Multiple Family Abusers

by Donna R
(Ontario, Canada)

As a child, I think I had a sign embedded on my forehead "Abuse me" because I seemed to be a magnet for abusers. My abusers were members of my family, grandfather, uncles, cousins. Looking back, all the signs were there to the adults around me, but I had no protection from what was being done to me and for the times that they were definitively aware of, there was nothing done.

My earliest memory was Grandpa, I don't know if this is the only time, but it is my only memory of it. I guess I would have been 3 or so, not yet in school. I loved my grandfather, he was also my godfather. It was a sunny day. Grandpa never seemed well. He had settled in a lawn chair just off his driveway, and of course I went and crawled up on Grandpa's lap. Grandpa's hand wandered between my legs and I can remember telling him, "Grandpa, don't touch me there!" He immediately removed his hand as if I'd slapped him. There was never another incidence after that. I don't have any memory of telling my mother. My aunt, his daughter, now tells me that he had abused her, and to escape that life, she married the first man who took an interest in her.

The next memory is of visiting an aunt, my mother's sister. Her children were pre-teens and teenagers. I was 4 years old. My cousin A--- offered to take me for a walk to the forest which was quite a distance from the house. He held my hand and walked with me. As soon as we got there, he attacked me. He held me down and started removing my pants, he had his hand over my mouth. I don't know how I got away but started running and screaming. The branches in the forest were cutting my arms, face and legs but I kept running and screaming. Somehow, his two younger sisters heard my screams and came running. I don't remember much after that or whether he was punished. I do know the police were never called. I don't believe these two sisters were his victims, but I do know his youngest sister was. He raped her. My mom spoke of it in front of me, she had blood in her panties often. She was 5 years old. He went on to rape other male and female cousins and the parents of those cousins knew and never did anything about it. He also raped his much younger uncle. Later, he went on to rape women, one of them was 82 years old. He did serve time for that. He served time for that and when he got out, he allegedly raped my aunt. At that time, he had a list of women he wanted to go after. I was on that list. I was terrified!

When I was 17, I met him at the local bar and was having a boyfriend problem. He offered to drive me home. I looked him in the face, and I asked him if he knew who I was. He said yes, you're my cousin Donna. I said good, so you remember who I am and what you did to me, so why do you think I'm stupid enough to get in a car with you?" Many years later I talked to one of his sister's about that. She said that if I'd taken that ride with him, I wouldn't be alive today to tell about it!

In the years in between that, there was my Uncle D---, my father's brother. His method was very different, and the abuse started at a very young age, maybe 4 or 5 and went on until I was 12 or 13. This molestation was a progression over years of manipulation by this uncle. The manipulation by this uncle made me trust him completely, and somehow, what he did to me didn't feel wrong, if that makes sense. For this, I feel shame as an adult and when I got old enough to realize it was wrong and not normal, I felt fear because by then I just avoided him. I have flashes of memories of different things but they aren't clear. I don't know if he raped me or not and feel that would have to be explored further by a professional to extract those memories. He's dead now, and the day he died, I rejoiced in the fact that he could never hurt me again. He supposedly raped my youngest sister, but I don't know if it's true, he just didn't operate that way. There were other little girls that he'd molested as well over the years. He had remarried and molested his stepdaughter. I'm sure my parents knew what was going on or some clues...but they kept sending me back. Recently, an aunt told my other aunt that she walked in while his wife was holding a little girl down while he raped the little girl. I don't know how true this is. He was never held accountable for this.

One of the other uncles I mentioned earlier, the one who A--- had raped, is my mom's youngest brother and 5 years or so older than me. I guess I would have been 9 or 10, when he molested me and it was brutal and there was blood in my panties. That particular incident, he had held a piece of glass to my throat and threatened to slice my throat open if I ever told. My mother knew something happened but I would never tell because I was terrified. Visiting my grandmother while he was there was a terrifying experience for me because he was often left alone with his younger nieces. He molested one of my cousins in front of me. I know he can't hurt me now, but he still scares me. With social media now. I am on a single site and he's popped up looking at my profile, it makes my skin crawl.

I remember this huge family of cousins on my dad's side. For some reason I was sent there to spend the night, and I can remember this male cousin whipping me onto the side of the bed and starting to remove my pants with the intention of raping me. His sisters pulled him off of me telling him "not her, she's too young". I was 9 or 10.

I'm 50 now. Never married, not currently in a relationship, probably because I have an extreme mistrust of men. I've never talked to a psychiatrist or psychologist about any of it. I want justice in some form for what was done to me. For my dead uncle, it's too late, but his abuse was the one that disturbs me the most, the manipulation is disturbing.

I want those suppressed memories brought to the surface. What was done to me molded me into the person I am today, and even though I haven't achieved great success, I do consider myself to be a very strong person. I think there are a lot of underlying issues present that have affected me in many different ways. I'm extremely distrustful of people, men in particular of course. I have a hard time letting people get too close, and I have no self confidence at all.

On top of all the sexual abuse, I suffered at the hands of my parents. They were both alcoholics and there was never enough food in the house to feed myself and my four siblings. Often they were too drunk to care for us properly, that responsibility fell on my young shoulders. At age 8, care of my youngest sister was by me. My father was physically abusive and I often suffered beatings at his hands. My mother had many mental health issues and I can remember 18 attempted suicides throughout my childhood. Some were so bad that she died on the table and was revived. When I was 17, she died of an accidental overdose at age 36. Dad had a stroke in 1999, and my thoughts at the time were that he couldn't hurt me anymore. He died 4 years later of a stomach cancer.

