Friday, February 5, 2016

I was not a liar until you abused me

Having a conversation with someone this morning, relaying an event that I have thought about many times in the last few years, I had a startling realization. I clearly remember the first time I lied to my mother, and it was his fault.

I was six when he groomed me, molested me, assaulted me, and then raped me twice. The first rape left me in stunned silence. I had no words to describe what had happened. But I also had no reason to use words. I was simply silent. 

The second rape was different. He left me physically traumatized. He left evidence. At six years old I sat alone in a barn,crying, scared, clutching a stuffed ostrich, trying to figure out how to keep  my mother from finding out. 

And so I lied. 

And the thing is, my lie was very believable BECAUSE I was so young. 

I lied and told my mom that I had had an accident while playing, and I needed new underwear and clothes. The truth is I threw my underwear in the fire barrel as I ran from the barn to the house and into the bathroom. I didn't want to simply hide my underwear, I destroyed them. 

I'm not sure how I learned how to lie, but I'm pretty sure my motivation to lie came as a direct result of being groomed. Grooming is a predatory behavior used by many abusers, and it can make the victim feel complicit in the abuse.

Of these grooming behaviors, he used befriending first. I was lonely, and he was my only friend. He didn't give me gifts, but his mom made me cookies. He made the sound effects for my Barbie car. He wrestled with me and played tickle games. He gradually increased his contact, holding my hand, sitting me in his lap, "teaching" me how to kiss like an adult. Time passed between our first contact and rape. Even after the rape he continued to groom me, telling me that we needed to practice so that it wouldn't hurt anymore. And don't forget, if I told, I'd get in trouble.

These are the reasons I believe there are other victims out there. These are the reasons I fight to have my day in court, to make his identity public, to open the door should other victims desire to come forward. He has been safe in my silence for far too long. He caused me to lie then, I will not lie for him anymore.  

Speak up, loves. Speak up, speak loud. Those who abuse us are only safe in our silence. If you need a hand to hold, I have two. If you need support to stand, 
I'll hold you up. If you need a voice, you can use mine.  I know it's hard. I know it's scary. But we've been to hell and back already. It's amazing how much support there is out there, how many others have a story to share, how many lives you can touch if you simply speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

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