Stories of Experience, Strength and Hope

These stories are about child sexual abuse. Some parents may not want their children to read this, I suggest 18 years and older. Some survivors may have uncomfortable reactions.

We have pulled most of the stories because there have been concerns about the graphic nature of the most recent ones added. There has also been a question as to who has been viewing the Stories.

The purpose has always been to let other survivors know that they are not alone in their pain and suffering as a victim, there is hope for a fuller life as a survivor, and that it is not ever the fault of the child. We also hoped to let those that care about survivors learn a little of what we have gone through. Until we can be more confident that this is how the sharing of lives here is being utilized we will stick with these few. I know that they are true, one of the stories is my own.

Tia M. Holley, Founder and Vice-President of RID Alaska Child Sexual Abuse.

CS's story

J's story

Mrs. T's story

Mrs. C's story

Cs's story

Children of God

When I was young, growing up, I never wanted to tell you my story. Instead, I wanted you to save me. A tall order considering the fact that there was so much that I could not tell you, so you could not know, but it never changed. It grew this need for saving. It grew and ached and bored deep into my soul until one day, I realized it-you couldn't save me. My family secrets dwelled just under the surface of my skin. Just as no one would cut my skin to let them out, neither did I know of any way to free them-until now.

I have been many things in my life. The people that I have been do nothing except signify a will to live beyond your imagination. I was a strong-willed child, despite my agony. Beyond the abuses I suffered lay a soul of immeasurable strength, buried eventually under the guise of a terrifying rage. Even I did not know that I had this strength. I did know that there was something pushing me through the brick wall of hurt and pain, shoving the crumbling bricks and corroded mortar onto the floor. There was something within me that never died. My will was a terrific force.

At five, my parents divorced, leaving me with memories of violence. At nine, I had lived through the shame of molestation to come out the other side, filthy and scared. By eleven, my virginity had been raped away from me with hands over my eyes and mouth, with sexual abuse to continue in the home by many men. My mother beat and humiliated me and my sister beat me. By twelve, I was a whisky drunk.

When I was growing up, I never wanted to tell you my story-I wanted you to save me. Even when these events ended, one by one, they did not stop. They played on and on in my mind, like a cult movie. The parts were acted out with the same ferocity every time.

By the time I was 26, I knew the whisky and the drugs and the men would not work anymore. At five years sober-31-I had named most of the shame, and the rage had been clipped, trained. I did not break anything anymore, and I did not hit my legs with a wildness, screaming beyond animal noises to torture. I kept from whisky long enough to see the blackness that was inside of me, and I began to fill it. Still, I remembered and remembered, at 32, why life sucked me dry, and I could not blame myself for my twenty years of whisky. I had drowned in the memories of men, first introduced to me by my mother, and boys from my school who slept with my mother. I came home to see them with their arms around each other-"I'm outa here." I left with tears in my eyes, which would be replaced with a cold glare when whisky was my friend. I swam in fluid lethargy, and I shook my head to come back to the present.

I am sitting on the couch with my legs out straight and my slight double chin crunching down as I look at this paper, and the thought still splashes in my mind like hot water. Should I tell? Is it OK to tell? I tell myself it is, while I know it really isn't. Today, I am acting "as if" to keep from drinking and to move forward. I act as if:

You would have helped me if you knew.
You would hold me like your own.
You would make people act differently toward me.

I act as if I believe that it would be OK and that my story is worth the telling if it makes you help one child.

The school nurse and counselor in junior high school kept no record of the pains I suffered at the hands of my family. They destroyed everything for fear of litigation. I tried to get the records so that I would know what happened during one of the years that I have lost.

