I was twelve. I hadn’t become a woman yet as mother nature was not ready, I was not ready. My family needed a horse trainer for our paso fino horses. We met a man, age 26, that was working at another farm a about two hours away. He began training our horses. At some point, he and his family were kicked out of the farm he was working at so he and his wife and small daughter and son moved in with my family on our farm. He and his wife slept in my bedroom. I slept in my brother’s bedroom with my brother and my abuser’s two children. He would come into the bedroom at night and molest me while his own children and my little brother slept inches to feet away. Once he asked me to help him in the barn. There he raped and sodomized me. I remember asking and begging him to please stop. He didn’t. I finally was able to squirm away from him. He told me he was sorry and he would never mean to hurt me. I remember walking back to the house where my family was sitting, oblivious to what was happening, and stopping on the front porch to dry my tears and stop trembling before I walked through the door as if nothing ever happened. The strange thing is I don’t remember how I felt when it was going on. They moved away a few months later and I didn’t become sexually active again until I was 17. The only inkling I had during my teen years that what that man had done to me had affected me was when I saw him at a horse show a few years later. He had grown his hair out then. It is odd, the random things that stand out. I remember walking toward the show ring and at the other end of the warm up arena he was walking towards me and we locked eyes. He smiled at me and at that moment I felt like I was going to throw up. It was like time stood still. I began to shake and my eyes filled with tears. I felt like I couldn’t breath. I know he saw the reaction though he was quite a few feet away because he got a look of fear on his face and walked away. That was the last time I saw him. I remember wanting to tell someone that year but I was afraid. I remember wanting to tell again at age 18 because I feared the statute of limitations was going to run out and feared what he had done to other girls because I kept my silence and allowed him to roam free. I battled depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts. At age 20, I was put on anti-depressants and diagnosed with manic depressant/anxiety disorder. Still, I never told anyone. It wasn’t until age 30, while sitting at our local mental health facility after having suicidal thoughts that I actually told. It was so surreal. It was like someone else was telling for me and I wasn’t there. The counselor said “have you ever been sexually abused” and I said “YES”! I immediately numbed out and became a zombie. There I was diagnosed with PTSD. I didn’t accept that diagnosis for a year. I still didn’t tell anyone else about the abuse. Again, I spiraled into a depression and wound up back at the facility. Then I finally accepted it. I would like to say that the past year has been like some sort of movie montage where I find the yellow brick road to healing. It hasn’t. I am currently in a low and see a therapist every week. I still self-harm. I live in a rural area that doesn’t have many options for counseling. There are no help groups established and our police department has a sex crimes division consisting of only….ONE… detective. I did report my assault to the police last year and they did say they would investigate but cautioned that sparring a confession from him, nothing would likely come of it. So he is out there, pretending to be the guy next door, likely ruining the lives of so many others, while I have lived in hell for twenty years.
I speak openly about my abuse and PTSD. I have found in my small circle that there are many survivors. Some talk openly now and some choose to stay silent. I have spoken at the local college. I am in many support groups on facebook. I only wish there were more like you, Linor, that have the power to reach the public, that would speak out. Take it from someone who almost ended her life due to the pain and shame…Silence kills. Thank you for your bravery. To anyone out there that is still suffering in silence. Know that I believe you. You are not alone.
— Laurica, age 33