This child abuse story from Simone was originally posted on April, 22, 2006. Five installments of her story are included on this page:
is from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
following child abuse story from Simone depicts emotional abuse, both direct
and in the form of witnessing sexual abuse. Simone also suffered sexual abuse
at the hands of a family 'friend', which is depicted in her last installment.
The child abuse effects on Simone: post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and suicidal thoughts.
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thought I was alone in the house. I started calling to say my good-byes to
people I care about. I wanted to hear their voices just one more time. However,
I didn’t get very far with my phone calls. Someone had called 911 and the
police were banging on the back door for me to let them in. I refused. However,
the downstairs tenant was home and opened the door.
a time, I was taken to the hospital by police car. That was very traumatic. I
felt like I was "outside" myself as the constable escorted me to the
police vehicle. She placed me in the small compartment with bars at the back of
the car. It made me feel like a criminal being carried away to jail, not to
mention the neighbours watching.
we arrived at the hospital, I totally freaked. There are no windows in the
emergency rooms! There was no way I was going into an enclosed room without
windows. I stopped inside the entranceway. No one would make me go into an
enclosed space--no way. I was not going into one of those enclosed rooms
through a maze of corridors--they were walls closing in on me. Then I
remembered the several RCMP officers and hospital attendants attempting to bring
me inside, beyond the entranceway of the hospital. I screamed and fought them.
I was strong! I wouldn’t stop screaming! I held on to my purse like it was my
lifeline. No woman ever plans on running away without her purse!
suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My situation is chronic.
There are 4 different times of my life as a child that I experienced trauma.
The first was when I witnessed my father seducing my oldest sister. I was only
3 years old, and she was seventeen years older.
day, I had been hiding in the closet, the way I often did in order to spend
time with family; if they did not know I was there they could not send me away.
My nine siblings did not want me around because of our age difference. They
usually told me to go away.
I was in the closet, I saw my father trying to bed my sister. I got caught when
I became agitated and made a sound. Dad panicked and threatened to kill me if I
even remembered what I had witnessed. I did not understand what being killed
meant, so he threatened to bury me between the walls in the closet. He told me
that dying was like never having been born and never being heard again. I still
did not understand, so he told me that it was like being placed in the well
outside. I was to forget what I had seen "or else".
Up until I was in my mid-forties, I had no memory of this incident. Up until then, I only had the feelings that came with that experience. When the flood gates opened with my memories and I started connecting with my feelings, I did not know how to even stay in the present. It was as if I was experiencing that day for the first time. The emotions I felt were so overwhelming, I thought I was losing myself to becoming that 3-year-old child again. It has been a long journey going through therapy for that horrifying experience.
father was a cold, selfish, angry, domineering man. He incessantly criticized
Mom about her cooking and everything else he could find to put her down. To my
knowledge he never hit her. He did not have to. We all feared him.
doctor and the priest would come for Mom in our home and tend to her in the
bedroom. The doctor was not able to calm Mom down as she wept heavily. My
mother’s high blood pressure would rocket to a point of extreme danger, and the
doctor feared that Mom was having a heart attack. We lived in a rural community
that had very limited medical resources; he feared losing her because of that
lack of means. Often, she received last Rites from the local Roman Catholic
priest. We all thought she was dying.
I am the 10th and last member of the family. There is 8 years difference between the 9th child and myself, and 20 years difference between my oldest sibling and me. All of them had negatively "parented" me at one time or anther. They always sent me away. They were rejecting me at the same time I feared loosing my mother. I didn't want my mother to die. I didn't want to be sent away. I wanted reassurance from someone in my family. I never received it. Instead, I lived in constant fear.
was 7 seven years old when I went to a little one-building schoolhouse, similar
to the one we used to see on Little House
on the Prairie. For months on end, our school teacher (I'll call him Mark)
threatened us daily with a hypodermic needle. He told us he would inject air
into our veins if we did not do exactly as he said. He told us if anyone talked
at home about what was going on in school, that person would get the needle,
which would cause his or her blood to boil, and that person would die a horrible,
excruciatingly painful death. He told us that even if he didn't know who
because no one would confess, if he ever found out that someone talked, he
would choose someone at random to die.
hypodermic needle wasn't all that Mark threatened us with. He also used a
jackknife to keep us in line. Every day he threw that knife from the front of
the room, over our heads. Every day it stabbed the wooden walls at the back.
