I have three safe places in my life. Home, church, and school.
But I’ve dealt with a lot of crap in my life that over time, caused me to lose these safe places. When was 8/9 I was abused horribly by two older foster girls who were staying with my family. They were only with us for a few months but they messed me up pretty badly. Mostly mental abuse that left me terrified all the time. But the physical abuse is why I never told anyone. They threatened to hurt my sister, she was only six at the time and I couldn’t let anything happen to her. My dad happened to come down one day as they were getting ready to do something. He called the police and made a report, but they stayed with us for several more weeks before being moved. Even then one of the sisters was placed down the street from us. When I was in fifth grade I dealt with a lot of bullying, even after going back to home schooling the bullying followed me to church. I tried to commit suicide several times over the course of the next three years.
The abuse destroyed the safety of being at home, the bullying (and in my later years, sexual harassment) destroyed my safety of school, and for the last one church.
Church has always been important to me, I felt like I had a good relationship with God, met with my pastor regularly and felt free to talk. But when I was 14 during late night event that my church was doing outdoors, I lost it. It was around 10 o’clock and I had volunteered to take out the trash, went to the back of the church where there were three guys. To sum it all up, they raped me, pretty horrifically. I remember everything about it, the sound of my dress and panties tearing, the way they were so rough with me, the feel of their beards, seeing the large dumpsters where they stuck me after they finished, climbing out of it, walking down the concrete stairs of the church and the cold metal railing, and the pain inside of me. Everything seared into my memory. It destroyed me. I didn’t tell anyone for years after it happened because I remember my foster sisters threatening to hurt my little sis, I know I should have told someone, but I was so scared. I told my parents when I was 17, even though I felt like I didn’t have a good relationship with them at all, it was eating me up. They ended up having me go to therapy which has helped a lot. And I’m in the process of being diagnosed with PTSD, and working on getting a therapy dog either a royal standard poodle or a great dane/mastiff mix. I have so many triggers, I can’t even walk down stairs, half the time I end up falling, which is why I’m getting such a large dog.
I know that I didn’t ask for it, I was a little kid and I know I didn’t dress to seduce them, some guys out there are just creeps. Because of this I have a hard time trusting guys. I regret not telling anyone, and as hard as it has been, I wish I told the police so they could have done something, but four years was too long to wait.
I hope that my story helps someone out there, that they’ll know they aren’t the only one, it happened to me too. I know that it stinks, and it hurts, and it feels like it can only get worse, but it gets better. It takes time but it does get better and you’ll learn to live again, even if that means in order to really live you have to bring a giant dog with you everywhere.
~Bella, age 18