I had a mix up of information in my own head. I couldn’t even get the difference in age right in my head….I was rationalizing that my brother was “just a kid” and was “really young” and hadn’t fully developed and that he just “learned some bad behavior from somewhere.” I thought he was 13 or 14 when I told, like he was a little kid that just hit puberty and was just too confused to deal with the hormones. Like he was just a troubled boy who really needed help. Like it was the drugs his poor impressionable mind got peer pressured into doing and it wasn’t what he would have done with out it. Like he was angry for his bad situations he was stuck in and was just taking it out on me but he could and needed to learn new healthier ways of expression. Ways that didn’t include hurting and raping me. I convinced myself that I was a good little Christian girl to pray for him and forgive him and then he would never hurt me or anyone ever again. And it seemed to appear that way. It seems, that he was “fixed” and everything was normal and “no harm done.”
But that was no where near the reality. I see that now. I realized wait, he was 16, and that’s a man-child who’s sexuality is well formed and unchangeable. That’s a point he was well a master at manipulating people and not an innocent boy who just reacted without thinking. Where did I get these thoughts? How did I come to this rationalization of my rapist? Well, it must have been necessary to survive the reality I couldn’t make sense of. I never intended to tell, and when I finally had to, I actually felt relief but then all that relief turns to grief because he wasn’t going a way forever and nobody was really all that mad at him. Not as far as I could tell, as they seemed more concerned with having therapy with him. It all was a mess from the beginning, and I was embarrassed more than I can handle. So embarrassment is one of my triggers.
I was being hurt. I was being hurt in a bad way. I didn’t want to tell. I was scared to tell. Something happened that changed everything. Forcing me to tell. I don’t think I ever would have told because I feared I had no safe place away from him. As a child, I understood that kids got “grounded” and punished by spankings (but I was never spanked) and that you still have to live with the kids that hurt you. I didn’t believe he could be separated from me and I didn’t have a chance away from him ever to tell anyone. Until the day I did have a chance, all by coincidence.
A little girl in 1st grade ran away from home by walking home with me and my brothers one day. My parents thought that was odd to let a child walk with some other kids and not even know where the house was. and so they contacted the school and found out she was missing with an amber alert. During the time she was there playing with me, she told me about how her father was sexually abusing her. It was amazing to know someone who suffered like I did, so i shared my story with her. She then talked to me about how to find ways out of it, looking for ideas of good places I can hide until mom and dad got back home so he couldn’t rape me while they were gone and he was babysitting us. She was then picked up by her father, pulled out of our school and I never saw her again. To this day, I fear for her and wonder if she is okay….But the point of telling you about her was to explain how I got into the situation that finally got me to tell on my brother.
It felt good to share my story. I was a kid always weird and picked on in school. Most of my younger days I had no friends. I’d get one person to be my friend at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year they got tired of being picked on for being my friend. People always asking “why do you hang out with her? She is soooo ANNOYING!” until my friends gave in and no longer were my friends. In second grade, I got one person to be my friend. I can’t remember where I was, but I think I stayed the night at her house. I don’t know how it came up, but I wanted to try to be the one who told first this time. I was hoping to have a remake of last time, that she would be able to connect with me with a similar situation. But, she did not. She was grossed out and horrified…..and then the next day at school, proceeded to tell everyone in the class. I remember the teacher wasn’t in the room and she was whispering to everyone and they were all looking at me. I remember when one of the boys turned to me and asked me “Is it true you had sex with your brother? That’s gross.”
Yea, fun times for me in childhood….Well…the teacher walked back in the room to hear all this and immediately shushed everyone and took me out of the room. Its sort of a blank here from this point, not sure how I got there but I remember standing in the hallway talking to my principal about it. My principal telling me how I needed to tell my parents otherwise my parents may go to jail if she were to tell someone.
It took me about a week I think to tell my parents. I remember my principal asking me every day if I had told anyone (and I can guarantee you, each one of these days I had been raped, as my principal had a moral dilemma in calling the police on my parents) I was the responsible for protecting me, there was no adult who could help me. I was the one who had to say something to my parents, and I had to risk my parents blaming me. Because I was a kid who didn’t know what was going to happen. I was a kid who let it happen, as far as I could understand.
