By Carissa Magras
As any little girl, I loved my daddy very much. He was a high school athletic coach. He was funny. Everyone admired him and I was proud to call him dad. We even had our own little secret that no one else knew: From the time I was in Kindergarten up until my senior year, this man who Creation gave to protect and care for me, sexually and emotionally abused me.
Turning 18 brought about a previously unknown confidence and independence. Suddenly, I was determined to protect myself from my dad. I no longer wanted to be a victim, but I still wanted my dad in my life. So for the next 7 years I limited our interactions so that my dad and I were never alone together. I built massive internal walls, and worked hard to keep the abuse at bay. With a level of alertness liken to that of an air traffic controller, I was constantly watching and listening, painfully cautious and on-edge.
One day my husband was talking to a friend on the phone about a recent situation in which my dad lashed out at us for moving away due to a job change. “I’ve never seen him act this way”, Brandon said to his friend. Without a thought I immediately exclaimed, “You have never seen him this way because I haven’t let you.”
I never expected that I’d be reporting my sexual abuse. When I was nineteen, I finally shared the secret I’d kept all my life—my dad had sexually abused me for most of my childhood. My parents had recently divorced so the fear that my disclosure would end their marriage no longer applied.
My mom knew of another girl my dad had molested before my mom met him so she offered to go with me to report him. I told my mom that I didn’t want to take action out of vengeance. Looking back, the truth was much more complicated.
My dad had controlled so much of my life up to that point, even more than I realized. I was groomed for so long to protect him, even at my expense. Telling my mom about the abuse was one thing, but telling the police was another.
by Yvonne Ellis I’d finally hit bottom. There was nowhere else to go. The reality I didn’t want to face was now in my face. I’d spent the best part of ten years running away from the pain of myRead more
by Caden Ceirdris
When I was twelve, I watched the sexually graphic teen film, “Kids” with my siblings. I remember being surprised when my sister described what happened in the end scene as rape. That it was rape to have sex with someone who was passed out, asleep.
It seems obvious, but in some unconscious part of my mind, I winced. What had been done to me might have been wrong too. Perhaps I also deserved boundaries, both legal and personal over my own body, at least equal to what my sister was willing to give a fictional girl. Yet there was no one in my life at that point who would have even suggested that, let alone validated my experience; I was trained to passively accept whatever my family did to me, and was condescended to when it came to my emotions.
by Patty Hite
Everything I did was for my husband. Any ideas or suggestions on my part would end in Bill physically or emotionally abusing me. I always felt my life depended on making a perfect meal. When he didn’t like it, he would knock me out of my chair and force me to eat “that crap” off the floor. There was never a choice in how I wanted to style my hair. My choice gave him the excuse to take the scissors to my hair and cut it the way he wanted. Choosing my own eye shadow was disastrous. Bill rubbed it all over my face and forced me to wear it out in public.
I was never allowed to go to the doctor by myself (he had to be able to give false reasons for my bruises and scars) and especially when I was pregnant. While the doctor was giving me a pelvic exam, Bill would watch my face and make sure I wasn’t enjoying it.
by Patty Hite
When I started on my healing journey, I wanted someone to just give me the answers, show me the way and tell me what to do. I wanted to be taken care of because I didn’t have the confidence to take care of myself.
There wasn’t anyone to talk to or to show me how so I turned to books. There were only a few library books on abuse, and even fewer books about healing. Most of what I found were stories from survivors. In their stories, they wrote about what they did to heal.
Most of them went to therapists and I felt defeated because I couldn’t go to one. I came from a very small town and there were no therapists or counselors. Even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it and I honestly don’t think I would have told anyone else…
I normally don’t comment on OSA since Christina and I often discuss the subject matter of her posts and the limited contributions I could make, when relevant, are reflected in her words. This time, I want to add some thoughts from a perspective few others could have. The comment posted by Christina’s mother, Mary, on “My Story by Christina Enevoldsen” the day before Christina’s birthday, prompted excellent comments from many people. One in particular caught my attention. Pinky, speaking to Mary, said, “…because it is as if you have read the manual on how to be an abusive parent.”
That observation was based on only a few lines from Mary, typed into the OSA comments. I can add to Pinky’s statement from firsthand observation and knowledge. I know Mary and Fred, Christina’s dad, very well. I knew them even before I knew Christina.
I have been silenced, me and my trouble.
I first silenced myself in shame, not even knowing exactly why, but somehow… it was wrong, what had just happened. And I knew it. I looked for a friend but got something else. The trust I had put in him had been violated, shattered. I was pretty sure it was wrong, but there was no one to ask without shaming myself for “not knowing better” It was just a vague feeling then, but it needed a private answer and there was no one to ask. So I silenced The Question. Thus The Silence began.
Then my abuser said, “Don’t tell.” We both knew what had happened. But both of us—my abuser and I— had The Question. But it was a hard question, hard to figure out what the question really was, too hard to figure out the answer alone, and it was too shameful to ask anyone else about. So my abuser told me what he told himself: “Just shut up about this—tell no one.”
by Penny Smith Sometimes in the healing process it feels like I’m not making much progress. Then something will happen that helps me see just how far I’ve come. That was the case recently during a run-in with some abusiveRead more
by Patty Hite The day we got married, Bill greeted me in our kitchen with a slap across the face that was so hard it knocked me to the floor. He grabbed my hair and dragged me into the bedroomRead more