Dear Red Lips High Heels’ readers,
I have a story to tell, as I am sure others will recognize themselves in its content. I am not writing just to express myself. I am writing because of others… Other men and women who were abused in their childhood, neglected, maltreated, physically, sexually, emotionally… I am writing for the sake of awareness.
My story is a story of incest and rape since I was 7 years old. I was born and raised in what seemed to be a ‘normal’ middle-class family. My parents are learned-people, religious and conservative. No alcoholic issues, no drugs, no gambling, no records of previous crimes. They never spoke about their childhood, about the war and its aftermath. My grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins are also religious and conservative.
One of my uncles mastered the art of blackmailing while fulfilling his own needs and goals, rather than those of his nieces and nephews. Playing hide and seek was the ultimate joy for us with him. But when I reached 7, playing was only an excuse for him to violate my innocence, my life, my past, present and future. I was unhappy, frightened and distressed. I behaved aggressively and anti-socially for many years, I showed signs of physical neglect and undernourishment, I experienced difficulties with academic achievement and school attendance, I experienced incontinence and mysterious pains… I was afraid to tell my parents. I was afraid to tell my friends. Why would they believe me? My uncle was a popular man in our village, and I was perceived as ‘a difficult child and teenager’. My family’s typical reaction when a rape occurs was (and still is): ‘He is a guy, he couldn’t control himself’, ‘She bought it on herself’.
For many years, my uncle convinced me that what he was doing to me was an expression of love. A subtle form of manipulation… At 14, I wanted to commit suicide. My uncle wanted to get married. Stockholm syndrome most probably, the emotional bonding with the abuser as a survival strategy. I learned it recently. And I learned to progressively escape my victim situation. I learned that this ‘bond’ develops subconsciously and on an involuntary basis in a threatening and controlling environment. I learned not to dissociate from my emotions and not focus on my abuser. I learned it wasn’t my fault. I learned he was a criminal. I learned my life is worth living. I learned that the ultimate revenge is to find happiness. Victim no more!
I am still learning…