Julia’s Story: Family Abuse

Julia’s Story: Family Abuse

This is basically a journal entry, but as I start writing this I know I want to make it public somehow/someday because I really think that it can help someone else and I truly love helping people. So as you read this, just keep in mind this was just a journal entry to get some stuff off my chest. I have had the wonderful opportunity to have a clinical rotation for nursing school on an in-patient psychiatric unit. I have and will continue to learn many things, and one of those is that I need to cope with and deal with some of my own issues before I can successfully help others. I haven’t decided if I want to be a psychiatric nurse, but it is definitely something I am thinking about. But today, I realized that some people go through the same things that I have dealt with and come out on the other side of the table, as a patient in the psychiatric unit, not a nurse. That really struck me and I realized I need to write this and get some things off my chest so I can continue to over come and move past this traumatic event. I also learned that events effect everyone different, you and I could watch the same scene in a movie and you thought it was boring but I’m a blubbery mess. I think traumatic events are the same, everyone has experienced something that greatly impacts their life but it is no one else’s job to judge whether that is good enough, or if yours was ‘worse’ than someone else’s. This is something I continue to work on, sometimes I find myself wondering if what I went through qualifies as abuse, I’ve even gone as far as looking up the definition just to give my experience a name. Well, at this point I am just rambling to avoid talking about the issue because I still am not comfortable talking about what happened. Which I don’t really think is a good thing but anyway, here we go.

I don’t remember dates, times or even ages, I have never been good with remembering that kind of stuff so just bear with me on that. I know this all started and ended between 13 and 22 and thats all I have for a time frame. I’m going to put it in chronological order though. First I will start with a picture that comes to mind, its me and my uncle, I’m a baby, I think my mom told me I was about a year old at the time. He is laying on the floor with me reading me a book. That picture always comes to mind for some reason when I think about that same uncle later sexually abusing me. Like I said it all started at about 13, I remember him always being the “cool” uncle he had an awesome boat, cool toys he was always partying and going to the bars. All the stuff at 13 you think is so cool! Looking back I don’t think he ever really made much time for all us kids until I got to be about 13 or so. Then he would try and talk to me more and find out stuff that was going on. I guess I’m having issues keeping the events in the correct order so this may not be chronologically correct. I think I’m just going to make a new paragraph for each “event.”

I remember one time we were sitting on his back porch and he was asking about me drinking and having a bf. He offered me a drink and obviously I drank it, cause I thought it was cool. I had a boyfriend at the time, and he wanted to know about our sex life. I remember feeling uncomfortable but I don’t remember any serious red flags so I do wonder if he had made comments like that before this and I just thought it was normal at that point. I know I hadn’t had sex at that point, but I’m pretty sure I told him yes because I wanted him to think I was cool. Thats about all I remember from that time although I know I sat there for a while on the porch.

There were quite a few situations like this, for example, he was obsessed with mooning people. We were driving around on our go-cart one day, all over the neighborhood and he was literally pulling his pants down and mooning that cars as they passed. I am currently 24 and I could not imagine being a grown adult and mooning cars with a bunch of kids, he was in his 30’s at the time. Another incident was when he took a bunch of us kids out on his boat, we were having a great time and listening to music (no drinking this time-it was completely normal) but he kept asking personal questions to all the girls. He ended up telling us about this thong bathing suit he had and it ended up being a big inside joke between us all. Again we all thought it was great, we had a cool uncle we could hang out with.

Shortly after that we were at my grandmas house (he lived right next door). I remember going over to my uncles house for a tour (he had just rebuilt it). He is showing us around the house and gets to the bedroom, he shows us his TV and explains thats where him and his wife watch their porn, and she really likes to watch it with him. He also told me that she likes to watch him jerk off and see how far the cum will go. He once showed me the computer he liked to watch porn at too. The thing is he said all this as a joke and real smooth like so it seemed so normal. I don’t remember ever thinking it was weird or anything! Again I just thought he was the cool uncle I could talk about this stuff with. There are countless “odd” moments like these where looking back it was a way to push his luck and ease into the situation. I think he was looking for my reaction to give him the okay, and I did. But I was so young I didn’t even know what I was doing! I remember him using my mom (his own sister) and a way to coax me into a deeper relationship with him. He would say all these bad things about her (she was really strict and we didn’t always get along, or see eye to eye, typical teenage stuff)! He would constantly use alcohol too and just always make the conversation about sex. Even after the abuse and advances stopped he would still make sexual comments. He once told me about an online chat room strip cite (not sure what those are actually called) and then went on to tell me it was something I would make a ton of money doing. I was like 18 or 19 at the time. He got me into bars underage we would go up to my camp and get drunk hanging out there and again he was just the cool uncle.