But eventually I told. My older brother at this point was finally in high school. Going to a different school, I had a matter of a short time window to talk to my mom before he got home. I remember walking in the door right after school, putting my back pack upstairs in my room, then running down stairs to find my mom in the master bedroom folding laundry. I remember as I said “Mom?” and she is looking down at the laundry she is folding when she absentmindedly says “Yes, Sweetie?” And then I just take a deep breath and go for the kill: “Me and Jason had sex.”
I remember my mom’s face jerking up, wide eyed, looking at me, as she gasps “WHAT?!” and she has me come over there to the bed, pull down my pants and put my legs in the air while she looks at me. She was confused because I didn’t look scarred up, so I then told her it was “in the butt.” I black out here. I can’t remember what happened. I can’t to this day. The one who knows, either just was a kid who actually forgot the details or they just aren’t sharing them. I just remember, suddenly, he was gone.
I thought, can it be? I am safe? Oh, but no, I was not safe. Remember at first I was first afraid to tell anyone because I thought why anger a boy who you have to live with and always have a chance to hurt you? I thought he’d just get spanked or grounded and he’d always hate me for it and I’d forever be in danger…Then I think I was wrong because he’s sent away….But then, my fears get proven true, as he was brought back. Not exactly directly back living with me at first, but I mean he was allowed back into the family, as part of the family, as if nothing had happened. So I had to go back to feeling like I had no right to keep him from looking at my body or touching my body, and some how I was wrong for not wanting to let him look at me or hug me. Some how I was wrong because I didn’t like him. I had to keep dissociating and dissociation kept me alive when I wanted to die. I was 8 years old and I wanted to kill myself. Our counterpart, Connie, is only 8 years old and she wants to kill herself too. Because there is no way out. We’re trapped. My parents, totally shocked and distraught by this incident between two of their children, didn’t have anger like I would have expected them to. They for some reason had pity and a soft heart for this “little boy.” This was detrimental.
Ah, that’s it, that’s where I got this idea. This rationalization that my brother was just an innocent troubled boy. I got this as a child learning from their parents, trying to be like the grown up role models in my life. Where did my parents get this thought? This is what my parents were being told by psychologists and doctors who were examining his brain. This is what the church clergy were trying to tell them too. Pray for him, they’d all say. And then, we come down to the fear of others knowing. Well, the thing is, everyone already knew. I told my whole class. But yet, my parents didn’t think maybe I needed to go to a different school. So I had to live this duality of I told everyone the truth, and then I have to turn around to pretend that truth was a lie.
I was told, by my parents, to not tell anyone what happened to Jason or why he left. If anyone asks, it was just him “being a bad kid, skipping school, smoking, etc.” and he needed help.
What was the reason for this? Well, as a child, I guess I understood it as this is what Jesus would do, because only God can judge and we are supposed to love our enemies. And if I prayed hard enough, God can heal and change anything because he is God. That is what makes me a better person than my enemies, having faith in God and not hating them. I later learned, what happened was a shameful embarrassing thing for me and my family. Is there any other way for it to be? Is it possible for adults around my family, and kids in my class who knew me, to forget about what happened and not judge the family for it? What happened wasn’t my fault but if anyone publicly found out about it THAT would be my fault. People were always asking me, neighborhood kids showed up at the house when my parents were gone, trying to get it out of me. I had to reason that there was a reason I couldn’t tell anyone about it. I had to reason, that my parents had my best interests involved. I also had to reason that their decision to help him and bring him back into the family was a logical one.
And so I did. I reasoned. I rationalized. What else could they do? If anyone knew, my life and my family’s lives would be over. If anyone found out, would my dad lose his job? Would my mom? Would people attack our house? Would we be egged and toilet papered and have burning crosses in the yard and people screaming that the perv family needed to leave town? Would the kids be EXTRA mean to me, worse than they already were? My parents surely must have been traumatized themselves from the situation. They just could not see anything but that little boy they remembered, even though he was nearly a full grown man, at 16 years old, when I exposed the truth. Would people blame my parents? My little empathetic 8 year old heart loved my mom and dad and wished them no harm. I couldn’t let anyone hurt them. I had to protect them, hide their bad choices, hide them from myself even, just like they wanted to brush away my brother’s bad choices too. I guess I learned it from watching them.
