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Predators

My story starts 33 years ago.
My mother was a young mother, and was quite selfish. Not in a horrible way, but since she was only 18 when she had me, she seemed to easily fall for words of men. Most of the time, they would flatter her, get her attention, and the minute they treated her like anything less then a princess,….she left them. So usually, I did not get to meet many of those men. I think she loved me in her own way, but being young, she also resented me being around. I think her heart gave her a tug-o-war concerning me.
I lived with my grandparents a lot, growing up. They adored me,..most of my family did. I felt loved with them. However, at some point my mother met what would become my Brother and Sister`s father.
I was 4 1/2 yrs old, when I met him. He seemed very tall, and although I don`t remember a lot, I knew I was immediately frightened of him. He tried being nice, charming, I felt awkward and would withdraw.
They decided to live together, and my mother felt that urge to be domestic. She cooked, she cleaned, they had a farm. She baked nice things and made dinners. They wanted me to live with them. I will never forget the night that my grandmother dropped me off to that farm house. It was cold and snowing,..the house was very cute, and everything looked so nice,….but I was crying. My grandmother was crying and hugging me. My mother seemed annoyed.

It didn’t take long for this man to realize he scared me. He spanked me with fly-swatters, chased me around when I did wrong, and kicked me repeatedly,while holding my arms if I was in trouble. There was an ‘old school’ mentality to his discipline, which most people wouldn’t blink at, but what they didn’t realize is how he used it to control my every thought, and action. It wasn’t just punishment for large infractions,…I would receive this treatment for petting the cat without permission, or for putting the toothbrush away in the wrong holder. I once was spanked hard across the face multiple times and my rear-end for staring at someone too long. I was 5 years old.
My mother seemed ok with this. I knew they fought a lot, but I cannot recall them fighting over me very much. Maybe they did, I am unsure.
The sexual aspect was always there. He liked to walk around naked a lot. Many mornings he would be locked in their bedroom, him and my mother, while they had sex. He would step-out for a bathroom break,..fully naked, and if I was playing on the floor with toys somewhere he would stand over top of me, knowing he scared me. He would let his penis dangle in my face, while demanding to know if I made my bed, did chores, etc. Many times, he would then point to the gun he had on the wall by his bedroom doorway, and just say :”Remember, I know how to use it.”
I became a child who withdrew more and more. My shyness with people came across like rudeness sometimes, when I look back now. People would say hello to me, but I had no idea if it was ok to even say hello back. I walked away many times when people talked to me.
One sunny day, my step-fathers parents (who treated me well) were having a garage sale. There was many town events going on that weekend, and it was a gorgeous first day of summer. I remember what I wore: A cute dress that was white, with little strawberries all over it, and it had matching shorts. my hair was in a ponytail. Since I wasn’t a kid who had a very good wardrobe, I was very proud of this outfit. It felt nice, to look nice. I didn’t feel raggedy for once.
That day was very nice and we had ice-cream. All his family was around. At some point, my step-father must of made plans to go back to our house to ‘retrieve’ something,..and had said he was taking me. I really didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. My default feeling when alone with him was to wait for the spank, slap, or kick that was coming.
There was no kick that day. No spank, and no slap. I started to relax,….we just drove the 20 minute car ride, with the radio on, and the windows down,…I almost smiled.
When we got back to our (his) house, he did a few things as I wandered around. I remember him calling me to his bedroom. When I got there, he was under the blankets, but I could see his bare chest.
He grabbed my little arm, and pulled me on the bed and told me to sit on top of him.
When I did, I could feel his ‘peter’ (the childhood name we were told to call it) was hard and awkward, and I was trying to sit away from it. Not much luck. He smiled and smirked.
He grabbed my hips and pretended like he was trying to help me adjust. In reality he was moving me on him and teasing himself.
I tried to say I had to go to the bathroom and get off the bed. I was confused and anxious. I still remember that feeling. He stroked my face and was very nice to me. Told me that this was much better then having to be mad at my stupidity all the time. He asked me if I wanted him angry or happy. He told me that sitting on top of him made him happy. That me touching his body and him touching my body, made him happy. I was told that moving away from him, when he was just trying to be nice, made him angry. He would then look up to the wall outside his bedroom door,….where the gun sat on its pedestal-like holder. He told me I could learn to make myself useful, so that he wouldn’t be angry at me all the time.
So I learned to make myself useful.
At first ….I did not hate the touching,..anything was better then getting kicked, slapped or hit. I was happy that he stopped yelling at me. He would basically use my body to jerk himself off. I didn’t understand that part,…being young, with no sexual information of any kind,… I didn’t notice the ejaculation,..I can’t even remember how he hid that part. I just remember that he would hug me,..and I was delighted to be hugged.
It did not take long for the ‘nice touches’ to turn to cruel ones that induced pain and fear. I started wetting the bed every night. I had horrible nightmares about him. I would get in trouble for wetting the bed, and left to sleep in the dirty, wet bed the next night. Then he would take it upon himself to ‘wash me’ before school. He would stick soap in me, and it would burn me and I would try to cry. He would tell me to shut up, and that I had brought it on myself. The wash-cloth would hurt, and the soap would sting. His fingers would try to get inside me, but I guess I was too little. This would anger him, and then he would slap me. Usually my face. Sometimes I would cry out, and my mom would come and see what the fuss was about. He would tell her I did something bad, …always some sort of lie, and that he had to discipline me.
He forced his penis in my mouth, and liked making me gag. He might of drugged me sometimes I think, as I remember getting sleepy. I know he took Polaroids. It hurt the few times it almost did make it,.. It hurt so badly, I had a hard time sitting or doing activities at school for days after.
This went on until I was almost 10, when my mother and him finally split up. They split up over him cheating on her.
Somehow, even though I was terrified of him, I knew it was not my fault. I had lucked-out in Grade 2, when they held a ‘ChildFind’ day at the gym of a school. We all had fingerprints done, and our picture taken. With it, came many handbags of goodies, including pamphlets about sexual, and physical abuse.
I hid the pamphlets. I read them late at night under my bed, with a flashlight. The pamphlets told me it wasn’t my fault. I held on to that message for 3 years. It got me through the next bunch of years.
After they were long broken up, (but he was attempting to get back with my mom,) I saw them talking quite a bit. I couldn’t handle the idea. He saw me at a store once, and told me to steal something for him. I purposely got caught. When that happened, I told my mom everything. It all unraveled inside of me. There was also a babysitter of ours, who claimed he had sexually hurt her too. That part is somewhat foggy to me..as I was going numb.

