This post is really a long time coming. I'm not even sure how to write it...but if my past experiences with blogging are to dictate anything, I will start and then not be able to stop until I've literally written every ounce of detail out and gotten every possible thought I've had along the way included. That's just how I am when I blog apparently. So, this is sort of my introduction post, and it's horrible that this is what my intro has to look like. Most people when they write an introductory post get to write about all sorts of happy things, meanwhile I'm over here going "Okay, so let's see if we can get the timeline of your over a decade long rape and abuse right." *sigh* Not exactly a good time read. Well...that's life I guess, so here we go.
The earliest memory I have of something being off was when I was 13. I was going into junior high, we had moved from one town to another a few years prior and I had never really adjusted. I'd lost all my friends from where I'd lived previously, and had never been able to make new ones in my new town. So, I was depressed and not looking forward to starting the school year. My stepfather was trying to console me one night, and he asked for a hug before I went to bed. The hug...lasted longer than a normal hug. He held on a little bit tighter, and I remember trying to pull away and having him pull me back. It was odd, but I had been upset so I didn't really think too much of it. Until he pulled me down to straddle his lap. That felt wrong, but it lasted for just a moment and then he let go. We said goodnight and I went to sleep. The next day, we were sitting...oh, I probably should pause and mention an important point. We lived in a small 3 bedroom house that had my mom, my stepfather, my brother, my grandmother and myself living in it. When I turned 12, my stepfather built me a room in the basement, because I was getting too old to share a room with my younger brother. So, everything that happens from here out, happens downstairs in the basement, away from the rest of the family. Yeah, I know...creepy as hell without anything else even happening.
So anyways, the next night my stepfather (let's call him R going forward, so I can save a tiny bit of typing) and I were sitting downstairs watching TV. He has set up an area in front of my bedroom door that had a TV, VCR, computer, and video game consoles so he could hang out with me (because...somehow that made more sense than spending time with his wife...apparently). Everything was going normally, until I had to go to bed. He turned and looked at me and asked if I was okay with the hug from the night before. He said "I just want to make sure you were okay with it. I know it was different than I usually hug you, and I don't want you to think that I'm trying to do anything. You don't have to tell your mom, because it didn't mean anything." I thought it was odd to bring it up again, but shrugged and said it didn't bother me. I thought, 'Well, if he's apologizing, he must have thought it was weird too and he probably won't do it again.". I wish that had been accurate. He slowly started hugging me more frequently, and the duration of the hugs would last a little longer than before. It was subtle though, I didn't really notice it all that much. I was just glad that he was paying attention to me, because my biological father had finally completely disappeared and I hadn't heard from him in probably over a year by this time. I don't really remember many details about what happened, but I remember the first time things went completely off the rails.
I was still 13. I was talking about being sad a lot (I didn't really know the word depression yet) and R was talking to me about what I thought was causing it. I explained that I thought maybe it was because I missed my grandfather (he had passed away when I was 9), and I remember that I started to cry. R then looked at me and said "I know something that will make you feel better." and I remember being desperate to not feel sad anymore, so I said "Okay." He told me to take my pants off, and I remember thinking that it was an odd request. I, being 13 and sad and lonely as hell however, obliged. He lifted me to sit on the workbench, and spread my legs. "Just relax." he said quietly, as he leaned down to put his mouth on me. At first it was just through my panties, but then after a couple of moments he slid them to the side and I could feel his tongue on my skin. He did that for a little bit, and nothing really happened. I remember it just felt wet. He stopped and looked up at me. "Was that okay? Did you like it?" he asked. "I guess." was my response, with a dismissive shrug. He nodded and helped me down. "It's better if you relax. Next time just enjoy it." he said, then he hugged me. "Just don't tell your mom. She wouldn't understand." he said, and then I was off to bed.
This became a...not quite regular, but also not infrequent thing to have happen. It never did anything for me. I never really understood what he was trying to accomplish. I think it frustrated him a little, but he never really said anything. I didn't say anything to my mother, or my grandmother, because to be honest I didn't realize what he was doing was bad. I hadn't watched porn, hadn't talked to friends about sex because I didn't have any, so to me it was just a weird thing he did sometimes.
This went on and on until my 14th birthday. By this time, I had it in my head that R was just going to touch me, whether I wanted him to or not, and I wasn't supposed to tell anyone because I would get in trouble. He had managed to convince me that if I told anyone that I would be taken away and locked up in a hospital somewhere for telling lies. When I started to question that, he came right out and said that if push came to shove, he would convince everyone that I was crazy or a pathological liar so that I would get taken away.
Then it got worse.
On my 14th birthday he promised that he had the best present for me. Something I would remember my whole life (well...he wasn't wrong). It got to be late at night, my birthday is in the summer so I didn't have to go to bed to get up for school the next day. Everyone else was asleep...and that's when I got my "present". My gift from him that year was losing my virginity. In a damp, dark basement being told to be quiet, I lost my virginity to my stepfather. When he was done, he asked me how it felt. Did it hurt? Did I enjoy it? How did it feel to be a woman now? My answers were what I thought he wanted to hear. A little. Yeah, I guess it was okay. I don't really feel any different honestly. Somehow those answers seemed to satisfy his need to question everything he did to me. He reminded me that I could never tell anyone. I agreed.
For the next 12 years he would have sex with me every night. Even after he got a job working a swing shift, he made sure that he had sex with me either before or after work nearly every day. When I got older I got better at feigning reasons not to. I had a migraine. I would pretend to fall asleep while watching a movie. I would make my mom or my brother sit with us and watch hours and hours of a show until it was too late for him to do anything. But it still happened more regularly than I was able to find excuses not to. Even when I did find a reason not to, he would fight with me for hours. Sometimes as many as 6 or 8 hours of arguing, fighting, yelling...all so that when I was finally headed to bed he could spit vitriol at me. "If you had just had sex with me, this could have been over hours ago."
I was told so many lies. He would leave my mother and brother. He would get me locked up. He couldn't be prosecuted because I was over 18 now. The worst was probably "If I adopt you we'll really be related and then I would have to stop having sex with you." I got adopted. It didn't stop. There was always some new reason why it was okay. I found out that he'd exposed me to herpes. He said "Well, if you contract it, it won't matter. I'm the only person you're going to have sex with." I tried to leave...so many times. I always ran out of money, or he'd harass me until I came back. Then he'd promise he wouldn't do it anymore. He'd just be my dad. It still didn't stop. Eventually he would badger me until I finally gave in and took off my pants. I was exhausted all the time.
I finally left when I met my ex-wife. I told her my secret, she gave me resources. Showed me that I was not alone. Showed me there were places I could go. People I could trust. On December 26th, 2011 I left. I told my mom and R that I was going to the store to get a prescription. I would be back soon. Surprisingly, no one tried to go with me. I ran away. I went to a domestic violence shelter. Quit my job, left my whole life behind. Started a new one. A better one. I've never looked back. I reconnected with my mother a few years later. She still doesn't believe me. She's still with him. I tried to press charges...pointless because there was no physical evidence, despite having piles and stacks of emails, messages, and posts from various social media from him. It wasn't enough. I settled for a permanent restraining order.
I still have so many issues, so many problems. None of it will ever heal completely, and nothing he did to me can ever be forgotten. I have nightmares where I see his face. I sometimes have panic attacks when I see the type of car he used to drive. I run away if I see someone that looks like him. I am stronger than I was 5 years ago, but I am still learning to be better. I don't know that I will ever be okay...but at least for now, I can say that I am no longer being raped. I am no longer being abused. I no longer fear for my life.
And for now, that has to be enough.