This is a true and personal story of my life from victim to survivor. Not everyone knows my story, therefore I shall be known as “Chiquitta”.
I was born in Canada but my parents came from Guyana, a country in South America. They came to Canada for a better life asacid attacks were occurring in their homeland. My parents have an age difference of 13 years with my father being a lot older than my mother. My mother was a housewife who later worked at a bank. My father was a high school teacher.
I have 2 brothers, 1 sister and am the oldest daughter in the family. This was a curse; my parents were extremely strict with me and rules had to be followed. My brothers and little sister were given the rights and freedom to do whatever they pleased. The teachers would call me “a pleasure to teach”, for I was a quiet student. However, in reality, I was shy and scared to speak up due to an abusive home life. My father was an alcoholic; putting liquor in his morning coffee, drinking a case of beer during the week and a bottle of rum on the weekend. It got to be a routine; with my father binge drinking on Fridays and my mother packing her bags to leave us kids behind, so she could go to my grandmother’s house to seek refuge. She would return to false promises made by my father once again; until the next time, which was every weekend.
Visits from the police were a regular occurrence at my house, as well as talk of divorce. My father would take the boys and my mother would take the girls. When my father drank alcohol, he became a monster like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hence, I grew up with fear and insecurity. I was mentally, emotionally and physically abused by all family members in my household. My father would take off his leather belt to threaten to beat me, or my mother would take a wooden handed paddle with her in her handbag when we went out of the house… just in case she needed to use it on me. Why me? Why not the other siblings? My mother later told me that she had no choice but to “put up” with my father’s abuse. Where was she to go with no job, no money of her own and four children to look after? In retrospect she had my grandmother, but there was a bad stigma connected with it. People would talk, and what would they say? My father demanded perfection everywhere. Outside looking in, we looked like a perfect family but little did the public world know that living hell reigned. School was the only stability in my life. I had no friends and was petrified to make any, for I never knew what was waiting home for me.
I later ventured outside of my house in search of a peaceful, happy, normal life. Instead I was further abused; sexually molested by my family doctor, my cousin on my father’s side of the family, and my cousin on my mother’s side of the family. The cousin on my mother’s side of the family sexually molested me when I was 11 – 12 years old. When I was 12 years old he raped me. I still remember the sight of blood running down my thighs. I fought so hard, but it wasn’t enough. What was an innocent game of hide and seek was his opportunity to touch and hurt me. After he had his “turn” with me, his friends would have their “turn”. I had nowhere to go for help. I wanted to call the police and put my cousin in jail but, with the abuse going on inside my own house, my father would be the one behind bars, and, however worse my situation was, it would have been even worse for my mother, my siblings, and me. All the abuse took place in the dark. Up until today, the dark still scares me to death.
By the time I became a teenager I developed anorexia and bulimia. First I would starve myself then “pig out” then relieve myself with extreme exercise or laxatives, never throwing up. This vicious cycle started at the same time that I was being sexually molested by my cousin. Later on, in my senior year of high school, I was bullied and physically threatened by a girl who did not like me at first sight because I was not of white skin. She was mixed race and she was being bullied herself by others; thus I believe she took out her anger and hatred on me. It so happened that her mother was an associate of my uncle’s in the real estate business. My uncle intervened, the girl apologized to me and later she was transferred to another school.
During my adult years I started associating with the “wrong crowds” of people. I became promiscuous, starting drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, in order to escape reality and cope with the abuse going on inside my house. It was also during this time in my life that I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. This depression led to several suicide attempts.
I got pregnant, had an abortion and later ran away from home hoping never to return. I had been gone for about a week when I realized that I had an orthodontic appointment. That is when I saw my parents.
They started chasing me. I went home with them only to be made false promises, just like my dad made to my mom every time he drank alcohol and raised hell. Too many times I heard, “I am sorry” and “We will change” but it was just talk. Nothing did change.
Later that week I came home from a party to find my parents waiting up for me. I was choked and almost strangled to death by my father. If not for my brothers rescuing me, like they used to rescue my mother, I would now be dead.
I then moved out of the family house to my own apartment, where I felt free. I started binge drinking and would invite men over to have sex with me and get drunk. On occasion, I would drink so much that I blacked out. The next morning I would realize that something sexual had occurred because of the used condoms around my bed and the ropes tied to the bed posts and to my wrists. I had been gang raped, vaginally and anally. The condoms, excruciating pain, blood and soreness were the proof.
I then moved to a city within Canada where there were jobs aplenty for secretaries. My parents moved to be near my older brother. I had no choice but to leave my past behind. I was not going with my parents; I had endured enough abuse as it was. My sister moved with my parents. My remaining younger brother stayed behind. Not only did I find a job and a place of my own but I found my future spouse. I got married but a couple of years later I unfortunately had a miscarriage. I never wanted to have children when I got married; but never knew why. Three years after the miscarriage I had a daughter and then, two years later, I had a son. My children are the lights of my life that give me the will to live when at times it feels like there is none.
I then cheated on my husband and had several affairs, both in person and on the internet. Enough was enough. My husband and kids were on the verge of leaving me and my abusive behaviors behind for good.
Thanks to therapy over the years, I have managed to almost completely heal from all the abuse that I suffered. The best decision that I made was to move away and start life over again away from my parents. As far as my male cousin is concerned; he married, became abusive to his family and is currently in a wheelchair in a drug/rehab center. Karma says, “What goes around comes around” and for all that has happened to him he truly deserves.
My father has never apologized for his abusive behavior to any of us. He is an old man now. Chances are that he never sought help and never will. I never had the precious gift of virginity to give my spouse for it was taken from me. Thanks to therapy, and the support of other incest survivors, I know that there is hope, joy and life. The only good lesson that I have learned about my past is not to do what was done to me, but to do right by family and friends. Yes I have had my ups and downs but for the most part, it is positive. I thank God for giving me such a normal life now, so much so that I pinch myself from time to time and wonder if it is actually real.
Thanks for reading my story.
Just know that if I can go from being a victim to a survivor, anyone can!