Early Sexual Abuse:
I don’t remember much about my childhood. I do know that the abuse started early…
I don’t remember the first incident, but my Mom told me that when I was 5 she was giving me a bath and found scratch marks on my butt. She asked me what they were, and I started crying. I said that the teenage son of the lady who babysat my brothers and I had tried to get my panties down. The next day, Mom quit work and stayed home to take care of us kids until we were old enough to go to school.
I can remember going to my cousin’s house for summer vacations, and on weekend visits. My male cousin was about a year older than me. I remember him touching me…I know that this abuse continued for many years, even when they came to our house to visit. He would somehow make sure we were alone in a room, and then he would touch me…I don’t remember all that he did to me. I do remember the touching and kissing”
I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I was not sure how to stop it. This abuse continued until I was probably 11 years old. I had another cousin who would touch me in the same ways. Thankfully it didn’t happen with him much because I only saw him about once every couple of years.
Around the time that I was 10 or 11, I had made friends with a girl that was my age that lived a couple of doors down from me. She had a stepdad and an older teenage brother. I can remember the brother touching me…but I don’t remember much else. I also remember that one night I asked my Mom if I could spend the night at this friend’s house. My Mom said sure because my Dad was friends with her stepdad.
I honestly don’t know or remember what happened that night, but I can remember for weeks after that thinking to myself, “How am I going to tell my Mom that I’m pregnant”. I’m not sure why I thought I was, but I knew that something had happened. Many years later (while I was in high school) I saw this stepdad again (he came to visit my Dad) and I was so very scared of him. He kept smirking at me and trying to get me to talk to him. I just could not bring myself to be in the same room with him. My Mom suspected that something was wrong, but I never told her.
Then, when I was in my 20’s, I saw a lady who could have been the twin to the stepdad. I remember feeling very sick to my stomach. I could not even look her in the face. I’m very thankful that God has helped me to block out that whole situation. I know in my heart that something very bad happened that night, and I pray every time I think of it that God will not allow me to remember it.
I don’t remember Dad drinking until I was about 12 years old. Mom did a very good job of hiding it from us kids. She would always make sure that we were in bed when he came home from drinking.
The first time I remember Mom and Dad fighting in front of us kids about Dad’s drinking was when I was 12 years old. Dad apparently wanted to go out, but we were really short on money. Mom told Dad that we were, but he said he didn’t care. She said, Well, if you can go out, then I can too. She loaded us kids up and we all went out to eat. I could tell that she was so miserable the whole time. It was such a tense situation. I can remember feeling very anxious and sad.
A short while after that situation, Mom, Dad and two of their friends had gone out for the night while leaving us kids and their kids with a sitter. When they all came home, Mom and Dad were fighting. We all got into the car to go home and Dad smacked my Mom. Mom jumped out of the car and so did us kids. Dad sped off.
Their friends told us that we could stay the night. We had no sooner than gotten settled in for the night than Dad started calling. He said he was on his way. When he got there, we all got into the van. Dad proceeded to tell us that he was going to kill all of us that night and then kill himself. He said, then showed us, that he had a loaded shotgun between the seats. After we got home, he pulled out the gun and told all of us to get into the house. Mom said no we are not going into the house; we’ll sit out here on the swing (which was in the front yard).
We sat outside for what seemed like hours. Dad would come out periodically and he alternated between being overly sappy then extremely verbally abusive trying to get my Mom into the house. Finally he’d had enough and grabbed my Mom. Mom said run! So we all ran to the neighbor’s house and I had the neighbors call the police. Thankfully, the police got there before Dad could do anything to any of us. For years after that, Dad never let me forget that I was the one who called the police on him. It was like his hatred of me grew from this moment on.
The next year, Dad got sent to Panama for 6 months without us. Things seemed pretty good at home with him gone. Of course, Mom missed Dad, but overall, we had a pretty happy life. Then orders came up for us to go over to Panama to be with Dad. I don’t remember much of his drinking then, and he wasn’t too terribly abusive at that time. Things were very tense at home, and we all felt like we were walking on eggshells when Dad was home, but Dad mostly would stay gone till late at night. We would all be in bed by the time he got home, so he had no one to fight with. While we were down there, Dad got into trouble for being drunk and had to go to AA meetings and got put into an in-patient facility in the States supposedly to “get sober”. Dad was sober for exactly one year, all that he was required to be.
After coming back from Panama, things just proceeded to get worse. Mostly it was watching and listening to my Dad be verbally abusive to my Mom. Dad was also cheating on Mom. Dad would come in after being out and then want to pick a fight with Mom. He would accuse her of cheating and then severely verbally abuse her.
