My name is Marilyn, actually that is my pen name. The reason I use a pen name is because my writings are about me and no one else in my family. I speak from my point of view and my own personal experiences. I am honored to have this opportunity to share my story with Women with Gifts, on how I surviving domestic violence and sexual abuse. I was born in Michigan in 1970; I have two younger brothers, each of us three years apart. When my story began, my youngest he brother who I am six years his senior was not born, and my other brother was four. This is just to give you an idea of the age range that I can remember living a life that on the outside, everyone thought was great; the inside, not so wonderful.
My Mother married my step dad when I was five. They bought a nice home and my step dad who I call Dad to this day, gave us everything we could ask for. We had the house, car’s, clothes and both parents had successful jobs. They both worked hard to provide the best for us, my dad at times working two jobs before he became successful at his main job. My Mother traveled for her job which left my younger brother and I home with my dad every few months for at least a week or more at a time. My biological father was “some- what” in the picture. He made promises often to pick me up for the weekend, but I would often find myself being tucked in bed by my Mother because he never showed. My step dad was all I had and I loved him. My brothers’ biological father signed off his rights and my step dad adopted him as his own. He was older than my Mother and he had older kids from a previous marriage. We had become a well to do African American family back then with many skeletons soon to be in our closet and they go something like this.
From the age of seven to thirteen I witnessed my dad beat my Mother and my younger brother, he was probably around five when his beatings began. They both endured many beatings when my dad drank. I was the lucky one, some might say; I didn’t get hit, I was just told how stupid I was and at home work time I would become” sick” because I knew if I didn’t understand what my dad was trying to teach me, I would hear how lucky I was to be cute, because when God was giving out brains I thought he said train and I jumped on the next one.
I can recall getting two spankings as a child and never a bruise. I’m sure it was because my biological father was in the picture at times; and though he wasn’t the best father, because the streets often were more important than me, he would hurt anyone who put a mark on me. My brother on the other hand, he had too many markings to count. He was a cute little boy, always smiling and full of life. He was my world from the day he was born. I took on the role as big sis and protector to him and my mother. So often my mother would leave for work and she would arrive home to a son with bruises. If she said anything to my dad, which she did, it would be her turn. She took the beating and would often return to work the next day with extra make up to try and cover the bruises. Once we were visiting my dad’s parents out of state and I remember my mother coming down the stairs with a red face and sunglasses. My eyes were always watching and my ears listening. I had to prepare myself for what to do. I remember her talking to my dad’s parents and I saw her take off her glasses and there it was, the first black eye had had ever witnessed. The second one was on my younger brother. He was probably around seven at the time.
For years this went on. I often had my brother sleep with me at night so I would know he couldn’t get into any trouble and he would be safe. I tried to protect him as much as possible, of course I often failed. Eventually sleeping became something I couldn’t do especially on the weekends if my mom went out with her best friend. Often I would be woken from the yelling, furniture being broken from my mother being tossed around and most of all, my mother screaming for him to please stop. On those weekends we would not see her. She would stay in her room as if she were sick. I often would sneak in and talk to her just to see if she was ok. She tried her best to hide it, but I knew better. I had a routine all set for myself. Monday through Thursdays try my best to keep my brother safe and both of us from doing something that would tick my dad off. That was not an easy job. He worked second shift, so he was always home before my mom. Friday and Saturday, stay awake and listen just in case the day would come when I would have to call 911. Those days eventually came and went. Unfortunately back then, not like now, there was nothing an officer could do if he arrived and everything appeared “fine”. It was always fine once my dad did the talking and my mother hid the bruises. It was always just an argument.
At age nine my step- brother came to live with us. He was around thirteen or fourteen. All I can remember are the things he did to me and told me not to tell anyone because no one would believe me. I’m not sure how often it happened, but I was not ready for what he taught me. To this day, I do not like cartoons. They were always on in the basement and that’s where my new nightmares began. I believed him when he said my dad wouldn’t believe a word of what I had to say because he was his son and he must have hated me because he never said anything nice to me. I figured, if I said anything, for some reason I would be in trouble which would make him upset and he would take it out on my younger brother. So I kept it to myself. How long is a bit sketchy. I must have blocked it all out of my head because all I remember to this day is being sent to my room by my mom and dad. I remember taking a peak out my bedroom and seeing my step brother down the hall giving me an evil look and pointing his finger at me. I was terrified. If I hadn’t ever been beat, the time was coming.
