CSA Survivor Story – 31.
I never thought this day would come. I never thought I would do this. I never thought I would talk about my life in public.
I have spent all my life trying to deny that it didn’t bother me. I believed that I was over it. I believed that it will affect me only as long and as far as I let it. I believed I had the power to walk away.
I didn’t have any friend or a close confidant for 22 years of my life just because I felt ashamed to share my life with anybody.
How can I tell anybody that my father is having sex with me?
Until recently, I didn’t know the phrase “sexual abuse”. My way of telling what happened to me was “my father had sex with me, I didn’t like it at first and then I started liking it. I know it’s bad, very bad. I was cheating on my mother and my future husband. How can I do this to my own family? How can I look my mom in the eye and talk to her?”
I would phrase these words in different ways in my mind for 14 years. When these thoughts came up, I hated myself for being such a bad person. I could not withstand the burden of these thoughts. Sometimes, actual scenes played in mind. It was like watching a horror movie without sound. I will run away to a safe place in my mind, desperately searching for happy thoughts or God, powerful enough to shutdown these thoughts and memories and save me.
I was successful in getting past them, at least for a few hours or days before they came up again. I believed that I was over it. I believed that they will affect me only as long and as far as I let them. I believed I had the power to walk away. I believed that I have won.
Won’t you say a woman is successful when she finishes her Master’s degree in America land, finds a job that pays well, takes care of her parents and sisters, finds a husband that her parents approved, has a beautiful child at 27 and goes on with her life?
I thought my life looked perfect from outside. I prided myself for that. Only I knew how hard it was to fake that everything in my life was so perfect.
When I held my 3 month old daughter in my hands on a cold night during one of those marathon feeding sessions, I started shaking, shaking with fear. I was so scared and I had no clue how I am going to keep my child safe. I kept telling myself, “If you could not keep yourself safe, how are you going to take care of your child? You are not capable of doing it. You did a grave mistake by having this child. How dare you sponsor a visa for your father and bring him here? Just because you don’t have the courage to confront your father, you are going to put your child in danger? You are not fit to be a mother and you never will be “.
I couldn’t bare these thoughts. These questions haunted me and left me breathless.
I was rambling to my husband for 3 days, asking him repeatedly if we will keep our child safe and what if we don’t and things of that nature. He had no clue why I was asking these questions but he kept on saying that we will take good care of our child and will make sure she is safe at all times.
I could not deal with the pressure building inside me and I thought I will go insane if I don’t do something about it. I haven’t told anyone till this point about what happened to me and I had no plans of doing it now.
So, I wrote an email to my father saying that I know what he did to me and the other girls and asked him to back off from my daughter. I was bold enough to say that I wouldn’t think twice about ending his relationship if I thought he was a danger to my child in anyways. I am not sure if I meant it at that time. I ended my email saying that I was planning to keep this a secret like all these years unless he plans to do otherwise.
I didn’t hear from him after this. During my daily calls to my mom, I avoided talking to him. This went on for about a week and suddenly one day, my mom asked me if what I wrote was true. I was shocked and then surprised about how she knew it. She said that my father showed her my email (because she saw the subject of my email “confidential” from distance and asked him what I have written. I think it is a divine coincidence). I said, yes it is true and it happened long back. She asked if I knew what I was talking or was I going crazy? I got angry and told her its true and it’s up to her to believe me or not.
I also confided in my best friend about what happened to me around this time and she cried. I could not understand why she was crying. I kept on saying sorry and was assuring her that I was alright now and it doesn’t bother me anymore. I told her that it is an old scar and not a fresh wound. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
She asked me to get counseling help. I said yes but did not do much about it. She made sure I found a counselor and got help in the next few days.
That is the best thing I ever did for myself and I am thankful to my friend forever for making me do it.
Few days after the confrontation, my mom came to stay with me for 6 months to take care of the baby. Even though her trip was planned long back, it could not have been at a better time.
My mom had been brain washed by my father before she left and she did not believe me. We fought every day and some days I thought that she believed me and some days I didn’t and my mom felt the same way. It was horrible.
My worst fear was coming true. All my life I believed that I cheated on my mom as that is what my father told me. I always feared that I would lose my mom if this came up and that was happening right before my eyes and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. It was worse than the abuse. I already lost my father and here I am losing my mother all over again. I was breaking down every day I heard that my mom did not believe me.
It took 2 months and lots of mediating by my 2nd sister, for my mom to believe me and understand what happened.
On one side I was fighting with her to believe me and on other side I was so mad and I could not understand why she didn’t believe me. Even after I have started dealing with my abuse by my father, I am able to look at my mom and not blame her for anything that happened to me as I know it was not her fault, but she questions me? “How dare she?” was my response.
With lots of help from my friend, my 2nd sister and my counselor, my mom and I crossed the worst times of our lives.
Just around this time, I was having panic attacks and severe anxiety attacks when my mom left for shopping or anywhere. I was scared to be alone with the baby.
The worst thing I had to deal with was not the abuse itself but me. I had conflicting feelings about my father. I wanted him to leave and at the same time I felt sorry for him. I hated myself for feeling sorry for him. I was my worst enemy. I berated myself and did not know how to deal with this conflict.
My counselor helped me through the rough days and gave me hope. She told me that it was ok to miss my father. It was ok to mourn his loss.
I started learning that I could have a lot more bad days but over time they would be outnumbered by the number of good days I have.
The first year after I started talking about my abuse was horrible. All my relationships were breaking down.
My family has been my foundation, my ground. It was cracking and breaking down and I did not know how to fix it or if it was worth fixing it. I have always tried to fix my relationship with my father even though I knew it would break and I did not want to do the same mistake again.
I was very stubborn that I did not want people who don’t care about me in my life any more. I was not ready to give any leave way especially for anyone in the family.
The first year was spent mending my relationship with my mom, my husband and my 1st sister.
I have come a long way from there.
Today, my mom is my best support. She is with me through all my difficult days, changed her life 360 degrees for me and would do anything to stop me from hurting.
As my counselor frequently says, I got a good egg. My husband has been a great support once I started trusting him and talking to him about my abuse. We got help from my counselor and today we still have our issues but I know that he is always there for me.
My relationship with my 1st sister is still on the mend. We have our own share of sibling issues and the abuse was a cherry on the cake. She is very confused and doesn’t know what to do about me or her father. I have made all the efforts from my side and I am waiting for her to come around and hold my hand. It might take months or years but I hope that one day she will come back.
I have talked to my extended family about my abuse and I have their full support.
My father is not part of my life any more.
As a family we have chosen a new path. A choice we made (my mom, my 2nd sis and I) to be without a father. It is very difficult and trying. But we stand together and we are there for each other and we try to make the best of what we got.
I am still dealing with the after effects of the abuse. I still have flash backs. New memories attack me from nowhere. I know I have to deal with it all my life. But I am a fighter. I will not lose or quit. I know that one day; this abuse will be a thing in my past and not something that defines me.
I want to mention that I was also abused by a cousin and a teacher when I was young. I did not tell anybody about this either. I didn’t know who to tell. Am I going to tell my father? He might not even have a problem with it. I didn’t trust my mom or anybody for that matter. This is what I lost because of my abuse, the innocent trust that children have in their parents. I never had it.