The Story So Far
As I start to write this I wonder if I will put it on my website or not. A story of my life, written with such basic words seems both too simplistic and too grandiose. Why would anyone what to read such a thing? And if I put it up, is it just to be attention-seeking. "Attention-seeking" is burnt somewhere in my brain, a crime almost without compare. But maybe because of that I carry on, if this is attention seeking then I will do so. If it means I am bad, then I am. But I will write my life here, the horrors of it, the daily grind, in a hope that somehow it will make sense to someone, and maybe it will allow me to be a little freer from the binds that have held me in place. I also know it is not going to be easy. There is a lot to say, and a lot that we will wish we wouldn't say. But if we are to write this then we have to be honest, with ourselves and with anyone that reads it. Our truth we will put here can not just be the pleasant experiences, can not just be those we know will be accepted and acceptable. The truth is a very ugly thing I have found, but there is also beauty in its ugliness.
Our story starts when this body is three. Before that experiences can only be learnt from listening to others, and I have discovered that the words of those that would know what our life was like before that age are unreliable at best. So I will not report them, they are not my truth. What is remembered is the events of our third birthday that became our existence in this world. Even these events are some what sketchy. Not because of the passing of time, but because of the number that died before we could get a handle on this new existence of ours. The child born into this body, the "real girl" if you wish to think about things in such a way died on that day, and in doing so opened up the passageway between our reality and this world out here. We don't really know why she died, perhaps the experience was too much for her spirit to take, perhaps the physical trauma was too great. But at that moment, between her spirit leaving this world and the body's actual death a little girl moved between worlds and found herself confronted by full penetration rape. She tried to run, to escape back to the world she was in before but was unable to do so. We still don't know much about how such things work, how one person appears when another leaves. It was not the conscious choice it often is now, but when the first arrival failed to cope and died another replaced her. The second child to enter this body only lasted a little longer than the one she replaced. We know nothing about these little girls, what and who they might have been was lost when they both died. Their bodies were removed and taken by the Guardian of the Glade to where the "dead children" all now reside. They were the first, and we named them after this body, Carole and Carole Jane.
It wasn't until Carrie took her place, towards the end of the rape that someone was able to handle the shock of being in another world, and having to endure such violent acts. Carrie always so quiet and determined was able to endure it until its end. Still new to the life we were to live she had no idea who the man was that was raping her or why, she just knew she would endure because the other choice was death. When it was over and she lay there sobbing and bleeding did she learn this was her birthday gift. The man we were later to work out was our grandfather laughed as he asked her if she enjoyed her present. Perhaps it is fitting that our arrival coincided with the birthday of this body, and perhaps also it was fitting that it was so violent, because that is how our life was to be for years to follow. Carrie was replaced by Lung, a child that spoke with strange foreign words no one could understand. If you are to think in terms of pathologised multiplicity Lung would be the host person for the next 2 years. She was the one that spent most of the time out in this world, the one that lived regularly with her new family. The others who presented in those years only really when Lung would flee in fear. They would find themselves being physically and sexually attacked at the hands of strangers. This new life we had was still so confusing, no one really understood it, except perhaps Lung and that remained the pattern until we were five.
Turning five meant to beginning of school and the beginning of school brought a stronger understanding of our life. It may also be that we had grown more accustomed to the life we had been handed. There was more involvement by others in this life, people started to take part in this world, learn about the family we now had, and the rules with which we had to live. Kate was the first to go to school. She remembers the walk down to the school with our mother, the talk spoken with such hushed but stern words. The world outside the family we were told would not be so understanding and forgiving. If they found out what a bad girl I was then they would hunt me down and kill me and even she, our mother would not be able to prevent it. We must be very good and silent. We would only survive if to the world we were an invisible little girl, neither showing fault nor talent. By the time we reached the school and were walking the long lino corridor Kate and those that had been listening knew the world was fool of danger and dangerous people. So convinced that we were bad and that badness needed to be hidden from the world, that when the principal of our new school spoke to us we were unable to respond. It became the pattern of our schooling. We were the silent invisible student never speaking in class unless asked a direct question. For the most part the silence made us easy to overlook.
