Incest: Living with a Secret

By  |  2 Comments
My story began simply enough, as I suspect most unscripted horror stories do. My uncle’s wife had abandoned him and his two children. He drank too much and gambled too much – not a proper environment for a teenage boy. So my parents did what seemed natural and opened our doors to his son (my cousin).
My wish had come through. I now had a big brother. I was ten; he was sixteen. I often lied to strangers, claiming him as my brother. He taught me to play video games, told the best stories about fights in school, and I got to go riding further from home because now I had company. It was perfect.
He had been there about four months when it happened for the first time. My parents had gone to a wedding, and would be home late, so he was in charge. I had been lying in bed for about ten minutes, when he came into the room. He claimed that he heard a noise outside, and thought he saw someone moving in the back yard. He said that it would be safer if we all slept in the same room, in the same bed. My sister and I did not question him, and ran to the guest bedroom that he occupied.
I could hear my sister in a deep sleep on his left. I lay on his right. Without an exchange of words, I felt his hands slip up my frilly nighty, cupping my juvenile breasts that barely filled out a training bra. I gasped, confused and scared. This did not feel right. I felt sick to my guts. The vulgarity of his thoughts began to manifest even more and I felt something firm pressing against my back. I threw up in my mouth, as I bit my tongue. The touching seemed to last all night, although looking back now it could not have been for more than an hour before my parents came home.
From there, it progressed from weekly to almost daily encounters. Each time I was directed to do more – never sex, but more. He would take advantage of any opportunity that we were alone. I remember being sent to hang the clothes to dry below the house and he had come home from school. The blocked-up space provided just enough ‘privacy’ for a quick fondling. I vividly recall on this same ‘meeting’ he whispered to me, “This is our little secret”. I prayed for death to come that night.
He eventually got creative with his approaches and called them games or experiments. One ‘experiment’ involved me laying with my chest exposed to see how long it would take a block of ice to melt on my nipples, as he held it in his mouth. Eighteen years later, and I still cringe at the touch of ice against my skin.
This nightmare lasted for almost a year before my parents put him out because of a totally unrelated matter. So, what of my parents? Where were they all this time? Believe it or not I was raised in a very loving home. My mother by some measures was quite overprotective, and my father was very involved in my life. We went to church every Sunday and had family Bible studies almost every night. Most topics were openly discussed. Yet, I never told my parents, and probably never will.
Why I didn’t come forward then is difficult to explain. I will say however that such betrayal is absolutely paralyzing even for a child as outspoken as I was. There is guilt and a dirtiness that is carried even though I know I didn’t ask for this or wanted it by any means. Many may take issue with my reason for not coming forward to my parents now as an adult, but I stand by my choice. My parents have been my greatest supporters, and as a parent myself I simply do not have the heart to break it to them that in this regard they had failed! They had failed to see the signs, failed to protect me, failed to see that they were providing refuge to a monster, and that their first-born child was a daily perverted sacrifice. This confession would be far too crushing.
Without question, the emotional impact of any sexual abuse will vary from person to person. In my circumstance, it seemed ‘easier’ to hide my emotions, my hurt, and my confusion, while in the midst of the turmoil. By most measures, my cousin was well loved by my entire family – often viewed as that ‘good kid’ caught in a ‘bad situation’. I simply fed off that sentiment, deluding myself that the person that my family saw was totally separate from the beast that I repeatedly encountered. I continued to ‘claim’ him as my brother well into my teenage years.
When he was no longer in my home, however, I found myself emotionally dead. I trusted no one. My first few years of secondary school I was bitter, loud and crass, having no desire to make real ‘friends’. Fortunately by the end of this period, I found myself amidst a handful of girls who tolerated me – dare I say loved me beyond my anger. Without knowing my secret, they’ve played an integral role in my healing. This coupled with a new found faith in the Father’s hand in my life has also paved the way to emotional stability.
I’m now a mother and I am blatantly selfish with my space. I made it clear to my husband that my doors are not open to any random friend or ‘family’ in distress, and for that I make no apologies. Sure I’m willing to help, but I intend to keep my home as a safe haven for my children. I’m not paranoid; I’m protective, even though it may seem extreme.
I cannot dictate how anyone chooses to run their home, but I do ask that parents be more vigilant; take nothing for granted. Understand that when it comes to your children it is sometimes best to be untrusting of all outsiders. Recognize that even in the safest environment a thirsty predator WILL find a gap to satisfy his filthy desires. I write most importantly on behalf of every child who has been betrayed, and who could not find the strength to give this pain a voice. Know that you are not alone. Accept that it is life changing, but it is not a life sentence. This guilt is not yours to carry. In spite of it all, life is beautiful. We just have to dig a bit deeper to appreciate it all.

My story began simply enough, as I suspect most unscripted horror stories do. My uncle’s wife had abandoned him and his two children. He drank too much and gambled too much – not a proper environment for a teenage boy. So my parents did what seemed natural and opened our doors to his son (my cousin).

