Dad, I Was Raped...
My mother and father came to visit me this weekend. In the midst of my oncoming divorce and since my daughter was with her father this weekend, my parents didn't want me to spend my birthday weekend alone. It was a fine weekend, with dinner downtown, early night cocktails on Saturday and brunch at the bakery on Sunday morning. When I woke up Sunday, I decided its time. Here we all are in a house alone, my daughter is away and I have nothing but quality time with my parents. I n October, I had confided part of my story to my mother. I had been waiting for months to confess to my father so that my mother wouldn't bare the burden alone.
I waited until after our lovely brunch. Didn't want to spoil our appetite when there are German baked goods involved. Besides, its Sunday morning -- and everything is slower on Sundays, right?
We sat down in my living room just after they had packed their suitcases to return home. "Dad, you may want to sit down.... I have something to tell you.... Oh. God (sobbing) this is harder than I thought...."
"Dad, when I was 16 years old, I went to a concert and took some drugs. That night I was raped... by Michael."
He paused, stunned. His eyes grew wide and red. "He is a bad man."
"Yes, he is." I said."Dad, it's worse... It went on a while. He did it several times. There is a block of years that I don't remember because I dissociated during that time. I couldn't figure out how to tell you. I felt ashamed."
"You were 16 you were a victim! I wish you would have told me. I would have put him in jail!!!" He said. "I don't want that man anywhere near my family."
"Mom, Dad, its even worse. I got pregnant. I had to have an abortion." I sobbed more.
Their hearts melted. My mothers face was flushed. She knew some of it, But she had no idea just how bad it really was. My father was heart broken and I could see him hold his tears back from the pain of not being able to protect me. I've seen this look before, not on my father but on my husband who recently had the same hands tied behind his back reaction to my recent assault. I felt a moment of relief for having it off my chest. But that was quickly followed by anguish for not exposing Michael when I was younger. How different would my life have been? Would I have seen him go to jail? Would I have protected my sister from his cruelty much earlier? Could I have avoided further trauma later? I was further afflicted that I would never know the answers to these questions.
"Persephone, you did what any person in your shoes would have done, you protected yourself!" my father reassured me. "I have no use for that man! I know it won't change what happened to you but do know you are stronger than you know. You are stronger than I knew. You held this all these years. You still got your education, your BS, and MS. and look at you now. You survived! That is amazing! Now you don't have to carry this alone anymore."
It was exactly the words I needed to hear from a man in my life. Finally, I could lay my burden down. I'm one step closer to extinguishing the hell that has been in my soul.