I’m still this way, to this day. I don’t want to put my parents down. I don’t want to think they are some terrible selfish people. I just can’t. My brain won’t let me. It’s like against nature, to try to demonize your parents. If they were truly horrible people, then I can’t have my parents anymore. I don’t believe they are horrible people. I think they were selfish and afraid. I think though, if they had had adequate help in making their decision instead of fears of public shame that maybe they wouldn’t have done this. So I just can’t hold my parents completely responsible. I partly blame the pressures of society of that time.
Is this incorrect of me? Should I be trashing my parents? When, other than their decisions to brush my rape under the rug and forget it, they always made sacrifices for their kids and were always loving? Here is the predicament I am in. However true it may be that my parents made this decision to keep a secret and not excommunicate my brother from the whole family, they were also pushed by outsiders to make such a decision. Freaking medical and psychiatric professionals, for crying out loud, thought this was the best course action to convince my parents to do. I understand the Catholic church hiding it because well, all religions have pedophilia in it and are taught to hide that from the world because God doesn’t exactly shame it any where in that bible. I never understood the rest of the world though. The whole world thinks that this shouldn’t be talked about. The whole world ties families together so there isn’t a bad apple but a whole damn rotten basket. The whole world would blame my parents for all of it, like they taught my brother about sex themselves or something. The whole world would look at me like I’m a gross broken product of a bad family. None of that is true, we aren’t bad people, but that is how we would have been treated if we didn’t try to make our family appear as it once did, before the tragedy.
Or was it all true? Would it have been that way? It is possible to keep privacy and safety without outright trying to keep it completely secret? It is possible that my parents had other options they could have done, but they were too difficult to achieve? For example, we could have changed schools. But, there were no schools but this one within walking distance and we were walkers without a ride to school. Private elementary and middle schools also had no school bus option, that was only public schools. Should we have not the top education because of this? We could have moved. But, my parents were pretty much struggling, as they put four kids through private school, and financially that wasn’t really an option either. So what choice did my parents have?
I’m trying to say that I understand how my parents felt their options were limited, even though their decisions did hurt me still. However, the only thing I can’t really explain is why they decided what my brother did was not a crime as serious as I did. I cannot explain why when you do an adult act, you are still looked upon as a small innocent child. This makes me think back to the witch hunt days when people would be burned just because a mischievous child said they were a witch. Because back then, it was believes a child wouldn’t lie. I hope in modern times we learn that children can do horrific acts, and just because they are smaller people, it doesn’t make it a “smaller” crime. A crime as serious as planned violence or rape or murder are definitely signs of a brain malfunctioned and it’s not repairable. This isn’t just a brother pushing his sister down and she accidentally broke her arm from it. This is psychological manipulation and it takes effort to be this cruel. Why is it my parents saw him as more of a victim than they saw me?
I have a few theories to how this train of though happened….First of all, my mother is an emotional wreck and she has always been in denial of her kids doing anything wrong (hey, even me.) I don’t know why, perhaps some maternal protective measure that the offspring must survive at all costs, but she’s just adamant about how her little babies are always her babies. She equates protecting them with hiding their faults so they don’t get in trouble too…The psychs and docs said they believed I was “young enough to forget.” So that first of all minimized my crime. Second, the doctors talked about him like he had an illness, and he does, however this is not a curable illness or an illness only affecting him. It is a dangerous one that makes him hurt others. Also pedophilia is not really as much a mental illness as it is a literal sexual attractions, just like being straight, gay, bisexual, polysexual, or asexual, or whatever is your pleasure. Third, clergy from our church had talked of guilt and fear and prayer which must have helped push my parents to not punish him. They were also told that shame would fall on me if people found out my brother was sent away because of me and they should want to protect me from that. So, if it were merely my parents’ decision alone, I could probably hate them more.
In reality though, I hate the whole damn society that breeds this way of thinking. My parents’ made the right choice as their first reaction. They called the police and immediately had my brother taken out in handcuffs and my mom turned away from him in tears as he begged her not to let the police take him… because I know this much about police taking him, I know my parents did want to protect me and were just as traumatized and hurt as me emotionally. I believe emotional trauma is far more crippling than physical trauma alone. Because I’ll tell you the truth, I am over the physical assault. It’s not really my problem. My triggers aren’t anything to do with violence or rape. I’m not like many with PTSD symptoms from rape who can’t watch it on TV or even read the word rape without a trigger warning. Other than loud noises and screaming, my triggers are emotional situations, feelings of helplessness, loss of control, feeling like I hurt another, guilt, anger…..Those things trigger me. Those are the things I can’t deal with. It was the emotional trauma that was harder to heal. It is the emotional trauma that keeps me split, keeps these walls up so this body can keep living, hiding away the scars. Yes, I am still denied some knowledge about the details of what exactly was done to me by my abusers (yes, I say “abusers” plural because I am realizing I was abused by more than just my brother). The reason I don’t know is not because I can’t get over the facts, it’s because the emotions I will experience from that moment it happened would be too much for me still.
