My Story by Bethany

Oct 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: All Posts, Our Stories

Bethany

My brother’s first memory was the adventure of crawling underneath the fence in our backyard to play with the neighbor’s dogs. I envy him. My first memory was of getting raped. I remember laying on the kitchen table with my open diaper covered in blood — an image that constantly repeats itself in my head. I was about nine months old at the time and my dad was scurrying around in panic trying to fix what he had done to me. After that horrendous experience my memories completely stopped.

My recollection picked up again at the age of four when I remember my dad pushing his penis against my genitals. He would ask if he could go inside as to imply that I had some sort of choice in the matter. The pain of him entering my vagina was too painful that I would cry until he stopped. This was an almost daily occurrence.

Then, life consisted of ample ‘father-daughter time.’ Whether by taking me to an empty parking lot or the open desert he went to great lengths to ensure no one would find out what he was doing to me. Most nights I would hear the jiggling of the doorknob into my room. Quietly, he made his way around to my bed and uncovered my body as I lay there with my heart nearly beating out of my chest. He took every opportunity he had as a time to indulge in his sick addiction.

Oftentimes, my father would suddenly pack my brother and me in the car and drive us to the nearest park in an effort to get a quick fix. My brother was let out of the car and told to go play while I was forced to straddle daddy’s lap. He constantly neglected my brother to focus inappropriate attention on me. Knowing my mom wasn’t too fond of the great outdoors, my dad planned frequent camping trips for just him and the kids. When my brother went off to play in the woods, I got molested. What seemed like the innocent fun of a camping trip was really just an excuse to get mom out of the picture. These were common occurrences until I was about twelve, when the abuse suddenly stopped.

When I was sixteen he used my parent’s temporary separation as another opportunity to get me alone. We were both sitting on his bed having a conversation about the troubled marriage. That’s when he just went at me, grabbing my breast. I was so shocked it was happening again that I froze up. Meanwhile he began the fondling. While paralyzed with fear he started kissing me. I’ll never forget the way his breath smelt of coffee and rotten teeth. All I could think was, “Make it stop! Make it stop!” But just like in any bad dream my cries for help were never heard.

Telling someone about the abuse was not an option. My life was unstable enough without being the cause of my parents’ divorce. When I was nineteen and my parent finally separated for good I wasn’t afraid to tell my secret anymore. I pulled my mom aside and told her what my dad had done to me all those years. My voice was finally heard. By this time it was too late to change the past, but not too late to change my future. When I decided to report my dad to the authorities I then made my voice known publicly.

A few weeks ago, I met with a friend I’ve had since second grade. After I told her what my dad did to me, she was shocked that she knew me while that was going on and had no idea. When I think about the much better her childhood was, I’m tempted to think it’s not fair. She didn’t have to suffer the way I did then or have to deal with the affects of abuse now. But I don’t have any control over what happened to me in the past. I was my father’s victim for long enough. I’m taking control of my future and I refuse to be defined by the past I did not choose.

I’m choosing a new path and while that path is filled with obstacles and residue, I’m finding that they are no match for the woman I’ve become. The very thing that tried to kill and silence me made me see that I can endure and thrive in spite of them. I’ve survived the worst. The journey has just started, but I’m determined to follow the healing path to the end.

Bethany is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Besides helping abuse survivors see the beauty within themselves, she enhances the beauty of others as a professional make-up artist and has worked in television, film and print.

Does this resonate with you? Please join in by leaving your thoughts and feelings about this in the comments.

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35 comments
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  1. I’m so proud of you.

  2. I know what you mean about freezing up. Something like that happened to me a few weeks ago. A man I had just met touched me inappropriately and made a sexual comment. I couldn’t respond at all. It was as though I was separated from my body and was watching it all happen. I was only a spectator, not a participant.

  3. You are a mighty woman!

  4. I have read your story 4 times already, and I am so amazed at your strength. There are many who have been abused and there are less who will share it. YEt, you are not only sharing it, you are like young King David. Standing firm and ready to take on the enemy no matter how big the enemy may seem at times. Hoooray to you Miss Bethany. I know you are not doing this for praise, but you need to know that we support you and stand beside you.