My wish had come through. I now had a big brother. I was ten; he was sixteen. I often lied to strangers, claiming him as my brother. He taught me to play video games, told the best stories about fights in school, and I got to go riding further from home because now I had company. It was perfect.

He had been there about four months when it happened for the first time. My parents had gone to a wedding, and would be home late, so he was in charge. I had been lying in bed for about ten minutes, when he came into the room. He claimed that he heard a noise outside, and thought he saw someone moving in the back yard. He said that it would be safer if we all slept in the same room, in the same bed. My sister and I did not question him, and ran to the guest bedroom that he occupied.

I could hear my sister in a deep sleep on his left. I lay on his right. Without an exchange of words, I felt his hands slip up my frilly nighty, cupping my juvenile breasts that barely filled out a training bra. I gasped, confused and scared. This did not feel right. I felt sick to my guts. The vulgarity of his thoughts began to manifest even more and I felt something firm pressing against my back. I threw up in my mouth, as I bit my tongue. The touching seemed to last all night, although looking back now it could not have been for more than an hour before my parents came home.

From there, it progressed from weekly to almost daily encounters. Each time I was directed to do more – never sex, but more. He would take advantage of any opportunity that we were alone. I remember being sent to hang the clothes to dry below the house and he had come home from school. The blocked-up space provided just enough ‘privacy’ for a quick fondling. I vividly recall on this same ‘meeting’ he whispered to me, “This is our little secret”. I prayed for death to come that night.

He eventually got creative with his approaches and called them games or experiments. One ‘experiment’ involved me laying with my chest exposed to see how long it would take a block of ice to melt on my nipples, as he held it in his mouth. Eighteen years later, and I still cringe at the touch of ice against my skin.

This nightmare lasted for almost a year before my parents put him out because of a totally unrelated matter. So, what of my parents? Where were they all this time? Believe it or not I was raised in a very loving home. My mother by some measures was quite overprotective, and my father was very involved in my life. We went to church every Sunday and had family Bible studies almost every night. Most topics were openly discussed. Yet, I never told my parents, and probably never will.

Why I didn’t come forward then is difficult to explain. I will say however that such betrayal is absolutely paralyzing even for a child as outspoken as I was. There is guilt and a dirtiness that is carried even though I know I didn’t ask for this or wanted it by any means. Many may take issue with my reason for not coming forward to my parents now as an adult, but I stand by my choice. My parents have been my greatest supporters, and as a parent myself I simply do not have the heart to break it to them that in this regard they had failed! They had failed to see the signs, failed to protect me, failed to see that they were providing refuge to a monster, and that their first-born child was a daily perverted sacrifice. This confession would be far too crushing.

Without question, the emotional impact of any sexual abuse will vary from person to person. In my circumstance, it seemed ‘easier’ to hide my emotions, my hurt, and my confusion, while in the midst of the turmoil. By most measures, my cousin was well loved by my entire family – often viewed as that ‘good kid’ caught in a ‘bad situation’. I simply fed off that sentiment, deluding myself that the person that my family saw was totally separate from the beast that I repeatedly encountered. I continued to ‘claim’ him as my brother well into my teenage years.

When he was no longer in my home, however, I found myself emotionally dead. I trusted no one. My first few years of secondary school I was bitter, loud and crass, having no desire to make real ‘friends’. Fortunately by the end of this period, I found myself amidst a handful of girls who tolerated me – dare I say loved me beyond my anger. Without knowing my secret, they’ve played an integral role in my healing. This coupled with a new found faith in the Father’s hand in my life has also paved the way to emotional stability.

I’m now a mother and I am blatantly selfish with my space. I made it clear to my husband that my doors are not open to any random friend or ‘family’ in distress, and for that I make no apologies. Sure I’m willing to help, but I intend to keep my home as a safe haven for my children. I’m not paranoid; I’m protective, even though it may seem extreme.

I cannot dictate how anyone chooses to run their home, but I do ask that parents be more vigilant; take nothing for granted. Understand that when it comes to your children it is sometimes best to be untrusting of all outsiders. Recognize that even in the safest environment a thirsty predator WILL find a gap to satisfy his filthy desires. I write most importantly on behalf of every child who has been betrayed, and who could not find the strength to give this pain a voice. Know that you are not alone. Accept that it is life changing, but it is not a life sentence. This guilt is not yours to carry. In spite of it all, life is beautiful. We just have to dig a bit deeper to appreciate it all.

 

Image credit: millionface.com/l/against-abuse/

 

2 Comments

  1. fvidale

    March 21, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I found this story so touching and I am totally amazed that after what you went through that you would still be able to find comfort in a man and have a child. Continue to be strong. Bless

  2. goy

    March 21, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hmm…it is sad when even your overprotective parents can’t protect you…….. Parents please take heed…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *