Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Screams of Silence


Getting off the bus I made my way into my bedroom glancing at the clock dreading that five o'clock would soon come. I had grown to hate that time of day because I knew he was on his way home and the nightmare would begin all over again. He was so cunning, fooling everyone with his kind smile while inside there was a demon waiting to be unleashed where only I would see it. My stomach tied in knots as I tried to come up with a way to stop what would happen later tonight. I tried to shake off the feeling of impending doom and forced myself to finish my homework. The numbers just blurred before my eyes as I attempted to pay attention to the math questions. After long minutes of staring at the pages I just threw the book across the room. I thought to myself what did it matter I wasn't going to finish school, as soon as I could I was leaving this place.

My mom was working so I knew dinner was my job tonight and my younger sisters were probably going to be moaning over starving if I didn't get my act together. I made my way into the kitchen and threw some hotdogs on the stove and the normal griping session between me and my siblings began. At sixteen I didn't feel it was my place to take care of the little brats and I really resented my mom for working. In my thoughts she married the monster we lived with because he had money so why should she even have a job in the first place.

Just to back up a little, before we met the devil we were living with my granny who was the only angel that still walked this world in my opinion. My mom treated her like crap and I resented her for that because in my eyes granny could do no wrong. It was just one of the many things I resented her for and I vowed to spend the rest of my days making her pay for the hell she forced me to live through. In my mind there was no way she couldn't know what her demon husband was doing to me and since she didn't put a stop to it, she could only be a part of it. I think in some ways I hated her more than him because she was my mother and supposed to protect me.

I made dinner and me and my sisters scattered off to eat as far away from each other as we could be in the house. By this time I didn't want them anywhere around me. They were just these little fortunate creatures that got to live a normal life while my existence was one of fear and always looking over my shoulder. When the sun went down though all my horrible thoughts about them would change because they were the only line of defense between me and the devil that waited to attack when no one else was watching.

As his happy voice announced his arrival, I cringed inwardly. This was the part where we pretended to be the family that everyone wished they could have. On the outside I would smile and pretend to be glad to see him and suffer the familiar hug that made me physically nauseated. This was my role in the deception, pretending that he was just a great man and I appreciated all the things he had given to our family. We had this big beautiful house, designer clothes, and all the material things in life that most people craved. Our neighborhood was one reserved for the upper class and for people like us who had come from a line of cotton farmers, we were supposed to show the proper respect for being granted this walk on the good side for a change. Personally I was pretty happy with my granny's little old, but comfortable house that smelled like apple pie and sunshine and they could keep all this external makeup that made my life a living hell.

As soon as was politely acceptable, everything in this house was about that, I escaped my acting role and made it upstairs to my bedroom. In that room I had my barbie dolls, and yes at sixteen I was a little old to play with them but they made me happy. My barbies had the perfect life and no one ever made them do things that left them feeling uncomfortable and dirty. I would dress them and act out my perfect life and lose myself in their world because mine just pretty much sucked. I had close to thirty different dolls and each of them had become my personal friends. They were the only ones that knew the deep, dark secrets I kept hidden from the rest of the world. These dolls understood my pain and shared my tears. It was the summer of that year that I started having my dreams about my Rafe.

Before I tell you about Rafe let me explain what was so horrible in our beautiful little doll house, because that's how I still see it in my mind. We were these small town country folks dressed up to fit into a world where we didn't belong. All the accessories that made up the outside that people could see was just an illusion. None of us belonged in this world where people judged you by your cars and house instead of how good of a neighbor you were. There was a certain way you were supposed to act, things you knew that you couldn't discuss because looking bad to the Jones' was the last thing you wanted to happen.

As the lights went off at night the perfect little world we lived in turned into a nightmare. My baby sisters were in my room, even though they had their own because I had terrible dreams if they didn't sleep with me. My mom had given in to letting us sleep together knowing if she didn't I would keep her up all night with my screams. I tied the pantyhose from my door knob to the bed post because it was the only defense I could come up with against the monster who was waiting to enter every night. This was normal to my mom because I was fighting against something unreal and if it made me sleep better she couldn't see any reason why I shouldn't do it.

I could hear the clock ticking on my wall and I huddled under the covers waiting for the terror to begin. It didn't matter that I couldn't breathe under the covers very well because breathing wasn't really high up on my list of priorities at night. There were nights I wished I could just stop breathing all together because being dead would have to be better than this. The pounding steps in the hall way began and I clenched the covers tightly hoping tonight the monster would just go away and leave me in peace.

The doorknob was being turned, I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I began praying hoping that God would grant me a reprieve just this one night. The tears fell down my cheeks as the door creaked open and I knew he had made it past my barricade. Not again, I begged God, getting angry that he wasn't protecting me from the demon and starting to think he was part of the torture as well. I wanted to scream at my sisters to wake up but I was so terrified my mouth wouldn't open. Even though they were younger than me I hated them for not helping me even as I was glad at least they weren't being tormented as well.

His hands slid under the covers and the things he did to me had me screaming in silence in my mind. Let it be over quickly, that was all I could think about as I slid into my special place where none of what was happening in reality was real at all. I could escape everything if I managed to go to my secret spot where nothing bad could ever touch me. What was going on in my room was just a bad dream and that's the night when I first met my beautiful Rafe. He held out his hand and beckoned me to him offering me an escape from my world and the chance to walk in his.

