We were abused horribly as children. Punched to the ground, beat with belts, switches, and for no reason at all sometimes.
When I was 21 years old, my uncle who raped me at age 14, approached me again. I had only told one person of the rape at the time it happened, my best friend, because she had shared with me that her grandfather molested her. I felt comfortable to tell her. My mother had always asked me if anyone ever sexually molested me. She always noticed in me that I buttoned my shirts up to the neck, and she always told me I dressed like a school teacher. She would tell me I should wear things more appropriate for my younger age, but instead, she said I dressed “homely”. There were other traits I demonstrated that should have screamed there was a problem, but I always adamantly denied ever being “bothered”.
Growing up, I spent the summers with my maternal grandparents, and oftentimes with my paternal grandmother. My uncle lived with my grandparents at the time of the rape, recently released from prison. The result of being a habitual violator of driving under the influence. He was 21. The morning of the rape, I woke up to him forcing a sheet into my mouth to quiet me. He was already having sex with me. He had dragged me off of the sofa while I slept, on to his blanket where he was sleeping on the floor beside of me. I clearly remember him continuing his act to completion, his bodily expressions, the noises he made, the smell of his sperm, and worrying what if I may be pregnant once he finished and rolled over off of me.
I went home the next day, way earlier than originally planned. I pretended to be sick. I continued to go around him for years to come. He even moved in with us a few months later. I acted like nothing ever happened. I thought I could make it go away by pretending it never happened. I was so ashamed of it. He was my family. He was my buddy, and although he was not a good influence, I looked up to him. We all did.
At age 21 (1996), my uncle approached me again sexually. He was married at the time, with three children among them. They needed a place to stay for the weekend. My daughter was at her dad’s house for the weekend. I never allowed her around him, or any of my mom’s family much. I was staying the weekend with my boyfriend. I did not mind allowing them to use my apartment for the weekend.
A few months after, my dryer stopped working. I had to call my brother in law to come and fix it. While he was fixing it, he pulled it away from the wall and discovered a pair of my pantyhose. He picked them up and handed them to me, and asked me if I was missing them. I was, actually. The kind I wore were not cheap, so I kept up with them and took care of them. I wondered what happened to this particular, off-white pair of pantyhose. When he handed them to me, I just assumed they fell behind the dryer off the hanger they hung on to dry.
Several months after this happened, I was on the phone with my uncle. He was a truck driver at the time and called me just to chat. As I said, I always continued a relationship with him as if nothing had ever happened. We talked for about thirty minutes, but before we hung up, he told me he had something he wanted to ask me. I said okay. He told me he wanted to give me a proposition of earning $500 to have sex with him.
I immediately hung up the phone, ran to the toilet, and threw up. I could hear ringing in my ears. I got in the shower and stood there washing off with soap, crying and crying, trying to wash away what felt like filth. It messed me up so badly, I had to see a doctor the next day and begin taking an anti-depressant. That cabinet I had closed so tightly all those years began opening that day, whether I wanted it to or not.
I saw a counselor not long after. I felt like I had been raped all over again. I was so ashamed to talk about it. I had very little self-esteem already from my abusive father, and now a rape. I blamed myself. We were wild as teenagers. I smoked pot with this uncle. I felt like it was my fault because I hung out with him like that. My aunt blamed us. He raped my sister too, at age 11. He raped several little girls. This counselor that I saw told me to go and climb Stone Mountain and to scream from the top of that mountain that I was raped. This was to be a part of my therapy. At that time, I could not have imagined doing that. I have never been able to do that, actually. It took me many years to talk about my “dirty laundry”, as society shames us to believe. Society makes us feel like we did something wrong because we are a victim.
Today, a lady told me that I seemed to be playing the victim role. What exactly is the victim role, and who came up with that term and assigned the definition to it? As a victim, I can tell you, I would give both of my arms to not have been a victim. I was though. It was not my fault. I am a victim of multiple childhood traumas, rape, abuse, and neglect. I am a survivor too.