  5. Thank you. I’m so glad to get reconnected with you after all these years!

  6. Bethay sweet bethany, I was so sad to hear that this too happened to you, I had my suspicions. Because I too was a victim but now proclaim, “‘ Iam a overcomer in the process.” I dont think its something you ever get over you just manage. This is why I have no toleration for abuse at all. Any way shape or form. Sound familiar? Some victims … See Morewelcome it like a favorite shoe. Not me. Life is to short and my time left is to precious to allow abusive people to rule my world anymore. I live a life with no more regrets and count my blessing continually for his mercy on me. His peace is sufficiant and I sleep now with both eyes shut. Yes, there is hope beyond abuse ” we will more than survive we will thrive!”

  7. i am so proud of you for taking your life back after all those years, it must have been hard, you are so strong and a positive import for me to follow in my own journey. love melica take care and always put your self first. xxxxx

  8. that was a very moving story Bethany!
    I know that you had a very troubling trial to face in this tribulation, But I hope you will look at it in this perspective:
    Satan deceived you and caused all the bad stuff to happen, BUT GOD, Our Almighty Father, will use this through you!,to benefit others.
    Always stay strong with him and he will guide your paths with goodness and mercy and love.
    You have a BLESSED week now Bethany.

  9. you are an amamzing women i been through sexual abuse it started when i was 5 and i got the courage to tell when i was 17 . i am 20 now well 20 2/1 and i just dont know how to work on being a better personn not taking things outon the wrong people. I treat guys like i cant explain it i feel like i have to be in control i dont want any man to heart me

  10. Ur story is very moving and it inspires me to learn how to express my self

  11. Respect….

  12. Your story is amazing. I have been communicating with you and your mom and I know you have my book now. I am so sorry about your past, and I am so curious how you and your mom have made such peace. I would be very interested to hear more about that. It is such a rare occurance- for the mother daughter relationship to mend as yours seems to have. Please send me an email if you are willing… drpatti@girlthrive.com – Much love and admiration! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooooo dr. p

  13. Thank you for the courage it takes to put your story out there, let alone recall it in the first place.
    I am in shock… at the disgraceful things that do happen, at how much our mind and body shut down to endure the worst most horrible acts, and at the heart and the spirit that find the way to go on.
    I too am a mom of a young child that disclosed, and thru supporting her, hope to face my own trauma too when it is time and I am brave enough to do so. Under 12 is my block as well.
    I am encouraged that you and your mom are united in this, and in thawing out our memories and pain.
    Be blessed. <3

  14. Beautful, brave Bethany,

    My heart breaks to hear what you endured… I applaud your courage. You are allowing your experience to be a tool to help others. May God bless and keep you and although the memory will never leave you, you are no longer a prisoner of the enemy. God is a wonderful, powerful God and I know He will keep His word and restore, replace and renew all of the years you lost. Joel 2:25

  15. Reading your story touched my heart. Glad to hear you stood up for yourself at a young enough age to where you can spend the rest of your life as a victorious woman.

    I’m a 55 year old man that has spent the last 40 years in a bottle and doing drugs…and I’m now on the path to healing too. I’m also at the stage of my healing where rage and anger are all too common emotions. I’ve always felt like I was the odd person in the group, but now I’m getting my wings back and although I’m not quite ready to soar – the wings are developing.

    I’ve been told this process is painful (that’s a HUGE understatement) but that on the other side was a life I cannot currently imagine. Glad I ran into your site and am spending a few hours tonight reading through your material, listening to some of your blogs and glad as heck I now know why I WAS different.

    Thanks for your message and thanks for your site.