Despite this fear of the outside world a number of us found enjoyment at school. Not being with other people but within books and learning. Academic interests, literature, science, mathematics held no value in our family and indeed were frowned upon. Sports and music were the only things that were acceptable within the family's view and unfortunately I was abysmal at both. Books however, fascinated me. I had never been read to as a child, and the few books we did have in the home were high on a shelf. I never saw a book in the hands of any member of my family. But we couldn't get enough of them. It was about this time, I suppose we would have been about 7 that the school got a librarian. It was a small school, the library wasn't huge. But every Tuesday and Thursday lunch time the school would open the library and there was a lady working there. We don't remember her name, but against all that Needle believed she became friendly with this new librarian. She would go into the library and this woman would have some "special" book waiting for her. They didn't talk much, but Needle felt a closeness to this woman that she hadn't felt with anyone before. When she talks about it now she says she knew it was dangerous, not for her but for the woman. The people that had been so regularly abusing us had told Needle that she was poisonous. She was taught to believe there was something so vile and toxic about her that she could be fatal to those around her. One day at a school assembly we were told that the librarian lady had died. Needle believed that the bad parts in her had infected this woman, something that our grandfather was only too gleeful to confirm. It was the last time Needle allowed herself to be around other people unwilling to risk killing anyone else.
It didn't stop us reading however, even when our mother became so angry at us always carrying a book that she informed us quite calmly that she would burn any book she found in our hand, even if it was a library book. So we would hide in our room, down the side garden and when we couldn't do that we would read packets. Sitting at the dinner table every night we would read the ingredients on the tomato sauce, pickle or salt container. Books were better, but if we could still get words we felt grounded, the world became a little more stable underfoot. Books, words written on a page were always a contradiction, they brought so much peace and comfort but they were also the source of many punishments and cruelty. Mary Louise found poetry in intermediate school, and adored it. Every Friday the family would head into Begg's Music Centre. A shop in town that isn't there anymore, the back half was all music orientated, it is where we went for my brother's music needs, sheet music and the like. But in the front of the shop were a number of books. It was there that Mary Louise found a book of poetry that she adored. Every week she would sit on the floor in the corner and read this book. It was this book that was to bring her so much shame, shame that has stayed with her some twenty years later.
Somehow, we aren't quite sure, our grandparents found out about this book and brought it. They told her she could have it as a gift if she would willingly have sex with them. Willingly to them meant she would have to act seductive, take the initiative, be in control and active. I think we were about twelve at the time, and sex with our grandparents was a regular feature in our life. But to willingly initiate and participate wasn't something most of us were comfortable with. But Mary Louise made a decision, she wanted something good in her life, something that brought her happiness so she agreed. She did everything she knew they would enjoy, she performed on cue. She hated every minute of it, and hated herself even more but the thought that she would be able to get and own something so beautiful as that book of poetry made her continue. When it was over the book was presented but before she could hold it our grandmother informed her that such pretty things could never belong to some disgraceful whore. She, they said, was too dirty and disgusting to own such a book and they would give it to a girl that deserved it, to a clean girl that wouldn't act like a cheap hooker. Of course that was probably their intention from the start but it left Mary Louise with a picture of herself that even now she can't shake.
There were some of us though who were willing to seek out sex from our family. For some it was for proof of life. Lost in times of extreme neglect where even our existence wasn't acknowledged any contact, any acknowledge was preferable. And by then our body had become accustomed to sex with adults and although it could be unpleasant it was better than beatings. So initiating sex with our mother or grandparents was the only way to confirm we still existed. At other times it was a diversion technique, to sacrifice yourself sexually so that the pressure wouldn't build in another to the point where it exploded in violent sadistic ways. It didn't always work, sometimes it would explode regardless, but the fear of those explosions were enough to keep us trying to avert them. But in saying that there were also the others amongst us we sort out our abusers for sexual contact for no discernible reason but for their enjoyment, or maybe because that was what they thought had to happen. It is hard sometimes to work out what is real thought and what is training. When they speak of having sex with our grandparents and mother because they enjoyed it I have to wonder if they enjoyed it because they were trained to think that way, about sex and about their own self.
