I was introduced to the idea of editing this book through my involvement with Community Justice Initiatives. I was told that a young woman was writing a book about her life experience with Satanic Ritual Abuse in hopes of helping others. From the very beginning, I was excited but I was a little apprehensive about editing something so personal. When I started reading Victorious Heart’s story, I found that I could not put it down. Although I had not yet had a chance to meet with the author in person, I felt like I had known her for years. I found her story to be inspiring and I was moved by her courage to write this story. When I finally had the opportunity to meet Victorious Heart in person, I was overwhelmed. Here I knew many of the intimate and painful details of her life and she knew virtually nothing about me. It was that day that I truly realized what an amazing woman she was. Despite all the tragedy she had endured, Victorious Heart had risen above everything to become a strong woman who had a faith and belief in herself when no one else did.
‘Unlocking Buried Secrets’ takes you on a journey through Victorious Heart’s life and her experiences with abuse and healing. The honest and candid story will touch your heart and inspire you to believe in the power within yourself. She uses the term ‘survivor’ throughout her story and in my mind, she is the embodiment of a survivor. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Victorious Heart as she is a brave woman who has overcome many dark experiences in her life and is now incredibly focused on helping and inspiring others to do the same.
I would like to take this opportunity to say what an honour it has been to be involved in the process of Victorious Heart’s book, ‘Unlocking Buried Secrets’. I had the privilege to edit the book, as well as write this forward. This was my first experience in either capacity and it has been such an amazing learning experience and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity.
~ Jennifer Assaf ~
~One of the first memories I have of being a little girl is standing on our front lawn…it is summer….my Aunt, my mother’s sister is visiting us from Windsor Ontario, and she is thrilled to be in B.C. …she is smiling and looks angelic to me in the sunshine…I look at her long, pretty blonde hair and wish she would stay forever…I have the gift she brought me in my hair…red, bobble ponytail holders with a big smiley face on them…I am so happy she is here…and I do not want her to leave…~
In the Beginning:
~My parents both grew up in Windsor, Ontario and met in high school…I am not sure if they went to the same one but I know this is how they met…my mother came from a poor family that was extremely violent and abusive...her father, my grandfather was an alcoholic from the age of 16 till the day he died…he would beat my mother and her siblings and terrorize them by trying to kill their mother on a daily basis…the police were always at their house….but no charges were ever laid…my mother’s grandparents(her father’s parents) lived upstairs in their tiny house and were from my mother’s description abusive as well…my father came from a very wealthy background and in my mother’s opinion, his family seemed to be one of love and respect…though judging by my father’s violent nature and the way I saw him become stressed and violent when we would fly to Ontario to visit his father, my grandfather…and watching the deliberate display of hatred and anger he carried towards his father...I would have to say my mother’s evaluation of his family had been incorrect…I was able to see all of this as a child…maybe my mother so desperately wanted to believe…and wanted to get away from the abuse in her own family… my mother told me that throughout high school my father pursued her and would not take no for an answer…she eventually accepted a date with him and they soon became an item…after they graduated from high school, they were married and moved to Scarborough, Ontario for 8 months before moving to Maple Ridge, British Columbia to start their life and their family
I was born in New Westminster, B.C. in May of 1970 and my sister was born the following summer in August…I do not remember where my parents first lived, but I do remember the house that I spent most of my childhood…the house that has haunted me all these years…while this house was being built, we lived in a trailer in the back yard…my father wanted the house built to his liking and I am guessing it was his dream house…I remember my mother making my sister and I matching Raggedy-Ann doll aprons…I watched her make these in the trailer and I could not wait to wear mine…I think I was about 4 or 5 yrs old…I loved my mother and she was my world…my sister and I were inseparable…we did everything together…and comforted each other when things would get bad …we lived on a small farm of 2 acres…one acre in the front yard…and one acre in the back…we had a long winding driveway that led up the hill to our house…we had a small barn out back that my father built housing our chickens….and a small pond to the side of the barn that my father also made for our ducks…we had a dog named ‘Dukey’…he was part Doberman and part Rotweiller…we had lots of cats… ‘Pookie’, ‘Softie’, 'Panther’, ‘Butterscotch’ ‘Patches’ and ‘Butterfly’…my sister had a budgie named ‘Bluebells’…and I had a hamster named ‘Hammy’…my parents enrolled us in a private Roman Catholic school that believed in the ‘strap’ or corporal punishment, and we received a good education…we had a Valiant and a VW van …my mother produced a lot of vegetables in her big garden out in the back yard…and grew sunflowers…to outsiders…it looked like we had it all.