The court pushed the custody battle through like any other on a list for the day. They ignored the facts because it was too hard to decide between a DV dad and a druggie mom. My mother lost, but there was no prosecution. We went to DV dad and back to druggie mom. Then we moved another dozen times. We didn't get counseling. We got the convenience of adults who are too tired to care much. I learned from this. I learned that there are no crimes against children. I learned that a parent can give children drugs and alcohol and hurt them unspeakably, but all the parent has to do is make more empty promises, and the children would be returned to the parent's waiting house, with dishes still there molding, waiting for children to do them. The pact that my sister and I made to go against our mother's wishes-the pact to tell the attorney everything-was the first time we had opened our mouths. We need not have been so frightened-it had no effect at all.

When I grew up, I never wanted to tell you my story. I wanted to keep it under my skin, but it burst out again and again. Each time, I turned and looked at the trail of blood, bashed in knuckles, aborted baby, bulimia and an empty soul, I knew that I was alone. I was in front of so many people, but it was as if no one saw. I pointed at my shame, but they acted as if it were normal, or we were dirty, lower than the earth, and I remember thinking, "Please save me".

I have looked up at God many times, but I heard confusing messages: "You must become as filthy rags before God," and I cried and thought, "I have never been anything but filthy rages." I remember looking for a God who could make me "whiter than snow", but I learned that God is all and we are nothing. I already knew that. I never learned that God could clean out the shame from within my bones-he could whiten the marrow that was black and soaked with guilt. I was never told that God could lift me up. I thought we were only supposed to be low and lift our hands up to God.

I looked for you to help me, but help was not to be found. I looked for love to save me, but it was unrecognizable to me, if it came at all. It took a long time for my eyes to open for love to seep in. I am still a hard rock to crack, but God can. I can be had by a mighty God. I learned this when I was told that God can be all things to all people, that God is our father and our mother. I accept the fact that I am important, and I see it in the faces of all the homeless youth I help today. Hopefully they see God in me. I hope they find an accepting God who finds them always beautiful, always acceptable…I know that I do. To the same extent that I find myself acceptable, will I find them Perfect Children of God.

J's story

I can still see the old mans face at the little country store where my parents used to shop at when I was a child. I still remember his lips touching mine and thinking he's a big person. I know it was wrong but he was an adult. I was taught to obey my elders. That includes my big brother, my friends father, and all other adults. I now know this is where my innocence was lost. This is also when those feelings of being afraid all the time started and still follow me through my adulthood. Being scared and frightened all the time as a child made me not trust anyone, gave me feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness, emptiness of the soul, and a thousand other ugly feelings that I can't name.
By the time I was 9 years old I had been sneaking drinks from my parents Moonshine Medicines and filling the jar back up with water. I stole beer and home made wine from my brothers stashes not caring if I got caught or not. I tried any type of drug I could get my hands on. When I was 12 or 13 years old I was getting high almost everyday, drinking and doing drugs. I even remember brewing some "ragweed tea". Anything to numb those feelings of guilt and shame. Through my recovery I still get angry when I think of those two feelings. Anyway, the drinking sure covered those raw feelings of shame and guilt and dirtiness that I always felt. It buried them so far down inside me that I pretended they were gone. When in reality they were right under the surface of my thin shell waiting to be dealt with sober!

I had no respect for myself, no self worth, and no feelings of importance as a person. I allowed other people to use me and I used myself even worse. I had finally rejected myself as a person. I was full of self hate.

I was 26 years old the first time I tried to get sober and deal with the sexual abuse of my childhood.

I felt so much pain I just wanted to hide. My EX wouldn't quit drinking or drugging so it wasn't long before I started again. I stayed sober for a couple of months after treatment and went right back to drinking and drugging. I had gotten sober to heal my marriage, not for me, and didn't deal with the abuse. Sometimes I think if I had started recovery on the abuse issues my marriage would have been healed also. I now know that this would not have happened because I married a sexual abuser. He had a problem himself. I picked up right where I left off with my getting high. I endured his abuse and the self abuse for awhile longer.

I continued to hate myself.

