Survivor Story

April 30, 2021

Trigger Warning: This story contains accounts of trauma and sexual abuse.

Like every story, there is a beginning, middle, and end. My story has a beginning that no person would ever dream of. My middle, although lengthy and devastating, is what keeps me different from anyone else. My ending is not only another beginning but also what holds me together most days. Some of us wish for an ending so that things can be over just to be able to move on. I wish for an ending in a way that means I get to start a new chapter because that means more healing and more time. Let’s face it, that’s really what we need.

This evening I am going to share with you a story, my story. I know there are people here that have heard rumors or bits and pieces of my story and have even chosen sides but maybe you don’t know the real story. My story, my past, and my experiences are something that I carry with me every day and for anyone who has been through anything remotely similar, you know what I mean.

Every child has dreams and goals. Some want to be teachers, astronauts, doctors, or cops, but I simply wanted to be FREE. I wanted to be free from guilt, pain, blame, and life. I wanted to escape my emotions, worries, fears, even myself. Of course, like other kids, I also had normal goals and dreams too. I wanted to go to culinary school and become an executive chef so that I could one day own my own mom/pop restaurant. Here I am at 27 and I have yet to achieve that dream but it’s not out of the question yet.

The first childhood memory that I can clearly recall is when I was six years old. Like most six-year old’s, I had ‘nap-time’, however my nap-time never involved sleep. When it was decided that we had to take a nap, it was also decided that one of the three of us kids would be sleeping with “dad” There was usually a game involved: like a coin would be flipped or we would have to choose a number and whoever got it correct would have to sleep with him. I always managed to win the game even if I didn’t want to play.

After everyone was settled in- the boy(s) in their bedroom, and according to the police report that I obtained, told not to come out until told otherwise- myself in “dad’s” bed, it was then time to rub his back. That’s when it all started. When I was six years old, I was molested by the man I thought was my dad. My youngest of two brothers was in the bed too and when he tried to see what was going on, I wouldn’t let him. His dad pushed him out of the bed and that’s when he started loosening my clothes, sliding his hands down my pants and forcing me to do disgusting things to him. It was extremely uncomfortable and I felt gross and dirty afterwards.

-According to his statement in the police report, “I was pretty good at performing oral sex at 6 years old.”  What kind of monster says something like that? How disgusting of a person can you be to even believe that what you are forcing a child to do is even so pleasurable that is makes your twisted brain believe that the child was “good at it”.

I told my mom what happened, detail by detail the next morning before school. She told me to go to school and not say anything to anyone, that we would discuss the situation after school. I went to school and on the bus, I told my cousin and her friend exactly what had happened. When I got home, I had to explain what happened again, to my mom and to him. Of course, my cousin and her friend went home and told their parents and siblings who called my mom and grandparents.  Everyone wanted to know what was going on, but my mom told them that I made it all up and they believed her. He stood there and denied all of it and cried. To this day, I believe he fake cried and that no six-year-old is able to make something like that up. But they were the adults so everyone believed them instead of me. 

Years went by and when my mom left the house, the continuing of nap-times, molestations and rapes only became worse, more aggressive and scarier. After each incident, I told mom and she always said that she would take care of it. She would say things like, “scream loud enough for the boys to hear you” or “don’t win the games”. She even quit her job thinking that things would just stop. They didn’t. She was still always leaving the house, leaving me there to suffer through my abuse.

I told my cousins after each incident as well and they would always try to help me, not knowing what to do exactly. They lived in Loudonville with their mom and didn’t come up very often. They are only a year older than I am, so it wasn’t up to them to save me. Somehow, it was decided that there were going to come spend the night with me and I was so excited. What little girls don’t enjoy sleep overs with their cousins? But my mom wasn’t home, and he decided that it was going to be ‘nap-time’ before they headed to get the girls. I wasn’t tired. I even told him that. I tried so hard to argue against a nap that day. But he told me that If I really wanted my cousins to stay that I would rub his back and so I did what I was told because why not? What’s one more time if it means seeing your best friends? Just like every other incident, I rubbed his back, he pretended to sleep, and then he turned over, grabbed ahold of me, and did with me what he damn well pleased, like I was just a rag doll.  By the time the girls got there, I had showered, cried, and cleaned my already always cleaned bedroom. They knew how to read me, so they knew something was up and were pretty sure of what it was. I told them, like I did every other time but this time they were upset at me, because in a sense I allowed him to win simply to allow them to be able to spend the night.

It took me several years of therapy to realize that for this particular incident, he was going to have his way with me whether or not I chose to want to girls to spend the night. He simply just used that as a scare tactic to make it seems as if it was my choice because he was manipulative.

I used to make excuses up in my head for him. I thought that maybe he thought I was my mom since he was asleep, that maybe it was for the best because he could either be doing it to me or someone else, plus I was always taught to do as I was told. However, I quit making up excuses for him when during one incident, he not only talked like he normally did, but he also got up out of his bed and retrieved something from his dresser, returned to the bed and used it on me. I couldn’t get up and run. I was scared, he was closer to the door than I was, and he was much stronger than I was.

I was abused mentally, physically, sexually, and emotionally for 6+ years by a man that I thought was my father. I was ignored by the woman that gave birth to me during that same time period. During all of this time, I had also found out that the person I had been calling dad wasn’t even my biological dad and I don’t know that I was ever supposed to have found out.

When I was twelve years old, my grandpa and aunt became my heroes. I will never forget the night that they called the cops and reported Larry Lee James Jr. Detective Gary Alting came to my house and took a statement and even when we went back to his office, I felt so much lighter because I knew then that this person, Superhero Gary was going to save my life. Some people grew up having Clark Kent (Superman) or Bruce Wayne (Batman), but I grew up having Gary Alting as (Believer and Rescuer).

