January 13, 2016

An Open Letter to My Rapist

I've come a long way in healing but have so much further to go. I wrote this on December 31, 2015 and posted it publicly on Facebook. My intention with this letter is to help other victims and survivors know it's ok to talk about the trauma. It's ok to stand up, speak out and tell your story.

I also wrote this to tell those fortunate enough to have never experienced child sexual abuse, rape and incest that when you keep us silent, you keep us in pain. You deny our truth. But the truth has a way of coming to light. Help the survivors thrive. Help the victims heal. Help us fight this crime so another child never lives this way.

I loved you once. I thought you were a great guy. Someone to joke around and hang out with. You shattered that image on August 13, 1978. You told me we would have a great time that day. Spending time together just the two of us. We would have ice cream. Instead, you drove me to a house. I don't remember how far away it was. All I could think of was what you told me in the car. I was to have an operation. A special operation. I told you I didn't feel sick and I was fine but you insisted and I trusted that you knew best. You said I was going to go to sleep and when I woke up my vagina would hurt a bit but I needed this operation in order to have babies one day. I went along. Willingly. Not truly understanding what I was being told.
Once inside the house I noticed it was more of a medical office. You took me into a room where you watched me undress and helped put a medical gown on. It was cold. Three doctors met us in the hall. I was lifted onto a table and wheeled into the next room. It was an operating room painted hospital green. One of the doctors asked if I understood what was going to happen. I repeated what you told me to say. Satisfied, one of the doctors gave me anesthetic and asked me to recite the alphabet backwards. I was scared and nervous so I babbled nonsense until I blacked out.
When I woke up I was in pain. Something was pushing inside me and you were on top of me. I couldn't breathe. I tried to push you off but you were too strong. You laughed as I cried. Someone took photos. I can still remember the click of the camera and the flash that blinded me. When you finally got off me, the doctors took their turn. I don't remember how many hours it took for four men to destroy a seven-year-old child.
Yes. I remember.
I remember the boat ride to Heart Lake where you tried to drown me when I refused to touch you. You got your way only because I was terrified of drowning. I couldn't swim. I remember the times you lifted weights and had me spot you. It was only a cover story and an excuse for you to get me to touch you and for you to touch me. You always had Genesis playing. To this day I can't listen to those songs without wanting to throw up. I remember the time I was eating breakfast in your mother's kitchen when you walked into the house. You entered the kitchen and said you didn't realize I was home. You stood behind me and began caressing my shoulders slowly moving downward. Something in me snapped that day. Fury and rage came up and I saw the serrated bread knife beside my plate. I grabbed it, spun around and held it to your throat. “If you ever even think about touching me again I'll fucking kill you.” Those are the exact words I said. You left without a word. It was two months before my 13th birthday.
I remember the countless times I was forced to kiss and hug you hello. The very thought repulsed me. I remember the way you looked at me and what those looks meant. It was common knowledge that I hated your guts though nobody knew why. I remember when my father died and you hugged me as you told me how sorry you were I lost my Dad. Once again fury and rage rose up. I pushed you and you slammed against the wall. “I told you a long time ago to never touch me again. I meant it.” Everyone in the room heard what I'd said. I'm sure everyone in the sanctuary did too considering I yelled those words at you. Funny how not a single person asked me what I'd meant. Perhaps, deep down, all of them suspected what you were and had done to me?
Who gave you the right to violate me? What were you possibly thinking? You destroyed who I was with your sick selfishness. You demanded I keep what you did a secret.
I kept the secret in an effort to keep the peace. I allowed you to live, have a family and wealth beyond most people's dreams. What I should have done was reported you immediately. What I should have done was tell someone the moment it happened. What I should have done was not blame myself. But enough of the “what I should have done's”.
While I keep your identity a secret, one day you will answer for what you did. Not by me or the pathetic excuse of a justice system we have here but when you are finally dead and go in front of the Council of Elders what will you tell them? How will you explain why you raped a child? The moment you die I go fully public. Your name will be known to all. Everyone will know who and what you were in this life. Your mother had a poem on her fridge for many years. It was called “Your Name” by Edgar A. Guest. I cherished that poem as a child knowing I would never shame the family. How tragic you weren't able or couldn't be bothered to live your life by that poem's message.
It is now 2016. The past is the past. My future begins now. As of this moment I shall be telling my story to as many people as I possibly can. No longer will I be afraid of you. No longer will I be held captive in this prison you helped create. No longer will I be silent. No longer will I be held to blame for what you did. No longer will I hold this guilt and shame.
You destroyed the child I was. Hell will freeze over before you destroy the woman I have become.

April 01, 2013

A Nightmare Continued...

It repeats itself in my mind each night.  My crying in agony.  Their masked faces.  The flashes of a camera.  The weight of their bodies on mine.  I force myself to stay awake each night until I'm so exhausted I fall asleep.  It's a habit I'm unable to break.  So far.  It's been so long since I've written this out.  I'm nauseous even thinking about writing this.  And I'm angry.  Not just mad.  But angry.  The kind of anger that fills me with absolute rage. 

I was a little girl. 

A child. 

Just 7-years-old. 

But I cannot ignore this any longer.  I need to speak up about it.  Even though I'm terrified at the thought of writing this.  Even though my entire body is trembling. 

I was raped.  Not by one man. 

I was raped by four men.  It was the summer of 1978.  I didn't know what it was called back then.  I don't recall if I even knew the word 'rape'.  All I did know was that I woke up in the middle of a medical procedure I was forced into. 

He was on top of me. 

He was pushing inside of me. 