It was 2 more years before I did get sober. I dealt with the alcoholism and drug addiction first and found that I had deeper damages to work through. I know the alcohol helped to bury all the things of my past and kept them hidden from everyone. I hated myself and all the people around me. When the layers of pain started peeling away I cried most everyday. The fear I had stuffed came up to the surface and lived with me day in and day out. I had to practice going out and getting around people. I couldn't go to places alone, I was too afraid to. I had to learn to mingle with other people my own age and feel comfortable being there. It took me a year and a half to figure out something that I thought was important, to do with myself. I decided to go to school, and I got a night time job also. I began to place importance on myself and to think of myself as a worthwhile person. I even began to like me, and I think I began to live at this time. I had to learn to be honest. I had been totally incapable of telling the truth. I think that all the years of pretending everything was okay had taught me to deny the truth and only say things that were safe, or that wouldn't make anyone angry with me. The anger and rage was always held back by the "dam of denial" of my past that I pretended did not exist. I know my Higher Power, GOD, made it time for me to start on my past.

I began my survivor recovery 4 years sober. At one point I was seeing 2 counselors at once. One was for my marriage and we did end up starting on my past abuse issues. Then I settled on 1 for the remainder of treatment. I could still stand a few more years of counseling, but not now. These feelings of guilt and shame no longer haunt me today, but I still feel the anger of those two. I now know that these two feelings do not belong to me. They belong to my perpetrators. They have lessened these last few years. And I'll admit that my sponsor and I put these two feelings in a basket and put the lid on tight so they can't get out. As far as I know she still has them today (I hope).

I have learned that my problems can not be resolved until I face them honestly. (As painful as it is.) I had to learn to face reality as it was and stop minimizing it. As they say "Honesty takes away the need to live a life of lies." I had to learn to be open and throw away the self implied protection that kept me from having a lasting friendship. Am I all well ? Hell no. Am I getting better ? Heck yeah! Not everyday is a wonderful day for me now, but when the day shines, it shines bright ! I know I still have a long way to go, but I am on my way. I have a great relationship with my sponsor and a great relationship with my boyfriend today. He's the first to let me know my "walls are up". Then I get to make the choice of letting him in or hurt awhile longer before I tell him what's up. Either way he insists on knowing what's going on with me, cause "that's the right way to have a relationship" he says. I still have a hard time with making friends but this too shall pass and someday it will be easy for me to trust you also.

Mrs. T's story

I believe that our parents are our first "higher powers", we depend on them for our spiritual needs as well as our physical. They were omnipotent and everything to us, where we learned about living day to day, about love and interaction with human beings. When a parent chooses to rape their child they kill that child's soul, teach that child shame, dishonesty, terror, doubt, distrust. For a care giver to rape a child it steals away not only virginity, but trust, faith, hope, and innocence. These are things no amount of money, or time in jail can repay. Once a child has been violated it is up to the child to seek out the good to get past the terror to find never innocence again, but hopefully contentment and serenity.

I have these beliefs because I was a child rape victim. Society calls my case "incest". To me it is rape, incest or child molestation are too nice of words for what was done to me. My father started raping me when I was eight. He continued to rape me on a regular basis until I was thirteen, and then only stopped I believe because I told him he better not ever do that to my little sister, who was turning eight then. He never physically forced me, at eight he was my "God". I believed then and till I was twenty six that he loved me and cared for me. My father was one of the two men I truly respected in this world for a long time, I even named my first born child after him. When I was a child he could do no wrong. When I would lay in bed at night terrified of the door opening up and him coming to take me in his room I would never blame him. The guilt fell on me, the shame fell on me an eight year old little girl with no one to turn to, no one to trust. My mother had recently left, actually my father was divorcing her because she was a chronic raging alcoholic. I believed then and now that her being gone was for the better. Even if she had stayed she was incapable of taking care of us children, and would not have been able to deal with incest.

