My parents raised us in a very strict evangelical Christian environment. My father was a liked and respected deacon, Boy Scout Master, and Childrenís Church coordinator. He used scripture to reinforce his power over his daughter and 3 sons. The church doctrine and teachings both enabled and empowered the abuse.

My father and another man restrained and tortured my sister in a weekly routine for about 3 years. We were bound hand and foot with electrical wire, clothing pulled up to our wrists and down to our knees, and tortured with hand tools. The earliest memories I recall, I was 3 and my sister was 6.

The large Phillips screwdriver and the pliers were usually the first tools to be brought out of the toolbox, and then I would faint. When I regained consciousness, my genitals and anus were aching, scratched, gouged, and sometimes bleeding.

My sister was forced to stand in the corner and wait her turn. If we were hemorrhaging, he would hose the blood off our legs at the garden faucet and tell us how much trouble we were, how much he hated our being born. He would threaten us not to tell.

My sister and I had many struggles in life due to the abuse. My brothers have never discussed it but show definite symptoms of abuse. For the sake of our mother, my father was not reported. When the family discussed it the first time as adults, we did not identify the predators. My father laughed and denied it ever happened. From that time on, he has taken every opportunity to publicly demean me by reveling in my anxiety disorders. He openly mocked my shortcomings and proudly boasted and took credit for my every achievement.

One of my brothers married young and left home. The other brother remained single and followed my fatherís pattern and became physically abusive to women and animals.

My sister married and divorced young and returned to live her adult life in my parentsí home. She became clinically morbidly obese and could not function in society. She never held a job and refused to seek therapy. After our mother died in 2000, my sister remained in the home and became abusive toward our father. She focused on seeking approval from strangers who appeared needy, constantly lowering her standards of company until she met a swindler who promised my sister marriage. She moved him into my fatherís home. The man, who was alone with my sister when she died mysteriously on New Yearís Day 2009, persuaded the coroner to sign off her death without a blood test or autopsy. The authorities responded to family inquiries by aggressively covering up the coronerís blunder.

The swindler persuaded my 89-year old father to betray and banish the surviving children and grandchildren. The man quickly produced a new girlfriend, married her, and the two now occupy my fatherís home, threatening physical harm to any heirs who may try to visit my father. My father continues to attempt hostile acts against local family members by mean of filing false police reports.

I am the only sibling who sought therapy. I have had a number of disorders to manage. I stopped visiting and phoning my father 5 years ago, over which he is very angry because it took away his power.
Only now can I realize the depth of the ditch I was born into, and finally cutting myself some slack for not achieving us much as I would have liked to in my career.

However, I can see the horizon of a new day. I am awakening to the journey ahead and recognizing that yesterday can be left in the dark valley behind me. I no longer have a purpose for a rear view mirror.