My Telling: Sara
No Laughing Matter
When I was in the 5th grade, I was molested by step father. He would lift up my night gown to peek at my vagina. He did this in front of my mother. All she said was “I think you’re embarrassing her honey.”
At 16, I was the only girl in the house. My stepdad would ask me to sit on his lap. At first, he didn’t do anything, so I felt happy to get attention. Plus, this was the only time that he wasn’t verbally, emotionally, or physically abusing me. Some time before he started touching me, he would invite me into his bedroom. He would ask me to sit on his bed. He never did anything there, just talked or showed me pictures. I do not know if he did this to show his innocence, or to get me comfortable with him.
After a while, he began to touch me. I would say something; he would laugh, and slap my leg. Then, slowly he would bring his hand up until he reached my vagina. He did this all the time, slap my leg, then creep up to rub my vagina. Sometimes he would go under my panties. Whenever he would do this, I would sit there frozen. He would rub me unless someone walked into the room. Then, he would quickly pull his hands away. It was not long before he rubbed by breasts as well. He started the same way, laugh, a slap on the arm, then inched his way to my breasts. Over time, I tried everything to get home to stop, other than saying anything. I would squeeze my arms as tightly over my breasts as possible, and I would squeeze my legs tightly together. Nothing worked; it would hurt when he would inch his hands past mine to get to my breasts and vagina.
I decided to never sit on his lap, so I would sit on the floor. I would tell my dad that my stomach hurt or that I was not feeling well, or that I was fine where I was. So, one time, he said; “ok, well just sit next to me in my chair.” When I did, he went up my shorts and shirt. After that I wouldn’t sit next to him no matter what. One time, I was waiting on a date that didn’t show up, so I felt bad about myself. My dad came into my room, sat on my bed, and told me how beautiful I was. He said, “Your legs are just right, your hair, your face,” then, he cupped his hands over my breast and said “Your breasts are just right.” Another time, he told me that everything was invented with sex in mind. For example, there are female and male parts that you can buy in electronics. He put his finger through his fingers that made a circle. He would make his finger go in and out to emulate sex.
Every time my stepdad would do these things, I would make excuses for him in my mind. I would say “he doesn’t know what he is doing. It is an accident. He doesn’t realize how this makes me feel. He’s probably just trying to show me love. Every time he rubbed me I hated it! I felt sick and embarrassed, yet his touch felt good. For a long time, I thought my step dad did not know what he was doing. Until one day, he said “I know that when I touch you it feels good. I am proud of you for being a virgin. But, you will have hormones, emotions, and sexual feelings like when I touch you. All this is normal.” For some reason my mom made it a point to let him think I was a virgin, when I was not. It was a big deal. I don’t know why.
No one Did Anything About It, So It Must Be Okay.
My mom would wear slinky nightgowns, so I saw no problem for me to do that as well. My brothers also ran around in their underwear. My step dad would go up my mom’s pajamas and rub her butt. During this time, he would hug me, and go up my night gown and rubbed my butt as well. It felt gross and good all at the same time. That confused me.
As if that was not enough, he was allowed free access to my room. I couldn’t go anywhere to be by myself. I would often change in the bathroom, but my brothers would peek at me through the cracks. I had no privacy there. My brothers would hide under the beds, and watch me get dressed. When they were caught, they were not punished.
Maybe I Wasn’t the Only One.
One time, I saw my step dad change my niece. After he took off her diaper, he stared at her vagina for a long time. It made me sick and sad all at the same time. I screamed in my head; “Not her too! You are not going to do to her what you are doing to me.” He never did. After I saw my step dad stare at my niece, I told my sister what was going on. Since she was not educated, she said that I was old enough to tell him to stop, so I must have liked it. I told her that I did not like it. She then told my mom that she did not want them to watch her daughter. My mom got mad and thought I had told my sister about the time my dad rubbed my leg in front of my mom. I told her that it was not what caused my sister to make her decision.
It Was No Accident
I came close to telling my mom what happened, after my dad said he knew what he was doing all along. I plotted to tell my mom, but not tell her exactly what happened. So, I told her that dad got carried away when hugging me, and would accidently rub my butt and brush up against my breasts. She seemed taken aback, but she told me to tell him that it makes me uncomfortable. When I did, I made it a point to let him know that I mentioned it to mom. That was when I was eighteen, so from then until after I moved out, he didn’t touch me anymore.
But once when I came to visit, he was out in the garage. I was wearing a skirt. He told me that my slip was crooked, so he went up my skirt to straighten it. He was about to touch me again, when my sister caught him at it. Again, she yelled at me, and told me that I should stop him. Later, my step dad and mom moved. Often they offered me free room, food, and a job if I moved there. I was considering moving in with them, because I had just lost everything. I am glad I didn’t. I told my sister my fear of my dad touching me again. She said “he’s too old now to do that. He’s probably never going to do that again.”
Age 22 and 23
I was molested by a neighbor. I was married at the time, and my husband at the time would often go off at all hours with his friends. He would not call me, and he would be gone for hours at a time. I would get mad and ask friends to take me to where he was. My husband had made friends with our neighbor. I can’t remember his name, but I think it was Robinson. Mr. Robinson saw me walking a lot, because I would not have a car or it would often break down. So, he offered me and my husband rides to the store. One time, he saw me upset and asked me if I needed a ride. So, I asked him to drive me to my husband’s friend’s house. While we were driving, he did the same thing as my dad used to: laugh, slap my leg, and then inch his way to my vagina and my breasts. He did this several times during those rides. Again, I made excuses. But, I tried to block him with my arms and legs. This didn’t help, and hurt when he pushed his way through. Again, I would freeze, feel dirty, feel good, and feel embarrassed all at the same time. After a while, I vowed to never take a ride with him again. When I told my husband, he said that I must have liked it if I kept taking rides. I told him I did not and I was just trying to find him, or get out of the hot sun; since it was a long walk to the store.
The Toll of My Abuse
As a result of my molestation and abuse, I have always been really quiet around men; especially if they seem busy. I was depressed for years, wondered if I was gay, have had failed relationships, had self-doubt, have trouble making decisions, hate helping men fix cars, am paranoid taking rides with any men, have trouble in social situations. I haven’t gone after my dreams. I have thought of suicide, hated myself, thought about being a stripper, prostitute, and lingerie model; and have had trouble sleeping.
Thanks to ReClaim, I learned that our bodies are meant to respond to touch. It does not know that it’s an uncle, dad, or step dad that is doing it. I now realize that the shame does not have to be mine.