My Telling: Diane
Growing up in a Critical & Fault-Finding Environment
My childhood was pretty good, I thought. I got normal correction – not abuse. The worse thing about being in our family was the critical environment. My dad was very judgmental and critical and it never felt like he had my back. Dad criticized women frequently and expressed how inferior female attributes were. In fact, he taught that emotions should not be displayed and if they were it was frivolous or due to the person being too weak to maintain.
Sometimes dad would find humor in ridiculing my mother. It made me uncomfortable and she never defended herself. One of his favorite topics to joke about was her weight.
I Felt So Stupid
1970 -Once, a serviceman who happened to be white came to the house. We were expecting him, but no one was in the house but me. I was 15 so Mom told me to let him in. When he got there he started asking me about myself– how old I was etc. He made me uncomfortable especially when he remarked, “Man, you’re built for fifteen!” I felt like an idiot. I had to sign something and he had his arm around me, caressing up and down my side briefly. My stomach got nervous and I remember being confused and wondering what to do. But, he left and I was relieved although I remember trembling for a while after. I didn’t tell anybody about that incident except my sister. I just felt so stupid.
I Married the Man who Raped Me
1973 – My best friend, introduced me to a guy. Since I was tired of not having a boyfriend I gave him a chance. He took my virginity (age 19) by force at his father’s house while nobody was there. We had gone to visit his family after church one Sunday. After a while they all left. We stayed behind and were relaxing on the bed. I enjoyed the closeness. He was next to me but not touching me. Then suddenly he took my hand and placed it on his crotch. He was aroused. I never felt a penis before erect or otherwise. I took my hand away and said that was interesting because I did not want to offend him. Next thing I know he flips on top of me. I thought I would be able to talk him out of it. Even mentioning God did not change his mind. My hands were pushing his chest the whole time he was trying to penetrate me. It was very hard for him to get in me and I was sure he would give up. I could not see how he was going to succeed because it felt like a closed door down there. To my disappointment he just kept trying even though I was pushing him away. I was amazed at how cavalier he was about it afterwards. (Later I found out I had gotten pregnant that day.) He did it another time right on my couch at home. I couldn’t believe it! My parents were upstairs and they could have come down. I was too ashamed to scream and I couldn’t get away. He tried to force me on third occasion at my house, but I had been thinking of a plan to prevent a repeat. This time when he started I made up an excuse to go to the bathroom upstairs and I never came back. He had to let himself out and go home. When he got there he was so angry he called me and we argued. Then he finally agreed that I had done the right thing. We continued with our plans to marry. I had been a Christian since age 8 and only wanted to have sex with one man. I had expected to be a virgin until I married. I reasoned that he was not a rapist and that he just slipped up because he was used to having sex before he met me. Besides I thought things would be different after we married.
We were married in March. A few times he unsuccessfully tried to sodomize me. I was so scared. I did everything I could to stop him by tensing my whole body as hard as I could. Thankfully he gave up after a few times and never tried again.
The day my water broke I just went to bed with a towel under me to see how things would progress. He insisted on sex and I couldn’t stop him. The next day was Thanksgiving and the contractions increased. We finally went to the hospital and I gave birth the following morning.
I remember at this duplex, he made me have sex, with our infant on the bed. I protested. My husband said it would be all right. The rapes continued.
My Husband Molested My Daughter
Near this time, my oldest daughter told me my husband (her biological father) had made her perform oral sex on him. I believed her. Not knowing what to do, I called my pastor who said not to leave my daughter with him at all. Then eventually when he would ask me why, I was supposed to tell him because of the abuse. I followed the plan and it worked just as pastor had said. When I told him that I knew what he did, he didn’t deny it and promised it would never happen again. I thought it was over.
My husband would beat my daughter for stealing and left bruises. The school reported it and we were court-ordered for counseling. He agreed to leave the home so they wouldn’t take the children. We submitted to therapy, and CPS monitoring the home. It was disclosed that he sexually abused my daughter at age 5 in counseling. The goal of counseling was to eventually reintroduce him into the home.
1987 – My daughter discloses to me that her dad has sexually abused her again on a visit. I report it and re-enter the entire family in counseling. It also was revealed that he was sexually abusing the teenage girl who lived with his sister and her baby was his. His family had gone to a great deal of trouble to conceal this fact from me by blaming the fatherhood of the teenager’s child on a close friend. None of them told me and they went out of their way to lie to me about it, including the blamed friend. I think he threatened him to keep the secret. In addition to that I find out that he was grooming my other two daughters under the guise of bathing.
My Daughter Committed Suicide
1988 – Therapy continues. My daughter became suicidal and was admitted to a hospital by the advice of our counselor. She had her own room at home and I keep it vacant in hopes of her return. She was only able to do home visits but never fully integrated back on a permanent basis. We begin to focus on getting the case in court. She continued to be in and out of hospitals.
My husband still wouldn’t submit to intensive therapy with the rest of the family. Since I voluntarily re-entered the program, he is not mandated to go. In spite of all our pursuits, we never got our day in court. The county attorney didn’t think the case could be won due to her mental state. We obtained an order preventing him from seeing the kids. My daughter continued to be suicidal and sometimes gave away her possessions.
In 1988 my daughter finally succeeded in taking her life.