It’s the summer of 1970 and the bedroom is pale yellow. I lay between it and two teenagers with their fingers in my shorts. I turn my head away from the two dark-haired teenagers there to protect me, it’s sweltering outside. My sisters must be elsewhere, mother at work and my breathing jumps. My 6-year-old brain struggles to understand the sensations my body is feeling.
“You better not tell anyone, they won’t believe you,” he said.
They both laughed.
I couldn’t talk, my body layered with sweat. I squirmed, trying to getaway. They covered my mouth and inserted another finger and then another. I felt embarrassed and confused. I tried to turn over.
Hands held me in place, arms pinned to the bed. “You can’t get away and you’re going to be in so much trouble. Look what you did, you’re so bad,” the other one said.
Tears rolled down my cheek, I closed my eyes.
Maybe if I can’t see them it’ll stop. I think. They go deeper and deeper and I feel sick. It hurts as it swells up from the damage caused by them stretching me.
The bed bounces as one gets off the bed and drops his shorts. He’s hard and pushes my hand toward him. I pull back my hand and he smacks me. I’m scared and he climbs up onto the bed, while the other one pulls my shorts off and then my underwear. He stretches my legs open and comes down toward my body, laying on top of me. I cannot breathe, his thing pushes me open as he tries to enter and it hurts.
“AAAHHHH!” I screamed loudly.
He jumps up, dresses and they disappeared.
I hide underneath the covers and hold my breath. The front door opens and slams shut Seconds later I hear my sister’s voices. I exhale. I’m shaking and I wipe my tears. I don’t want to be in trouble. I don’t want anyone to know. I feel bad and my stomach
hurts. The area between my legs on fire, pulsating from pain. I reached under the covers for my shorts and underwear at the foot of the bed. I pull them on as best as I can and pretend to sleep.
I never opened my mouth about this to anyone. My story of sexual assault isn’t new, in fact, heightened sensitivity to childhood sexual abuse increased as divorce, single-parent households and working mothers also increased in the ’70s. Due to absent fathers, during WWII and mothers supporting the family, this sparked public anxiety. Although this was the case, my story went unreported and I held it in the corners of my mind, forever to bring shame. The recesses of my mind told me I was bad, unbelievable, unlovable and unworthy.
Freudian concepts began to emerge into the impact sexual assault had on children, but the ambiguous theories caused some experts to deny long-lasting psychological damage. According to Mintz in his 2012 research, Placing Childhood Sexual Abuse in Historical Perspective
, there were concerns even the mildest penetration caused long-term psychological damage. Nevertheless, the key findings of the report revealed American’s divide to recognize the lasting impact on children and the emphasis was on the perpetrator and not the victim. Finally, private institutions that facilitate this abuse merely ignored it.
The #MeToo movement, originally founded by Tarana Burke in 2006
, actually launched a wave of molested and sexually assaulted women to come forward. It wasn’t until this time that I dug deep into the corridors of my mind to remember this 30 minutes of hell in my early life. The realization that my mental health has long been
affected, my self-confidence bruised and my relationships dysfunctional; all due to my childhood trauma.
My life after this ordeal resulted in me delving into my school work, which is where I really excelled. Relationships, body issues, and sex were areas of my life infected by the monsters that attacked my six-year-old self. Demons whispering negative thoughts throughout my whole life. Blame, anger, resentment, feelings of abandonment – all due to this trauma. How could someone
have so much power? I was
only six years old, and my innocence was stolen. Furthermore, my beliefs of what love, sex, and relationships were like tainted. School-life was the only place I could find solace, soar, obtain recognition and praise.
Depression, anxiety, stress, feelings of low self-worth led to several instances of emotional strife and traumatic events in my life. The abandonment of my father leaving, exacerbated by this first event,
coupled with my mother kicking me out of her house; set me on a path of self-destruction in my late teens early 20’s. I began to party, drink excessively and even a blacked out. A few occasions I drove home drunk, a danger for myself and society. Thankfully I never crashed or killed anyone, but after my brother died by suicide, it got worse.
The drinking commenced a regular schedule on Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes even Thursdays. My promiscuity led to several one night stands that could have ended my life, cursed me with a life-threatening STD. I
feared nothing, throughout my self-destructive nature – I didn’t really care. I hated myself and my life.
