The perpetrator in my life was my mother’s 2nd husband. She brought six children into the marriage; they had one together. I refuse to refer to him as my “stepfather” because he was, by far, not a father in any sense of the word. They were married for approximately 13 years. He was an alcoholic who was physically and sexually abusive. He worked, but the money was spent in the bar, never for paying bills, buying food or all the other things that seven children needed. My mother collected ADC, Aid to Dependent Children…a.k.a welfare. We lived many times with nothing to eat or with utilities being shut off. My biological father was too involved with his new family to care about what was happening to his other children and, besides, his wife didn’t like or want us either.
My first recollection of the sexual abuse is when I was in the 1st/2nd grade. He would take me into their bedroom, remove my pants and fondle me. I was also forced to touch him as well. My mother was always home during these times. He would tell her he was taking me in their room to “rub his back”. I have an older sister and two younger sisters who suffered the same abuse, all with our mother’s knowledge. He took turns with us.
As I got older, he would wait until my mom was gone to abuse me. It turned from fondling into oral sex. He also wanted me to stroke him until he ejaculated but I was never able to do that properly so he would end up doing it himself, forcing me to watch. There were times when I would refuse to go in the bedroom with him so he would go to my younger sister, who was epileptic. Every time I refused, I was punished for it in some way. He would make up some lie to tell my mother as to the reason why I was being punished. As always, she believed him, and I was too afraid to tell her the real reason.
The physical abuse was pretty much on a daily basis. He was always beating on one of us, or our mother. I can’t even begin to guess how many times I was beaten in the years they were married. Sometimes I was beaten so badly that my mother would keep me home from school, knowing full well what would happen if I went to school with a face full of bruises. My mother never, ever did anything to try to stop the physical abuse or the sexual abuse. She chose to look the other way because she was just as afraid of him as we were. I hated her for so many years because she failed to protect us, her own children, from the abuse he inflicted upon us.
Right around age 16, I finally gathered enough courage to tell him to never touch me again, although he didn’t care because he still had my younger sisters to abuse. When I turned 18, I went to live with my older sister and her husband, because my sister knew the abuse was still happening. She and I then went to what was called Social Services (back in 1976-now it’s called DHHS) and told them what had been happening for years and that it was still happening. We had to take my sister with epilepsy to the hospital for an exam, which indicated that she had been penetrated. She was 13 at the time of the exam. He was arrested that day and placed in the local county jail. My two younger sisters were also removed from my mother’s custody that day and placed in a children’s home. Their abuse finally ended.
To this day, my mother refuses to admit that she knew what was happening. But I know differently, and after many years of therapy, I was able to forgive her. I married in my mid-30’s and we have two wonderful children; a daughter and a son. When I was being abused, I would always tell myself that if I ever had kids, I would not raise them the way I was being raised. I’m very proud to say that I didn’t. My children are my life and they know I would step in front of a train to save them. They are both away at college now but, growing up, they lived in a happy, loving, abuse-free home. What I wanted for them was to have happy childhood memories to tell their children someday. I think they’ll have plenty!