Survive: to remain alive or in existence after

Survivor: One that survives; someone capable of surviving changing conditions, misfortune, etc.

Friday, March 11, 2011


  • 1 in 16 boys and 1 in 3 girls will be sexually abused before age 18
  • 80% are molested before age 12
  • 1 out of every 7 victims of sexual assault were under age 6
  • 89% of abuse is by family members or acquantances
  • Sexual abuse within a family lasts on average 5 or more years
  • It is estimated that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today
  • Fewer than 5% will tell anyone
  • Reported sexual abuse cases against children increased 322% from 1980 to 1990
  • A typical serial pedophile will molest up to 72 children in his lifetime

All for me...

He called my Mother.

Raul called her and told her that if she did not attend therapy with me he would call my abuser's employer and out him.   He essentially blackmailed her, for me.  He also drove through the parking lot of my abusers employer hoping for a physical altercation but if nothing else, hoping to be seen.  Raul wanted them to know he was serious.

I guess now is as good a time as any to mention that my abuser worked in a school with children.  He worked in the school district that we all attended. It was in the junior high school, grades six through eight.  For some reason, when I started sixth grade it was decided that I would get up early and go into work with him.  Part of his job was to open up the school for the teachers, administrators and students.  Each morning when we got to the school we were the only people there, for what seemed like eternity, but was probably less than an hour.  Alone in this big huge brick building with a child molester.  There are many rooms within a school that most are probably not even aware of, but I am.  Rooms that seem to be supply closets.  Shelving units stacked with cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels and more.  Rooms in the basement, filled with boilers and pumps.  If the walls in these rooms could speak, the words would be beyond disturbing.  

Not long after my husband had taken matters into his own hands, I received a call from my Mother.  She said that she had changed her mind.  She wanted to visit my counselor with me, but on one condition...  I must first visit her counselor before she would visit mine.  I wasn't too thrilled about this.  Her counselor was the same man that had apparently told my Mother and her spouse that he was no longer a threat to children after their first meeting.  But, I was desperate to do whatever was needed to keep my Mother in my life.  I needed her!

When I told Raul that she had called me and changed her mind, he told me of his handy work.  Anger, fear, sadness, a rush of emotions.   My Mother hadn't changed her mind for me.  My Mother was acting out of fear and trying to protect her beloved spouse.  How could Raul do this?  After all I had already been through?  I didn't need his help, I needed him to stay out of it, this was my battle to fight!  I had to leave, I had to get away.  I jumped into my vehicle and took off.  I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do, until I pulled into Marie's driveway.  Marie had been my closest friend for years, easily ten or more.  My best friend.  But I was about to dump something on her that even she had never imagined.

We sat on her front steps watching the traffic go by and crying as I told her the horrors of my life.  My abuser was very well known and admired by most in the community.  She knew where he worked, he worked with Marie's Mother.  She had never even suspected these truths, she was shocked.  This was the first time ever that I had shared with someone outside of our family and felt that exhilarating healing power, yet I didn't know what it was.

My husband believed he was doing it all for me, out of love.  Now, looking back, I know that he was.  However, what Raul decided to do simply did have the outcome he had hoped for.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fix It Mode

Hearing of my childhood abuse was not new to my husband.  Early in our dating years Lynn had sprung it on him.  The two of us had been at Raul's apartment with Lynn and her boyfriend.  I think I was nineteen or twenty.  Lynn called me into his bedroom, she was sitting on the bed.  She asked me to sit down as she began to cry. 

"Do you ever think about what happened to us when we were little" Lynn asked.

As quickly as she brought it up, it was gone.  We quickly explained to the guys that He had molested us as children.  No details, no timelines.

For my husband, he figured that if Lynn and I were okay with the abuse, then he could be too.  However, the recent events would change that and change it quick.  Hearing of the abuse and seeing how it affected us he started to have a hard time with the facts.  

Somewhere during my meltdown I had explained to Raul what had happened.  I remember crawling into my bed, crying like I have never cried before.  When I finally come around  I hear Raul on the phone with my  counselor who I had recently told of my childhood abuses, concerned that I was having a breakdown of some sort.  I remember thinking that I needed to pull myself together for my children and slowly I crawled from the bed.

Seeing me in such emotional pain as a result of my Mother's decision put Raul into protection mode.

He went into "Fix It Mode", which I was not aware of until it was simply too late.

Friday, March 4, 2011


As the holidays approached there was a very large black cloud looming over the family.

Christmas has always been the same however, this year the story was that He had to work and would not be at the normal Christmas Eve party with Mom's side of the family.  We had gone out of our way to make this a special holiday, all of my Mother's six grandchildren wore matching outfits.  The girls had identical black/cream/red plaid silk dresses,  which coordinated with the boys' red/black sweaters.  Even my Mother and I had matching sweaters.  I had gone all out to make this Christmas special as it was my baby girl's first.  Picture perfect, for a not so perfect family.

