Please welcome Jackie from To Breathe Is To Write with a harrowing and brave story of child sexual abuse. The more we talk about it, the less power it has.
I was born the second youngest of five kids. There were two girls (me and my sister) and three boys (two older and one younger). I usually only claim having three siblings. My older sister, one older brother and one younger brother. The other brother (I’ll call him OB) I don’t claim and haven’t claimed since childhood. He was the evil one. The bad seed. The monster. He is dead to me. He was also my childhood sexual abuser.
Technically he is a half brother. Same mother, different father. He is a lot older than me. When the sexual abuse began I was four. He was a teenager already when it started. He knew what he was doing and enjoyed every single inflicted pain and humiliation.
I have had other difficulties in my life. The sexual abuse is just the beginning. It is also the one that still lives with me through all my years. It never seems to fade. Sometimes I can forget about it. Sometimes I can’t. It has affected my life in many ways.
I remember the first time the rape happened. Yes, it was rape. A rape of a four-year old child. I remember it was late at night, I was asleep in my bed. I felt someone pulling my pajama bottoms off of me. At first I didn’t know who it was. I think I said something, because the next thing I remember is a hand over my nose and mouth. I couldn’t breathe, and it terrified me.
Then I heard OB’s voice in my ear. He told me to keep quiet, or he would smother me. I know that was the first time I felt terror in my young life. It wasn’t the last time.
He opened my pajama top and pinched my four-year old nipples. He pinched them hard too, I remember the pain I felt. I know I started crying. My young mind couldn’t comprehend what he was doing. But I knew instinctively he was doing something bad. Something really bad.
He was always a bully to us younger kids. OB would always find a way to pinch or punch us when my parents weren’t looking. If we told on him we just got it worse later, so we learned really fast not to tell my parents anything. But what he was doing to me that night was beyond bullying. It was beyond anything mean he had done previously. It was evil.
“Don’t say anything, you hear me?” OB whispered in my ear.
I nodded my head yes. Tears were running down my face and going into my ears. But I didn’t move or make a sound. I couldn’t understand what he was doing. Why was he taking my pajamas off? Why was he pinching me there? What did I do to him to make him hurt me this way?
The dark was so complete I could barely see OB. I was so scared. I felt him put a finger inside of me. I tried to crawl away, but he punched me and pulled me closer to him.
“Don’t move you little bitch, or I’ll kill you!” he whispered fiercely next to my ear.
I tried not to cry out loud. He was hurting me. I tried to pull his hands away, but he was so much bigger than me. I tried crossing my legs so he couldn’t put his fingers in me anymore. I just couldn’t understand why he would want to anyway. It hurt so much. I just wanted him to leave. But he wouldn’t.
OB pinched my nipple really hard again and whispered in my ear.
“Open your legs or I’ll really hurt you!”
I didn’t want to, so I tried to roll on my stomach. He pulled my hair forcing me to stop, pinched my leg till I opened them then rammed his fingers inside of me. Oh, God it hurt so much! I wanted to scream, but OB had a hand over my mouth again. With his other hand, he was forcing his fingers in and out of my little body.
“Scream or cry out loud and I’ll kill you!” I heard OB whisper in my ear again. Even at such a young age I could tell he was excited. My tears kept flowing, and I just wanted it to be a bad nightmare and not for real. I was so scared, and my heart was thumping so loud I thought it would burst right out of my chest.
I felt his teeth. He bit my vagina! He bit me so hard that night that I bled. I don’t remember feeling so much pain in my young life as I did that night. Pain and humiliation, even though I was too young to know what humiliation was. I felt it that night.
When he was finally done I felt him crawl off of me. I quickly put my pajamas back on and huddled under my covers shivering in fear and pain. My young mind couldn’t understand fully what happened to me that night. I was afraid to fall back to sleep, afraid he would come back.
At some point that night I did fall asleep. That’s the first time I remember having a nightmare. Hell, I had just lived a nightmare and then I had one in my dreams. My life from that night on would only get worse. I lived in fear, always.
It was also the first time I remember truly feeling hate. I hated OB. He hurt me and I couldn’t understand why. I couldn’t even fully understand what exactly he did to me. At four years old you have no concept of rape. I just knew he hurt me badly and I didn’t know how to stop him. Because I remember word for word what his parting whisper was to me that night.
“Tell mom or dad and I’ll kill you. I will kill you then dad will kill me and spend the rest of his life in jail.”
