​My very first memory is around the age of 4. I remember it as if it was yesterday. My father whispered in my ear to come to his bedroom as soon as my little sister fell asleep. I remember going to his room and not being afraid, so looking back, I am sure this was not the first instance of abuse, just my first memory of it. I remember him undressing me and doing things to my body, while my mom was also in bed with him.

Around this time I started going to school and started talking to my mom about my dad. My mom left that same year. Never to look back. My father married her best friend. The sexual abuse I suffered from happened every day, all day and night. I would wake up to find him leaning over my bed. I would walk into my room and he would be hiding in my closet. I never knew where he was going to be, but, I knew he was going to find me. I could continue to give horrible, sickening details, but I honestly can’t stomach to bring them to my mind again.

He did not drink or use drugs. Everyone in the community respected him and he was well liked. No one could look at our family from the outside and ever have a clue what type of living hell I was going through on a daily basis. I told my step mother at the age of 8. She said she would talk to my dad. After that, she started to blame me, an 8 year old, for sexually seducing my father. I then began to suffer from her jealousy. She would walk in and find him with me, and start beating me, calling me a slut, etc… I wanted to die.

This continued until I was almost 13. Every day. Every night. At this point I had told my step mother, my pastor, my teacher , and every time I told, my abuser only became more violent towards me. This was in the 80’s. Finally, I was allowed to spend the weekend with my best friend and together we told her mom. Thank God, my best friends mom did whatever she had to do to make the police and child welfare come to our home.

I will also never forget that day. We were all eating dinner, pizza. And down our long driveway came about 6 cars, police, detectives, etc.. My father, being the cunning master manipulator, was friends with the policeman, they had gone to school together. My father told them I was a troubled girl , just looking for attention. And when they questioned me, all I could tell them is what had happened that day. I am not sure if I had blocked it out in order to survive , or if it had been everything I had ever known, so at that point, I didn’t even realize just how much abuse I was enduring.

I knew by this age that it made me feel so gross and I hated him and wanted him to stop, but I had lived this my entire life so I could not fully express just what exactly was happening. Thankfully, there must have been enough evidence because they took him to jail and me to a foster home.

Back then, the laws were different. He only served a very short time in jail, had to do house arrest and mandatory counseling. I went on to be adopted by my great aunt and at the age of 13, felt safe for the first time ever. I was loved and I thrived.

I went on to graduate H.S, and earn a B.A. degree in college. I am married and have 4 amazing children. I still attend therapy monthly and fight daily to build my view of myself, because the damage he caused to my innocent soul is very real. However, I am a fighter, a survivor and I know my vindication is to live the happiest, healthiest life that I possibly can. I also firmly believe that we have to shatter the silence of childhood sexual abuse by speaking up. My abuser knew his power was in keeping me silent. Silence is power and we can take that power away from abusers by having courage and breaking the silence.