GRADE 1: 6 YRS OLD…
‘Alone in the night’
In between the cold sheets
Watching the shadows dance on the walls
Wondering when she’d hear
The familiar crack
Of her fathers ankles
Staring at the crack of light
Underneath her bedroom door
She waited for what?
She didn’t know
All she knew was that she was terrified
And wished she could fly out her bedroom window
Into the night
With the birds she could hear in the eavesdrops
It is the middle of the night…and I have just gotten up to go to the bathroom which is odd as I wet my bed for years because I was terrified that I would be killed by a monster if I were to let my feet touch the floor and actually make it to the bathroom and back…I remember sitting on the toilet…I remember going pee…I remember trying to get off the toilet…I remember I could not…I remember I fell off the toilet…I remember crying for help…I remember my face felt weird and I could not move the left side of my body…I remember my parents rushing into the bathroom …I remember my father’s anger and fear at the situation…I remember my mother pleading with my father…I remember the car ride to the local hospital…I was on the back seat laying on the dog blanket crying and screaming…I remember watching my father drive…I remember my father turning around and screaming at me from the front seat as I was upsetting him…I think we almost got into an accident…I remember the windshield wipers going…it was raining…I remember being in the emergency room…I was still screaming…I remember the doctors asking my father to leave…I remember the doctors talking to me and sticking my left foot with pins to see if I had any feeling in my left foot…I had none…the next thing I remember is laying in a new bed in a new hospital.
I was in the Sick Kids Hospital…I do not remember how I got there, though I assume by helicopter…I had just had a stroke at the age of 6…I stayed at the hospital for 9 days before my mother went against the doctors orders and took me home…she and my father were angry at the doctors for putting me through all the tests…I remember being in a big machine …I was placed on a sliding table that slid into the center of the machine…I was given an I.V. which put dye into my blood stream so they could look at my brain on their computers and see where the blood clot was…I remember getting fluid taken out of my spine with a big needle…I remember being asked to draw a picture of myself next to my family….I remember drawing myself really tiny and my mother and sister bigger and my father taking up almost the whole page…I remember being moved to another room and I had a new roommate…I remember looking out this new window that was beside my bed …I saw the smoke from the smoke stacks…I wanted to jump out this window and fly to heaven with Jesus…this was the first time I wanted to take my life…and definitely not the last…I remember my mother coming to the hospital a lot with my sister…I remember on one occasion she brought my friend Lynda and her sister from my private Catholic school to visit me…my sister and the girls all had Mac Donald’s to eat …I remember crying about this as I could not keep anything down…I remember one of the hospital tests I had done involved them giving me gas to put me to sleep…they did an internal exam among other tests to try to find the cause for my stroke…the doctors were puzzled as to what caused the blood clot in my brain and suspected abuse…they took x-rays of my skull…they did a throat culture…I remember being put on aspirin and I recovered completely in 4 days…I remember running and playing in the hallway…I remember wanting to be pushed in the wheel chairs…I remember my father only coming a couple of times…I remember one time he came I yelled at him that I hated him and didn’t want to see him anymore…I remember him leaving, upset…I remember my parents taking me to the cancer ward and showing me the children who really were sick…my parents were angry that I was so upset …I remember feeling that I had nothing to cry about…that I was being self centered…that I was in some way bad for feeling upset at my situation…my situation…my stroke would come back to haunt me…for my mother would put me through tests from this time until I left home, and later writing me letters asking me to get more tests after I left home…asking me to call the stroke foundation as a last ditch effort to explain my memories of abuse, and reasons that I had flashbacks and was so depressed…she would do her best to try and prove that I had brain damage from my stroke…to cover the truth of what my father was doing to me.
Back at home life seemed to return to normal…whatever that was…normal to me was yelling and screaming…things being thrown…my mother crying…my sister and I crying….being hit…beaten with wooden spoons, belts, whatever would not hurt my father’s hands…if he hurt his hands he would blame me and he would beat me with something else…he would beat me until I cried…he would beat me because I cried…he would beat me if I refused to cry…he would beat me until I could no longer breathe…he would beat me to make me breathe…he would also take me into my bedroom and take off my clothes as he beat me…instructing my mother that she was to stay out of it…normal was also having my head smashed into my sister’s…my father would grab my sister and I by the hair and smash our heads together if we were both pissing him off…he thought this was funny …my father was very sadistic in his approach to ‘discipline’ as he called it…he believed that ‘children should be seen and not heard’…he felt no shame in his raging outbursts…they would take place anywhere and anytime…being in public made no difference to him…and they were a daily part of my life.
