My family has always been very dysfunctional and I grew up with a lot of abuse, my father was a heavy drinker and was often very violent towards my stepmother, my sisters, and I. I never grew up knowing love and affection and I still blame myself most days for being so eager to be loved that it made me naive.
My uncle went through a divorce when I was 11. He moved in with us shortly after until he could get back on his feet. Our house at the time was a majority unfinished. My parents had a bedroom and my sister’s shared one. The basement was unfinished so I had a bed and dresser set up down there since it was basically one large concrete room. My father decided that my uncle would stay in the basement with me and he had his things set up on the other side. We had not grown up with this uncle since he lived in new York and us in Georgia, and it was so exciting to get to know him. He was funny, kind, and he showed me a lot of affection. My older sisters would get jealous because I was “his favorite”.
One night, after he came home from drinking with friends, he came into my room and started touching me. I kept my eyes closed and pretended I was asleep and I was having a bad dream. He kept that up for at least a month. Every night.
He would whisper to me and tell me he knew I was awake. He made me touch him. And then one night he raped me. And he continued to take it every night for 6 months. He made me promise not to tell, told me he loved me. I felt so ashamed of myself, so disgusting. I became very withdrawn, but I never told anyone. I knew my parents wouldn’t believe me and part of me still hung on to him telling me he loved me. I craved affection so badly, I had convinced myself that I had wanted it and it was my fault. I wanted to be loved, I didn’t want to have him forced on me.
Fast forward 2 years, I had learned to bottle up my feelings about the rape and try to forget it. I would bury it in the back of my mind, that sometimes I believed I had made it up. I still looked for the love that I had never had as a child and began dating older men. I was 13 and I was dating a 19 year old named Jeremy. He was so funny and knew all the right things to say. And the best part, he loved me.
He asked me to sneak out one night since my parents didn’t approve of him, he had to see me. And I was so I’m love with him that I did. I did anything he asked. He picked me up at the end of my driveway around 11pm. We went to a park not very far away. We kissed and he took more. And as I begged him not to, he raped me. We never spoke again after that, and I never told anyone.
I began cutting myself to deal with the pain and emotions I was feeling from everything that had happened. I started doing drugs, drinking, I stopped eating. I was spiraling down hill.
About six months after I had been raped again. My sister started dating a 22 year old army guy named Andrew, she was so in love and he treated her like gold. I was happy for her.
One night, while my parents weren’t home, we decided to play flashlight tag. We had 15 acres of woods behind out house. My sister had to find her boyfriend and my other sister was supposed to find me. We took off into the woods while they counted. He told me that hiding together would increase our chances of winning. And while flashlight searched far away in the distance he grabbed me and started trying to kiss me. I pushed him off me and went to walk away. He pinned me against a tree with all his weight and kissed me all over my neck and lips while he grouped me. I had been through this twice before and refused to let it happen again with out a fight. I kept hitting him as hard as I could, until he threw me to the ground. He got on top of me and held me down with all his weight and pushed my face in the dirt as he raped me. When we got back up to the house my sisters were watching . TV They had given up trying to find us. Andrew told me that if I ever told my sister that she would hate me for ruining their relationship, I knew he was right. She was very petty and had always been jealous of me for some reason. She would have thought it was my fault. Needless to say they didn’t work out.
I moved out of my parent’s house at 16, got a job and supported myself. Because of the things I had went through I leaned heavily on drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and make it threw the day. Everywhere I turned, I saw someone who resembled my rapists, everything anyone said to me reminded me of them. I couldn’t escape it. Then one night over Facebook, Andrew messaged me. He told me that he was in town and wanted to see me. He knew I wanted it again and wanted to see where it went.
After that I overdosed and ended up in the hospital, I sought professional help and I got better. It never truly goes away, but it does get better and it makes you stronger. I would not be who i am today had my past been different. I now have a healthy relationship with my husband of two years, I still never told my family nor do I really talk to them now but I have managed to tell a few others around me and help them struggling with the same thing.
Rape culture is a REAL issue, and we need to address it.
No means No!
— Amanda, age 21