I am a survivor of childhood abuse including sexual abuse by my father. In 1995, when I was 40 yrs of age, I started talking about the abuse to a social worker in my doctor’s office. He told me that he was the ex partner and father of the children of the woman who was then the director of the local rape crisis centre. Knowing this information made it easier to trust him. He arranged for me to go to a group for survivors of childhood sexual assault at the rape crisis centre.
After seeing him for talk therapy sessions for a few months he told me that we would be meeting after my doctor and her staff had left for the day because my doctor needed the office space during her office hours. After I had been seeing him for about 8 months he asked me to go to his home for a session because that was the only place that he could meet me that day. After I had been at his home for a while he told me that he loved me and started to kiss and to fondle me. When he started to touch me under my clothing I insisted that he stop and then left his home.
I continued to see him at my doctor’s office because I was deeply in crisis and needed to continue to talk about the abuse that I had endured during my childhood. One evening after I had been seeing him for almost a year he became violent, striking me in my face and putting his hands around my throat. He bashed my head against the wall while saying that he was going to rape me because I was an arrogant white woman and it would be payback for the way that aboriginal women have been mistreated. He raped me orally, vaginally and anally while saying that he would kill me and rape my daughters if I told anyone. Shortly thereafter he moved thousands of miles away.
It took me more than a year to be able to tell anyone that I had been raped by him. The first person I told was a social worker who worked at the rape crisis centre. She told me that other survivors were making complaints about him and asked for my consent to disclose to the sexual assault centre staff that I had been raped by this man. I was contacted by another staff member and offered therapy sessions with a new staff member whom I was told was an expert in therapist abuse. I accepted this offer and saw this new therapist for a couple of years. During that time no one asked me what he had done to me and no one asked me how I was doing in my life. Instead I was discouraged from going to the police to report the rape and was encouraged to focus on issues from my childhood. I was encouraged to think about how difficult it would be for the director of the sexual assault centre and her children if I went to the police and information about the rape became public.
I became increasingly depressed and confused and my life started to crumble. I found it more and more difficult to trust anyone and was started on antidepressants that caused me to become agitated and suicidal. That was a very dark time in my life. I decided to focus on rebuilding my life and to move on. It would be many years before I would return to therapy. I thought that no one would believe that I had been raped by this man and had been further betrayed by staff from the rape crisis centre. In retrospect I realize that spent a long time trying to run away from the rape and subsequent betrayal of the sexual assault centre staff.
About 6 months ago I found the courage to seek help and support from a sexual assault centre in another city, even though I was afraid that no one would believe my story. With the help of a lovely female therapist I was able to work through a lot of pain, fear and anger that I had been holding onto for almost 19 yrs. I was also able to work through some remaining issues concerning having been abused as a child.
I am very proud of myself and have reclaimed my voice. I am a very strong woman. I am also a proud mother, grandmother, nurse and artist.
The man who raped me in my doctor’s office in May of 1996 is named Phil duPuis. After he raped me he sat naked on the floor of my doctor’s office and cried, and I started kicking him and shouting that he would never harm me again and would never harm my children. I am a non violent woman but in those moments I was fierce. It was terribly confusing for me to feel that kind of anger and hatred. Getting in touch with that powerful anger and hatred in therapy was frightening for me but it was so healing for me to feel my anger and to choose to let it go.
Tonight I watched Brave Miss World on Netflix. Thank you so much for finding the courage to speak your truth and to support so many other survivors of sexual violence.