This is the problem with telling of our life, it becomes disjointed, out of sequence. I suppose that is how it has to be when I write about the lives of many. We never really understood time, even now it makes little sense to us. Stories of experiences come into our mind, one thought quickly leading to another and then something that was forgotten comes up and we have to back track. There are events that stand out, things that happened that are significant in some way. Some because of the impact that they had on us, some because of the extra sadism involved. It is easy to forget the day to day experiences we lived through. It is a terrible thing, I am aware to consider being beaten, molested and raped as ordinary. But for us they were our life, we didn't see them as abnormal. We knew we would endure it and therefore it became insignificant in our mind. Or perhaps that is simply hindsight talking. Looking back it is easy to forget how awful those events might have been for the person enduring them at the time. I am sure they would have suffered, the blows still must have hurt. But the enormity of it takes away the personal and they become "events of daily life". When I started this story I thought I could take you through it chronologically, that I could lead you from one event to the next in some standard fashion. But it seems that for now at least, writing it that way is not going to work.
I don't know how these things work, perhaps that's because I am not a paedophile but somewhere around the time I was about 5 my grandparents made friends with a few people that were paedophiles. It was through those people we believe our ritual abuse experiences started, but I will get to that later. Three of these friends were men that had no children of their own, and perhaps that is why they became friends with my grandparent to start with. My grandmother saw an opportunity for profit in this situation and began renting me out to these men. We were taken to these men's' house on a regular basis and for a price they got a few hours with us to do with as they wish. Alone in their house without chance or protection we were raped and brutalised. Each man's personality and tastes were different, but it ended up in the same way. Around the age of twelve we were no longer desirable to these men, our body was not that of a child's and their sexual interest in us stopped. My grandmother flew into a rage against us when her money source dried up. Somehow in her mind, or at least what she presented to us, we had hit puberty and grown up to spite her, to rob her of her income. I remember a few years ago now when my grandmother died, she gifted all of her grandchildren $500 except me. I remember the anger, she had made far more than that from our body. But even in death her feelings about us remained unchanging.
My grandfather died a lot earlier. He got cancer when we were about 14. Some of us secretly hoped that this would me a long painful death, we had heard such things about cancer. But, whether because he was too scared to face the pain or because it simply wasn't to be, he died very quickly without the prolonged illness that usually accompanies lung cancer. We remember the funeral because we weren't allowed to sit with the rest of the family. I remember my mother saying that it was because there was not enough room for everyone, but to me quietly she said that those seats were only for family and I had to sit elsewhere. I remember feeling completely alone, I had no family and I remember feeling terribly guilty. I knew somewhere hidden inside that I must have been responsible for his death. I was, he would tell me, responsible for everything. He would have these times late at night when we were staying with our grandparents when he would come into our room and get us up, ordering us to be completely silent as he took us out to his work shed. In that room he would say that the abuse had to stop and that we had to be cleansed of it. God, he said, would make it all pure again. He would make us stand in a tub of cold water and with a wire shoe brush scrub us down in the attempt to clean away all the existence of abuse. But always at some point the cleansing would end and the sex would begin. Cold and raw lying on the dusty floor he would blame us for his rape, we had not wanted him to stop, we had seduced him back into being sexual with us. He wanted to stop but we wouldn't let him. This like everything else was our fault.
Without making excuses or negating his behaviour I do not believe my grandfather was the instigator of the abuse. He enjoyed it. He went along for the ride and participated willingly. But I do believe without my grandmother at the reins he would never have acted on his desires. Not because he thought they were wrong, but because I do not believe he would have had the courage to risk such things. My grandmother was the brains and the evil will behind most of what happened in our lives. In a way it could be said it was her that caused my mother's abuse of us. I believe that the abuse in our family was a generational thing. Daughters were taught to hate their daughters. Mothers abused their daughters because they had been abused themselves. From piecing together comments and information the cycle of abuse goes back at least 4 generations. My mother made her choices, she chose to abuse us, but we acknowledge that her choices have some basis in the experiences she also had as a child. Whereas my mother would rage, her anger, her own emotional turmoil would get the better of her and she would release it on me in cruel and terrifying ways, my grandmother was calm and calculating. Many of the things she would do to us would require planning and preparation. She would spend weeks collecting maggots so as to be able to place them in a bag over our heads, she would organise trips away, think up various "games" all so she could enjoy our fear and degradation. Evil is not a concept I like, but I think she comes about as close to evil as a person can get.