Once again, Dad got into trouble with the military because he was caught passed out behind the driver’s seat. He had taken both of my brother’s with him to a friend’s house to get drunk and high. He was so drunk when he was driving home that he just pulled over and passed out. Both of my brothers were just sitting in the car wondering what to do. They were probably 13 and 14. One of my brothers pulled the keys out of the ignition and sat them on the dash otherwise my Dad would have gotten arrested for DUI. As it was, by the time the cops got there, my Dad was puking blood. He had alcohol poisoning and was taken to the ER. After that incident, he was required to attend AA again, and was required to stay sober for a year.
My sophomore year of high school, we moved to another house. Things continued to get worse. Exactly one year to the day that he became required to stay sober, he was back out at the bar getting drunk. This was on the day of my 16th birthday party. After that, Dad began to be verbally abusive to me. He would tell me that he didn’t love me and if I didn’t like it, I could leave.
When I was a senior in high school one of my best friends died in a car accident. I had had a fight with her the day before she died.
On the night of my graduation party, my Dad decided that he needed to get drunk. My whole graduation party ended up being a drunken bash for my Dad and his friends.
After I graduated from High School, my Dad retired from the Army and we moved back to Ohio. Dad began growing and selling marijuana and drinking almost every day. My Dad’s brother came to visit one weekend and they both got into a huge fight. My Mom stepped in, and then my brother stepped in. My Dad proceeded to beat my brother up. We ran across the street with my Dad shooting the shotgun at us to call the police.
Again, I was the one who called the police. When the police came, they said that they could not take Dad to jail. My brother did not have any visible marks on him and unless my Dad had physically assaulted any of us, with visible marks, then he had as much right to stay there as we did. They actually told us that we should leave! It wasn’t until my Dad became verbally abusive to the police officer that they finally arrested him. The next day, Dad was released (he was never charged with anything), he just had to sleep off his drunk. Dad started walking home and then got a ride from someone. By the time he got home he was fuming mad. He didn’t speak to any of us for about a week. He didn’t drink during that time, but he still managed to make all of our lives miserable.
And, then he found out that I was the one who had called the police. I was done for in his eyes, I was no longer his daughter. That was all I could take I moved out into my own apartment after that. The only reason I stayed for so long was because I didn’t want to leave my Mom to have to deal with my Dad by herself. But I just could not stay there any longer. I was having major anxiety attacks every time Dad drank.
I moved into a one-bedroom apartment in January of 1996. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t have to be around Dad any more than I chose to be. I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I was very dependent upon people to take me places. This caused a lot of strain between Mom and Dad because while Mom wanted to help me in any way, Dad complained constantly.
I began working at Pillsbury in Wellston, OH in November 1995. I didn’t particularly like working in a factory, but it was the only well paying job that I could find in that part of rural Ohio. I began to make friends, and on my 21st birthday several of my friends took me out drinking. That was my first taste of alcohol and the numbness that it gave me. I was hooked from then.
While working at Pillsbury, I met Chris. He was a great guy, and we quickly became friends. He was married, so I never thought anything about me and him. He began calling me at home after work (his wife worked 3rd shift at a different factory in the area). We would talk well into the night. Before long, we were talking about sex, and I told him that I was a virgin. That just seemed to make him call more. One night after work a group of us were going to a local bar. He asked me if I would go, and then he would take me home. I said okay.
That night we had sex. All I kept thinking about was how much I liked him, but then I would remember that he had a wife and a 2-year-old son. I simply could not bear being the other woman, so I broke it off with him. Thankfully he got a job someplace else, and I didn’t have to see him anymore.
After that, I became good friends with several different ladies that enjoyed going out to the bars and dancing. I really enjoyed drinking and how it numbed my emotions. Every time I went to the bar, I had no intention of only having a few drinks. I always drank to get drunk. Going to the bar was an every weekend thing, and sometimes even during the week.
I dated a lot of guys. I had sex with even more guys. And, several of my partners were married men. I was always searching for “the one” and the only way I knew to get guys to pay attention to me was to have sex with them. I didn’t know anything else. And, all of the guys that came and went from my life wanted only one thing from me. None of them wanted a real relationship with me.
I felt severely used and abused. So many times, I just didn’t want to live anymore. I’ve had the pills laid out on the counter more times than I care to remember. I had every intention of taking all of them and just being done with it. I just didn’t like my life or where it was going, but I didn’t know how to change anything. Each time I had the pills out, a quiet voice would speak to me and say just rest my child it will be better in the morning. I was scared to die, so I’d just go to bed and cry myself to sleep.
