|My Own Hero|
|Written by Ellieann|
First and foremost I am doing this for me. I need to see my story on paper.
To work out why I sometimes feel so screwed in the head. I need to give myself credit for the amazing person I have grown into after surviving a somewhat screwed up childhood!!
Some parts of this story are painful but I accept that this is my life and my story the way I see it. It helps me understand where I get my oddities and special-ness for which I am now very proud. This is how I see me.
My birth certificate does not state my father's name, or a surname. Just my first name on the certificate, no middle or last name! When I first saw it, I was shocked and a little hurt that my Mum didn’t give me a surname but I quite like it now. It mirrors much of how I view myself, pretty much a stand alone strong 'soul'.
I was placed in a home for babies until my mother could figure out a way to keep a job and have me with her.
I asked Mum several times about her young days but she said she couldn’t remember much. Perhaps they were difficult times for her and better that they weren’t remembered. I feel so much love for Mum and can only imagine the pain and loneliness she must have felt being in a strange country without her family for support.
Mum was forty when I was born. She had already lived a full life in another country but was ousted from her town because her husband was elected a member of parliament. Mum had no formal education so was unsuitable as a member of parliament's wife. They had found a woman of better standing. My mum had to abandon her older children to the 'care' of new wife.
My mum found comfort in a man who made her feel like a woman again, gave her a new home and soon after I was born. Unfortunately he abandoned her when I was just a toddler.
When I was only four, Mum took me to an orphanage. On that first day, the Sister Superior found a couple of girls to take me outside to play while the adults sorted their business. The girls were about six or seven but I was almost as tall as they were, and much bigger than them. I was extremely shy but they were very good to me.
When Sister and Mum had finished their business, Sister dismissed the girls so Mum and I could say our good-byes. I remember watching Mum walking away from me, down the path and out the gate. I didn't cry or make a scene. I was afraid to cry. I was keen to make her proud of me and wanted to make sure I carried out all her final instructions, especially to change my knickers and socks everyday! I felt a mixture of panic to see Mum go and at the same time excitement that I was going to be living with lots of kids. Sister gave me a sense that I was going to be alright and that I didn’t need to worry. So I trusted her but still felt confused that my Mum couldn’t stay with us.
My memories of the orphanage are mainly happy ones where I got to play a lot with girls my own age. I enjoyed the pretty coloured lacy little dresses we got to wear when going out. We didn’t own the dresses - they were for the use of whoever could fit them and then left there for other girls over the years.
I loved the summertime when in the afternoons the Sisters would take us across the road and down the track through the trees to the beach for a swim. I was lucky enough sometimes to get carried all the way back, even though the sisters continually commented on how heavy I was for a five year old!
I got my first toy (and only one that I remember) while I was at the orphanage. It was a battery operated bright red fire engine that had a siren. I absolutely loved it, it was so much fun and it was mine! The nuns didn’t even mind it racing around under their feet and under the tables and all over the place. I had never been as happy as that time with my very own toy.
I used to wet the bed regularly and felt terribly frightened about it. I tried to quickly make my bed first thing every morning so no one would know but I was always found out. I don’t remember ever getting into too much trouble about it but I was always ashamed of myself. Each of us 'tiny tots' was assigned a Std 3 girl to take care of us. The one in charge of me had to change my sheets for me every day. I don’t remember her ever being mad at me or ever make fun of me. I was lucky.
At night we were allowed to read for half an hour or so before the lights were turned off. I enjoyed Paddington Bear and the Noddy stories the most.
One day, one of the Sisters told me to put on my slippers and when I told her that I didn’t have any, I knew I was in trouble when she marched me downstairs to the basement. She looked in my suitcase and found them! I didn’t even know what slippers were till then!
Another time I drew attention to myself was during grace before dinner. The big hand on the clock, high on the wall caught my attention. I wanted to catch the minute hand moving again so I must have stopped saying grace before meals.
For the first time ever I saw the big hand move and I let out a giggle. The Sister in charge shot me the most evil eyes ever! If she had asked me what had amused me, I'm sure she would have laughed with me.
Mum used to visit once a month, on a Sunday and she used to bring a lovely picnic and she and I would go down to the beach. I really enjoyed my time with my Mum. It was always hard though when it was time for her to leave but I never made a scene for her. She used to bring me new knickers and socks and got me to change at the beach and took the others home. Then I'd get a lecture to make sure I changed them every day and be clean and make sure I had a bath everyday. I reminded her that the nuns made sure we did all of those things anyway. But I didn’t tell her about the bed wetting!
One day when Mum came, I was in bed with the mumps and I cried when I saw Mum. I was in pain and missing her so much. I couldn’t eat what they had brought me but I was so happy to see her. I must have fallen asleep, and when I woke up and found she wasn’t there, I got upset. She had gone for a walk around the grounds with one of the Sisters and they came back they found me crying! I was so annoyed with myself because I saw the pain in my Mum's eyes. And when it really was time for her to leave, neither of us could hold back our tears.
I was glad that one of the Sisters came and sat with me and did silly things to make me smile after Mum left. A couple of girls came and kept me company for the rest of that day.
