulders to the bottom of my hips and cause me not to be able to move much. I begged him to please stop, but he would not. I never told anybody. I guess I was afraid I woul d get in trouble from my parents for letting a boy come in the house while they were gone.
By the time I got to high school a year later, I was doing drugs, drinking, and was very promiscuous. Any boy who told me he loved me I ended up sleeping with. I had no idea what real love was. I hated sex so much and sometimes still do, but I just figured that was the thing to do if you wanted somebody to love you. Of course they never stuck around.
When I was 15 years old, I went with my friend to a concert without tickets. She said she knew some people who could get us in for free through the backstage door. Unfortunately, that did not happen, so we ended up hanging out on the street in the back of the concert auditorium so that we could at least hear the music. My friend eventually wandered off to the Riverwalk because we were in San Antonio, Texas. They were giving away free margaritas at one of the bars and my friend look old enough to pass for drinking age even though she really was not. When she came back with the margarita in her hand, there were some black young men who were walking down the street past us. She called them a bad name and then they came back at us and said that we were prejudice white bitches. My sister was dating a black guy at the time and my mom had taught us never to hate somebody just because of the color of their skin. Therefore, I let them know that I was not prejudice. They then asked me t o prove it by going to smoke some marijuana with them. I said that was no problem at all. At first, we just went and stood over by a large truck that was parked in the road. After a wild though, they suggested that we go to their apartment so that we could get some more marijuana. I was stupid enough to trust them. When we got to their apartment, they held a knife to my throat and injected me with synthetic heroin. They held me captive for about eight hours and attempted to rape me. Strangely enough, one of the guys told the other guys to leave so they did. Then when he tried to rape me, I just kept repeating the only prayer I knew over and over and over. It was the Lord’s prayer. The guy did not like that and kept slapping me across the face and telling me to shut up. I did not shut up because I figured if I was going to die, I wanted to die while I was praying. Miraculously, it prevented him from being able to stay hard, so he was unable to penetrate me. Thank God! Th en, he took me to a place and asked some friends of his if they could give me a ride home. I was so afraid that they were going to take me somewhere and kill me, but they did not. They actually drove me to the other side of town where I lived. I took them to a house that was not really mine because I did not want them to know where I really lived just in case they had ideas of coming back in the future. When I got out of the car, they lingered for a moment while I walked up to the door and pretended to fumble for my keys in my purse. Once they finally drove the way, I ran as fast as I could for several blocks until I got to my real house. When I got there, my mom yelled and screamed at me for being out all night and making her worry. I could not bring myself to tell her what had just happened to me because I thought she would be even angrier. Once again, I kept my mouth shut.
My daughter’s story:
I do not know how well I can tell my daughter Jennifer’s story since I probably do not even know the entire thing. I will tell you what I do know though. The rest will be up to her. She is very strong and very brave and has been open about what happened to her and has helped several people. I do not think she has seen your documentary yet, but I will tell her about it.
I got pregnant with Jennifer out of wedlock. I must admit I am not 100% sure who her father is. I got kicked out of my house by my step father and ended up traveling from Texas to Alaska to live with my sister and brother-in-law. During my first week there I had a one night stand while I was drunk with a guy whose name I do not even know. After that, I started dating one of the military men that my sister and brother-in-law knew. He was very nice and I enjoyed his company and actually felt loved by him, yet when he found out I was pregnant, he told me to get an abortion. I told him no because I had already been forced into one abortion when I was 15 years old. That is something that will break my heart forever. He ended up getting out of the military and going back home to California. I never saw him again. He did call me when I was well into my pregnancy, but by that time I was already dating a guy I had met at work. I told him to take a hike since I could not be with somebo dy who wanted me to kill my baby. I ended up marrying the guy I met at work. That was a big mistake.
The man I married seemed like such a nice guy to everybody who knew him, yet he constantly verbally and emotionally abused me. Little did I know that he was also sexually abusing Jennifer. One time when she was about three years old, I came out of the shower and heard her crying. She was in the bedroom with him and in the bed with him. I went in there and grabbed her up and asked what was wrong. He told me she was just being a crybaby. I took her into her own bedroom and asked her what was wrong, but she never told me anything. I chalked it up as nothing. I figured he had just scolded her or something like that.