  16. Matthew, congrats on facing the abuse head on. You’re right. It is incredibly painful at times, but oh so worth it.

  17. Wow Bethany! I had to read this! I too was sexually abused by my older sister for 7 years, I have horrible memories and nightmares…I found out recently that my father had been abusing her and my 2 other siblings as well! He has not been caught, he denies it all…the police have done nothing! He is still living his life with his wife and her 2 kids like it is no big deal. I know exactly how you feel, its unpleasant but God is mighty! I’m sorry you had to go through that! I have 2 boys…I found out that my father molested my oldest son…I really wish he would rot in prison…I don’t know how to get him there…..they say not enough evidence, I pray somone comes forth…he is a rotten man….The lightness has been exposed on the darkness, I am working on forgiveness, but will not allow them in my life….

  18. Courtney, I’m so sorry you weren’t protected. Child on child abuse can be just as hurtful.

  19. WOW!!! Thank you for sharing! PLEASE tell me you did report your father! he has gotten away with too much! too many people let him get away!

  20. Kaye,

    Yes, I have reported my father. He is currently in jail and we’re awaiting trial. He got away with this for far too long and I wanted to make sure he didn’t have a chance to victimize anyone else.

  21. Bethany,
    thank you. for standing in truth. for sharing yourself and for sharing your courage and strength in support of not only your own healing but for other’s too. I type with tears rolling down my face, as I am so moved by your honesty and strength. You inspire me… at 36, I just found out my younger sister was molested by my father and while I’ve had “signs” of things myself my whole life, i have no memory or actual knowing myself, just a sense that somethings off. that said, i haven’t “dealt” with things yet since finding out about my sister, as i’ve just felt like a deer in headlights for the past 2 years (when i stopped talking to my dad for this and other reasons). I know I need to find a way to “deal” in a healthy way with processing this and coming to peace with what is… and maybe even a little, your honesty and courage and standing in truth lit a spark in me for my own healing and growth. Thank you Bethany, your sharing resonated deeply with me. Blessings for your continued self-love and healing, mine, my sisters and everyone else that has been touched by an experience around this.

  22. Avesha, I’m so glad this moved you. I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s experience. If you suspect that you might have been sexually abused as well, I highly recommend reading the book Repressed Memories. In the Resources section of this site, we have a link to the Amazon page where it can be purchase. This was a book that really helped me jump start my healing. Although I remembered most of my abuse, the book was still VERY beneficial.

  23. Bethany you are an inspiration. My heart goes out to you with all you went through..
    I was abused from under 5 years old was my earliest memory by a friends of my moms my mom new it happened and never stopped it. When I got older I was told she told him to abuse me to teach me about sex it was a sick situation. So I relate to your story. But I did not talk about it until I was 30 I got into recovery and then spoke my truth and started this healing journey it has been over 15 years now in this new journey of healing and recovering. I feel for you and sending positive thoughts out to you. What a remarkable woman you are. Sending you gentle hugs and thank you for sharing your story I know it is not easy come and visit me at my website I would love your input.

    Thanks Hugs to you Angela..

  24. I for got to click on notify me when replys come so I am posting again to get notified.
    Thank you..

  25. Angela, thank you for sharing your site. You seem to have such a passion for bringing the truth out. That’s awesome! I’m so sorry for what was done to you. But I’m glad to see you recovering now.

  26. Thank you Bethany for taking time to read some of my story. I believe the truth has to be told inorder to heal and to help others. As you have shared yours.. Have a wonderful evening.
    Hugs to you.

  27. Reading your story reminds me of why I, and so many others, can let our past go and let it be a reason to be stronger. I admire your strength and courage to tell your story as so many of us should. Thank you for being someone I can look up to….

    a fellow survivor
    johnetta

  28. I think it’s good that your dad went to prison, but I still think it’s not fair that the guys who did it to me at the same time never spent on day in prison, and ONLY one day in jail before their boss bailed them out.
    I’d be a liar if I said anything different concerning how I feel about the ones who did it to me.

  29. Bethany,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. Bless you! I just recently started a blog and have shared my story. I would love for you to read it. I hope to expand on it. I am finally able to begin healing…..it has been a long journey…words cannot describe how overjoyed I am to finally have peace!! I am so thankful that God has drawn me out of this horrible darkness!