Too my surprise, he was removed from the house into a boy’s home where we would all visit him on occasion. I guess it was part of therapy but for me, I got sick to the stomach whenever I had to look at him. I can’t explain how my body felt when his eyes looked at me. I am assuming the reason we had family counseling over this was because my Doctor who my mother took me to see after she found out about him touching me said; because he did not penetrate, I was going to be just fine. No torn tissue, no signs of forced entry, I was young and it would not affect me as I grew older. Well, news flash, I AM AFFECTED and forever will be from the things no one seems to want to talk about. The things he did to me and the things he made me do to him. Adult rated sex education 101.
Fast forward to age thirteen after many quiet attempts of suicide by age eleven, my brother being thrown down a flight of stairs and many other stories left to be told at another time; my mother finally escaped after three visits to a woman’s shelter, two failed and one success.
I have plenty more to share from age thirteen to forty-five; it’s just too much to share here on paper. I really wished I could have come to speak in person. I will say at age twenty-one, I found myself in my own domestic violence relationship. It was a nightmare shortly lived. The last time I saw him, I was running for my life as he chased me with a loaded gun making threats to kill me, all after a game of Russian Roulette and me putting my life in God’s hands. I knew what would happen to me in that moment was all up to the Lord. I would not live in fear. I left and have been hiding from him ever since.
At this time in my life, my mission is to share how domestic violence and sexual abuse can destroy and child and the Woman they are meant to become. The Woman will show up, it just takes a lot of prayer and eventually self-confidence and the ability to love who you are. I am hoping to be an example to all women that they can survive and become happy women with happy lives no matter what life throws in their path. I know this to be true because I am that “Woman”. I am the woman who to this day cannot sleep at night because I have to be ready for anything. I am that woman who finally stopped having nightmares about my sexual abuse. I am that woman that will no longer be silent though it may affect people in my family whom I love very much. I would not trade my mother or my dad for any other parent. Yes, some major mistakes were made and unfortunately some of the people involved still deal with those demons. There are days I still do, but I refuse to let it define the person I want to be. I will no longer let it stop me from doing what I feel is Gods calling for me. Never did I once imagine I would be on disability, not able to work and provide for my two wonderful daughters after two failed marriages. When I was younger I always wrote poetry and plays and planned to one day write a book; I was told my spelling was horrible and it would never happen. Well guess what…spell check is alive and well. The dream I have could possibly not be reached right now if I were working nine to five and raising a family. This is my time to speak on what these two subjects can do to a child on the inside. My greatest wish is not only to give the hope in knowing they are not alone and they can be happy; It’s also that someone who is the abuser hears my story, reads my poems and someday read the book I hope to publish and he or she will make a change for the love of their family. When we do things, we don’t often think of the outcome of the deed. I am here to be that outcome, and tell the story of how the abuse made it so difficult for me to make the right choices in my life because I was looking for someone to love me because I didn’t know how to love myself. I lived my teenage years on a path of self-destruction, sex and drinking before age fifteen, almost losing my life to anorexia and more suicide attempts to the point of spending time in a treatment center after being forced to have an abortion. I survived this and more because I had God on my side and my faith to keep on going for my kids. At age forty I woke up with a new outcome on life. I learned to give and let God and when I did that, I learned to love me and I learned I don’t need a man to know my self-worth. I am a child of God and I take my life and still being alive to tell my story as a blessing.
These stories are REAL stories that give an account of either sexual abuse or domestic violence. It is our goal to share as many stories as possible in order to stop domestic violence and sexual abuse and start healing in our nation. If you would like to tell your story please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to duplicate or re~publish any article from our website you must have the written consent from the founder of Women With Gifts.