I also remember my father making a ‘no underwear under my nightgown’ rule…and on one particular occasion, my mother had gone out for the night and he had my sister and I take a bath before bed…I came into the living room after my bath…he was watching TV. …he was immediately angered as he did not think I had spent enough time in the bath tub and that I could not have possibly used any soap…he had me stand over top of him as he laid on the floor…he lifted my night gown and spread me apart…he put his face in my vagina more than once and proceeded to smell me for quite some time to ‘see’ if I had indeed used any soap…I remember crying and shaking in fear, begging him to stop and praying for it to end…life for me as a child was a constant state of fear and dread…never knowing what would happen or when…I would spend most of my time out doors as a way to escape my father’s anger and watchful gaze, but he always seemed to be watching and would find me…I would climb trees and hide in them…I would try out different plants and take vegetables from my mothers garden so I could stay away as long as possible…when I had to be in the house and my father was home, I would spend as much time as I was allowed hiding …I remember around this age one particular occasion hiding from my father …he wanted to take me on a ‘drive’…I ran and hid in the basement behind a door which led to his tool room which led to the door that led to the driveway in behind the stairs as they were behind this door and I held my breath…I could hear my father tearing through the house, yelling at my mother as to where I was…finally he flew down the stairs in a rage and left…I think I stayed there for a long time.
Life for me was horrible…I used to listen for the sound of my father’s ankles to judge where he was in the house…his ankles made a loud cracking noise when he walked…my father would never allow me to close or lock any door in the house …including the bathroom and my bedroom door…he would demand that I get undressed for bed as he watched…I used to cry and try to hide behind my door as I changed …I would catch him looking at me through the crack yelling the whole time that if were to close the door, he would make me wish that I had not…the only good thing in my life at this point and for the next few years would be my mother…she was loving and kind to me during these years and was in my opinion an excellent mother...she was and is extremely religious and in the years to come she would use her religion as a shield to hide behind…my mother tried to intervene and protect my sister and I…but she would soon tier of the abuse she took for helping us and would eventually stop being my protector …she later joined forces with my father against me…she would spend time with me and my sister…she often made us picnic lunches and we would sit in the back yard and watch our ducks in the pond…she would sew my sister and I pretty dresses and teach us to macramé…she taught me how to garden and take care of our dog, cats, chickens and ducks…I wish I could freeze this image I have of my mother… to me she was perfect.
While my mother was a devout Christian, my father was not religious at all… in fact, he is an atheist…someone who does not believe in God…I soon learned what he did believe in …and it had nothing to do with Christianity…he taught me how to kill chickens in a barbaric way…he taught me how to keep looking when I did not want to…he taught me how to watch without crying or flinching…he taught me how to gut and take out the feathers of my friends…and taught me how to not throw up and avoid being hit or dragged away from the table when he made fun of me for not realizing that I was eating my favorite chicken…yes…my father taught me many things in my life…he taught me about the moon and the stars…and said that he and I were ‘different’ from others…that ‘we’ were ‘special’, him and I …that we had a sixth sense…e.s.p. …I remember my father having a book on mind control…I also remember him having crystals in the house…what my father really taught me was to fear him …I taught myself how to cope with it all.
I started showing signs of obsessive compulsive disorder and would do everything in three’s…I remember kissing my stuffed animals and dolls each night three times before I went to sleep so they wouldn’t kill me…I would also rearrange my bedroom…always moving my bed so the monster wouldn’t find me…I had my mother tuck me in on all three sides of the bed, tight up to my chin…thinking that this would somehow help…this was also the age that I started having violent nightmares…I would wake everyone up with my screaming in the middle of the night…a monster was trying to kill me…hurt me in ways I couldn’t put into words…words that would later translate into rape and torture…these would continue into my adult years, and I would not identify my attacker until I reached the age of 13.
Another thing I started doing around this age and continued for most of my childhood was thinking of different ways to end my life…and because I had no knowledge of how to properly commit suicide…I would do harmful things to myself in hopes of going to heaven with Jesus and the angels…I would sit behind the car everyday before school when my mother had it warming up and breath in the exhaust fumes from the tailpipe…I would go through my fathers chemicals and try to consume them and sniff them…at night, I would say the prayer ‘if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take’…in hopes that the monster would not kill me and Jesus would come into my room and take me to heaven with the angels…I said this prayer for years, becoming more and more convinced that Jesus just did not care about me…I begged him to take me home with him…I guess he never heard me.
