My Telling: Mindy
I was molested by my father around the age of 10.
I can’t recall the number of times he violated me…I remember bits and pieces and feelings more than anything.
I remember vividly in this instance not being very developed physically. I was walking from my room to the kitchen for a drink; no one else was up other than my father in the dark living room. He called out to see who it was passing through, and I said my name. I thought that I was getting the upper hand to being able to stay up later than my 6 siblings, but I soon found that I would rather not have existed in those few moments.
I went into the room where he was watching TV, a movie I knew my mom would not approve of and also made me feel uncomfortable because of the nudity and looking back, the control over people that it portrayed. The star of the movie was Kirk Douglas.
My dad was a big man, 6’8″, 250 lbs and to me at my pre-youth years, he was huge and strong. I don’t recall how I ended up where I did, but know from other encounters with my father that he’s not one to cross or you’ll get hit or yelled at. So, there I found myself lying down on the couch on top of him, my back to his stomach, head to his chest with a blanket over top. The TV was at the end of the couch so we had to look over our feet.
He began to caress me under my pj shirt, at first if I remember correctly, his hand touching my stomach was a nice feeling, but then he moved up over my nipples, not yet developed, and then down toward my pants.
At one point, whether here or another time, I remember either one of my siblings or my mom walking in while I was in the same position and being scared, I wanted to scream, “Help me!” I remember my eyes being big and staring at them as though they could read me and had the strength to stop him. But they didn’t. I didn’t like what was happening and I wanted out, but I was afraid so I didn’t do anything. My dad was not a nice man especially when you defied him and you were in the family, outsiders didn’t see the monster he turned into inside the house walls.
When he began moving his big dry hands down under my elastic pants and under my underwear, I remember thinking…”Not again.” then I went blank. Because of this recollection, I know this wasn’t the first time.
Lost and Alone
I lived in a fog most of my life, not understanding why things were so dark, all the time.
In high school, reality of what happened to me came to front when I was attending a Sex Education class. We were watching a video about “bad touch” and what to do. The theme was set in a kitchen, a girl had gone to a neighbor’s house and he set her on the counter after he had sweet talked her. He started unbuttoning her dress…there I paused and memories swarmed like a tsunami through my head over the next hours. I broke down in the bathroom. Teachers asked if I wanted to see a guidance counselor, but I denied. Instead, I told my art teacher, who I trusted. I remember her saying; he needs to be in jail. I was afraid when she said that and I said, no, he’s not doing it to me anymore. This is the point where I went home to tell my mom what I remembered.
Her reaction was one I can recognize today as an adult, of overwhelming betrayal. I don’t remember each detail of the discussion other than hearing her say she almost divorced him years ago for doing the same with others in the family and she believed him when he promised her that he would never do so again. After that discussion, it seems she fell into a coma of sorts, not being connected to reality. She lost her personality and the tension between the parents increased. Nothing was done or said to help me, so I sought help on my own.
After ten years and two counselors, we never really approached the real issue – that my father abused me and was still allowed in my life, in my family’s home and that he was still abusing us in one form or another.
Living in Fear
I remember feeling trapped when my dad was near, he’d at times pull me to him and not let go when he was angry, he slapped me, pulled my ears or hair, yelled or spanked even into my teens. He did this and more to my siblings, also.
I grew up with anger growing daily, I felt I always had to watch my back and fight for myself. I got into hurting myself a few times to release the pain I felt internally. I thought about suicide, never attempting. I wanted to be rescued, and no one was there to stand up for me. I lost interest, what little there was, in building my life into anything much. When I did have an idea I didn’t feel confident that I was worth it, so I gave up.
Over the years I’ve been able to link being afraid of dark and small places to what happened in the past. This is also why I don’t like to be held down, even playfully. I used to push everything down so that I wouldn’t feel anything, so that I could make it through. This caused me to shut down in a way, so when I got married, I discovered I had severe communication difficulties and trouble and acknowledging and expressing how I really feel.
Finding My Way Back
My father is now in prison, because another sister stood up. I am proud of her and thankful that she had the strength and the guts to initiate the prosecution. It is comforting to know he will not be able to touch another little girl while he is behind bars, not my nieces, not my children, or anyone else’s.