When I was seven I left the Orphanage, and went to live with Mum in Ponsonby. I was sad to leave the Orphanage but glad to be with Mum again. She had found a rental house for us.
I was very lonely at this home because I had no one to play with and no one to talk to outside of school hours. I loved being at school even though I wasn’t doing very well. School was a haven for me.
Mum did shift work on alternate weeks in a factory so when she was on afternoon shift, I went to her friend's house after school till she finished work at about 11pm each night and came to pick me up. It must have been really hard for Mum being a working solo mother. It was definitely hard on me having to go to other people's homes and being woken up late at night to walk home.
One day Mum and I went out to Whenuapai Airport. We waited outside on the observation deck and watched the plane come in. As people came off the plane Mum suddenly got excited and almost in a whisper said 'there's my daughter!' I was so confused. Firstly because Mum's 'daughter' was a grown woman of 21 years and secondly because I wasn’t sure if that meant she was my sister. I was only seven. I was too scared to ask because it seemed such a silly question. My mother paid for other family to immigrate over the years.
Our household was growing and I was enjoying the company although I was excruciatingly shy. Even though there were a lot of people around, I was not really aware of them. They were just there. I was very much a loner as there were always lots of adults around, but no other children.
I had a couple of good friends at primary school and sometimes I was invited to their homes after school to play for a while especially when Mum was on afternoon shift. Their parents were always very kind to me even though I barely spoke to them because of my crippling shyness. But I did enjoy being with them and never wanted to go home.
There were two main reasons for not wanting to go home. One was that I believe my mother was very depressed in her forties and extremely angry. She took that anger out on me and many times became quite violent.
I was eight years old when the beatings began. And because I was a very shy and frightened girl, I never retaliated. Although Mum was quite small in build she was very strong and seemed to gain in strength when she was angry. Often Mum lost her cool when family and visitors were around and they did their best to try and stop her. But their pleas were ignored.
I hated family parties and dreaded all parties that Mum and I went to. My family ate, drank and were merry and that was ok but the reason I dreaded them was because I knew the time would come when my mother would make me dance or sing for them when I was never shown how to. It was no problem for the other children; they just did it and went off to play outside again. It made it worse that I was shy. I always ended up crying on Christmas Day. My mother never accepted a 'no' from me, so it was a battle of wills that she always won by hitting me or pulling my hair in front of everyone and making me want to die.
On one occasion, a really sweet old lady came to me in the bedroom where I had run away in shame. She came and sat on the bed and talked very gently and assured me that I had done nothing wrong. She said that my mother just wanted to be proud of me and the lady asked me to forgive my mum. She told me that the same thing used to happen to her and she didn’t know how to do it either and was also shamed for it. She made me feel so much better but I was still really upset with my mother.
I grew to hate my mother and sometimes wished she was dead. I asked my friends if they ever felt like that about their parents but their horrified looks at such a suggestion taught me to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself.
Men started to take a keen interest in me when I was four but mostly when I was between eight and thirteen years. This was the other reason I hated going home after school when my mum was on night shift. Some of the men were boarded with us and had their way with me on many occasions as did some who lived in our church parish and some worked on the opposite shift to Mum.
Seven different men, many different times, throughout many years.
One of them knew the times when Mum wouldn’t be home or when an adult was home, he would make out that he was just visiting. Even though I was at home alone baby sitting my nieces, he used to come in to the house and tell them to play in one room while he took me to another. It was always the same with him; I would lie on the floor while he plastered brylcream over me and him and then enjoy himself. Other days he took me to a bushy area and raped me there.
Sometimes he came to my Primary School in Ponsonby and told the nuns he was my uncle and the nuns let me go home early! I never told them otherwise because it didn’t occur to me that they could help me, plus I didn’t know how to say to tell them that this man is about to rape me, please stop him. It didn’t feel right to talk to anyone, let alone to nuns about such things.
Other days, he used to take me to his home when his wife and family were out. Even when I said I wanted to go to the loo he didn’t stop.
He even did it to me in the Sacristy at Church! He was the person in charge of organising all the church ceremonies and trained all the altar boys.
One day a boarder was caught in the act. I'm not sure if it was my sister or my mother who walked into the bedroom and found him fondling me. A family meeting was immediately held where after a lot of crying and yelling from Mum and my three sisters, he got on to his knees and apologised for his actions. I doubt Mum and my sisters had any idea that the other men were also abusing me.
As a result of that meeting I was taken to see a Dr. I was eight or nine and I remember Mum being very particular that I wore fresh clean knickers. I can't remember if the doctor examined me but when he asked me what had happened to me, I didn’t know what to say. So nothing came of it. I had my chance then to say something but I didn’t know what to say.
On another occasion, my mother's eldest son, had me bending over a bed while he tried to enter me from behind. All of the men did much the same things to me: groped, fondled, fingered, kissed, entered, they all raped me at different times on many different occasions anywhere they could find privacy.
One man made me put his penis into my mouth. It made everything else that had happened to me previously (including penetration even though it hurt a lot) seem not as bad! It was the most sickening thing I had ever done. The look and smell of that night is a memory that I still haven’t been able to erase.