All these horrible things were happening to my real body but when I was with Rafe I wasn't suffering any of them. My walk in his world continued every night for four years. He was my salvation and the only thing that stopped me from completely losing my mind to the suffering. I couldn't share what was happening in my reality because polite society would never understand. My mom was happy and finally had all the material things she had wanted and if my secret was revealed she would be forced to give up her dreams. I suffered in silence and lived in my dreams when the pain became so unbearable that I knew to accept what was happening would destroy everything in our lives.

I became a person outside that I still regret, partying with the wrong people who in retrospect were probably going through some of the same things that I was. With my new friends it was all about pushing the limits of what was acceptable because we knew that our parents would buy our way out of trouble if it came to it. There was no real connection to our families because they were so busy trying to keep up with each other that what their kids did really didn't add up to much. Looking back now it's easy to understand that the dark secrets I harbored led to a resent of my mother for not knowing what was happening in her own house. The fact that she had a full time job and three kids didn't matter in my mind because it was her job to protect me.

Our arguments were endless and violent. I wanted her to suffer for not opening her eyes. Words were all I had and I took every chance to throw them her way. My grades at school were falling rapidly and I didn't really care. In my mind school was just another place that people forced me to do things I didn't want and there really wasn't much benefit to what they were offering. I skipped classes and hung out with my friends and eventually a group of five of my closest friends and I ran away from home. There was not one ounce of compassion left inside of me to care what type of torment that would put my family through. As far as I was concerned they abandoned me long ago and I was just returning the favor.

We hitchhiked from Alabama to Florida with some truckers. Looking back now I know we were fortunate not to be killed. One of our friends had moved to Florida with his mother and she managed a hotel there. She gave us a place to stay so we didn't have to sleep out on the beach and the next two weeks were like a huge slumber party. I saw my face on the news one night and the only feeling I had about that was wishing they would just give up the search. I didn't want to be found because here there was no dealing with the constant abuse back home and I was finally free.

Going back to the truckers I should mention that we stayed overnight at a hotel and partied. One of them had wanted to make out and I refused. I wouldn't find out til months later that he eventually turned us in. His conscious had forced him to make the call, that's what he told the authorities. All I can say about that is he didn't have much of a conscious when he was hitting on a sixteen year old girl. His tip was how they finally located us. Me and my five girlfriends were taken to Juvenile where I would spend the next week.

I never revealed the reason I had run away to them and honestly I could have stayed in that place until I was eighteen and been happy about it. My mother and the demon took me home and the next four years would be a living hell. I was transferred out of a public school and put in a private one because by that time I had missed so much time I wouldn't pass for the year. My grades improved because I finally had one on one instruction and some great teachers and I had discovered how to separate what was happening at home thanks to my dream lover Rafe. I became a straight A student while partying every weekend with my friends and staying away from home as much as possible.

What was going on in my life by this point was just normal to me. I know that probably sounds strange to someone who hasn't lived through it but you learn to accept some things after years of being subjected to a situation. I dated many different men and deeply regret many of the choices I made. None of what was happening or the things I did mattered much to me. I could have left my home at eighteen and moved back home with my granny but I was so conditioned to my life by that point that I didn't want to leave. The torture from my stepfather was avoidable most nights of the week by staying with friends. I enjoyed my new car and the material things so much that I was willing to accept that this was the price I had to pay to have them.

The night it all came to an end still plays in my mind like an old song that I can't forget. I had gotten pregnant which was no big surprise to anyone that knew me at that time. I managed to have a beautiful son and gave up everything in my life that was harmful. Only I knew the dark secret that my gorgeous little bundle of joy could possibly have closer ties then my family would understand. It wasn't as if I'd been a saint over the last few years because sexuality to me no longer held the sacredness that it had before I was subjected to the demons visits. And let me be clear that I have little recollection of what happened during those nights except for the fondling and such because I blocked those from my mind with my visits to my dream lover.

It was after I had my son that my mom discovered pictures that would change the course of our lives. These pictures were of me in various undressed poses. I have no memory of these pictures being taken but they were my salvation. Those photos made my mother finally see the truth of what had been happening all those years behind closed doors. I sincerely believe that she had no clue of the abuse I was being subjected too. It took years for me to get to a point where I could actually forgive her for not knowing what was happening. We moved out of the demons house that same day and back home to live with my granny.

The entire incident was swept under the rug, so to speak. My mom never pressed charges and I didn't want to relive the past in court so nothing was every done to the demon. I have often regretted that decision because I worry that he may still be out there today doing the same thing to another person. In retrospect it was selfish for me not to hold him accountable for the pain he forced me to live through but I had escaped and that was all I could focus on. After all these years I still haven't been able to put that nightmare to rest.

I decided to share my story in the hopes that someone who may be going through the same thing finds a little hope. If you're out there and feel like there are dark secrets that you have to hide, know that you're not alone. You have done nothing wrong and there is a way out. No one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable or touch you without permission. One thing that an abuser does is makes you feel like what is happening is your fault, it's not. There are people in this world that want to help you and if you can't find them, then find me. I was fortunate to survive the mental and physical abuse that I suffered alone in my mind, but I never want to see another person suffer in that way. Below I have listed the web address and national hotline for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network). If you are suffering these people can help you. Don't suffer in silence when you don't have to be alone.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
1.800.656.HOPE

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