I had a very hard time putting what I wanted into words yesterday. I am not a murderess, nor will I be, and never was one. Though cherished parts of me were murdered, trust, innocence and safety for starters. I’ll never get those parts back.
I am speaking of the right to say whatever a girl of eight might say, and maybe I would have said I wish my brothers were dead. Maybe I would only have said if asked, “I don’t like them.” I surely spent most of my life wishing I were dead until Samuel said how hard it was for him to hear that. So I said instead, “I wish I had never been born.” That is the piercing and shattering of childhood sexual abuse.
As a girl of eight, I remember desperately needing the freedom of that expression while being interviewed in the princess competition my mother put in, “Do you love your family?” the interviewer asked kindly, of course expecting any little girl to show her love and warmth.
I held it in like a balloon about to explode. I knew Mother wouldn’t want me to say anything bad about my brothers. She wanted me to win so much. I felt confused, torn— alone. I said nothing or very little or maybe a soft, “Yes.”
The first violent attack had occurred and another sibling had held me down and begun his torture. When the interviewer asked me about brothers now turned monsters… that is when I needed help and a voice but it was already taken when my mother didn’t help but instead blamed. I needed to speak the truth, but the feelings of shame silenced me just as Mother planned.
I didn’t win, furthering the very bad feelings I had about myself curdling inside. Now I had let my mother down. I was not pretty enough to win. I didn’t love my family enough. I had not answered the question properly. I was bad, bad, bad. Nothing ever escaped me about what they had done. I contained it all.
How is that possible? How is a child able to? What does that do to a child? I blamed myself for it all. Rage grew with the charade I felt forced to portray. I have felt forced all my life and don’t know freedom, only moments, bits and pieces. I want more. I want to stand up and say who I am, the truth; a fighter, a warrior, a survivor of unmentionables that need to be mentioned, shouted to the world. Wake up and listen, dam you!