We’ve discovered, Jey is adamant they can be the “gatekeeper” and help us all function as a balanced system. Jey believes they have the ability to connect everyone and can have us all live life like we all are living it together, unless one of us chooses to step away. Jey also believes they are the most neutral of all and only by them taking control can we find a way to live our life. Does this mean I will finally have no trouble in communicating at all with the others? I think this will be really interesting. Jey still has me off in a separate part from the others, not sure I’m strong enough to connect yet. So we will see if one day Jey lets up and I know all the memories too, with the rest of them. I’m afraid, but the curiosity is killing me more….
If I can get strong enough to handle this, maybe the revelation and us all connected at the same time will help me know how to feel about my parents. I mean, I know some are very hateful toward my mother and completely adore my dad. These are some issues we have to find a common ground on. I do think these issues are more to do with some conflict I have with my parents unrelated to their decisions about my brother and my rape. Are my parents toxic or is the damage done, over and we can get past it? As I said, their first instinct was to call the police and have him hauled out of there immediately. So that has to count for something. I don’t know if my parents know all the information. I discovered from my rapist’s exwife that though I knew Jason had told her what happened he lied about how it happened and how MUCH. He said he did it once, when I was in kindergarten. So not the truth. I have to get strong enough to sit down to ask them what did Jason tell them, if I cannot get the memories that I know this answer already (I don’t seem to know this answer, nobody inside my system seems to know how much my parents were told or if I told them how long it had been going on? I just don’t feel like he would have offered up that information if he didn’t have to….)
I may be able to have a relationship with my parents still. I may also discover that that will only be possible after they validate me saying Jason is not my brother, he is my rapist, I hate him and never will love him and I erase him from my life. They may not be able to let go of their decision to see him as having done time for a crime and having been helped and just needing help. This may be for their own mental sanity, unable to handle the truth…Hey, as someone who’s been traumatized and suffered dissociation, I can understand not handling the truth. I just don’t know which way to go with this. I just don’t know. I think this is still looks like trying to rationalize my parents decisions, but I don’t know if it is. Because I don’t think they made the right decision, but I understand how they felt pressured into a decision, and perhaps even brainwashed into believing it because of a religious devotion says God heals everything. How can you argue with that?
Not unless you become an atheist……like most of the parts inside me are now.
The children still believe in some sort of God, one of them is still Catholic, one of us is agnostic, one of us is a Celtic druid pagan priestess, one of use is a magical wood sprite frolicking in nature and one of us actually is a guardian angel who shines a light into the darkness….but you know the angel, Justice, never directly claims any religious path in particular over another and who knows if my fairy sprite, Zoey, is actually a demon instead? ha…but I accept all of me. All of us. Soon, we will make sense of this and if we have to mourn the loss of our parents before they are actually deceased, then I hope we have a strong enough support system of people outside us to hold us together.
I was talking to my boyfriend about this last night and said something really deep to think about:
“What it comes down to is, does it give you any joy to have your parents in your life still?”
He asked this because his dad was a toxic person and he had decided he needed to cut contact. His life has been much better, mostly because there was never any joyful experience when he was with his dad and he never felt a bond or like his dad even knew anything about him. My boyfriend said he does notice how much I like talking to my mom on the phone (except when she starts mentioning certain things that upset me) and he notices I always talk about my dads jokes and pranks and how much he makes me laugh and smile. So it comes down to is the hurt greater than the joy they bring me? Can I find happiness without the joys my parents gave if I decide to cut them out? Am I still trying to rationalize? Is this a simple answer that I just can’t get myself to grasp onto because it hurts too much to feel like I don’t have parents at all? And then going further, it’s like I don’t have a family at all because nobody lives in my reality with me.