  30. Oh Bethany,
    How sad, how horrific your life thus far has been. I am currently working with police to convict both my parents, several of my mothers “friends”, my fathers friend and all the while trying to have a relationship with my beautiful, amazingly patient girlfriend and bring up two georgouse teenage daughters, which i have done on my own since they were babies.
    Surviving abuse is so hard but im finding with my theropist that surviving is also a tool to be learnt and it can be very rewarding.
    I dont belive in God like you seem to, i guess its because of the Spiritual, physical, sexual, drug & mentall abuse i endured but i do wish you well Bethany. I encourage your strength to grow and your heart to flourish. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  31. Thank you for sharing your story!
    What was meant for evil is being turned into good! Romans 8:28

  32. Wow oh wow. This story was very touching and moving. When something lie this happens to someone. You feel as though you are facing it alone. But when you hear someone else’s story you don’t feel alone. I went through the same thing with my bioloigcal father. As I read your story, it sounded so similar to mine. This is something that you can forgive, but not forget. It seems as if I face this on a regular basis due to the awful men we have in this world today. Thank you so much for your story.

  33. Thank you for sharing your strength, courage and healing story, Bethany. About 20 years ago I made the decision to face and heal from being . I always thought my grandfather was my main abuser it happened between the ages of 9-12 and that I had recovered from the trauma…i am now 57 and cry every day for the emotional abuse from my mother since birth. Coming to terms with understanding that she hated me, even though and have heard her say many times that she loves me…both parents came from horrific poverty, neglect & abuse so they married young and moved away as soon as they could…still I was showered with toys and nice clothes but told to my face i was worthless. I cannot believe how much it hurts to have been thrown away and made such an easy victim for grandpa. I have a loving partner a wonderful relationship with my daughter ,& a great therapist lol. This is the most i have shared of my truth online. It is so helpful. Thank you and Christina for this wonderful site.

  34. Hi Bethany,
    The first time I read your story, I just burst into tears.
    I too was sexually abused by my father and, particularly as it’s recent abuse, I’m finding things extremely difficult and feel like I’m fighting a hard battle. I started therapy not too long ago and that, on top of all the crying and nightmares, does sometimes feel as though it’s really wearing me down.
    My father was a long-lost relative and I traced him as a young adult. He was an alcoholic and we were in contact for about a year until I found the strength to walk away a couple of months ago. All the relatives I discovered since getting in touch with my father don’t speak to me any more. Grieving over the end of multiple relationships (aunts, grandparents, cousins etc) on top of overcoming the sexual abuse is having a really bad effect on me. Reading how amazingly determined and brave you are inspires me.
    I’m so sorry you have had such a troubled past and went through so many horrible things. I know we both have very bright futures ahead of us.

  35. Hello Bethany,

    I read your story about dead silence and it made me cry. I have exactly the same thoughts and feelings inside of me. As a teen i was thinking of getting in front of a truck or jumping of a high bridge or viaduct. With my blood and organs poored out on the floor. So people could see the inside of me. The suffering that i have been doing every moment would be displased for everyone to see. Be silent, keep silent, don’t talk to other people. Everytime i heard the same phrase over and over again. And i became silent. Going mad inside but remaining silent. My dad and my uncle molested me as a child. My mum and brother fysically abused me as a child. I learned to tune in and out of life when things got hard. The trauma does continue everytime people don’t let you talk about the abuse.

    I’m 36-years old and i feel the weight of my backpack only got heavier since i tried to talk about it. The only ones who did listen were the psychologist but only because they are paid to listen. Not only the abuse of what happened defined me but the rejection of friends and family to my story has defined me. I don’t trust other people to love me apart of my daughters. I have read the tips and advise you give people on how to help people who have been sexual abused on your website. I think they wil help a lot of people. I’ll keep reading on this website. It is until now the only website that talks so invitedly about the process of sexual child abuse. Thank you so much and take care.

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