I found my older brother, who moved out at the age of seventeen. He lived with manic depressive disorder, mild schizophrenia and I’m not sure what else. He was my closest sibling growing up and I also felt torn when my mom kicked him out of the house. When I contacted him I discovered he was doing well and living with an older woman. She and I hit it off, she took the place of my older sisters. Truth be told, her attraction to my brother was heart-wrenching. Her son died by suicide and had the same name as my brother, Darren. She had a daughter that lived with her.
Simultaneous to finding my brother, I realized I should return to school. It had always been a dream of mine, perhaps connecting to my brother soothed my soul.
Before my mother booting me out of her house, I had received a full-ride scholarship to Stanford University and planned to become a cardiologist. After she thrust me to the curb, I slept in my car for weeks with nowhere to go. I was a schoolgirl, nerdy and not streetwise. This is when the partying began after I found myself on several friend’s couches, nobody wanted me, of course, it wasn’t’ anyone’s responsibility but my own. The anxiety, depression, and fear kept me down, but eventually, I found a place, and with that a boyfriend.
My cultural awareness of what it meant to be American shifted in this new relationship. My boyfriend was middle-eastern and couldn’t understand why American’s abandoned their kids, he despised my mom. Thus began my long love-hate relationship with my mother and her resentment of me.
Educated as a psychology major, she excelled at helping other people. Her faults and shortcomings were with her family. My brother, both sisters and myself. She became the parent she should have become with my younger brother. I don’t want to belabour the point, the fact was she should have realized the error of her ways. She impacted both my brother and my life negatively. I spent my younger years blaming her, hating her. Although I truly loved and admired her, it was really complicated.
You see, my mother wasn’t even supposed to be alive. She burnt her body down one night at the age of nine. She was home alone, her mom was at work. A dance she planned to attend required poodle skirts. My mom got dressed and tried to make dinner for her father. She caught on fire, as the sleeve of her long dangly sleeved sweater caught on fire. My mother wasn’t supposed to make it. Three-fourths of her body burned down and she spent two years in the hospital. The prognosis was she’d
never walk again and she’d never have kids. Two areas where she proved the doctors wrong. My mom was this way, acting invincible and fighting the world. I believe she took the news of me not graduating in three years from high school, instead, I did it in three and a half; as a failure.
My battle with my mother bled into my relationship with my own kids and her. She undermined my authority, she said disparaging things about my ex and treated my younger kids, his kids, much different than my older two. She called my youngest son a monster and talked negatively about his mental illness. Although my brother’s suicide resulted in her morning him over the years, she still refused to love my younger kids.
THIS, … this is my reason and my incessant need to be there for my kids, my son, no matter what. My obligation from the moment I birthed my kids was to be their mom, love, support and nurture them. Although I divorced my second husband, I chose single-parenting over trouncing out and seeking another man. It was very difficult, we struggled and lived paycheck to paycheck. We were homeless at one time and I lived in a trailer in the church parking lot for a couple of months. I fought and I will continue to fight for my kids, my son and those suffering mental illness.
I’ve never remarried. My problems with my first and second husbands stemmed from my childhood trauma and buried abuse, as well as abandonment issues. Those issues are painful, but I also discovered my second husband had bipolar disorder. He was diagnosed around the same time my son exhibited issues of mental struggles. My ex remarried several times after our divorce, these circumstances exacerbated my youngest son’s mental health and I resolved to never do what my ex did.
Raising my kids by myself was stressful, but I was there for the most part and loved them the best I could. I provided the best I could. I believe they are mostly independent and strong because I modelled this. I completed my bachelor’s degree, master’s degree in education and my teaching credential, while I worked full-time and ran my kids all over.
My youngest took more of my time than the others, he lives with oppositional defiance disorder, ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. He attempted to take his life five times, and I’ve blogged on my
He lives with me and is 22 years old. My eldest daughter is married and has blessed me with three gorgeous grandsons; 7, 4 and 3. She is a social media influencer, photographer and lives in the Central Valley of California. My eldest son is travelling the world with his fiance and works for a tech startup in San Francisco. My youngest daughter recently got married, blessed me with another grandson, he’s 2 months and she’s in the Navy. She recently moved to an island.
So, as a single mother with adult children, I’m able now to devote my life to helping others. I hope I can inspire people with the stories I help others share through my podcast. I hope someone out there that’s buried their sexual child abuse reveals it. Currently, I’m fearful of my students finding this blog, but at the same time, if they do- well, perhaps they’ll know I’m approachable and they can feel safe talking to me about anything. I promote meditation, relaxation, and community in my classroom.