One day when I was about 9 or 10, I tried running away, so after school, I went with some friends to the local park and had a great time. Gradually all the kids were being called home for tea and I was the last one left and it was getting dark. I decided I wasn’t going home. There was a small bushy hill on the edge of the park. I found a little comfortable place under a tree and settled myself in for the night. I had no other plan except to go to sleep.
I don’t think it was long after I nodded off that I became aware that I wasn’t alone. A man was talking to me and asking me if I wanted anything. I was frightened and began to cry and told him I wanted to go home. I was sure he wanted to rape me too! When I started to cry louder he took off, but I was still scared so I walked home all the time trying to think of somewhere else I could go where no-one would find me. I couldn’t think of anywhere so trudged on home.
I arrived at about 9pm and was totally exhausted. The front door was wide open, all the lights were on but no one was home. I went straight to bed and fell asleep in my school clothes.
I was suddenly awoken by a slap on my face by one of my sisters. The slap caused my nose to bleed so I ran to the bathroom. Then the whole house became quite rowdy - everyone had been out (police included) looking for me. I was surprised! My blood nose was a blessing in disguise because I definitely would have got a huge beating from Mum who was yelling at me. I realised then they were genuinely worried but I didn’t think they even noticed me and wouldn’t have missed me.
I used to find it difficult to call what those men did to me 'rape' because I never resisted going with them or letting them do whatever they liked to me. And they were never forceful except during penetration which was the only time I felt physical pain. I have to be honest and say that I found some of it enjoyable.
The rapes didn’t cease till I was about 13 when I realised from biology classes that I could become pregnant and I suddenly found my voice and one day said 'I don’t want a baby'! The guy got such a fright that he never did it again.
I found it difficult to believe that I was totally blameless. But it is absolutely clear to me now, that every single one of those encounters was rape and that I was a defenceless and innocent child.
I had two best friends at Secondary School, we are linked indirectly through family connections anyway but we were loyal friends for life. We bonded closely with a lot of our classmates and favourite teachers through the years and were very happy at school.
We got up to all sorts of mischief mostly shoplifting and wagging. One of them tells me that I was the ringleader but I don’t remember that part. I might have been the biggest sneak but she and our other friend got away with a lot more than I did! Their mothers were very lenient on them compared to mine.
I never told them about the rapes until we were adults, when we were all able and ready to share our childhood stories and how they affected us.
For many years I felt dirty, stupid, weak, smelly, evil, guilty, ugly, fat, bad, slow, naughty, dumb, unlovable, shy, lonely, unhappy, wrong, lazy, unworthy, unimportant, depressed and I often thought I was crazy!
I was very slow at school and took forever to understand new concepts. I became sneaky and stole money and things from home, school and shops. I hate the smell of brylcream and some moisturisers! I grew to mistrust people, especially men. I learnt to be manipulative to get anything I wanted.
When I see a man on TV or on the movies wearing just a shirt, I feel ill.
I exaggerated things to make myself sound impressive. I go into a deep depression after every intercourse. I always wondered if there was something wrong with me.
When Mum died when I was forty, I suddenly found myself lost, alone and unneeded. All my family seemed to be ok with their lives except me. My Mum's dying made me suddenly aware that I was different, she was my link to her children, but they shared the same mother and father. I felt I had no one. I wasn’t married, had no children, no one depended on me. No one needed me. It was a horrible and lonely realisation. I left my home town to start a new life.
I fully understand and accept why Mum was so angry with her life and I love her dearly. I loved her before, but the love I have for my Mum now is much healthier and freer and pure.
MY STATEMENT OF RELEASE
To my Mum: for taking out your frustrations on your baby girl, I forgive you. For not realising the impact of your actions on me, I forgive you. For not protecting me from those men, I forgive you.
To myself: for never speaking up for myself I forgive myself. For making it easy for men to abuse me, I forgive myself. For never saying 'no', I forgive myself.
To all the men who raped me: this isn’t easy but I forgive you. I forgive you for my own good so that I am no longer bound to you. You have all been a heavy and unnecessary burden on me and now I release you to learn your own lessons.
Release my identity as a victim
The little girl in me now has a voice. She now has the love, support and protection she so desperately needed while growing up. This little girl is now a beautiful woman with a vivacious and colourful spirit. I am that little girl and this beautiful woman in one awesome package!!! I have so much love to share with my family, my friends, the world, I am now free to love, free to be who I am meant to be. I am my own hero.
written by annnz , 22 September, 2007
written by Roseyone , 24 September, 2007
written by Ellieann , 26 September, 2007
written by Maryanne , 27 September, 2007
I am so sorry that happened to you,
written by nickybees , 27 September, 2007
Strength to you
written by Sexywitch , 29 September, 2007
written by faye , 30 September, 2007
What an amazing lady you are
written by Paula , 30 September, 2007
My journey has been easier for some years now:)
written by Ellieann , 03 October, 2007
written by jode , 05 October, 2007
written by cyberchook , 13 October, 2007
written by Mizbiz , 31 August, 2008
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.
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