That night, I lost half of a family, took away my brothers’ dad and my moms’ husband. Or so, I thought. But after some therapy, I learned that he, himself did all of that. He took himself out of his own family. His own family chose to no longer stay connected with me and take his side. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and then 5 years of no contact after that. I was supposed to get counseling and go through the processes of doing all the proper healing but honestly, I didn’t know how to do that, even with the chosen counselor. But when I was in high school, I found someone to advocate for me. She became my rock and to this day, she is still cheering me on and helping me navigate through all this crap even when I feel like I am stuck in quicksand. I have been in counseling on and off for the last 10 years, seeing the same person because between her and my new rock, I finally felt stable. I was ready to let go and since then, I have been working on doing just that.

I spent six years of my life being afraid to go home, having no control over anything, not even my own emotions, an unsafe and unstable environment and a lack of so much more.  But now I am no longer ashamed of that.            It took me six years, six damn years to get someone to believe me and call the cops.

Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t call the cops myself or simply go to a different adult, but I couldn’t. You see, my mother wasn’t the only adult that knew and chose to not do anything. His mom also knew and chose to say nothing. She stood by his side until the day she died. There were adults that knew and chose to not say anything. The truth is, I was scared. I was terrified of him, of nobody believing me again, of what would happen to my brothers if they lost their dad; there were just so many things that ran through my mind. I didn’t feel strong enough, not mentally, not emotionally, and definitely not physically.

But I learned that it’s okay to be scared, that being scared doesn’t make it your fault. I have learned that it is okay to be happy and have some fun. I also learned that although things don’t always seem easy, there is always someone out there with worse problems and like them, you will eventually get through it. Everyone is different and we all deal with our anger and emotions differently. But it is important that we get the chance and take the opportunity to process them.

The point is: don’t ever give up on what’s right. I didn’t and 21 years after my first abuse and 15 years after my last abuse, I have realized that I haven’t been lacking self-confidence, respect, or hope but that I have just been afraid to embrace them. And guess what, after being a part of the group that I have been attending for the last several weeks, I have realized that I am in a safe place to embrace these things now. I’m no longer ashamed of my past or to include it as part of me. My past will always be a part of me, but how I choose to deal with it will determine how I move forward and grow from it in a healthy way.

Every story has a beginning, middle and end. It’s up to you to decide yours. My ending is another beginning. This new beginning is in another introduction phase and I am okay with that. Right now, I am happy being that single mom of two beautiful little girls, allowing them to grow up as innocent as I can. I still attend weekly counseling sessions and now see a psychiatrist as well. I have the support of some ladies here tonight that I couldn’t mentally allow myself to believe they even exist. But they do…you do. I am not alone; you are not alone. The statistics are frightening! I imagine that whether you are here because you have been through something similar or because you are simply showing your support that you at least know someone who has been through a sexual abuse trauma. That to me, is awful. This right here, is where we start shaming the silence and embracing our voices.

So, I obtained the police report last year, in September of 2020 because I wanted to know why nobody reported my abuse and why once my abuse was finally reported, those that knew about it, didn’t get in any trouble for not reporting it. The things that were said in that report were absolutely ridiculous and disturbing. Some of the reasons that were stated in the report as excuses for not reporting my abuse were as follows:

“I didn’t want to open a can of worms”
“She laughed when explaining details”
“She accused multiple people”
“She had recently learned of reporting things in school, so it was on her mind”
“She watched lifetime movies and must have got the ideas there”

There is NEVER, and I mean NEVER a reason to NOT report any type of sexual abuse!

This is what needs to happen:

  • Open that can of worms! Get the person the help they need!!
  • If they laughed, it doesn’t mean they lied. It’s likely a sign they were uncomfortable. Even adults laugh when they discuss sex topic. Get the person the help they need!!
  • If they accused multiple people, let the professionals look further into it. Get the person the help they need!!
  • If they are telling you because they learned about reporting it at school, it’s because they were taught that they should tell a trusted person. Get the person the help they need!!
  • I don’t care what is on the television, if something happened that shouldn’t have happened, GET THE PERSON THE HELP THEY NEED!!

Stop making up excuses and telling yourself that it’s okay to not report something. What’s that saying? “See something, say something”? DO THAT! In a world where children are being abducted and sex trafficking is a thing, we need to be protecting our children and making sure they are safe. If a child comes to you and reports something, then you also report it, without making up an excuse. We raise our children to not make excuses for things and then as adults there are people who come up with one like those listed above. The world is a sick place. We should be healing it, not making it worse.

            I sit here and I think about all of these excuses that were given and they make me physically sick. You see, there was more than one person- they are also mentioned in that report. When I questioned as to why they were never charged I was told that I should be happy because I got justice because Larry got his 15 years. I was told that they others were minors and didn’t have a large enough part in it to go after that it wouldn’t make for enough of a case. So it wasn’t that it wasn’t known about. It was about building a case, getting what they could and hoping for the best possible outcome. Thankfully, I was never touched again after he went to prison. But I don’t know that justice was truly served when all three people weren’t properly dealt with.

            There is a saying that everything happens for a reason. I have always hated that saying. I always thought that there was no purpose to what happened to me. However, I have learned that because of my past, I have the knowledge and strength to help other people move on from being a victim of rape to being a survivor or to find the resources necessary to their needs. I am a surviving victim and that is my purpose, to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. I may not always be able to have my own voice, but I will always be able to have a voice for others!

Keywords: survivor
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