Side note here, him and I were really close. I haven’t gotten to most of the actual abuse yet, but I ended up repressing the memories and literally had no recollection of them happening until just a few years ago (I’ll get to that later). But for years I would literally spend every weekend at camp with him snowmobiling, I loved it! I even learned how to make my favorite breakfast ever from his wife after a sleep over at their house! He was my favorite uncle, and that scares the crap out of me and completely sickens me now. But back to the past.

Like I said, there were so many different stories of inappropriate conversations and drinking, I could literally go on forever. This is one of the first times I remember things taking a turn for the worse. I was at his house again and he brought up the thong bathing suit joke. He asked if I wanted to see it so I said yes, he put it on and I remember sitting on his stairs just outside his room while he was wearing nothing but a thong bathing suit. I was so uncomfortable and kept wishing someone would come walking up the stairs, but there was no one else home. (Side note, as I’m writing this I keep saying he, he did this, he said that and I feel like I should be writing I, I feel like I should be taking blame and that I did something wrong like I should have said no and left. Which yes I should have, and if this happened today I would have but I was a child and it was not my fault, and I shouldn’t have any guilt-but I do-thats something I need to work on, although I’m not exactly sure how). Anyway he (I had I typed here instead and changed it because I know this was not my fault, he was the adult and I was the child) ended up having me take a picture of him in this thong bathing suit and sending it to all the other friends that were part of the inside joke. I don’t remember what exactly they said back but it was still a funny joke, I felt slightly embarrassed but when my friend thought it was funny I wasn’t embarrassed anymore. I then remember him telling me it was my turn for him to take a picture of me in my thong. I didn’t even wear thongs! And thank God I had enough common sense to tell him no, I made up some dumb excuse, I said I couldn’t because I was wearing stockings and it wouldn’t work right. He didn’t push the subject or anything just let it go at that. Looking back that was the worst part about it, he didn’t come off like a predator, he came off like it was just a joke or game and I had nothing to fear.

Another time that things went way to far was again, at his house. I don’t remember why we were over there, I think he used to just make excuses to go over there. I remember him showing me pictures on his phone of women’s breasts that had been sent to him. He was asking my opinion about them, somehow he then got talking about penis sizes and then ended up with his pants down showing me his penis and asking if I thought it was big. He had me take a picture of it on his phone and I thin he said he was going to send it to the girl or something. He made it seem like he just needed me to take the picture and that it was no big deal. Just writing this makes me want to throw up. I can just picture him standing there asking if his penis was big or not and I can remember feeling so small and staring at anything else I could but him telling him yes. I literally had never seen a penis before this.

The last ‘big’ event I remember was at my camp. The entire family was up there, the place could sleep like 14 people but me and my uncle ended up on one room, he was on the bottom bunk I was on the top (it was brought to my attention later that this was not right, it should have never been allowed to happen, why were a teenage girl and a gown man sharing a room)? Anyway we all went to bed and I either stayed up watching a movie or something and was one of the last ones to go to sleep, and so was he. He was down on the bottom bunk and we were talking about whatever. Somehow ( I guess that somehow is the fact that he turns the conversation sexual) we ended up talking about masturbation. I remember him asking me if I knew what it was, how it was done, if I had ever seen it, blah blah blah. He told me you could do it into a sock, or a tissue. He then proceeded to get up on the dresser so he was in my vision field and masturbated. He was talking all about it, I remember him again asking about sex and talking about porn. All I remember doing is hoping someone would wake up. The only thing separating the rooms was a curtain!! I remember putting my head under the pillow and trying to avoid the situation but not knowing what to do, hoping someone would come to my rescue. No one did, he said he needed a tissue and then we went to bed, him on the bottom me on the top. I remember sleeping in the next morning and I woke up to him making breakfast for everyone, that was the tradition. I was so ashamed I knew I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened, nor did I want to.

Thats about the last thing I remember ever happening, he would still make sexual comments all the time, talk about sex with me, ask me about my sex life and so on, but nothing serious happened. I really don’t know when or why it stopped, my guess would be that he found someone else to fulfill his desires (we’ll get to that later). I know this was sometime in high school I think it was before my first serious boyfriend who I started dating in around 10th grade. I know this because his was the second penis I saw, sad I know.

