In my last post I talked about how I learned to take apart a memory. In this post about child sexual abuse I am going to detail one event in my life and then In part three, show how I took the memory apart a bit more in relation to the “other things” that happened in order to realize that the confusion and depression that I thought I understood had a much bigger impact on me then I realized just from the event itself. There were other things associated with this child sexual assault that contributed to my low self esteem, depression, mental health struggle and dissociative behavior. I had been emotionally abused and mistreated many years before this, and this assault was not the first sexual assault of my life, but it was one that seemed to set my path in deeper cement. Something broke in me after that night. I think this is when I lost hope. I think that this is when I believed that I really was worthless and unlovable.
When I was 13 years old, my mother had an Italian boyfriend, Phillip, who was much younger than her. He was really cute with sparkling light brown eyes and curly black hair. He worked in construction so he was what we teenagers thought of as “really built” and what is known today as ripped, hot etc. He used to take my brother and I riding in his convertible and we thought he was totally awesome.
One night while I was sleeping, just after my 14th birthday I woke up to Phillip touching me sexually. I was disoriented and immediately scared. This was not my first time being sexually assaulted and I had learned to freeze. Freezing includes being too afraid to scream and I found myself whispering things to him, trying to talk my way out of it. He was drunk and not making a lot of sense. All he was wearing were little white briefs and he was trying to get into bed with me. I lost time. I remember him telling me that he loved my mother, but I also remember him calling me by her name when he was getting into bed with me, grabbing and groping me. The next thing I remember is my Aunt who was visiting us and sleeping in the room next to mine, opening the door of my bedroom and shouted at Phillip “Get out of her room” He argued with her, and she stated again, this time louder “Get out of her room”. I don’t remember anything else that night.
No one addressed it that night; he could have come in again. I don’t remember much about the rest of the night though. I stayed in my room that morning, and when my mom came in I knew that my Aunt had spoken to my mother. I remember her sitting on my bed and telling me that I must have misunderstood, the he would “Never” do that. He was still in the house. It was the next morning and he didn’t have to get out of the house. My mother was saying something about how he wanted to take us on a picnic to make up for the misunderstanding. The thought of that started the panic all over again in me; I said that I would not go. I was really stunned that this conversation was happening. How could she consider going out somewhere and doing something “fun” with this creepy scary man that tried to have sex with her 14 year old daughter? I remember wondering if I was dreaming. I wondered if this was my mother. I wondered if she would suddenly hear me and realize that I had been violated; ME her daughter had been violated. But she sat there pleading with me to come on a freaking picnic (with the same guy that had been trying to rape me) and kept explaining that he was drunk; that she had broken up with him because she found out he was married to a woman who was still in Italy, but when he showed up drunk, she didn’t want him to drive so she let him stay. She tried to convince me that maybe he didn’t know what he was doing but he would never do “that”.
She never once asked me what happened. I don’t recall even trying to tell her. I guess I knew by that age that I would not be heard and I the truth is that she didn’t want to know.
But at the end of the conversation my mother dealt the crushing blow. She said “Well Darlene, you do have a crush on him.”
That is the memory of the event. I started having anxiety attacks. I gained 30 pounds over the next few months. I stopped sleeping properly and preferred to sleep in the daylight. I tried alcohol that summer and started to sneak it mostly because I was having trouble sleeping. I withdrew from all my friends including the boy that I considered to be my boyfriend. I didn’t even give him an explanation; I just stopped taking his calls. Over the next year I became obsessed with suicidal thoughts and prayed to die in my sleep every night. My mother let this man come over a few more times. I lived in constant fear because I never knew when he would show up. I never knew if he would come and punish me or threaten me for telling. And since there were no consequences to him, I was afraid that he would come back and finish what he started. I didn’t tell anyone else. I didn’t see the point.
These are the things that I put together myself about this one incident. In my next post I will list all the factors that I had not considered prior to learning how to take a memory apart.
Please feel free to share your story, your reaction or whatever else you would like to say.