It all started spinning when I watched a Frontline video about “The Silence,” a story about the rampant child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. The adults in the clip were abused as children around the same time that I was growing up and spending a lot of time with a priest my mother thought would bring me under control. No, I wasn’t abused by a priest, but I remember feeling that there was no way a man, no matter how many robes he tried to bury himself under, could be celibate. The video confirmed my suspicions, and I wish it didn’t. The pain runs so deeply that it’s palpable.
The pain runs deep. It unleashes an ocean of thoughts that take no time at all to spiral down and down, dredging up memories better left buried and out of sight of daily consciousness. Stop, I scream inside. Stop thinking about it.
But, it’s not so easy. And, it all tumbles together, these thoughts; some not so terrible as the pain of an adult hurt as a child, but painful none the less.
Then I think, “What happened to me couldn’t have been all that bad, could it?” Now, more than 45 years later, it couldn’t matter, could it?
“Look in my pocket. I’m sure there’s gum there,” he said to me. I had to reach up, I was so small, and had to stand on my tippy-toes to reach down to what should have been the bottom of his pants pocket. I didn’t understand the warm, almost slimy, somewhat rigid thing my fingers touched, and I pulled my hand out fast. There was no bottom to that pocket, there was no piece of gum, but what was that thing?
Later, in a dark living room, I sat on a couch, held in place with his arms circling my legs and butt, his heavy head in my lap. I had no idea what could happen, even when he raised up to mash his belly against my legs, but I had to get away. I had to. I was terrified and had no voice. I didn’t dare fight and didn’t dare not to. I ran, ran up the stairs and hid under a bed.
Years later, the same son of a bitch of an uncle left porn magazines on my kitchen table for me to find when I came home from work, magazines with photos of men obviously raping women in horribly painful ways. I loved my aunt, loved the place I rented from her, but hated that bastard she married. I moved soon after the magazines started to appear on a daily basis. How many could that pervert have? Would he decide to appear in the middle of the night and complete the act he started when I was a child? I didn’t want to find out.
No, it wasn’t so bad; not compared to what it could have been. Right?
I don’t trust. That man terrified me as a small child and again as a young adult. I can trust and have trusted, and have always been hurt. I do trust until the trust is broken, and it always breaks. I fight the distrust with everything I have, learn to trust, then it’s broken yet again.
There was a last time. He was only playing yet I was cornered and terrified, knowing I was no match for him. He snapped the towel over and over until I cowered behind my hands. He saw and recognized my fear, and stopped, but it was too late. My trust was shattered. Once again, someone I loved could hurt me. Not that he did, but he could have. That was the last time. That was the last time I loved.
I am not alone. There are countless others “out there” that walk around struggling with trust. A hurt child grows up hurting. That pain never stops. Never. Does that ever cross your mind? Does it ever cross your mind, those of you with a penis? Does it ever cross your mind that your pleasure comes at the cost of so much pain?
A lifetime of broken trust.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network