I remember the first time my father touched me like it was yesterday. I must have been about 4 years old. He was sitting on the couch, listening to the radio when we came into the house. I don't recall where we came from - we must have been playing outside. He called me to him, and made me sit on his lap. Then he put his hand down my shorts. I didn't understand what was happening. The feelings were extremely confusing, my body's response doubly so. When he let me go I just went to our room and continued to play with my brothers, trying not to think about it.
Some time later he started visiting our room at night. Sometimes he would pick one of us, touch him, kiss him and fondle his privates. Sometimes he would make all three of us stimulate him. He would make us take turns to perform oral sex on him, until he came all over one, or all of us. Then he would get up walk out, leaving us to figure out what had happened and what it meant.
One night he got into my older brother's bed, forced him to turn over onto his stomach and penetrated him while my twin and I watched. We felt so helpless; lying there and watching them, hearing him sob with pain. A few months later, he did the same to each of us in turn. He raped us. We were only 6 years old. He told me that my body's involuntary response signalled enjoyment, and that I was dirty, perverted, and a faggot... Perhaps the most damaging part of it all: He also told me that I would never be good for anything other than being a sex toy for older men.
Crying or showing fear when any of this happened, earned a beating. Showing emotion was absolutely not allowed.
Once, I went to my mother and told her that he was making us do things we didn't want to do. She told me that he was our father - the head of the house - and had to be obeyed. I tried again, telling her yes, but he's hurting us. She scolded me, ordering me to never say such things about our father again, and that I was to have more respect for him.
She left soon after that.
I grew up doubting my own sexuality and believing myself to be utterly worthless. I had a very vague idea of who the face in the mirror was - I knew only that I hated him. I turned to various dysfunctional coping methods in my quest for survival.
I started cutting myself; releasing my pent-up emotions with the blood. I found relief in watching the blood run down my arms and onto the floor. I started self-medicating with drugs. Alcohol and marijuana at first, then pain killers, and finally Heroin. Heroin offered an escape from reality. Each time I tried to conquer my addiction, I would be forced to confront reality. Each time I chose addiction over reality. I started sleeping around. The first time I felt my body respond to a girl as it had responded to him, it was once again confusing as hell, yet after a while I started to see it as proof of my heterosexuality. It became my quest to sleep with as many girls as possible in order to prove to the world, but mostly to myself, that I was not gay.
When these methods failed me, I attempted to take my own life.
Today I am clean and sober, I haven't cut myself in years, and I no longer need to have sex to prove anything. I have everything to live for. But the effects of what my father did to us, are still devastating.
Intimacy still does not come naturally to me.
I still find it hard to trust almost anyone.
I still struggle to cope with all the anger that I have inside.
I still have trouble respecting authority.
I still have flashbacks, and times when my body remembers all to vividly what was done to it.
There are still times when I would get overwhelmed by things, and simply "leave" - I just disappear into myself, to that quiet place where I am not me, and so I don't have to face myself.
The smell of brandy still instantly makes me want to vomit.
I am still prone to sudden flashes of temper and moodiness and sometimes I get overwhelmed and just withdraw into myself.
There are many fancy words for what is wrong with me. There are volumes written by clever doctors about the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, but in reality the truth is much simpler than that.
My brain was re-wired the day my father first put his hand down my shorts - its called PTSD, and its part of who I am.
I am simply still struggling to catch up with the emotional development I should have done before I was 10, when I was too busy surviving to grow up.
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def LeppardMy Story
, Part 2My blog