My best guess would be that after that last event I repressed all the memories, I basically subconsciously locked all the memories from above in my subconscious. I know psychology doesn’t recognize repression as a legit defense mechanism but when I first heard the definition of repression after all these memories came to light (well get to that next). I knew without a doubt that is what I did. Nursing however does recognize repression as a defense mechanism, just in case you were wondering.

So a few years ago my aunt and uncle found out they couldn’t have kids for whatever reason. They ended up becoming foster parents ( scary thought I know). They had a baby girl and then a couple years later got another foster daughter. She was in her teens and had a tragic history, as most foster kids do. Him and her had a full on affair, they were having sex, and apparently at camp, at his house, everywhere. She was his foster daughter with issues of her own, and he took full advantage of that! (I came to find out later that he used the same exact plan, literally down to the same wording to manipulate her as he tried with me.) Not sure if I should be thankful or sorry that it didn’t work for me, but it did for her. I won’t go into too much detail there because that is not my story to tell but in June of 2013 he was arrested for rape, he was later convicted and is now serving a six year sentence in Attica (the sentence was originally three years, the judge increased it to six). He was also brought up on other charges for forcing a child under the age of 13 to have oral sex with him, and his wife was brought up on charges for lying to the police. He was also sued by the rape victim and made a written statement from prison saying his actions were not the only wrong ones and basically “blaming the victim as being at least somewhat at fault and suggesting that her “carelessness and recklessness” were at least partially responsible” (that is quoted from the news article).

When this all started coming about I remember being an emotional wreck. His face was all over the news and every time I saw it I was just over come with emotions, but I wasn’t sad and I didn’t feel bad for him. I thought I should and I even tried to feel bad for him. I even called him and talked to him and tried to give him words of encouragement during this rough time. At this time I did not know the whole truth, I was told that it was just an accusation because the girl was mad at him. I ended up calling my dad and was talking to him about the situation and basically explained that I didn’t know how to feel about the situation. I will never forget what he told me, he said, “if I shoot someone in the head for no reason, it doesn’t make it right because I’m your dad.” For some reason that really stuck with me, my dad ended up being the one to tell me that he actually did have sex with the girl and admitted to it when the police questioned him. With in a few hours of hanging up the phone with him I basically had a flush of memories, they all started coming back to me, it was the strangest thing and all I can say is that your mind is a powerful thing! I called my aunt (a different one) and was talking about the situation and told her I needed to tell her something. My sister and I met with her and her husband and told them what had happened. I couldn’t go into full detail but they got the gist. They made the right decision and new they needed to tell my parents. However, I knew that wasn’t going to go over well so the night that they decided to tell our parents my sister and I made plans to stay some where else. I’m not sure exactly how that went down but I know my dad was furious and wanted to go confront the guy.

This was the beginning of another terrible time. I was questioned, some of the people that I care about most did not believe my story. My own mother questioned my motives and the truth at first. She later came to believe me, but this part of the story needs to be told regardless (sorry mom). I remember being questioned, and her being angry that I didn’t come to her first with the information. I told her that the first penis I ever saw was my uncles, she asked if it was an accident and he dropped the towel getting out of the shower. I told her no and that even if it was that would still not be okay, something like that is completely preventable! I remember a very long, argumentative phone call. Now this uncle was currently watching my little brother. He worked as a bus driver so obviously lost his job when all of this came out. The rest of the family wanted to help him and my mom hired him as a babysitter for my brother (it was her brother, please don’t be judgmental of that, this was before they knew my story). But on the phone I told my mom that if it was someone else, who wasn’t her brother, and she found this out that we would not be allowed in the same state as that person, but because it was her brother he wasn’t a threat and he could watch her son. I was furious! Well, a few days later, I was asked if I said all those things about my uncle so that she wouldn’t have him watching my brother anymore. It dawned on me that the truthfulness of my story was being questioned so I asked very straight forward “do you believe me or not, yes or no?” My response was met with silence so I gathered my things, told her to fuck off and slammed the door. Shortly after this I moved out, it wasn’t solely for this reason, I had a full time job and was able to take care of myself. But that is definitely what was best at that time. My mom and I have since talked and she believes me whole heartily and has apologized.

