Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cleaning Out My Closet

In yesterday's post, I talked about how I am ready to let go of my past and accept that there are things in my life that I can't change, and I'm done with beating myself up over them. Today's subject is one of those things.

Other than my husband and my best friend, I've never told anyone about this. I never told my mom. I feel conflicted about that, too. I guess I shouldn't say I've never told *anyone*. I did write an article anonymously over at The Women's Colony, and received a tremendous amount of support. I could have left it at that, but it's time for me to stare this demon down and not let it rule my life anymore. I'm talking about it on my blog not because I want pity or even praise for being so open and honest, but because I have to exorcise this demon from my life once and for all. So here goes.

As a child, I was sexually abused. From the time I was five years old, until I was seven, by my baby sitter's husband. I'm not going to go in to the sordid details, but suffice to say, I knew way too much about things of a sexual nature sooner than any child should ever have to. I know that there were girls before me, because he told me so, and I'm sure there were girls after me. My heart breaks for them.

I never told my mom when it was happening, because he told me that she wouldn't believe me. Looking back, I don't know if I know that to be true, but I do know that I recall feeling like I couldn't tell her because I was afraid it would make her mad. As a parent now, I can't help but wonder, did she have any suspicions? Were there any red flags? I remember being terrified when I got to the sitters house every morning, praying that he would have already left for work. I remember the dread of going back there every day when I got out of school, knowing that there was a chance I would be left alone with him, as he would watch me after my sitter left for her job, until my mom picked me up after she got off of work.

I stopped going to that baby sitter at the end of my first grade school year. That summer, my mom and I moved with my Aunt Judy to Arizona. I tried every day to forget about what all he had done to me, but you never really forget. And those experiences shaped me and molded me in ways that to this day, I'm still trying to undo. I had a deep-seated mistrust and a lot of rage towards boys then boys in high school and then men, but at the same time, maybe because my own father was absent, a desperate desire for their attention. I was more promiscuous than I should have been, I made a lot of foolish choices based on my early experiences with men.

At some point in early adulthood, though, I had had enough. I finally realized and understood that what he did to me was NOT my fault. It didn't happen because I was bad, it happened because he was a sick person. Deep down, I think his wife knew, and I think she turned a blind eye to the whole situation, which is tragic for all the children she watched. I would love to have asked her, but she died when gas line in her home exploded back in 2004. As for her husband, I found out that he died of a massive heart attack in the mid-80s. Karma indeed.

As a parent myself now, it has made me very alert to who Chickenhead is around. I preached the evils of stranger danger and good touch/bad touch early and often. He probably thinks I'm a bit crazy, and he might be right, but he knows that I've got his back. He knows that he can tell either myself or the Husband anything, and we will support him and we are always there for him.

As a survivor (that sounds kind of silly, but I guess I did survive and now I have that diso song in my head!) of sexual abuse, all I can tell you is talk with your children. Let them know that they should never be afraid to discuss anything with you. I'm not saying to run a background check on every adult your child comes in contact with, but if they're spending a lot of time around other adults and you're not there with them, just keep an eye and an ear open. Make un-announced visits if you can. Look for changes in your child's behavior, sleep pattern, appetite. If they express dread or displeasure about going around someone, talk to them. I think the hardest thing for me was that because my abuser was an adult, I believed him when he said that my mom, another adult, wouldn't take my word over his. We teach our children to mind adults, and they're taught to learn that adults don't lie. It's an ugly trap that children end up in.

So. There. I've written it all down, I've said all I need to say about it. You are done here, demon, and you won't rule my life anymore. Thanks for listening, y'all!


Kelly said...

You've just taken the first step toward healing. I hope 2010 brings you the peace you deserve.

Lurker Girl said...

You are very brave and strong for putting it "out there". May the demons of the past stay there and may that woman and her husband rot in hell for doing that to Children

Sunny said...

The same thing happened to mother's boyfriend first and later my own father. I have always tried to protect my children because of it and had the talks with them, etc. but my daughter told me a year ago about an incident with a very controlling girlfriend who spent the night. It's frustrating because it was an area I'd never considered and I let her down.