When he finished, another took his place.  They each took turns. 

I remember laughing.  I remember hearing weird noises.  I remember the flash of a camera. 

I don't know how long they used me. 

Eventually, they stopped. 

On the way home, I didn't dare say a word. 
I just listened.
And stared straight ahead into traffic.
He said I was a good girl.
He told me it was a secret.
Only between us.
Nobody else was to know.
If I told anyone, they wouldn't believe me. 

So I kept quiet.

When we finally got back to his parent's house, I ran to the kitchen and hugged his mother as tight as I could, never wanting to let go.
Eventually I had to let go though.
She was cooking dinner.
I don't know if she knew I was upset...by that age I had already learned not to cry.
Crying just made everything worse.
So I kept quiet.

And started to eat.

When my parents dropped me off at my relative's house that summer, I was a really slender kid.
So slender that my brother and I resembled twins even though I'm nearly two years older.
Sometime after the operation, he took me to the lake.  Hart Lake. 


He rented a rowboat.  He took us to a secluded area.  I don't recall anyone else around.  But this time I had a protector.  My beloved stuffed purple-and-white bunny.  I took her everywhere with me.  The water was still and dark.  He told me to come closer to him.  I said no.  He insisted.  Again, I said no.  He said if I didn't sit beside him he would make water come into the boat.  I didn't believe him.  The boat began to rock.  I got scared.  I quietly got up and moved closer to him. 
  He took my hand and told me to touch him.  I said no.  He told me if I didn't touch him and let him touch me he would rock the boat.  I said no.  He rocked the boat.  Hard.  Water seeped in.  I started crying.  I didn't want to die.  I was just learning to swim at camp.  My bunny nearly fell into the lake.  I nearly fell into the lake.  So I said ok.  I didn't have a choice.  I'm still sick to my stomach knowing I agreed.  He put my hand on him.  He told me to keep touching him.  I didn't want to.  I didn't want him to touch me.  He wouldn't stop.  He said I made him feel good and wanted to make me feel good too. 

He told me I could never tell anyone what we did or I'd get in trouble. 

So I kept quiet.  And I kept eating. 

When my parents picked my brother and I up later that summer, they were met by a very chubby, sullen, withdrawn girl who was very happy to see them.
But the light and laughter was gone from my eyes and from my spirit.
I knew the truth but I couldn't say a word.

All I would tell my mother is that he tried to drown me in the lake.  She yelled at him to never scare me like that again.  I didn't tell her about the other stuff we did.  I was too scared.  I was told my parents wouldn't want me or love me anymore if I told.  So I kept quiet.

And kept that little broken girl hidden from the world.
Terrified that something far worse would happen.
I kept my eyes open as long as I could before falling asleep.
I surrounded myself with as many of my stuffed animals as I could, praying each night they would keep me safe.
As the days passed into weeks and then months and finally years, the events of that summer stayed in the back of my mind. No matter how hard I tried to push those memories away, they stayed. Always reminding me of what a horrible person I was. 

January 27, 2013

A New Beginning...

I remember too much. Sometimes I wish I didn't remember anything. Actually, I wish I never remembered any of it. It pains me to remember. It pains others to hear about it. Part of me doesn't want to write this. It's almost as if I'm forced to. I need to heal. In telling my story and relating my journey of healing to you, perhaps it will help others to heal. I hope so. I'd hate to think all of this was in vain.

My story is not typical. Not by a long shot. I grew up in the suburbs. To the outside world, we were a normal family. Dysfunctional. But like everyone else. Except I wasn't like everyone else. I wasn't like any other person I knew.

All I can do is write what I remember.
How I remember it.
I don't care if you don't believe me.
I don't care that you think I'm making it up.
I'm not.
I remember this.
I've always remembered this.
I didn't wake up one day and these memories just suddenly appeared.
I've always remembered this happening.
I don't want to.
I wish to G-d it never happened but it did.


August, 1978. My parents were on vacation in Europe and had left my younger brother and I in the care of older relatives. Their son told his parents we were going out and would be back later.

In the car he told me I was going to the doctor's office.
I asked why since I wasn't sick and felt fine.
He said I needed to have a procedure done...like an operation but I'd be asleep for it.
He explained it was to make my vagina bigger so I could have babies one day.
I didn't know I couldn't say no.
I didn't know nobody else knew this was happening.
All I knew was that he was an adult. I had to listen to him and respect him.
So I trusted he knew what he was doing.

He drove me to this place made to look like a doctor's office.
We were asked to come into a small room where I was told to take off all my clothes including my underwear and change into a patient's gown.
I was helped onto a table which was then wheeled into the operating room.
There were other men there...four altogether, including my male relative.
They were dressed in doctor's gowns and masks. Except him. He was still wearing the clothes he wore earlier.
I was asked if the procedure was explained to me. I said yes. I was nervous and scared.
I was given anesthetic.
I was told to recite the alphabet backwards.
I was so nervous I just babbled nonsense until I blacked out.
I had no reason to suspect they weren't doctors.
When I woke up, one of them was on top of me.
I couldn't breathe.
It hurt.
I felt like I was being ripped apart.
They didn't care that I was crying.
They didn't care that I was scared.
I heard the snap and click of a camera and saw the blinding flash.
I was humiliated.

They took turns.

When they finished with me, I was told the procedure went wonderfully.
I was sore.
I was tired.
I was confused.
I wanted to throw up.
I didn't want to be near him anymore.
I sensed something had changed my relationship with him forever.
I sensed something had changed me forever.
I just wanted to go home.

I was 7-years-old.