There are few things more insidious than childhood sexual abuse. As a child you suffer the violence and cruel violation of your boundaries. You swallow the shame and protect the abuser by your silence. You have no choice, your abuser is your father. You are powerless and helpless and speaking up and out amounts to death and abandonment so you keep it all hidden deep inside. You suppress the memories and you bury all your needs and desires so deep it’s hard to know where to find them. Then as an adult, you can’t hold it down any longer, the truth fights and fights to be set free because truth always needs light. You start to face the truth and unearth it all. But the family will not hear it. It’s too disturbing. You start to doubt yourself again and feel small and bad and ugly as family member after family member shine the spotlight of scrutiny; not on the abuser your father, but on you the victim.
I was honest with my youngest brother. Told him I love him dearly but that it was difficult for me to connect with the family as they were not acknowledging what happened. What my father did and how hard it has been for me.
He showed the message to my mother who showed it to the abuser. The abuser sent me a message today. I woke up to see his name emblazoned on my phone screen. He said that I had called him a liar and evil but that as God was his witness he had not abused me and that him and my mother missed me terribly. He wanted to send plane tickets for me and my son to go and sit with all the family and get to the truth.
I felt scared and small and silenced and ugly all over again today. My brother then said I was punishing my mother who is so stressed about the ‘situation’ and she says that she wants to be dead sometimes.
Do they care that I have wanted to be dead over and over. That I was five years old and didn’t have the words to describe what was being done to me so covertly in the most twisted and evil way in the name of love from my abuser. Do they care that being abused damaged my ability to self-love and self-care. That it made me feel responsible for the needs of everyone else. That it silenced me so that I walked around covering my face. That the coping mechanisms I used to survive it, stifled me and prevented me from making connections because I was so used to hiding and being who I was not. Believing that to be me was too wild, crazy, too passionate and full of feeling. That even know at 41 it is so hard for me to look after my own needs without feeling a constant niggling sense of badness.
I feel so angry at the audacity of him. They know me, they know I am not a liar, they know my character yet they band together like an army of darkness and the monster of the abuser shines in the day. He shines as he uses indignation to fight his case and now he can use my mother’s illness too. How generous of him to offer plane tickets and how ungrateful for me to say ‘shove it up your dirty ass’! How terribly un-daughter-like of me to watch my mother suffer and punish her cruelly by not coming to her rescue and saying oh I forgive you, I made it all up. The details were not clear and I am just blaming him for my own failed marriage and life they think.
The monster hides in broad daylight surrounded by the people he financially supports and my mum who he has kept down all his life so much so that she has no opinion of her own and has to show him everything! How big he looks and how wretched I am, the accuser, the punisher, the merciless victim of rape at five years old. How terrible of me to be abused and then have the nerve to tell my truth and want to hold onto it.
The far reaching claws of abuse grabbed me today as I woke up, filling me with toxic thoughts and self-doubt. But I breathe in love and compassion for me; over and over. I stood up to the bully who was my ex and I can stand up to the monster too and all his manipulations.
I sent him a message in reply and then blocked him, my mother and my brother. I don’t need to be dragged down over and over. It’s not good for me to be in touch with any of them. I need to look after me.