The incest runs in my fathers family. His own father would come into the bedroom that he and his siblings shared, (one bed for six children, my father had ten brothers and sisters) and rape his sisters in the same bed with all the other children still there. My grandfather was arrested for child molestation, and my grandma divorced him. I remember when I was about three, and sitting on my grandpas lap and feeling very uncomfortable. He used to always buy us little granddaughters gifts, and take us out on special trips....funny thing my own father would treat me special too, except for the fact that he raped me for five years he seemed a very wonderful, caring, patient father.

After my father beat my spirit down, I was available for two uncles to rape me, molest me. I had sex with my brothers, my cousins, and a few other boys in their circle of friends by the time I was ten. One of my perpetrator Uncles now lives in Alaska, he moved up here in December just in time for the Sex Registration Law, right out of jail for molesting some of his latest daughters friends in another state. One of his ex-wives took him in. An ex-wife who's own daughter was raped by this man twenty years ago, yes he went to jail then. I believe that this particular uncle has raped hundreds of children. He raped and molested almost every child that has spent any time around him, including myself, my sister, one of my brothers, a female cousin, a male cousin, etc. etc. He has been raping and molesting children for over 40 years now. He's had two jail sentences twenty years apart for molesting children, I know he has not stopped in-between sentences, and I don't think he's done violating children. In fact he believes that he has done no wrong, he believes that it is society that makes having sex with children bad. He is now somebody's neighbor here in the last great state.

Back to my story....when I turned thirteen and my father stopped raping me I had the opportunity to come stay with my mom in Alaska. She had quit drinking for a couple of weeks and was pretty shaky. Things got pretty bad with her, she started drinking again, and I opted to move back to my fathers, at least I was used to his abuse, why learn anything new? Back in the states with my father I had lost total hope and faith in both my parents.

Looking back I believe I had three options 1)commit suicide 2) insanity 3) turn to drugs and alcohol. Thankfully I chose number 3. With this one I had a chance of recovery. I drank and drugged for thirteen years, and in all that time I never once thought that what my father had done to me effected any part of my life! When I finally ended up in the hospital from my addictions, I tried a recovery center. It was in this center that it hit me like a ton of bricks the shame, guilt, self hatred, and terror I'd been carrying around with me all these years belonged to my father the rapist. It finally hit me that I could hate him and what he'd done. That was the terribly painful beginning of my incest recovery as well as my drug and alcohol recovery. I now have been clean and sober for almost seven years. I went through five years of therapy for incest. I have to say that the most painful experience I have had in all my recovery has been dealing with the incest issues, there was a time I wanted to die, for a long time I'd rather been crazy than see the truth in what my father did, (my father admitted that my memories were correct, he said "what we had done" was wrong, I say "what he had done was wrong"). I have chosen not to have any contact with the man who raped me, I have not spoken to my father since I got clean and sober. With the help of my therapist, one understanding relative, a wonderful sponsor, friends, my husbands support, and praying every day for God to give me the "strength and fearlessness" I needed for that day I made it through the pain.

I have lived in Alaska for fifteen years now. This is where I have recovered the trauma of being a child sexual abuse victim. This is where I found a caring God "of my understanding" who is not my father, myself, or my husband. I am no longer a victim, or a volunteer of abuse today. I am no longer full of shame and self doubt, self pity, self hating, guilt, terror. I take responsibility for my own actions, not the actions of others today. I have a loving, honest relationship with my husband of 9 years. I have a chance at raising my children to be productive responsible, happy people today. I am now a child sexual abuse survivor and can use my experience, strength and hope to help others today. I have hope today, faith today, contentment and serenity today.

Mrs. C's story, a concerned citizen

I know all of them. They were a part of my life in the small and closely knit community that was Kenai. They are a part of my past and the memories I have of growing up in south central Alaska.
One of them married a childhood friend, one of them is her brother, another her cousin. One of them was a child when I left and grew to maturity while I was away. Others are not related to one another by blood but are considered family members none the less. What they share, what they have in common is that each of them is a child molester.