Every day his aim got better.
day, just minutes before school was let out, without warning, the knife came
flying across the room just as my first cousin bent down to pick up his eraser
in the back row. By God’s grace, the knife missed him. After school, all the
students, including me, examined the slotted hole in the wall made from the
knife. That dropped eraser saved my cousin's life. If he had not bent down at
that exact moment he would have gotten the knife directly above and between the
next day I was terrified to go back to school. I was afraid of my father, but I
was even more afraid of Mark, his knife and his hypodermic needle. My father
could see I was not sick, so he demanded to know why I was not going to school.
He threatened to drag me to the schoolhouse, kicking and screaming the whole
way, if need be. I knew I had to make a choice: Go back to school and die or
watch somebody else die, or tell my dad.
told the truth.
my father did not believe me. He accused me of lying and having a good
imagination. He was determined to take me to school. I begged him to phone my
uncle to confirm what had happened to my cousin the day before. Finally, after
much pleading from me, he picked up the phone; but there were party lines in
those days, and Mark was on the same party line as my uncle. Mark listened in on
my dad's conversation with my uncle.
word was out. I had been the one to talk. I was going to be responsible for my
own death, or the death of someone else if I didn't confess to it.
quickly left town, before the law could apprehend him, but not before stealing
a truckload of furniture. Everyone talked about the nerve Mark had to steal
furniture from decent folks before running off. No one talked about what I was
going through. No one talked about how afraid I was. I wasn't even allowed to
cry. As far as everyone was concerned, it was over. Mark was gone.
However, Mark was never caught, so it wasn't over for me. For years I lived in constant fear, always looking over my shoulder for that deadly jackknife and that sharp, air-filled hypodermic needle.
was 12 years old when I was sexually abused. It was 2 a.m. I had just finished
babysitting for my sister and brother-in-law. Bob, my brother-in-law's
29-year-old friend, a so-called "family man", offered to drive me
home because my brother-in-law was too drunk to drive. I wanted to go back
home, so my sister agreed to let Bob drive me, even though he was drunk
drove quickly and recklessly down one of the main arteries in Winnipeg, all the
while doing things to me that I still don't feel comfortable talking about or
sharing. The streets were empty. No one was around. It was as if the whole of
Winnipeg was safely asleep while I endured, alone with this despicable man. I
was so shaken, so scared and shocked that I seriously considered opening the
car door in order to escape; it didn't matter that he was driving so fast. I
just wanted to get away.
told my sister and brother-in-law what Bob had done, but they still stayed
friends with this "child molester". My sister, someone I trusted,
someone I expected to stand up for me and do what was right, explained to me
that Bob did what he did because his wife had been pushing him away sexually.
However, that wasn't the worst of it.
A few years later, while I was visiting my sister, Bob showed up at the door. She invited him in and offered him a cup of coffee. Bob accepted and proceeded to sit beside me, as if nothing had ever happened. I did not know what to do. I felt dirty, humiliated, panicked, vulnerable, unloved, abandoned, and traumatized by his presence. I wanted to scream and cry, but I was taught that I was never to speak ill of anyone. I was to "forgive and forget". Emotions were not allowed. I had to keep them in. I had been violated by this man, but now I had been violated by my sister, not once, but twice.
In my mid-forties, another traumatic experience in my life that I won't go into triggered the memories of my experience with my father and my sister in the bedroom (see first installment). I'm told that amnesia is not unusual under the circumstances. For me, the dam broke when my memory emerged several years ago.
both my parents are dead. Only one of my sisters chooses to acknowledge and
believe what happened to me as a child, and believe what my father did to my
eldest sister and how he threatened to enclose me in the walls. The rest of my
siblings demand that I "take back" what I said about my father
"or else". I am a woman in my fifties and they treat me the way my
father treated me when I was 3 years old. It does not seem to matter to them
that I have a husband, 2 grown-up boys, and a daughter-in-law and friends who
love me. They expect me to play pretend, as if nothing is wrong, as if nothing
ever happened. But it did happen. It really did happen.
hardest for me is the daily feeling of being "buried alive". Although
I am consciously aware that Dad, who died over 25 years ago, cannot encase me
in the walls the way he threatened to all those years ago, the feelings don’t
ever go away. And given my siblings, the feeling of aloneness never goes away.
I am presently being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with anti-depressants and therapy. The more I learn about my illness, the better I can understand about who I am. I know that I am not alone. There are many people like me who suffer from major traumatic experiences. It helps to know that I am "not alone", and that I am not "going crazy". Nothing is wrong with me. I am strong and I am a true survivor.
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the
Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
Child abuse story from Simone was re-formatted June 10, 2015
From Victim to Victory
How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life