My mother immediately went to the police and told all the family. I felt attacked a 2nd time, with how police and social workers handled it. I felt embarrassed for the first time. I felt I had brought shame to the family. I started to retreat further and further away.
My mother talked about it a lot. She received a lot of pity from her friends and family. I would enter a room, and know they had been talking about me, as they would stop and stare.She took me to various therapists, and when I wouldn’t talk, she did. She talked about how it made her feel, and how upset she was. She sometimes got angry at me for not talking and asked if I made it up. She once told me that his family said I enticed him. I didn’t know what the word meant until I was older. I started to dislike her,…and dislike men. Male therapists got angry with me. I could see their impatience in their face and mannerisms. I felt like everyone was trying to coerce me into talking, so they could get what they wanted. I don`t think anyone realized through all their good intentions that doing it this way, made me feel exactly how he did. He coerced me and tricked me, so he could get what he wanted. I trusted people less and less.
The problems that came after, was that I still didn’t understand sex, my sexuality, nor did I have any understanding of how to spot a predator. I never told my real dad, who I saw on infrequent visits for summer vacation and Christmas,…because I didn’t want to hurt him or upset him. He seemed like a nice guy. My mom didn’t hate my real dad, and I didn’t want to lose what little time I had with him, if he got upset and blamed my mom. That was my childhood mentality. If my mom ever told him herself,…nobody told me. She probably did, but my Dad and I never talked about it. We still haven`t.
I ended up abused again through the hands of a family member who ironically enough, raged and wanted to hunt down my first abuser. Then a couple years later he hurt me too. How confusing! Why he did to me, what he did,..I will never know. But as I got into my teens, and realized I attracted the wrong kind of attention,….I decided to become the aggressor. I thought something was wrong with me, and I intended to change it.

