Helen’s story: A Story Never Told

Helen’s story: A Story Never Told

I can’t remember when it started. The first memory dates back to when I was 6 or 7 years old. I was the youngest child at that time and the only daughter. I was getting ready for bed and my father was in my parent’s bedroom next door. He called me, quietly, and when I went into the bedroom he wasn’t wearing trousers. He had on dark purple y front style underwear. He asked me to rub the front as it was bothering him and if I rubbed it would make him feel better. I felt I was helping my dad, I had no idea that this was something wrong. He thanked me and said it was our secret.
I remember other instances where he would lift me up playfully and rub himself against me. It was always a special secret between us and he seemed to pick times when I was arguing with my mum so that I was less inclined to tell her.
Whilst I was in middle school, he was imprisoned for exposing himself and that’s when I first heard the term ‘social services’. I started to realise that what he was doing to me was wrong, but also that telling anyone could mean the break up of my family. I couldn’t be responsible for that. I stayed silent.
My two elder brothers also abused me in different ways. One had me lie on top of him and rub my body up and down his. Once whilst out at the park, he pulled me into nearby woodland, pulled down my pants and touched and licked me. He said I tasted disgusting. I thought I was dirty and felt ashamed. I stayed silent.
My other brother would expose himself to me regularly. When he was an adult he was convicted of rape. I felt guilt for the woman he attacked, felt it wasy fault. I stayed silent.
My father continued his abuse until I left home at 18. He would pick me up from parties and try to make me masturbate him. He said he was just trying to reach me about sex before I met some lad. One Christmas, I was ill. I went to bed, missing Christmas dinner. I woke to my father groping my breasts and called him a pervert. One summer, my mum had gone to work but my dad had a day off. I was still in bed, being a lazy teenager. I heard him in his bedroom, masturbating and calling my name. I stayed in my room, sitting on the floor with my back against the door until he got up. I left the house and didn’t return until I knew my mum would be home. He would rub himself whilst watching TV whenever my mum had gone for a bath or gone to bed early. I couldn’t leave the room as I didn’t want my mum to be suspicious as to why I kept going to bed early. I endured. I stayed silent.

My first marriage ended on good terms but my second marriage was marked by emotional abuse and marital rape. I left, I told my story but didn’t press charges. I stayed silent for the sake of my safety.

I remain silent. Splitting up my family would serve no purpose now. Telling my truth would destroy my mum. Reporting my ex husband would bring him into my life again. I work in retail and get hit on 5 times a day. I endure. I survive. I shouldn’t have to.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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