I stared hard at the pistachio and cream-striped bedcovers. They were so familiar to me and yet it was as if I was noticing them properly for the first time. They made me recall deckchairs by the seaside, fluttering in a warcm breeze. Or sticks of candy cane, the sugar rush making me giddy. I forced myself to ignore the room I was in, the bed I was pinned onto, the hammering of my heart. I desperately willed myself to block out what was happening to me in that moment, in that bedroom, twisting my neck and turning it away to focus my attention on more of the stripes. Shutting down my emotions and pretending I was somewhere else was how I would cope in the years ahead, to help me survive the sickening world I found myself trapped in – a world no child should ever witness. A world I was dragged into by the one person who should have protected me … But this time, my powers of imagination failed me. They weren’t enough to block out the horrors.my brother was sat down on a chair in the far corner of the room with his back to the door. Not a word was said as I turned back to face the mom who handed me another sugar cube. I relished the sweet grainy texture on my tongue as she led me to a wooden trestle bench near Berry. Then, standing directly in front of where I now sat, mom swiftly lifted her dress, under which she wore no underwear. In panic and confusion, my glance flitted from him to her and back again in search of some sort of explanation as to what was happening, but the answer lay in the twisted line of Moms mouth and the cruel look I’d seen before in her eyes as she shouted in her guttural tones, ‘At once, at once!’ I wanted to run, but fear left me frozen as Berrys gangling frame blocked my path to the only exit. Warm tears welled up behind my eyelids as mom grabbed hold of my head and pulled me roughly between her legs, holding me there in her grip. I can still recall the acrid smell, the sense of breathlessness and, above all, the feeling of helplessness. I didn’t put up a fight, as I knew I wasn’t strong enough. All I could do was try to block out the reality of my ordeal as the two of them repeatedly touched me and made me touch them in return. I shook with terror and with the cold as mom hastily removed my clothing and threw it to one side , and then I was flung forwards onto my hands and knees as Berry forced himself into me from behind. The pain was excruciating. I felt as if I was being ripped in two, but just as I cried out he yanked my hair back and choked me. When it was finally over, I struggled to put my clothes back on, my trembling fingers fumbling with the buttons of my pretty powder-blue coat. I puked making mom mad as she pushed me down on the floor and kicked me a few times. The pair of them laughed – not the happy laugh of adults indulging a child but a strange mirthless cackle before Berry pushed me down into my own mess. I was given a cloth and bucket, and I felt their eyes bore into me as I cleaned up. All the while mom was repeating that I was a filthy, evil bitch, but although I heard her words they didn’t hurt me any more; the only place I hurt was between my legs. I was sent to bed with no food or drink like most nights, but as I lay in bed I soon heard the door open. Suddenly, mom grabbed me out of bed, hissing at me that I was evil, I had deserved the beating and I had to learn how to be good and do as I was told. With that, she punched me full in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me, and left me curled up in a tight ball on the concrete floor. My room was the celler in the basement, I slept on the concrete floor with one blanket.
That night would begin the day my mother began a process of grooming me that was so masterful and manipulative, no one guessed what was going on and the ones who knew turned their backs to me. From 6 yrs old to 14. It must have made her feel utterly untouchable, because soon, them rapeing me was not enough to satisfy her vile appetite. For too many years, I was silenced. By mom and her frightening threats and by my own, all-consuming shame. I had been brought up to live by the rules that children should be seen and not heard, they should speak only when spoken to and come when they are called. Children should keep their own counsel and never bring shame to their parents’ doorstep. They should have respect for their elders and do as they are told without question. And whatever happens within the four walls of the family home, it stays there. These rules, taught to me by my grandmother, were supposed to keep me on the straight and narrow and safe within my world, but in my case they were to be the very rules that would keep my secret shame hidden deep inside me. But I won’t be stifled anymore. I am stepping out of the shadows and sharing my story. The process of writing this book has been painful and torturous, but it is something I was compelled to do. I want to show my mother that she didn’t break me, however hard she tried. I want to highlight the failures of the authorities and society that let me slip through the net. And I want to do it for me, to help me understand the magnitude of my ordeal and accept that I wasn’t to blame. ‘I wouldn’t change a thing; the struggles we went through have made us the people we are today. I believe if we changed one thing in our past it would change who we are now. There are millions of kids in the United States who carry this burden in their hearts and feel that they can’t share it with anyone. Even the littlest among us may find it necessary to bury something so painful and so heartbreaking. They bury it deep, where no one can find it. As time goes on, the place where we buried those emotions fills, threatening an eruption. True peace of mind and heart is something that is earned—something that is worked on and then achieved. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires the support of those around us who love and want to understand. May all my readers find the true peace of mind and heart that I have found in telling my story. But most of all, if reading my account saves another girl from a similar fate, I will have fulfilled my purpose, and it would have all been worth it. If anyone reading my book is going through any of it please know God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past. Your abuser tried to hold you down, but now you are free to fly. Your life has purpose and hope. You are courageous, and I know you will do incredible things. It is okay to cry and feel tired - healing is hard work. But worth it