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Comments for Multiple Family Abusers

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Feb 02, 2016
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Clearly, there was a long history of sexual abuse on both sides of your family. You weren't the only "magnet" as you called it. I would say to you that every child, male and female, on both your mother's and father's side of the family were abused in some way. That's probably why they were so disturbed themselves, why they drank and attempted suicide. They were terribly unstable, incapable of taking care of their children, which left you to take on the responsibility at such a young age. An age where you did not have the skill set (nor should you have) to do the job of keeping your siblings and yourself safe. Your youth and vulnerabilities, and that of the other younger family members of each generation, put you at risk. And further, that your parents did nothing to stop it. So of course, you were targeted by multiple sexual abusers. That comes as no surprise to me at all. So how do you deal with all of this now?

Understand it for what it is, Donna. Understand how deep the abuse really goes. How each of these twisted and sick family members were affected by what they endured. That's not to give them an excuse, but rather, an explanation. Their behaviours can never be excused.

As for the one who you are most deeply affected...he groomed you, Donna. He was cunning, and he took advantage of you at a time when you were the most needy. Don't ever blame yourself for what he did to you. He was the adult, you were the child. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew it was wrong. He messed with your mind and your body. You were not complicit in this. You were a vulnerable child. A child who needed protecting. A child who needed to be able to trust an adult in her life. You did nothing wrong. He was the twisted one.

Examine what you tell yourself when these memories come up, Donna. Allow your Self to feel the anger that crops up, but don't allow it to consume you. Whenever you experience a bout of anger that seems to go on for longer than is comfortable or safe (after all, you don't want to be ready to tear the face off someone in a grocery store, for example, which can happen if you don't set certain boundaries for yourself when you are walking a healing path) focus on something positive in your life. No matter how small that positive might be. Or focus on something you enjoy, nature might be a fall back for you. And do consider talking to someone about these feelings and emotions. They are still haunting you because they do need to come out. They are looking for a way to escape. Remember that you are now safe from these predators. You are no longer in the vulnerable place you were as a child.

You endured and survived the most vile of childhoods, Donna. There is no doubt in my mind that you can begin and then continue to walk a path of true healing.

I send you love, light and healing energy. Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

Feb 02, 2016
Since posting this letter
by: Donna R.

Since posting this letter, I had put in a police report about what happened to me as a child. It is currently being investigated. There is no statute of limitations on historical abuse. Two of my abusers are still alive and almost seniors now. Since then, 4 more victims have come forward and given their statements. There are about 20 of us in total. This cousin who abused me left a trail of terror in my family with threats to kill other family members if we told. Some of us were 3-4-5 years old, he was much older. The most confusing is the adults around us at the time. They didn't do anything to stop this monster. They didn't protect us!

You never forget! It's always with you! Little things will always make it all come flooding back. I've found it harder now coping with it than I did before. I raised three children and always kept busy and I worked. The kids are adults now and I have a lot of time on my hands, more time to think...

I did end up going to a counselor but it was very stressful. In my case, I didn't find that it helped much and found that I would dwell on it all too much. While it's good to get it out finally, thinking about all that happened and all the neglect and abuse that happened to me as a child is too much sometimes.

I don't know that anything will come of my police report, it's all so very long ago, but just knowing that someone knows now and two of them might not get away with it after all makes me sleep a little better.

Mar 24, 2017
A conclusion for one of my abusers, or not?
by: Donna R.

Cousin A---- After a long investigation, he was charged with my rape and over the course of the investigation, 8 other victims had come forward as well. This was about half of the victims that I knew of, which was fantastic! He apparently had been raping his 3 sisters, not just his youngest sister. A couple of the other victims, who are sisters, tell of A----- making them each hold the other down while he raped them. During the investigation, they looked at timeline of all these events, and the age of A----- at the time they were committed, he was a minor! These acts were committed at a time when someone under the age of 18 could not be charged, such was the law at that time! He was charged though as a multiple offender apparently, but the punishment would have been minimal, perhaps probation. A----- did not know this! I found out afterwards....

A------ appeared in court on Dec 14th, 2016, and it was remanded to January 30th, 2017. I was not called to testify and likely wouldn't because of my video testimonies. The other victims also had given testimonies via video. It seemed like there were long weeks in between hearing anything. Early February, I got a call from a male cousin, A----- was dead! He had hung himself! When he hadn't shown up on the 30th, police went to his home looking for him and found him hanging. Before doing so, he had written a 15 page letter to his sister blaming us all for the life he had led and the crimes he had committed. He admitted in the letter all of the things he had done and my name was mentioned as well. The letter is in police custody.

When I heard the news of his suicide, I cried, not for this monster, but because I wanted him to go to jail and possibly meet his fate with the other inmates who would not tolerate what this monster had done. Then I shook, for about 4 hours, I shook uncontrollably in anger, disbelief that this coward had taken the easy way out!

Over the course of the following days, I spoke to many people at length about this, one was the investigator herself who consoled me that this was a fitting end to his life because he probably would have only gotten probation. Then I talked to A-----'s sister. She begged police to investigate unsolved crimes in the area because they probably would be tied to A-----, she also begged them to dig up his yard, that they most likely would find something....police had nothing really to launch this investigation, so far I don't know if they will or not. A----- was a monster of the worst kind and today I am glad his wretched life has ended!

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