During this time I was debating on giving my statement to the cops. I was really struggling with this at the time and I think it was mostly because I didn’t want to have to tell someone the whole story. But I decided that was the right thing to do, I gave my entire statement to a detective. My incident was past the statue to limitations so I couldn’t press any charges but he assured me the information would be helpful in the case they were making against him. I truly believe that my statement was part of the reason he was sentenced to an extra three years from what the original decision was. I don’t remember all the details of that day but I know it was one of the most awkward moments of my life, and my life is full of awkward moments let me tell you! Shortly after this my grandma (his mom) contacted me. She wanted to talk. We met for lunch at a local restaurant and talked about the whole situation. It really wasn’t an awkward conversation, but she at one point told me the best way to handle the situation was to cover it up and act like it never happened. That we could all be mature adults and go to family gatherings and move on from this. She also gave me an example of someone she knew who had been sexually abused and that they recovered fine and never made a big deal out of the situation (as it turns out that person has been struggling with the issue and it has effected her life for years). This is when I informed her that I already went to the police and gave them my statement, the look on her face was priceless. As weird as it sounds that wasn’t the end of the conversation, I went back to her house and we ended up talking about all sorts of other things. However, after I left and I was thinking about it all I got pretty mad, especially when i found out that she lied to me about the person she knew who was sexually abused. I didn’t plan on never talking to her again but I didn’t have much respect for her either. She ended up having surgery, and I never called or anything and apparently that pissed her off because at the next family gathering she walked up to the group I was standing with and hugged everyone standing there except me. She didn’t say a work and just walked away. I think it was probably a combination of everything not just that I didn’t call after surgery but who knows!

For a while here I wouldn’t go to family gatherings if he was going to be there. I would ask whoever was hosting that event if he would be there or not and if he was I wouldn’t go. Through out this time I was really close with the rest of the family and confided in and trusted them. I was eventually talked into going to an event that he was going to be there for. I wish I never went. Everyone I thought I trusted and cared about went out of their way to make him feel comfortable but did nothing to make sure I was comfortable. I watched so many people who told me they thought he was scum bag talk to him like nothing ever happened. It was one of the worst experiences of my life, having to be in the same room as someone who abused me for the first time since I remembered and acknowledged that abuse and to make it worse I had no support! That was the beginning of the end of the relationship with that side of the family. There were some other deciding factors in there but again that is someone else’s story, and I’m just a small part in that. I know your probably thinking that I’m a terrible person for cutting my family out of my life but to be honest I do not regret the decision at all, I feel bad for the younger people involved who may have gotten hurt, and Ive seen them all since and its kinda awkward to be in the same room with your family and act like you don’t know who they are but I have to do whats best for my healing. Right now being around that negativity, manipulativeness and decisiveness is not helpful, so I refuse to do it.

I’m not sure if I’ve shoved my brain so full of medical terms and lab values for school that Ive cut into some of the storage space for my long term memory, or if these memories are just so crappy I don’t want to remember them. Then again it might just be the fact that I have never been good with dates and times, but I can’t remember where this part fits in. I thing its right after the family gathering I saw him at but he wanted to apologize. Somehow I got talked into this, it was my mom, my sister, my grandma, him and myself all at the table in my grandmas kitchen. He read this letter to us, and told us that his wife never knew anything was going on so not to blame her, and when I asked why he did these things he told me that he didn’t know. Then he said he was abused by his cousin, his cousin denies this and I have to say I’m inclined to believe his cousin over him. Also, I didn’t accept his apology, I think it was a load of crap. I think this for two reasons, one how can you accept an apology that was a lie? I think he lied about his cousin, and I know he lied about his wife. She was there feeding me alcohol too! He told me she knew about the pictures on his phone and told me all about their sex life. Not to mention it was later brought up that they were swingers. My belief that his apology was crap was also confirmed when he blamed the rape victim after she sued him. Nothing anyone can say will make me believe he is sorry for his actions. I don’t think six years is enough time to change a pedophile, I honestly don’t know if a pedophile can change.

Now I know if my family ever reads this they are going to have a different story to tell. They will deny most of this, they already have. I have heard that my grandma told people I was lying, that she told them I took my statement back from the cops. I’m basically the black sheep of the family but that is okay, like I said I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I was college drop out when this all came out. Now I’m working on my second degree, am in a loving relationship and have had my dream come true to own a horse. Not even just a horse, a whole farm and I am going to be using that to help others. Also I got a phenomenal relationship with my dad out of all this, he stood by me through thick and thin and always had my back. He’s more angry about it to this day than I am!

