Let’s start with the good news. I have overcome many obstacles and persevered. I am now a happier person and stronger than ever. I realized I have nothing to be ashamed of. The shame belongs to the sexual predator who decided to sachet next door to assault me. The shame belongs to my abusive ex-husband who treated me like property instead of a person. I am no longer afraid to speak up and speak out.
The sexual assault occurred when I was a teenager. I was a senior in high school, and the perpetrator was a next door neighbor. He was a teacher. Thankfully, he was not a teacher at the schools I attended.
The neighbor groomed my parents for a week before assaulting me. He began grooming my parents by befriending them. He poured it on. He spent almost every day for a week at my folks’ house talking to my dad. It was all very odd.
This particular neighbor had lived next door to my parents for a number of years but never said a word. As a matter of fact, his wife and my mother had known each other since childhood. She never uttered a word either. It was very strange.
A week later, I was outside feeding the cat while my parents were at one of my aunt’s house. The neighbor walked into the yard in a see-through rain poncho, no shirt, shorts, and loud cologne. He stopped me before I could get back into the house and trapped me in a corner in the carport. The neighbor grabbed my hand and placed it on his genitals on top of his shorts. He then told me it was a matter of time before we made love. I was scared to death.
Somehow I managed to free myself and said no. He then asked me, “Is this going to go public?” For the sake of my safety and being at home alone, I said no to his question. I quickly got into the house and locked the door. I was so happy when my folks got back home. I met them at the door. I told them everything.
My parents called the cops and walked over to the property line to confront the neighbor. He couldn’t even look my parents in the face. Meanwhile, I struggled with what had taken place earlier that day.
I can remember the smell of the neighbor’s cologne. It was a scent that stayed with me for weeks after the assault. I tried everything to get rid of the smell. I even trashed the oversize sweats and socks I was wearing at the time of the assault. I then scrubbed my skin in the shower until it was beet red.
Incidentally, I was harassed by the perpetrator’s wife. She would ride the tail of my car if she found herself riding behind in the neighborhood. She would also stop at the stop sign and just sit there. She would do this while watching me in her side mirror. She would drive off when I try to drive around her. There were times she would watch me back out the driveway and purposely back out in front of me and stop. Her anger was definitely misdirected.
There are no good memories of my marriage, (details here). There are no good memories of the person I married. Unmasking my narcissistic ex-husband, thereby unmasking the relationship was eye-opening. I now look at my ex-husband and my marriage through a different set of eyes. It’s likened to taking the lid off of a trash can and revealing the foulness inside.
The spousal abuse began in 2000 shortly after I married my abuser. There were many tears shed over the next 4 1/2 years. I was subjected to horrendous emotional abuse, financial abuse, and physical intimidation. I was a victim of a vicious smear campaign and finally discarded.
I wish I could tell you that the abuse stopped there, but it did not. It continued after the divorce. I received random angry calls from my ex-husband where I was accused of many things, including turning him into an asshole. Well, that was his contribution to the marriage. He brought it with him. The financial abuse continued as well.
The perpetrators of abuse may have moved on with their lives, but that does not erase their victimization of another human being. It does not nullify the cruelness of their actions or the suffering they have caused. There are serious and sometimes lasting consequences to the victims of sexual abuse/assault and domestic violence. I am no different and have suffered from the following at one point and time:
- Lack of Concentration
- Self-imposed Isolation
- Trust Issues
- Aversion to being touched
- Lack of confidence
- Financial despair
- Speech impediment
Getting over these symptoms required an extraordinary commitment to self. I had to put me first. I used every resource available to me, including counseling, reading, meditation, and exercise. Although it has taken years to move on from my trauma, I did it!
Prior to my recovery, I was immobilized. There was no hope. There was no moving forward. I felt like a failure. The breakthrough came after I looked into the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t like what I saw, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of the crying. I was tired of feeling lost. I was tired of being a victim.