I was raped when I was 4 years old.
Digital rape in our bathroom.I remember the dark tan of my stepfather’s finger, the coldness of the tile on his face, and the vaseline vessel that was on the toilet tank.
That’s what I focused on, this glass.
His voice was mysterious as he whispered that I should remain silent, be quiet.He became a little louder and more powerful when he assured me that me and my mother would die if I told someone that he had touched me there.
That was the first time, I think.Most of my memories of sexual abuse involve an understanding of the need for silence, and most of them do not contain the fear or confusion of this memory. They happened, he told me what he wanted, I did it, and eventually he left. In the latter, it feels like a serious, if unpleasant, transaction.
In this one memory, I did not understand why he asked me to lie down.I didn’t understand why he wanted me to remove my panties. Normally I didn’t take off my panties when someone was nearby, especially when I didn’t have to pee.
I remember telling him I didn’t have to pee.
It didn’t come to me to be scared, not yet.That is the special thing about this time. I was calm, my muscles relaxed. I said what I thought, without worry or shame. I was open and trusting. I felt safe. Since that day, it has been very difficult for me to experience in one of these states.
I knew what he had asked was strange, but I suspected that he had a good reason for it and obeyed.I just thought what he had done to me was wrong, because it hurt, he wouldn’t stop and threatened me. I was really scared of what he might do to my mother. I wasn’t so worried about myself.
It was exhausting to know that we were living with a person who could kill me and her.I was worried that he could kill her every night when I went to bed. It kept me from sleeping. But I trusted that my silence would protect them.
Four-year-olds are not adults.Every time I’m redirected back to one of those early memories, I realize how different my thinking was back then compared to how my brain works today.
But it wasn’t just sexual abuse that caused harm.I was also physically abused by my stepfather, generally without rhyme or reason. Several times a day he intentionally injured me publicly or privately, sometimes by the minute. If I cried, if I reacted in any way unpleasant, it would trigger a proper beating. Most of the time, I learned not to react to pain. Let go.
I still get nervous for no apparent reason because I grew up in an environment where severe pain can occur at any time.I get particularly anxious in shops because he seemed particularly amused to me, because I tried to stay calm and show no signs of distress when spectators were there.
My brother also took advantage of this to endure his own frustration at the abuse he endured and watched as I screamed and hurt myself for hours every day.This was especially difficult when my parents were not at home, but they often watched indiscriminately as he pulled my limbs backwards until I asked him to stop.
They told me it was my fault that I didn’t hit back.
I don’t really know what to say.Things have happened. My body responds to a decent number of situations where I am still the child and still face these threats. Sometimes my entire experience of reality is overtaken by memories that overlap or distract me completely from reality.
I do what I can.