While we all tried to move forward things were just not the same.  I was relieved that he was not there, but Carrie had taken on a different tone.  She sulked and pouted the entire time.  She was angry that her Father was not there and she blamed me for the situation.

As the New Year rolled in, the celebration of my children's third and first birthdays would be one of the last times I would see my Mother at a family event.  We resorted to awkward phone conversations about weather and the children in a pathetic attempt to keep our relationship alive.

Mother's Day 2005 was the very first Mother's Day that I would not see my Mother.  Heartbreaking.

On the morning of May 23, 2005 I called my mother and expressed my concerns of our relationship.  I express the hurt I felt having not seen her in months.  During the course of the conversation I became desperate to get her to see how serious things were and I gave her an ultimatum.  Either attend counseling with me or never speak to me again.  She refused, I begged, I pleaded and fought for us.  Yet she continued to refuse.

My world crumbled beneath my feet.

I had been sitting on the floor in my living room and that is where I lay for some time.

I then called my husband at work, and told him he had to come home.  I know I was crying.  I remember telling Raul that I could not care for the children and he needed to come home immediately.  Raul tried to talk to me, to get answers, but I could not bring myself to speak the words.

My Mother had made a choice and it did  not include me.


He started calling and showing up when he knew that Raul would be at work.  He begged me to tell my mother than it really wasn't that bad.  His phone calls were also avoided at all costs.  I stopped answering the door a few days into this as the sight of him began to make my physically ill.

My Mother would call, but wouldn't dare mention what she had learned.  We'd talk about my kiddos, the weather and anything else we could think of to avoid reality.

At some point my I remember having a conversation with my Mother and asking her to tell him not to call or come over anymore.  I tried to explain to her that I needed to have some time to sort out my emotions as the sight of him was causing such a mess inside my head.  She didn't understand this, she was not a very deep person, she was always the type to take things personal.   And that she did.

Over the next few months I began to realize that having this horrible secret out was incredibly freeing.  I had kept such a deep dark secret for nearly 20 years.  I had never had such a sense of freedom and power in all of my life.  I tried to put this into words and help my Mother understand what I was feeling.  She either didn't want to understand or simply could not.

"Can't we just go back to the way things were"  she begged.

"I am sorry Mom, I can never ever go back there" I swore to both her and myself.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Begining

I can't explain it, but much of the events are clouded.  Maybe it is because they are painful?  Maybe because they were so long ago.  Either way, I am going to go with what I can remember.

He picked my mother up from Lynn's house.  The plan was to come straight to my house for dinner, yet no one seemed to have an appetite.  Pacing the floors...

I know that she challenged him when he told her he had been sexually abusing us for years.  She told him that we, her daughters, were liars.  He told her that we were not being dishonest.  We all milled around, some needing space.  Some looking for answers.

I walked out onto the porch, I needed some air.  I remember her following me out, she was crying uncontrollably.  We embraced and then...

"Why did you wait until I was head over heals in love to tell me this" she shrieked.

I didn't have an answer for this.

"Why didn't you tell me sooner, maybe it wouldn't have happened to your sisters" she accused.

I couldn't dare answer this.

"Will you be mad at me if I go home with him" she asked.

"We'll get through this as a family" I promised.

This was the beginning of the end.  Our family would never be the same after this horrific revelation.  My relationship with my Mother was nearly over at this point.  Had I known that then, before she departed with the man she loved, I am sure I would have hugged her a bit longer and told her how much I loved her one more time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Master of Manipulation

Once again we met at my house.  I don't remember how we even got him there, it wouldn't have been difficult.  My Mother was actually out of town visiting Lynn and her family.  It all fell into place.

To say I was terrified would be an understatement.  This is something I had dreamed of doing, but never, ever thought would really happen.  We were all sitting around my living room, Ann, Carrie, my husband Raul, myself and HIM.  As I type this, I am fairly certain that it was Ann yet again who stepped up.

"We told Carrie about what you did us when we were little"  she said with confidence.

As we sat in silence I remember thinking that I knew this would happen, he was going to deny it all.

All of his colored drained from his face and barely above a whisper, "What do you mean" he croaked.

Her confidence growing, she said "You know what I mean."

Had this really just taken place in the middle of my living room or was this all a dream?

Luckily or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, it definitely took place.  He admitted to the sexual abuse!  He did not deny it, however his explanation was sickening.  To this day, when I think of what he offered up as an explanation I am reminded of how sick of an individual he really is.

"I wanted you all to be a part of me" he said.

