No Statute of Limitations
I was 11 years old when I was molested by my father. My step sister was also molested.
I am 46 year old now. I didn't confront my father until I was 45. It took 34 years to finally tell the truth of what this man is capable of.
I lived with the pain of this memory (amongst others) and kind of filed it away in a dark place in my heart. I kept on playing the 'good daughter' for so many years. I kept up a superficial relationship with this man out of respect for the fact that he was my father. It is funny how you can exhibit more respect for a sexual abuser than they every showed to you. I guess it is that inbuilt respect you have for your parents.
It wasn't until something triggered me (my partner made a comment that crushed me and brought back all those fears) that I decided that this has to be addressed. It was affecting our relationship and I knew that if I didn't face this, it was going to tear us apart. I went to counseling and she told me I had to confront my father. I was terrified.
He was always a very domineering man. You could never disagree with him. His second wife had confided in me years ago, that some inappropriate things had occurred with her daughter. She didn't have the strength to face him and remove her daughter from further harm. They would always be a united front against me while growing up. I was sure I was going to be crucified when I revealed the abuse.
Anyway, physically shaking, I phoned him (he lives a few hours away and I didn't want to see him in person at all). I wrote out on paper all the points I needed to say to him. He listened and declared he had no memory of the molestation. He said he had to go and talk to his wife.
Well, surprisingly, he phoned me back and said that his wife confirmed all that I had said. I cried when I heard that message. I didn't expect that sort of confirmation.
He said that he was so sorry for all the damage he had done. I don't care. I will not politely respond to his apologies because so much damage has occurred, something I have had to integrate into my life for so many years. I will not forgive him. There are some things in life that are unforgivable. I looked up a sexual abuse site and realised I had lived for years with 8 out of 11 negative effects that abuse can cause you. (anxiety, depression, low self esteem, protective behaviours etc) I chose to continue some further contact with him via email as I wanted time to think about what I wanted to say and to have it in writing so he could reread it at his leisure.
I did this and told him all I needed (at the time) to say. I have no further contact with this person. He is not worthy of being acknowledged as my father. He didn't act as a good father should. He violated a very sacred bond between father and daughter and in doing so, had no right to be regarded with any respect. I was very protective of my two children and never allowed them to be alone with him at all. We only visited him and his wife a few times and I was always there to protect my kids. I am glad of that.
He is not worthy of being in my life, no matter how 'sorry' he is. He is not worthy of being a grandfather too. When you sexually abuse your own daughter, you give up that right. To be sexually abused by your own father, your own blood, is a terrible burden to bear. As a little girl, I lost my father. He was no longer my protector. He was the 'boogie man' that we should all look out for. Yet, he was in my home.
I have gone through hell trying to integrate this abuse into my life. The longterm affects have been very firmly implanted and I struggle to try to 'reinvent' myself, slotting the sexual/emotional abuse into a space that I can live with. I continue this endeavour.
So, I guess I wanted to say, no matter how many years have passed since the abuse, it can still affect you deeply. But, there is hope. I have made some progress and will continue to fight the good fight to reclaim myself.
I applaud all the abuse survivors for fighting the good fight. We didn't cause this. We didn't ask for this and yet we deal with it.
I am strong. I have had to be. I know there are many strong women and men out there.
We can do this.