Warning: Some of these blog posts will contain real life content that may shock or confront some readers, or trigger PTSD.

Friday, 17 February 2012


I was initially going to write a post called "Snowball",  however in my efforts to procrastinate and put off writing for yet another day, (and therefore not have to deal with a the avalanche of emotions that are about to envelop me) I spent a few hours trying to find a free image of a snowball / avalanche to accompany my post. 

I didn't find a suitable image, but I did find this awesome trailer for Ice Age 4 on you-tube.

This amusing video got me back to thinking about the chain of events that changed the course of my life when, at the age of 14, I took the giant step to 'tell'.   When life as I knew it changed for ever.   

For so long, I had kept so many secrets. Like scrat clinging to the acorn I had painstakingly clung to them - I had carried them around for years.  But after I warned my stepfather that  if he tried to touch me again I would tell, I had a few months of freedom from the abuse.  It was such a relief.  

And then, when I was starting to feel safe, he tried to touch me again.  It was a subtle start - he tried to fondle (my mostly non existant) breasts as I walked from the lounge room to the kitchen. From experience I knew this was only going to escalate.  And I couldn't deal with that.  The only way to escape was to tell.  So I took my acorn and shoved it in the ground.  I told. And that is when the ground split beneath my feet and my world fell apart.  

Damn you brain!  I didn't want to think about this today!  That is why I was procrastinating in the first place.  So much for that!  Why does my brain find the parallel between a cutsie kids cartoon and one of the most traumatic periods in my life.  Why do these videos that hide in the shadows of my soul roll on cue every day?

One day this internal video recorder - that fills my head with loops with of every horrible memory - this automatic playlist that is triggered with even the most innocent stimuli - will eventually stop rolling.

When I talk about my past it hurts. I re-live every thought. Every fear. Every memory. So why do i do it? Why do I force myself to re-live it? Why do I tell the world?

Because if I don't deal with it, it hides in the shadows of my soul, it is a cankerworm, feeding on my bitterness, it fuels hatred and negative beliefs.

Because talking about my past brings it front and centre. It brings it out in the open so I can deal with it and process it. 

It can't hide in shadows of my soul if it is out there for everyone to see. 

The only power my past has over me is the power I let it have.

I am battling myself. And its a struggle. 

Bit by bit I am reclaiming pieces of me. 

My past will lose its power.

I am getting stronger. 

I am a survivor.

NB - My fear and procrastination did not win! I have started writing my next post, talking about what happened when I decided to "tell" and I will post this soon.

For new readers who would like to start at the beginning, my story starts here.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Dark Hour

Warning - this post contains some confronting material.  For obvious reasons I usually try not to go into detailed specifics, however, some content in this post may confront or upset some readers.

Single income lower to middle class families don't often have a lot of spare cash.

Growing up in my household, my stepfather was a truck driver for the local council.  It wasn't a massive wage, but there was always food on the table. We didn't get a lot of great treats, but we didn't go without either.

I didn't ever have to worry about where my next meal came from, or having clothes, or shoes.  At Christmas time, there were always presents under the tree. We always had birthday presents.  We always had easter eggs.  We were never spoiled with these things.  We didn't get everything that we wanted.  We learned that there was compromise.  We couldn't always have 'the best'. And that was ok.

My mother was a stay-at-home mum.  She was always there for us.  We didn't have to go to after-school care, or vacation care.   She made sure we were in plenty of extra curricular activities over the years  - and drove us to and from - activities such as dancing, swimming, little athletics, brownies, girl guides, orchestra, gymnastics, nippers, sunday school.... we got to try a lot of activities.

But a couple of years before the 'recession we had to have' things had started to become a lot tighter for our family.  And Mum started work.  

Compared to a lot of the girls at school I was quite a late bloomer.  When I turned 13 in 1988 I was still relatively flat chested.  

Mum had two jobs around this time.  She worked as a cleaner at a local school. This entailed her waking very early and going to the school for a few hours to clean all of the classrooms before school started.  She also worked at a fish and chip shop on some evenings and weekends.

For the most part, Mum tried to make sure that we were VERY scheduled when she wasn't around.  More often than not, my Nan was dropped over to look after us, even if my stepfather was there.  

But many of you reading will know, that even when surrounded by many people, a pedophile can find an opportunity to be alone enough to molest a child.

And once again this became my reality.

It started off in quite a subtle way.  

Step 1: 'Accidentally' brushing up against my private parts in the swimming pool.

Step 2: Wearing no underpants underneath his "stubbies" so that when he parted his legs his genitals were exposed 

Step 3: Talking to me 'one on one' at bedtime and at other times, befriending me, confiding in me about all kinds of inappropriate things, showing me the bills, talking to me about the mistakes my older stepsister made 'looking for love'.

Step 4: Touching me and telling me he is teaching me about love so that I will have experience.

Step 5: Blatant disregard for my feelings refusal and inappropriate touching at every opportunity.

All of this was leading up to what I call "The Dark Hour".

The Dark Hour was my nightmare. This was the hour before my sister and I had to get ready for school. Mum was at her cleaning job, and left while we were still asleep.

Each morning, regardless of my pleas for him to leave me alone, my stepfather crept into my room, and into my bed.   

During the dark hour, he touched me. He made me touch him. He performed oral sex on me.  He made me perform oral sex on him.  He rubbed his penis against my vagina.  He penetrated me with his fingers. Thank goodness he never penetrated me with his penis.

Each morning I had an excuse, a plea, for him to leave me alone. I literally felt sick to my stomach. 

But what could I do about it?

Even worse - when he touched me, my body felt pleasure. The things he did felt good, even though I hated it.   

Then came the guilt. I hated it. But it felt good. There was something seriously wrong with me.

I was sick. I was damaged.

I hated me.

Financially, we needed Mum to work.  If I told Mum, she would leave my stepfather. He would go to Jail and  my sister would be without a father.   

I had to keep this hateful, disgusting sick secret. 

I couldn't be responsible for Mums second marriage to break down.  

More Guilt.

It was like I was having an affair with my stepfather.  And I was betraying my mother.  How could ever she forgive me for that?

More and More Guilt.

So I suffered.

Every. Single. Morning.

Even if I got out of bed, tried to go to different parts of the house, he found ways to touch me.

One morning in desperation, I thought that if I could just wake up my sister I would be safe.  But no.  My sister slept like the dead and hated school so there was nooo way she was waking up.  Right there in the room, next to her bed, he touched my private parts while I desperately tried to wake her.

One day,  Mum began to suspect that something was going on.

She took me aside one morning and asked if my stepfather was 'being rude' with me again.

"No Mum!" I emphatically denied.  "Of course not.  I am old enough to know that is wrong.  I would tell you."

I felt sick to my stomach.  

Did she believe my denial?

Did she know it was true in her heart?

Why did she ask?

Did she suspect something, or was she just asking out of concern?

And so the Dark Hour and the Dark Days continued.

And then one day.....  A miracle.

My stepfather had to have an operation.  He was laid up in hospital for a while.

While he was in there, I had a reprieve.  It felt so good to be free.

It emboldened me.

And while he was in the hospital, and no one else was in the room, I confronted him.

"I don't like what you have been doing to me. It is wrong.  When you come out of hospital you won't touch me again. If you do, I will go to the police and tell them everything."

That was it.  

That was all I said.

I took a stand.

I was not going to be a victim anymore.

I was going to be a survivor.

Image in this post courtesy of http://www.stockvault.net