I apologize for the length of this story, but I have never shared my entire story with anyone and there is a lot to it. I was so inspires when I watched Brave Miss World and I wanted to get the full story off my chest in a safe environment.
We were from a small town in Missouri and the first memories I have of my mother are that she was very sick with breast cancer. My mother was a follower of Scientology, therefore they convinced her that she did not need traditional medical help. I remember overhearing her begging them to allow her to get treatment, but they said ” if it’s God’s plan for you to heal, you will, and if you dont, then it was his plan as well.” So I spent the first four and a half years of my life watching my mother die a slow and very painful death.
A few months after my mother’s death a local women named Tina, who we later learned was a psychopath and a con artist, wiggled her way into our lives and appeared to be a wonderful women who just wanted to help my father through this tough time, and be there for me and my 3 siblings. At first she was amazing and my father married her 6 months after my mother died. Shortly after they were married my father accepted a job in Egypt, he was gone for months at a time leaving us alone with my stepmother. Tina was both physically and mentally abusive, telling each of us that if we told my father or anyone else about the abuse she would kill one of us in our sleep. Tina just wanted my father’s money and the praises of people in town telling her how amazing she was for being there for us and being such a wonderful stepmother.
Tina quickly made it clear that she hated children and would send us to visit family every chance she could to “give herself a break from us”. My two older siblings were constantly sent to a family friends house and my sister and I were sent to my Great Aunt and Great Uncles house. My Great Aunt Kat was so sweet and she was very kind to us. My Great Uncle Irving was a monster masquerading as an outstanding citizen, a hard worker, a father of two daughters, a loving husband, and a volunteer at local charities and food banks. To the world they were the perfect American family, but my sister and I knew different.
My Uncle Irving waited for my Aunt Kat to go to sleep and forced us to take our clothes off and do what he called “fashion shows” in our underwear, he would take turns forcing one of us to watch while he raped the other one, and if we closed our eyes refusing to watch, he would start all over again. When he was finished he would make us pray to ask forgiveness for our sins of temptation and for what we made him do, and then make us watch different religious videotapes to “steer us down a better path”. This went on for a month long visit, at 5 years old I finally got the courage to tell my Aunt Kat what was going on right before we left. She was my grandmother’s sister and when I got done telling her what had been happening, she cried so hard. As soon as she was able to speak, she kissed me on my head and told me she was sorry, but it had to be this way. That the devil was in him and if he didn’t fulfill his urges with us then he would with her daughters and she had to protect them. I was in utter disbelief, I couldn’t believe that she knew, that she let it happen. When we returned home, I immediately told my stepmother and she told me I was a liar and I was just trying to get attention. That even if it was true, she wasn’t going to let a five year-old ruin her situation, so I needed to find a way to deal with it like she did with her father. I couldn’t understand how someone could have gone through the same thing and didn’t care that it was happening to someone else. I felt betrayed by everyone who was supposed to love and take care of me. We had four more visits to my Aunt Kat and Uncle Irvings house that summer, each visit being a week of torturous hell.
My father returned shortly after our last visit to what I called “The House of Hell”, to inform us that his company had asked him to stay for a year in Egypt and he wanted us all to come along. I thought this was the end of the horror my life had become. I knew Tina was always on her best behavior when my Dad was around so she didn’t get caught. I thought that if we were in another country I wouldn’t have to see my Uncle Irving and Tina would behave, so I saw things starting to look up. My fathers company hired a driver to drive us around Egypt, due to the insane traffic in Egypt they felt it would be safer if we had a local person to get us around. His name was Hassan, at first I thought he was so kind, like he really cared about us. That is until the night he came into my room, duct tapes my mouth shut and forced himself inside me. He told me that I wasn’t in America anymore and if I told anyone his friends would kill my father. I couldn’t beli eve it was happening again, I thought it was my fault, it had to be my fault, otherwise why would such terrible things keep happening to me. Hassan continued to sneak into our house a visit me every other night for a month. I later found out that on the nights he wasn’t in my room he was in my oldest sister’s room. One night the maid heard something in my sister’s room and went to check on her, finding him on top of her. Hassan was arrested, but after my past experiences I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that he had done it to me too, I thought to myself “he is in jail, so it didn’t matter if they knew it had happened to me too”.
After returning home from Egypt and enduring three more years of increasingly intense abuse from my stepmother, she asked for a divorce and took my father for every cent he had. I was finally free, but not from the toll it had all taken on me. I became addicted to drugs at a very young age and had no regard for my life. I felt like they took my life from me many years before and what was the point of living. I felt like I had no worth, like taking increasingly heavier drugs was the only way to numb the pain and forget the past. It wasn’t until I was at a party my sophomore year of high school that I decided to make a change in my life. I had went to the party with a friend. It was at the house of someone we didn’t know in the middle of the woods and we never should have been there. It had been a while since I had seen my friend, but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I decided to see if she was out in her car because I knew she had drank a lot and she would do that when she was at parties to gather herself and sober up a bit. On my way to her car I could hear someone crying and saying no, over and over again. It brought me right back to my childhood and I knew exactly what was happening. I came upon the car they were laying behind just as he was pulling her pants down to her feet, hitting her in the face and telling her she was asking for it when she chose to wear that slutty shirt. I was know for being kind, fun, and laid back party girl. I had been caused so much pain in my life that I had always tried to be extra nice to everyone, because I didn’t was to ever hurt anyone or be the person causing someone else pain, but the moment I saw what was happening I felt a rage fill me like never before. I tackled him and I kept hitting him till he stopped trying to fight back, put her in her car and took her to safety. I felt my first bit of freedom since I was 4 years old. I didn’t know that bottling it up for so many years and re fusing to even face it in my own mind could cause such a rage filled reaction. I was so happy that I came up when I did. I got to do for her what I couldn’t do for myself. I got to save her from feeling the way I had felt for so long. That deep hole that rapists carve out of your heart when they take something so personal from you. I realized at that moment that I needed to turn my life around. With lots of hard work and determination I got clean and turned my life around. I realized those monsters from my past only had power over me because I continued to let them. The worst had already happened and it was up to me to stop allowing them to plague my mind and steal my happiness. I did my healing on my own, ashamed to tell anyone what my secret childhood was like, I wish I would have told someone and asked for help healing. I’m now a successful business owner and I’m engaged to the kindest man I’ve ever met, and happier then I’ve ever been.
I just wanted to say that things get better, that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel and I admire each and every one of you for having the courage to share the worst experience of your life, for freeing yourself from the chains of your shame that your predator wants you to be trapped in. We can all stand together with the power that Brave Miss World has given us by starting this amazing website! I Love you all and I wish this never happened to any of us, but it did. The only thing we can do now is find our own personal way to healing happiness, they shouldn’t be allowed to continue hurting us. We are strong and powerful and We WILL MAKE IT THROUGH! Thank you Brave Miss World for having the courage to stand up!
— Elizabeth, age, 28