Life went on, but it was different. I grew up much too fast. OB continued to come to me in the middle of the night, two or three times a week. I became terrified of the dark and of people touching me. I didn’t want to be touched or hugged, especially by men. I became painfully shy. I started wetting the bed.
As I grew older the abuse became worse, more sick. It continued on till I turned 9 years old. That’s when it stopped. The reason it stopped was twofold.
One, I got my period and officially became a ‘woman’. Now that’s funny, a woman at nine years old. All it did was scare the shit out of me. A ‘woman’ and having a period only meant one thing to me. I could have a baby. A baby! At nine years old. If OB continued raping me several times a week I could have HIS baby. The thought not only scared me to death it made me violently ill.
One day I was home alone, I remember I was making myself a sandwich after school. I don’t remember where everyone else was. I’m sure my parents were working, as for my brother and sister, maybe they weren’t home from school yet. But I do remember I was home alone when OB found me in the kitchen.
I had a very sharp butcher knife that I had just cut my sandwich in half with when OB came through the kitchen door. I remember feeling my heart speed up in fear. I tried to ignore him but he made that impossible.
He said some nasty things to me. And then said he was going to have some ‘fun’ with me.
“No! Go away! You are NOT going to touch me again!” I shouted at him. OB just laughed. I remember thinking to myself ‘what can I do to make him leave?’ I was so scared and all I could think of is if he touches me I could have his baby! There was no way I could let him touch me!
“What are you going to do to stop me? Tell your Daddy? Go ahead! I want you to tell him what a little bitch you are.” OB laughed some more.
“I want you to tell that bastard what I did to you! I want him to kill me and rot in jail!” OB told me as he moved closer to me.
All I could think of is, ‘it has got to stop now!’ But how? He moved closer to me and I grabbed the butcher knife. I stepped back against the kitchen counter and held the knife in front of me.
“Don’t touch me or I’ll kill you!” I shouted at him. I meant it too. Thoughts raced through my mind. If I kill him, they won’t put a little girl in jail! Daddy would be safe and so would I.
OB stepped closer and I struck out with that big knife. He jumped back and laughed. He laughed! I thought to myself he looks like a devil. His eyes were full of glee and his hands looked like claws reaching out for me. He thought I was joking. But I wasn’t.
A calm came over me then. I felt nothing. No fear, no anger, nothing. Just this eerie calm. I was going to kill OB. I could kill OB and not feel anything. I knew I could. My family would be so much better off without him around. I could live without this constant fear. I could and would do it. I stood there with that big knife in my hand and waited. Calmly.
OB suddenly stopped his taunting of me. Maybe he felt something different. I will never know. He looked at me and stepped toward me. I lifted the knife and very softly told him, “I’m going to do the world and my family a favor and kill you. You won’t have to worry about Daddy doing it, because I will.” Then I lunged toward him.
He ran! OB ran out the kitchen door with me right on his heels. I was determined to kill him! I had to! We both stopped in the back yard facing each other. I still had that calm surrounding me.
OB was scared I finally realized! He was scared of me! I walked slowly toward him with the knife held at waist level. For once I was stalking OB! He backed up as I walked forward. I gazed in his eyes and said, “You will never touch me again.” Then I lunged.
He ran! He ran through the backyard and out the gate to the alley and kept on running. I felt powerful! I felt powerful and in control for once in my life. I stopped at the gate and watched him run down the alley. That’s when I finally realized what a low, cowardly, evil person OB was. That was also when his terrifying hold over me ended.
I calmly walked back into the kitchen, put the knife in the sink, and ate my sandwich. After I finished the sandwich and went into my bedroom, I sat on the bed and started shaking. I was shivering uncontrollably and tears were running down my cheeks. To this day I don’t know if it was shock setting in. The shock of knowing I almost killed someone. Or the shock of knowing the rapes were finally stopped.
It would be several years before I saw OB again. He was arrested for multiple rapes. I enjoyed the time he was away. I got to breathe a little easier for a change. It was nice to be able to live without that fear. The fear of OB.
He never touched me again. I never received counselling, because I never told anyone.
There are residual fears, mental damage and emotional scars that never heal. And I have never been able to get over being afraid of the dark. But I survived. I have even grown tremendously as a person. It was hard, but I did it.
I didn’t let him win then, nor now. I couldn’t let him win. So I became a strong woman. I became me. And I’m proud of this woman I have become.
If there is anyone that needs help or just someone to talk to about their past, I’m always available. I understand and I’m listening. You can contact me at jlroeder (at) mail (dot) com.
In the United States and Canada, call the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).