“Papa, why did you murder me?”
Fact: According to the American National Center for Victims of Crime, research indicated that 46% of children who are raped are victims of family members (Langan and Harlow, 1994). The majority of rape victims (61%) are raped before the age of 18; furthermore, 29% of all forcible rapes occurred when the victim was less than 11 years old. 11% of rape victims are raped by their fathers or stepfathers, and another 16% are raped by other relatives.
Fact: Sexual abuse is learned behavior. Adults who as children were incestuously victimized by adults suffer from low self-esteem, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and sexual dysfunction, and are at an extremely high risk of many mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, phobic avoidance reactions, somatoform disorder, substance abuse, borderline personality disorder, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
It has been is theorized by mental specialists, that the minds of very young children are not capable of “storing” the full traumatic information. Well, I can
personally prove that hypothesis wrong! I would have probably succumbed to most of the neurosis above had I not chosen to live in the foxhole of hatred and
a foxhole of unforgiveness. These coping mechanisms, I believe, were crutches, preventing dysfunctional pity-potty disorders.
Fact: Psychiatric studies: Feelings of guilt and his or her unwillingness to come forward when the abuser is the parent is acute.
Fact: The growing army of child predators have reached epidemic proportions in the 21st century with no end in sight to these heinous crimes.
It makes me want to spit nails when I read that sexually-transmitted diseases are epidemic among children age 5-9 in Cambodia and other Asian countries.
As a victim of child rape, an incest survivor, by a brute in human form, my biological father, I have come to terms with the fact that I, unwillingly, will be clinically traumatized for the remainder my life. On the other hand, I’m a living testimony that there is “healing” and “mental-escape” from predatory assault. If I can do, so can you.
In 1950, at the age of five, I was abducted from the only home I had known in Zululand, and imprisoned in a run-down cottage at the edge of a sugar plantation in the then British colony of South Africa. There was no savior. There was no angel. There was no Megan’s Law – nobody to protect me from mankind’s evils. I was not only robbed of my innocence – I was murdered.
It started with fondling, oral contact, rubbing acts, and finally rape. Omitting the sordid details, I will return to that hellhole of imprisonment and hopefully, my tale of inspirational courage will become a source of permanent healing for other victims.
* * *
Four sunsets went by while being held against my will in a foul-smelling bedroom of a dilapidated brick-constructed cottage that was once a five-star guesthouse used by the crème de crème of society that had visited South Africa in the turn of the century. No food, no water, and the allotted toilet bucket full to the brim, my bright mind told me that I had to do something, try to escape my captivity. I knew without doubt that it was wrong to keep a child locked up. I remember weighing-up the tall sash windows in the room. Could I squeeze through the bars? After what seemed an eternity to a small child, I gave up trying. I only had to examine the plumpness of my midriff that was battered raw, not to mention my sore head: I could permanently be stuck between the rusty dividers in my attempts
to squeeze through a gap no bigger than a mailbox slot. My escapism was put on hold until another plan could be devised. Surely, someone would turn up sooner than later. I feel asleep that night, cold, lonely and hungry. Sometime in the wee hours, I heard the heavy footsteps. I heard the key turn. I squinted as the flashlight (there was no electricity) blinded me. Then a strong hand grabbed my neck. He smelled as if he had fallen into a vat of whiskey. He flung me on the floor and straddled me. His eyes were like blazing coals, red with evil. And his voice was demonic: “You will do as you are told, or you won’t live to see another day.”
For an eternal length of time for a child, I suffered sexual abuse, then one day, came the Swiss-army pocket knife – the incision – and penetration. I remember blacking out, but before entering the twilight world of unconsciousness, I heard a loud thud. Mercifully, a baseball bat wielded by my step-mother saved me from further debauchery.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, I recovered from my vaginal and rectal stitching and vulvovaginitis, (bacterial inflammation), in a convent where I had been subsequently placed, but there was healing in sight for my murdered innocence. Yes, my carefree childhood innocence was over, but not the festering foxhole of hatred. There is no right way to feel, but I do believe that this natural human emotion at this very young age, and not later in life, saved my mind from entering the dark dysfunctional place of trauma- brainaltering mental disorders. In my opinion, it is okay to hate your abuser. It is okay to vent internal and external rage. It’s okay not to forgive. It is your human right. It is okay to question your faith in God: Where was He in the mist of this evil? However, it is a must not to become a
double victim, be a proud survivor, not a victim. What happened to me as a child did not predetermine my whole life. I was wise enough not to let it destroy me. I’m stronger now than I could ever be.
No one will break my body, heart or spirit again.
Back then, in my day, (the wake of WWll) incest was a “taboo” subject, simply swept under a rug. It was a culture of pervasive silence. At the convent, I was not seen by a trained professional to help me cope with mixed emotions: feelings of shame and betrayal. I knew I would always be alone in my head, and only I could write the last chapter to my life. While incest is illegal, but it will offensively continue to prevail unless laws are changed: Mandatory Life without parole will at least in a small way, give back the Life of the victim. TELL. TELL. TELL. Put pedophiles behind bars. Don’t allow them to “pretend” to want to change after being offered sex-offender courses that are afforded them at the tax payer’s expense. These sick, evil-minded people can never change their chemically-altered, sick brain. . . Only a lobotomy can do that.
My last word to all the hurting souls, victims of this heinous crime. . . You are not alone. I’m here for you. I will understand where you are coming from. I can relate- which is more than I can say for some psychological textbook therapists. Unless they have walked in our shoes, how can they humanely understand, possibly relate to the “murder” of innocence? Books written by “nutty” so-called professionals, can never replace a warm hug from one victim to another.
“God cannot change your past suffering, but YOU can.”