I Was Trained to Torture Myself: Grace’s Story, Part Four
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Grace” is a pseudonym.
Trigger warnings: sexual abuse; incest.
I was sexually abused. At the age of 11. And then again at 14.
The first time around, I didn’t really know what to do about it. It took me months to confide in my best friend, who was like an older sister to me. When I told her what had happened to me, she was horrified. She suggested I tell my parents, because they needed to know. I was scared, but because I truly valued her opinion, I took the risk, and told them.
They freaked out, and then talked to the parents of the kid who did it, because he was a minor. No one got the police involved. In fact, I don’t know that the police have ever been involved in any crimes that happened to any family members, unless an outsider decided to take it upon themselves to intervene. I felt that somehow the abuse was my fault. Not because anyone told me that it was, but because I wasn’t really told differently, and because of the level of stress my parents seemed to be under upon hearing the news.
I was never given the opportunity to get counseling.
I wasn’t even told what sex was until I was 14, and by then I already knew.
If you think that is bad, I’ll tell you what happened the second time. My brother would come into my room at night, and try to touch me, when I was sleeping. He also tried to place mirrors in strategic places so he could watch while I changed my clothes, or took a bath, or went to the bathroom. I became accustomed to having to close curtains, check everywhere for mirrors, and wedge a towel under the door for fear of being seen. When I first told my mother, she didn’t believe me. She said I was making it up.
So here I was, on the defense daily, sleeping wedged between my mattress and the wall on the top bunk. I think this must have been when my insomnia started. I didn’t want to go to sleep, for fear of being molested in my sleep. To this day, I have a hard time sleeping until the house is quiet, and everyone else is in bed. I’ll tell you one thing, if you want to kill your child from the inside out, tell them you don’t believe them when they say they are being sexually abused. There is not a higher level of “I don’t care about you” unless you stomp on their head, and even then it might be easier for them to recover.
Finally, I found a mirror inside my room, and told my mom to come look at it. She was shocked. So then she finally believed me. My dad put a lock on the inside of my door and yelled at my brother for a while, and that was it.
Again, no authorities. No counseling. They didn’t try to get him any help, either.
Finally, when he was 19 years old, he sexually assaulted my disabled sister, who had to go to the hospital because of it, and somehow, the police were called. My parents didn’t call them. I don’t know who did. But I am eternally grateful to them.
My brother is still in prison. I don’t believe that he is a horrible person, or a child molester. I think he is the product of a messed up marriage, being abused himself, and sexual repression. My mom thought that because sexuality was rampant in her day, that isolating us from information on sexuality was the way to go. So far none of her children have been virgins before getting married. My dad and his pornography addiction were the predominant exposure to any kind of sexuality to my brothers and sisters and me. As far as dating, my parents believe in courtship. None of their kids have really done a courtship. I think one sister did, but it was short, and the guy was an alcoholic, trying to fix himself by jumping into ministry at a church.
But we are all becoming well-adjusted adults, after years of counseling, and a lot of soul-searching.
Unfortunately, debate and other high school classes don’t look that great on resumes. I am the only child in my family who has had more than a year of college. My disabled sister, who is an adult now, is still living with my parents. My mom told me once that she would live with them for the rest of her life. I questioned it, because my parents will probably not outlive her. So maybe she’ll live with them for the rest of their lives… and then she can live with me.
To be continued.