We explained to him that we wanted him to attend therapy, as well as tell our mother what he had been doing to us for so many years.  Then he did what he does best and turned the tables on us all.  He became the victim of a nasty uncle.  He became the man capable of suicide.  He spoke to us in a voice that was like nails on a chalkboard, apparently meant to sound like crying or whimpering, when in reality it was simply disturbing!  He tried to talk us out of therapy, his fear of losing his job was all he focused on.  He worried that his employer would find out through his medical insurance that he was attending therapy and somehow they would know why.  I honestly think he was more worried that he could end up in jail.  His job?  We had lost our childhoods and so much more.

When it was all said an done, Raul followed this man home, to remove any firearms from the home.  He had done such a disgustingly fabulous job of being the victim in this scenario that we all feared he would in fact follow through with what he had threatened all these years and we had gone into protection mode.  Protecting him, after all he had done to us.

Master of Manipulation.

Monday, February 28, 2011

History of HIM

My mother was only about twenty-five when she became a single mother of three small little girls.   I was about five years old when my biological father left my mother, just shortly before I started Kindergarten.  Which puts Lynn at about three and Ann would have been around a year old.  At this time in my Mother's life, we were her everything, we were her life.

He as younger than our Mother by five or six years.  He was not father material and looking back, was never husband material either.  He already had fathered a son, and left the woman to fend for herself.  But some how, he managed to sweep our mother off her feet.  It is hard for me to remember back that far and pin point exactly when he came into our lives.  I know there was a period of "dating" prior to them getting married because I remember not wanting him to be in our home.  I was having a hard time with the fact that our Father had left and wanted nothing to do with this new guy in the house.  I remember throwing tantrums, full blown screaming fits when he was around.  The dress that I wore when he married my mother is a children's size 8, I know this because it hangs in my closet to this day.  So, that tells me it was soon after my father left that he started coming around..

Eventually he won us over, and we began to accept him as a possible father figure.  I remember my Mother getting some sort of certificate to present to him for Father's Day early on.  We did not want to call him Dad or Daddy and some how he came up with "Poppie" and it stuck.

Poppie did provide for our family.  I remember ten to twelve dollars a week allowance in the first grade!  Another memory that tells me he was in the picture pretty quickly after my father left.  For him, money could always buy happiness.  He made repairs to our little run down summer shack and made my mother feel like the luckiest woman alive.

I can't tell you that I remember the first time, but I do remember one of the earlier times that he began sexual abusing me.  It started with accidental touching, we were on the couch, under the afghan that my grandmother had made...


The days that followed started a journey I never in my life thought that I would take.

After speaking with Ann that night I called our sister Lynn, who was living out of town, and told her what I knew.  Ann had walked in on him in a bath towel sitting next to Timmy.  She was sure that something had happened or was about to happen.  Either way, something needed to be done quickly.  But what?  How?

Our first thoughts jumped to Carrie, our youngest sister, who was expecting her first child.  Did she know?  Would she know to protect her baby once it was born into this world?

The three of us, decided that we needed to tell Carrie what had happened in the past, as well as what was happing now with our nephew Timmy.  We couldn't wait for Lynn to return, this needed to happen immediately.  We started by inviting Carrie over to my home as this was not something to tell her about over the phone.  Ann and I struggled to tell her what he had to say.  How do you tell someone something to horrific about their father?

I can't remember how we went about telling her.  I remember sitting across from Carrie and wondering which words to use to soften the blow.  She was "Daddy's Little Girl" and this was bound to cause devastation.  If memory serves me right, Ann stepped up to the plate and told Carrie that her father, our stepfather, had molested Ann, Lynn and I.  Carrie was shocked, she was angry, she was hurt.  Tears and more tears as we all cried together.  Carrie insisted on confronting her father and wanted us to be there with her when she did so.  Could we handle this?  He had always told us if anyone found out he would surely commit suicide...  Should we do this?

Something about confronting him seemed so powerful!

It was a simple phone call...

...that changed my life forever!

I was watching television, it was one of those documentary type programs that are on after the kiddos are in bed.  It was about a woman named Angela Shelton.  She was making her own documentary by driving around the United States and meeting other women named Angela Shelton.  She was amazed at the number of these Angelas that were also victims of sexual assaults, as she was a survivor herself.

My phone rang and my sister, who I will call "Ann", is on the other end.  I can tell that she is upset, but she often has this tone when she calls.

She says "Do you remember what happened to us when we were little?"

I swear at this point my world just stopped spinning.  You see, Ann had never once acknowledged what had happened to us when we were little.

I slowly and quietly replied "Yes, I remember."

Her reply chilled me to the bone, I remember her words just like they were said only five minutes ago.

"I think the same thing is happening to Timmy"  Ann said.