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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