I believe my grandmother to be a sadist. I believe she got her sexual and emotional thrill off the suffering of others. I was the one available to her on a regular basis so I became the tool for that release. It wasn't so much the pain she enjoyed, although I do believe there was some enjoyment in inflicting pain on us, rather the thrill for her came from seeing our fear and suffering. I wonder if she became addicted to the buzz it brought her and like a lot of addicts kept needing to up the ante to maintain that buzz. It is likely she got the taste for it from her own daughter, so when I came along the physical and sexual abuse alone wasn't enough to give her that high. With us she progressed to games which were designed around fucking with our mind, creating as much fear, suffering and humiliation as possible. Bags would go over our head, bags filled with bugs, rotting meat, human waste and the goal of the game was to last long enough, to not fight to rip the bag off our head. To do so too soon would mean failure, and failure would bring punishment. Winning wasn't that much better, winning usually meant rape, but compared with the punishments even our goal was to win.
It was through my grandmother we were introduced to bestiality, first with a cat and then later with dogs. I remember when the first memory of bestiality came I thought I had lost my mind, I didn't really believe people did such things. Now, unfortunately I have come to see that it is all too common. Sardine oil rubbed into the genitals will be enough encouragement for any cat to lap at the area. I do wonder what was their thrill to hold me down as a cat lapped away at my genitals but it was a game that enthralled them for some time. I still can't handle the noise of a cat cleaning themselves, it brings waves of disgust over me. But like I said the games often had to intensify to bring the same required effect. So we moved on to dogs, well one dog in particular. It started the same way, food smeared for the dog to eat. But my grandmother soon began to say it was only appropriate that I repay the favour and I found myself required to perform oral sex on the dog's penis. As of the time I write this those memories, and the later ones of having intercourse with the dog are clouded from view. We know they occurred, the people that lived through them have acknowledged the events but the memories themselves are held tightly, probably because of the level of trauma involved. We know we had intercourse with animals but what that means aside from the words on paper is still removed from us.
We know photographs were taken involving us being sexual with animals. There is an added degree of humiliation, at least it there was for us, to know you were being filmed or photographed during events of abuse. The knowledge that those events were never really going to be over, where never some private event, but could be watched and relived whenever the perpetrator wished. I don't think we were consciously aware it would also mean people not originally involved would be able to have access to images of us but as the time has past it is something that we fear. There is this possibility now, somewhere in the world people are looking at photographs and film of us being raped and tortured. I tell myself it isn't very likely that those images are still in circulation. A while ago I wrote to the Internal Affairs about the fact there were child pornographic images of me taken when I was young and I was told that the sad truth is in today's society there is child pornography of higher quality that is traded, the old stuff isn't as valued. Therefore it is unlikely that images taken some thirty years ago would still be traded. At some level that allays my fears, but there is always this "not knowing" that plays on my mind. I will never know, never have it confirmed or denied. There is always that possibility that someone is looking at pictures of me as a child and becoming sexually aroused. When we think of that it leaves us feeling sickened, alone and vulnerable. I fear it might sound overdramatic but the knowledge that people could be viewing those images leaves this feeling that the abuse will never stop, never be over. Although I am no longer that child being filmed as she is raped there is this part of me that feels I always will be.
As I sit here today deciding to write more of this story out I find myself wordless. What do I speak of? I start judging what is acceptable to share, what has enough merit to be placed on this page. A promise was made when we started writing this that we would not censor ourselves but at the same time I can not write every incident, every blow, every touch, every word. I do not believe it would be possible, it would take too long even if we could remember it all. For a long time, and still at times now, we used to grade and compare everything. How could we talk about this incident when that one was so much worse? Whose pain was higher, who got to talk? And then we would look outside ourselves, compare what we were dealing with to others. We always came off lacking, less traumatised, less damaged. It made it possible to keep silent, other people always had it worse no matter what we were dealing with we could always find someone in a worse situation. This partly was to do with our own sense of entitlement or lack thereof, but it was also a great way to keep us safe in our silence and to keep the shame and fear alive. This is what we are trying to break now so I will continue writing.