Being the sexual aggressor did 2 things for me. #1 it scared off the type of predators who are just doing it because they are cowards with women. #2- I felt like anything bad that happened sexually, was all within my control, and I could then fix it.
If I felt eyes on me, I quickly turned the tables. This didn’t always work out so well, and I got myself in a few tricky situations over the years. I was hurt, raped, lied to, and more poor boyfriend relationships then I care to admit.
My family after having tried to get me to talk as a child,….gave up. The issue was then pushed under a rug, and I was told to ‘get over it’ . A few times, a few years later, I tried to bring it up in my late teens. I would be emotional and ranting about something, and not knowing where my anger came from. That door was closed, in their eyes. Completely unresolved in mine, since they let my little sister and brother go see their father….my ex-step-father,…and abuser.
I had to shut up, and put up with him being around me here and there. It was hell at first, but the older I got,…the smaller he seemed. The older and more feeble he seemed.
Still, I couldn’t ever really forgive my mother for sending those kids to visit him. I did not think he would abuse them, as he did me,..For they were his flesh and blood.
In me, he saw me as a nuisance step-child that needed to be made useful. He used me for chores, anger-management, and sexual needs.
Still,…the fact my mother permitted him in a child’s life made me feel betrayed. I still do not get along with my mother. She has lacked character , class, and morals in my eyes. It was harder once I had my own children, and realized I would never allow the same things to happen in the same manner. I don`t hate her,..we are civil,..but she is no role-model to me. I pity her life. Not sure that is right either. I have tried to learn God’s way of forgiveness with her, and remind myself she is human, and made mistakes,..but I don’t feel it in my heart yet.
I also do not talk to my brother or sister. Since everyone hid my past from my brother and sister,..in order to protect them, …they have zero understanding over what the big deal is. They don`t understand why I can’t let ‘bygones be bygones’ as I was told to do. I have not been confrontational, nor ever argued with them, nor put down their father. I was asked not to as a kid, and I guess I stuck to that. However, the past has a way of rearing it`s ugly head, and when both of them got married in the same year, and I declined to attend,(I do not want to be around their father) a war was started by them. One however, got drunk, and asked me questions and got upset. I try to only tell my truth. This upsets them and I somehow get accused. It`s a vicious circle and I have pulled myself out of it. I can only control my own reactions. I have decided to let go of all of that part of my life, and move-on far away from all of them and their twisted excuses. From doing that, I learned so much about myself, who I really am, and what I really want my family and children to know. I see men and women for who they really are, and i can trust my instincts now. Life lets you heal by living your best life. By being vulnerable to your own faults and past and acknowledging that. Hiding it creates demons that never truly heal,….then those demons rear up their heads from time to time, and make you feel raw and abused all over again.
I have made a very long story here, as I hope people will learn that hiding and pretending like the abuse never happened, does not work. I read a few stories before posting mine, and everyone was trying to keep it short and sweet,…As if you all didn’t matter. As if you didn’t have the right to talk about the details. I cried for each one of you. I want to convey to others that IT DOES GET BETTER. Look after yourself. Let yourself feel what your soul and spirit needs to feel, and be kind to your own mistakes. I am still working on me, as forgiveness is not a concept that comes easy to me,..but I am realizing that resentment and pain, holds me back from full health and healing. I am a work in progress,..and that is okay. We are all a work in progress, no matter who we are.
Take care of you, for me.

~SV, age 39

2 comments

  • Alissa Ackerman
  • ccheek

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