I must have been around 5 years when I first asked ‘from where babies came from.’ You looked at Daddy and smiled. Then whenever I asked the only thing you said that I was brought from the hospital. After that, I spent my childhood years wondering then how did babies get into the mother’s stomach.
I remember once coming upon Daddy and you making out. It was embarrassing so when cousin Creepy who was 10 years older to me started touching me down there I was confused. I did not know what to make out. It was done in very unobtrusive ways, cajoling me. I did not know what to do about it. But I knew it was not right,
I was apprehensive to talk to you because I was afraid of how you would react. I remember once when you chanced on me reading some romantic story trying to find out what happens when couples fall in love, get married which is followed by a baby. How does it happen? You just snatched the book away from me, told me to go play. It made me feel bad and ashamed, that I had done something wrong – a naughty little girl.
Presence Was A Protection
I was 8 years when you fell seriously ill and had to have a hysterectomy. Cancer from your breast had spread to your uterus. The double mastectomy could not stop the onslaught of the cancerous cells. You had to quit your job and were at home. However, those years, protected me from Creepy. He did not get a chance to be alone with me. And I forgot about what he used to do.
You died too soon. I was only 11 years. How would my brother and I survive? I knew it would be difficult but then you taught us to cook and clean and take care of our things. We even became responsible for our own homework and studies. So as not to enrage Daddy who was quick to fly off the handle. But sadly the most important thing you did not discuss or prepare me for was ‘How to deal with SEX’. Or how to protect myself as a woman.
Predators In The Family
Now that you were not there, cousin Creepy started coming visiting regularly. By that time I had learned what sex was and how babies were formed, so I began keeping away from him. I clearly remember coming from school and I was alone at home. He grabbed me and tried to push me on the bed, I screamed. Grandmother (father’s mother) who lived in the flat below heard my screams and called out. He went down and grandmother asked him what happened, he said nothing that I was just screaming. But, grandmother knew what had happened, the only thing she said was ‘just like her mother’ implying my mother, you were a loose woman which was untrue. What an evil woman she was. Her attitude emboldened Creepy to continue his abuse. How women enable sexual abuse.
After this, he continued to come over and molest me when I was asleep. There were times I awoke because I felt being touched but by then he’d run off. I remember waking up screaming and when Daddy who woke with my screams asked what the matter was, I’d be blank because by then Creepy had disappeared.
Dealing with sexual predators in the family is so confusing for a child. I just couldn’t understand adult deceit.
Scoliosis Became My Armor
Then when Uncle Twerp began weirdly looking at me I tried to ignore. No, how can an uncle feel those things for his niece? Soon his wife noticed (your sister who you thought would guide me into womanhood). She got enraged and accused me of trying to seduce him. I a girl of 13. Your mother sat there in silent acquiesence. There was no escape, I had to protect myself. Hiding my body was the only way to survive – it obeyed my commands to become unattractive and asexual. Scoliosis was the perfect armor.
It’s now nearly 40 years and I am still recovering from the effects of that incestuous abuse. It makes me angry that these predators preyed on a helpless child, but what makes me more angry is that you never openly answered my questions. I know had I been able to talk about sex, I would have told you about my abuse. You would have taken steps to protect me. But sadly you did not know as I was apprehensive to discuss the matter with you.
Research has shown that as much as 90 percent of child sex abuse is the result of incest.
I know you did your best and were a good mother in most ways but my life would have been different if you were open about sex and other important matters.
Secrecy & Shame: The Main Reasons For Abuse
I do forgive you because your behavior stemmed from ignorance. You grew up in a different time and may not have experienced childhood sexual abuse.
Anyone who experiences sexual abuse as a child knows how close predators are and will make sure they protect their children with knowledge and open communication. A child must know that he/she can discuss anything with a parent. It’s the most important gift we give our child. The freedom to be open and trusting in their relationships with mom/dad.
I did not make this mistake with my son. He always came to me for answers to his questions right from age 2, when he first asked, “What is this?” I always answered truthfully. He is now an adult and he still comes to me with his questions, I jokingly tell him “Why don’t you Google?” He answers “Why should I when Mom is there!”
Secrecy, shame and lack of communication are the main reasons for childhood sexual abuse.
I may not have been a better mother but I know being open with my child has protected him from abuse. Most abusers will refrain from targeting a child when they know that a child will tell.
I really wish I could have openly discussed things with you. It would have made a huge difference in how I dealt with sexual predators. My life may have been different, one never knows though.
Miss you Mummy,
Love you, always
Image Source: Pixabay
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma – Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D
Healing Steps: A Gentle Path to Recovery for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse – Sharyn Higdon Jones