We remember when the sexual abuse started with our mother. Before that time although she would do things that might be considered sexual abuse for us they were simply sadistic forms of physical punishment. Sexual abuse did and still does feel different in our minds. It started one night. For some reason we still don't understand my mother decided she would read Watership Down to us. My mother who would punish us severely for reading would come in every night and sit on our bed and try to read the book to us. We secretly hoped that the reading would remain something gentle and nice. We held no expectations that our life within the family would change, the physical and emotional abuse continued on, but we did hope that this would be one good and kind memory amongst the torment. It wasn't to be though. It started slowly, first a hand resting on our stomach, then under the blankets, then she would molest us as she read, her hand running over our genitals, stroking and prodding at us as we tried to listen to the words, tried to believe the only thing happening was a mother reading to her daughter. By the time we got to the fourth chapter the book lay unopened beside the bed, she would still visit at night but it was to engage in sexual activities. Sex with my mother became a regular occurrence, usually every second or third day until late into my teens. The times when her words were harsh and cruel, when she would abuse us in violent sexual ways were often easier to deal with. This was the mother we knew, this was how we had come to think of her, mean savage and explosively violent. It wasn't enjoyable, it wasn't what we wanted, but it sat clearer in our mind. Our mother hated us, despised all we were with intensity. We understood that had learnt to cope with those onslaughts. What became harder to deal with were the times when she would become tender and almost loving. This is what can destroy your spirit. This became what we thought love was suppose to be and since we wanted to be loved then it must mean we wanted this to happen. We hated it, it made us feel shameful and disturbed. We would wish that it stopped but at the same time we needed it. This tender abuse had been understood by some of us as love, and we craved the feeling of being loved so deeply that we wished for those times when she would be sexual with us in that manner. Does reading this confuse your mind? Living it confused ours, for some there was no escape from the contradictions, no peace of mind, instead there was only confusion and self-hatred. Love can be a powerful life changing positive experience, but in the hands of someone dangerous it can be a frightening weapon.
Our mother was a violent person. She would explode with rage that boiled up inside her until it couldn't be contained. Sometimes it would flash instantly burning bright before fading. At these times she would lash out, kick us, punch us, beat us down with anything she could grab hold of. Once the anger was over, released back to a level she could hold the incident was over as if it had never happened. My mother hated sulking, if I was still crying, shaking or showing any indication of what had happened another punishment would come. I had to be normal, without emotion, flat affect I think it is called by psychologists, anything else was deemed sulking and she was become angry at me again. There we the other times though, when the rage would simmer, visible under the surface for days. We learnt to read the signs, to know sooner or later it would erupt. Those were the hardest times. Those were the times when it was like having a death sentence on top of your head always waiting for the axe to fall. We learnt ways to diffuse it. There would be times we would offer ourselves up to her for sex, go to her and give our body in the hope that sexually abusing us would release the tension. Other times we would push her, do things we knew she hated in us, do the things that would boil over the rage. Sometimes this would work, releasing the tension in her before it came out full force. This we could prepare for and it was often less violent and traumatic than what would occur if we waited. It didn't always work, probably more often than not it didn't change anything. There were times when she didn't take the bait, but most of the time it would get a reaction, but still not enough release to prevent the explosion from eventually happening.
I wasn't the only one to decide scapegoating me would work to calm my mother down. Throughout my life living with the family there were times when my mother's anger made living uncomfortable for everyone. It was during those times when my father would tell me to go and be with my mother, to go calm her down. I try to believe my father had no idea he was sending his child off to be raped and tortured, but I find it hard to believe he didn't have a clue what he was sending me into. My father coped with my abuse by actively denying it. He chose to turn away, to not comment. He loves my mother, that much I know. Perhaps his love for her outweighed his love for us. Perhaps he simply didn't have the courage to stand up against her. I do not know what made my father made the choices he did, but for us it meant he didn't care, he wasn't safe and protective. It meant we didn't count. The abuse from my father was the abuse of not doing. The times he would sit at the dinner table not even glancing towards us when my mother refused to give me food, when she said we were too fat, ugly and stupid to deserve food. The times he would hear our screams and never get up from his chair. When he would go down to the garden to get away from the violence that was the home he lived in. He didn't want to know, and when he couldn't help but notice the abuse continuing around him he simply withdrew further from us. Our relationship with our father has always been one of ambivalence. There were the times of peace and comfort, times when we would sit on the river bank at dusk, in a comfortable quietness watching him stoke the billy, times when he taught Ricky how to work with wood, how to cut and sand it. Scattered through our life there are these quiet moments of connection but for most of us what we remember about him is inaction. We remember his choice to not protect us from the violence that was our world.
To be continued... email me if you want to know when I write more