I believe you. I know you are telling the truth. It happened. You are not crazy. Your story matters.
When I was a child my siblings and I experienced abuse in all it’s many forms. We were told “what happens in this house stays in this house.” We were told to lie to social workers and law enforcement. My parents would argue and fight and then when the police got involved they lied and manipulated the system. There were times that the police were at our house multiple times per month. My father seriously acts like it never happened.
My father would come to our room in the middle of the night, get my sister out of bed and sexually abuse her and then act like nothing happened once he was confronted about his behavior. My dad would beat and abuse my mom and then leave for work only to come back with bags full of groceries and a smile on his face and behaving like nothing happened.
All of this happened yet my father convinced many neighbor’s, relatives and friends that it never happened. He is now married to a woman that he cheated on my mom with and even she is under the illusion that it never happened.
So why am I being so specific and sharing this more explicitly now and forever? I am doing this because after a conversation yesterday with my dad’s wife I saw how powerful lies and gaslighting can be. There are people’s whose lives have been destroyed because of people like my father. There are people living in quiet desperation because no one believes their story and they are tired of trying to tell their story only for their truth to be dismissed or swept under a rug. I am going to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth because people are dying and the cover ups and lies have to stop.
I know I am only one person but maybe just maybe if I tell the truth it will give others the opportunity to get help and get out of a horrible situation. I know what it is like to be in the grocery store and see a young girl with that “sad” look in her eyes because she can’t articulate what is happening to her body behind closed doors. I know what it looks like when a teenage girl is always acting “too fast” for her age because it is the only way she gets attention and affection. I know what it is like to feel the inner turmoil of an overweight girl that does well in school, is pleasant enough and well mannered but can’t quite find her place in the world because of the inner emotional detachment she has developed for survival. I know what it’s like to be beautiful, popular and seemingly happy yet feeling like a fraud because you are really unhappy at home. I know what it feels like when the only place you find joy is at school with your friends where no one touches you without consent and no one hits you.
You may ask am I mad, upset or angry and I can honestly say that at this very moment I am not. I am actually relieved. I am at peace and my father has been forgiven many years ago. I speak to him with no animosity in my heart. This post is not about him…this post is a love letter of support for all the girls, boys, women and men that have been abused and then told “it never happened.”
My dad is 82 and he is living a peaceful life with a woman that adores him because she too has been gaslighted into believing that nothing from our childhood ever happened. Believe it or not I am ok with her being delusional because he needs someone to take care of him and I believe that there is some good that he has shown her that allows her to believe his lies. I know from experience that the truth will not affect him or her in a negative way because they live in a constant state of deliberate delusion that allows their relationship to exist and keeps them happy together.
This is not about him or them. This is about you or someone you know that needs their voice to be heard. I have heard the crys at night. I have seen and felt the tears. I know the anger and frustration of not feeling like you are seen or heard. I lived it. I know what happened to you is real. It really did happen and your story will be told and I believe you.