Not too long after that, I got very tired of putting up with the abuse from him, so I ended up meeting another man. I left my first husband for this man and ended up marrying him. That too was a big mistake. However, before I married my second husband I stayed with my two children at my sisters house in San Antonio for a little while until I could get my divorce finalized. All of a sudden one day while I was giving Jennifer a bath, I was talking to her about making sure that nobody ever touches her privates except for a doctor and that would only be with me in the room giving permission. She very calmly said, “Then it’s OK if daddy touched my privates? He told me he was just trying to fix me like a doctor. He even wore a doctor’s coat.” I did my best to stay calm so that I would not freak her out, but I started asking her for more details. She said he used some small tools from the garage to fix her. I took her in to my sisters garage and asked her if she could show me any tools that looked like the ones he had used. She picked up a metric sized tool and told me he had used that type of tool to twist her nipples on her chest because he said it was not good that they would not stand up straight. I was horrified! I tried to press charges, but after the police interviewed Jennifer, they told me Dee incident had occurred during a visit we are he had taken the children without me to visit his brother and sister in Tennessee. That meant that I would need to travel to Tennessee if I wanted to press charges. I was very poor and had no way to do that. Therefore, I wrote him a letter and told him that I knew what he had done and that if he ever attempted to see the children again, I would have him thrown in jail. He had no idea that I was unable to get to the place where I needed to go to press charges. He was still living in Alaska at that time, but when he got the letter I guess he took it seriously because he never tried to see them again.
Once my divorce from my first husband was finalized, I married my second husband. He seemed a bit too strict with the children, but I was trying my best to allow him to be the man of the house. We ended up staying married for 14 1/2 years and he kept being strict during that entire time. He would not beat the kids, but he would put very unreasonable punishments of other kinds on them like being grounded for a month for a minor offense and stuff like that. I chalked it up to us just having different parenting styles but it was definitely one of the main things that we argued about during our marriage.
When we were newly married, Jennifer came to me one morning and told me that my husband had gotten into her bed during the night and had rubbed her behind. I confronted him about it and he said that he was very drunk and did not realize he had done that. I knew we both had gotten very drunk the night before, so when he told me that he thought he was in our bed rubbing my behind, I believed him. I was so stupid! She was only around three or four years old at the time and yet she remembers very clearly hearing him lie to me about it and wondered to herself why he was lying.
We went through the rest of our marriage with him hardly ever wanting to have sex with me. We had sex maybe three times a year if I was lucky. He always complained of being tired we’re having a headache. I blamed myself because I was convinced that everything my first husband had told me was true. I believed I was ugly and that nobody would ever want to me. Other than that though, my second husband acted very loving to me. Little did I know that he was messing around with other women. Also, when Jennifer was around 10 years old, he started touching her inappropriately and kissing her. She did not tell me until she was around 15 years old. Five years of her dealing with that on her own. Oh my God!
When she told me, I confronted him and of course he denied it. I did not believe him, but I was a Christian by that time and knew that divorce was against the Christian way. I hoped beyond hope that he would get counseling and that our family could be put back together again. Part of me wanted to leave so badly, but I had no idea how I would support myself and three children by that time. I was in college and was just about to enter my internship for teaching. I stupidly convinced myself that I would just keep the two of them completely away from each other and never allow him to be home alone with her ever again. I figured I could play mediator and keep them from speaking to each other or being alone together until he got help. When my daughter realized I was not turning him into the police or leaving him, she left home to go live with relatives. I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for not calling the police on him and leaving him.
Two years went by and he still was not getting counseling. One day, I just felt like the Lord told me enough was enough. I left him. Unfortunately, it was too late to keep Jennifer’s heart from being totally shattered.
Thankfully now I am married to a third man who is also a Christian and who adores his children and mine. Jennifer, of her own accord, calls him daddy. She says he is the only man who ever treated her the way a daddy should treat a daughter. Jennifer has come a long way! She is going to be 33 years old this year and she loves the Lord and she and I have a great relationship. She has so much love and mercy in her heart! However, she also still has a lot of pain in her heart. She tries her best to use what she has been through to help others but I know that more can be done. I hope that someday she and I can speak to groups of women and girls and tell our story. It will hopefully help the girls to know they are not alone and that they should always speak up and keep speaking up until somebody listens and does something about it! It will hopefully also help the women to realize that no situation financial or otherwise should keep them from doing what is right when it comes to pro secuting a man who has her their tryout. A lot of religious women steer clear of divorce just like I did. I hope to help them realize that God would never be in favor of them staying with a man who has hurt their child.
Thank you for listening and reading all of this. I know it was a bit long, but hopefully it will help somebody. I know it helps me to talk about it and I believe that when Jennifer and I start speaking to groups about it, it will also help both of us as well as others.
May God bless you richly,
Annette, age 52