The one that married my friend has molested his daughters and is now molesting his grand-daughters. Her brother, a highly respected member of the community, who commands the ears of state politicians is now, and has been, violating young females that are a part of his family, natural and extended. The one that had been only a child when I left raped his daughter, who finding herself pregnant with her father's child, committed suicide.

A friend of mine who is an incest survivor has attempted to answer some of my overwhelming questions. Where are the mothers and grandmothers, why do they allow this to happen? More often, she explained, they also have been abused as children and are physically unable to alter anything. They still are victims of their own trauma.

What becomes of these little girls as they become young women, what price do they pay. Without exception they suffer a low self esteem. That in itself creates significant problems. A few of them being, substance abuse, promiscuity, failed relationships and poor parenting. At some point, some of them are able to channel their anger into a positive energy that aids them in the healing process.

What kind of man violates his own children and, later, his children's children. What sickness could create such a monster. They are men who are weak. Men unable to sustain successful adult relationships, sexual or emotional. They love the power that accompanies their loathsome acts, the power they assume in their own minds when they rape the helpless. Men who feel no shame in taking a child's innocence and destroying their trust. Men that are so degenerate they see sex with children as a given right.

In the process of attempting to obtain information regarding how the legal and justice systems handles these matters, a case was found that I hadn't known existed. This man was charged with sexual assault of a minor in the 2nd degree. He plea-bargained to 4th degree. For molesting a 4 year old child, he served 2 days in the local jail with a warning not to commit the same kind of acts for 18 months. If the system will not protect the children, who will.

Let me introduce you to a few of these men, though I cannot reveal their identities, we'll assign names to them. I would like nothing better than to use their actual names, it is because of the secrecy of this cancer that they can continue without fearing accountability. I believe the all should be aware of their offenses and should realize the terrible acts that have committed in the past and are continuing in the present. These men should be ostracized, they should be exposed. Perhaps, soon that will be done. I look forward to the day when their crimes are recognized and punishment is meted out. (If there is a punishment great enough for what they have done.)

The first will be known as John, he was nearly 20 years older than the young woman he married in the late 1950's. They had 5 children, 3 of whom were daughters. When he began assaulting the girls I don't know, however, those in the community that are aware say they were little more than infants. So base is this pedophile that when his daughter's little girls were born, they became his new prey. One daughter moved to Washington state to spare her children, only for her father to travel to her to continue his perverseness in another location. Scarcely any young girl that had the misfortune to be in his household was spared, his depraved mind claiming victim after victim incorporating two full generations and, unless stopped, will add another. This is one man that I want to confront with the damage that he has done. I want to stop him and I don't know how.

The second one we'll call Ron. He is a mover and shaker, locally and in the state. He walks with men of power and rapes children. Like John, Ron's actions are common knowledge in the native community and is, also, as difficult to stop. It is with the tacit approval of those that know that he continues to ravish the young and vulnerable.

The last one at this writing will be Joe, he was only a little boy when I last saw him. His growth to manhood was twisted, warped beyond comprehension. His daughters were raped whenever he chose, they were there for his enjoyment. When the youngest could take it no longer, she went out in the woods and put a gun to her head. This happened 6 years ago and this man is now back in the community and, in his arrogance seeks political office. He suffers no shame or sense of remorse, amazingly, thinks he should have the respect and admiration of the community. In a recent conversation, one of my family members referred to Joe as an animal. How absurd! What animal would desecrate their own young, none but man.

How have these men been allowed to destroy one child after another, to create an anguish that will never set their victims free. What society has permitted these fiends to continue in their depravity. It is us, you and me, we are the ones that must make these men liable for what they have done and what they continue to do.

By our knowing and letting it occur, we are guilty, at best, of negligence, at worse, of complicity. How constructive can anger be if it isn't directed in a way that creates a safe environment for children. For every child deserves to be secure, to live without fear, especially in their own homes.

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