Although I recognize all that good, I still struggle with this. I will never accept his bullshit apology but I have forgiven him, I don’t want him to die, I don’t want to hurt him and I honestly don’t wish bad things on him. I am mad at him, but I don’t see him when I see other abusers, I don’t judge other abusers just because this happened to me. I honestly feel sorry for him, I pity the sad life he is now forced to live because of his mistakes. I am worried about my emotions on the day that I have to listen to the story of a victim or an abuser, but thats why I’m writing this. So that when that day comes I can handle it and help that person. So like I was saying, I’m mad at him and I don’t want him to be a part of my life but I don’t think thats unhealthy at all, I think it’s really just for my sanity. I might have some anxiety if I ever see him in public but I can honestly say that it wont cripple me into hiding somewhere till he’s gone (which I have been in that place). I saw a therapist for a while, and I smoked for a really long time but I quit smoking 3 months ago, and have found phenomenal ways to manage my stress and anxiety (I began running and meditating, I also fell in love with essential oils). I will never be able to say this hasn’t affected me, in fact there are times where I want to cry and cant stop picturing the moments but there are more good days than bad days for sure. I want to use what happened to me to help others. The only thing I really struggle with is the feelings of guilt and shame, I’m not sure if that will ever go away. I am ashamed to put my name to this because I’m worried of what other people will think, I want to hide behind this paper with no names and no faces and tell my story from behind my computer. I don’t want to have to tell people and feel their judging eyes stare at me while I talk, and I feel guilty that I wasn’t held at gun point against my will. I feel like I could have stopped it at any time and I didn’t so that makes me just as wrong. I know thats not true I really do and if someone else told me their story and it matched mine word for word I would tell them over and over it wasn’t their fault and that should have never happened to you, you have no reason to feel ashamed and I would truly believe it. I even know the psychological aspect behind it. That he used the alcohol and talking bad about my mom to draw me in, that he didn’t push to hard and knew when to stop but was still able to progress toward what he wanted I really do know it wasn’t my fault. But for some reason that doesn’t change my feelings of guilt and shame. I’m hoping with time it gets better but right now I’m still okay and I am the kind of person who thinks every thing happens for a reason. I know that I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for EVERYTHING that happened, including that abuse, and I wouldn’t change my life for anything (I might upgrade my paychecks but we are working on that!!) All to often one story leads to another and this was true for me to, and I think this is where most of my shame comes in. I think I lacked so much confidence because of what my uncle did to me I let so many bad things happen again. I was at work and my bosses husband was making the same advances toward me. He would ask about my sex life and what not, only when no one else was around. I was older and more wiser so I played it off and avoided the questions but it was till uncomfortable. This is the first time I’ve ever shared this information, and its kinda hard..He tried to make advances to me and talk me into posting pictures to this website he managed. It was $20 for one picture and I literally could’t afford my gas and my car really needed breaks at the time so I agreed. I honestly didn’t care what happened to my body at that point. He said he needed to take a picture of my vagina and that it had to be from his angle to it was good for the shot. When I pulled my pants down he tried to perform oral sex. I pushed him away and tried to rush out of there, he grabbed me before the door and kissed me and said “Ive been waiting for this moment.” I left and never came back I told my boss that she was a bitch and that her husband was creep and never even thought about it again. The second incident was while I was camping with my uncle I met this boy and he was really nice and cute, I thought he really liked me so I was hanging out with him at his camp site. He kept pumping me full of drinks, so did his mother!! I went to leave and he was going to walk me to my campsite, he pulled me into the bathroom and then we had sex. I never said no but I don’t even remember most of it. After learning about rape in college I learned that I was raped, he was basically sober and knew I was way to drunk to consent.

I wrote most of this for me, Im sure you don’t care about all these details, but sometimes hearing someone else’s story helps you with yours and this is the first time I have shared every detail. So if this helps just one person it was worth it. But if you are struggling with something whether it be abuse, mental illness, addiction or even if you are the abuser trying to overcome your peat mistakes just know you can overcome this! Life does get better and these terrible things that have happened to you don’t define you! I refuse to see myself as a victim, I prefer to think of myself as a survivor or a warrior. My grandpa told me once when I was little (I got in big trouble cause my mom found a beer in my room) “ride the wave and come out on top.” I have this tattooed on me because I never want to forget it. Sometimes life throws so much at you at once and you literally have no idea what to do or where to start but you just gotta keep going even if your just hanging on for dear life at this point, then you find your glimmer of hope and reach for that and put everything you have into getting there. I promise things do get better you will overcome this terrible time and when you do you will use that as your strength. When I come to a stressful situation in life I literally say to my self “you’ve gotten this far, you can do this” and I know its true. Theres a song by Eminem and Rihanna called “Monster” part of the lyrics say “I’m friends with the monster thats under my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head.” I think that is so powerful because I think you have truly gotten over your past when you use it to benefit your future. When you can use your traumatic event to better your life, not bring you down you have become friends with the monster thats under your bed and if your friends with the monster, what else is there to be scared of?



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