In June of 1999, I got fired from my job at Pillsbury, and had to move back home with Mom and Dad. At the same time, my brother got out of the Army after serving 4 years and moved back home. Since Mom and Dad were living in a small 2-bedroom house, my brother and I had to share a room.
By this time, Dad was really bad. He had already beaten my Mom up pretty severely and was threatening all the time to kill her and himself. One night after we had all been drinking because we had family and friends over for some special occasion, my parents were sleeping in mine and my brother’s room. That night I got to listen to my Dad call my Mom every horrible, disgusting name then he proceeded to tell her how he was going to kill her and how he’d get away with it. The whole time, my Mom just lay there like she was asleep.
After that night, things just seemed to go downhill quite rapidly. Dad became withdrawn when he was sober and severely abusive when he was drunk. Mom and I had to sneak out while he was drinking to avoid his anger towards both of us. One night while he was drinking, he proceeded to tell my brother that he was going to kill my Mom. My brother told my Mom and she decided it was time that we all left. We tried getting help from a domestic abuse shelter, but we knew that we couldn’t live like that. My Mom knew that if she left my Dad and we still lived in the area that he would make our lives miserable even though we didn’t live with him.
So, Mom decided to leave. My brother and I had no place else to go, so we left with her. We put my brother’s and my stuff in storage, and some of Mom’s stuff too at least the little bit that Dad let her take, and then we all left to go up to my Mom’s brother’s house.
After we left, Dad tells that he was planning to kill himself. He had the shotgun ready, and he practiced (without a shell) by placing it in his mouth and pulling the trigger. He said he put the gun down that night and then went to sleep.
The next day, he said he got up like every other day and was drinking and drugging. He said he had picked up his cousin and they were riding around. He said he just felt like he could not go on any longer in his life in the way he was going. He said he felt like he wanted to get saved. He dropped his cousin off, and then started driving to his sister’s house. While he was driving, he said he turned on the radio and there was a preacher preaching. He said he knows that he did not turn it to that station, so he felt even more impressed that he needed to get saved.
After getting to my aunt’s house, my aunt and uncle prayed with my Dad. They said,
“Now you’re saved.”
My Dad said, No! You don’t understand, I have a legion of demons inside of me and I need a lot of preachers to pray with me. Get on the phone and call some preachers. That night he got miraculously saved! That was November 1999.
After getting saved, he called my Mom at my uncle’s house. He told her what he had done, but my Mom had heard all of his false promises to change so many times before, so she said, I’m sorry have a nice life.
The next day, my Dad borrowed money off of his aunt to drive up to find my Mom. He had no clue where my uncle lived, he just knew the town. So, he said he drove around all day long.
Finally, it was getting dark, and Dad was getting discouraged. He said he stopped and prayed and asked God to help him to find us. Just then he rounded the corner and there was my brother’s car. We were all sitting and eating supper when there was a knock on the door. I knew immediately that it was Dad. I was so upset. He came in and begged my Mom to please forgive him and to come back home with him. Mom said, it’s not just up to me, you have to ask the kids too. So, my Dad talked with us kids. Finally, we all agreed to go home with him though reluctantly.
Life for all of us changed from that day forward. I was still drinking and trying desperately not to get saved even though I was under deep conviction. I can remember being in bed one night and praying out to God for Him to come and help me to want to get saved. Just then I saw several black forms out in the hallway trying to come into the bedroom. I immediately started praying and asking God to make them go away. They did.
Around the middle of December, Mom got saved. Mom was raised Lutheran, so she had no idea what salvation was. She was going to church with Dad, but she simply did not understand all that she was seeing and hearing. Finally, one evening, she heard a preacher preaching that explained things in a way in which she could understand, and she got saved.
New Year’s Eve 1999 rolled around, and I was supposed to go out drinking with a bunch of friends. My plans fell through, and Mom and Dad were going to church that night for a watch night service and invited my brother and me to go. I said I would, but at the last minute I changed my mind.
While they were at church, my brother was in the bedroom, and I was in the living room watching TV. I was watching the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve Special and Sting was singing “Dawning of a Brand New Day”. I knew that I was tired of living the life that I was living and that I wanted the peace and happiness in my life that I could that my parents had. I knew that if I knelt there and prayed in the living room, that my brother would come out and wonder what in the world I was doing, so I went into the bathroom and knelt down and prayed. I got saved that night.
I still deal a lot with depression and anxiety. I am currently going to counseling and my counselor seems to think that my depression and anxiety is caused by post-traumatic stress syndrome. God is helping me day-by-day to have a personal relationship with Him and helping me to heal the deep wounds of my past.