As a child, (and as an adult) I had the fear of dying, and more specifically of being killed…and of fearing those close to me would die or be killed …I also started mutilating myself…scratching the word ‘bad girl’ into my arms…and sticking myself with pins…I scratched myself with branches and twigs from our yard…I would be fascinated with watching my blood appear on my skin and this would somehow calm me…around this age and up I would also take the rubber end off of bobby pins and stick the bobby pin in an electrical outlet and shock myself…I tried to run away from home once too…I got my school bag …and a sweater and made it as far as the end of our property …I turned around and went home…knowing at this young age that I was not yet old enough to take care of myself…I was a very timid, insecure and fearful child…struggling with an intense sadness and a sense of aloneness…I definitely felt alone in the world.
Can’t see…can’t breathe
Feel like I am going to die from all the pain
Too much to bear
Alone in my pain
Alone in my mind
Alone with him
Bring in the others
Bring in the torture
Bring in the sexual perverted acts
Then comes the humiliation
The sick and twisted mind games
Play with children
Play with minds
Play with evil
Play with death
Death of my soul
Death of my body
Death of others
Decay…gore and corpses
They love evil
They crave evil
They are evil
I am evil
I am bad
I am ugly
I am stupid
I am worthless
I can’t do anything right
I don’t listen
I can’t follow instructions
I don’t understand what they want me to do
I don’t understand any of this
I don’t want to
I am a fucked up little girl with shit for brains and nothing going for me
Who wants a crazy little girl?
Don’t speak crazy girl
No one will believe you
Don’t cry crazy girl
No one cares
Don’t want anything better crazy girl
There’s no such thing
You’ve got it good
You’re just crazy
I cover my ears
Close my eyes
Harden my heart
I am stone
Grade 5: 9/ 10 yrs old…
I had been having a lot of back pain the last couple of years…and my parents finally agreed to take me to see a chiropractor about this…I spent a lot of time going with my mother to see doctors…doctors for my back…and doctors for the stroke…I would continue to suffer from back pain right up into my adult years…I spent a lot of time getting my back ‘cracked’, just to be in more pain then when I had come in…I also had a lot of responsibilities at this age and had been doing chores for the past few years…my responsibilities were feeding and taking care of the ducks, chickens, cats, the dog and my hamster…and I became the ‘dishwasher’ as soon as I was able to reach the counter…I was responsible for bringing in the eggs….and cleaning the chicken coop along with refilling the bins with seed…in the winter I would go out with my sister and we would place our chickens on our laps with hot water bottles to keep them warm…I always worried about them being cold…they were our pets and my sister and I named them…my father often made fun of me for caring about the animals the way I did…he just didn’t get it…and why would he?...he was into abusing our animals as well as us...I would often try to help our dog while my father was kicking him…I got in trouble for this too.
I helped my mother with preparing homemade jam…making pickles, noodles and preparing the chickens or ducks that we would eat…I had to put their bodies in a pail of hot water…pull out their feathers and scoop out their insides so my mother could put them in the oven…this was really hard on me as before I would do this, I was forced to watch my father chase them down…hold them by their feet…dangle them over the log and take many swings before cutting off their heads with an axe…then he would drop them and say ‘look girls’…as they ran around with their heads cut off…I would cry and scream during this and he would laugh…then I had to help my father tie them upside down by their feet and had to watch as the blood drained from their bodies.
Our relatives would sometimes come out to visit us in British Columbia…and when they did not, we took trips out to Windsor Ontario to go visit them…I hated going to see my father’s father…my father would get so upset before each visit…and while at my grandfathers house, I would witness a lot of fights and anger between the two of them…my father would usually take out his hurt with his own father on my mother, my sister, and myself…making us wish we had never come…later on in life I would figure out that my father needed more money…and thus we went to his father’s house…my father had poor money management skills…always living beyond his means…he felt he deserved the best…and the best we would have…even if it meant we were on the verge of losing it all.
Later on that year, my grade 5 nun, sister C came to our house to speak with my father…she was concerned about me… the secrets I kept buried inside of me were starting to come out in my artwork at school…I remember drawing a monster in an electric chair…he was being electrocuted…I drew witches and torture themes…I made a paper Mache clown …I do not think I intended it to be a clown…when my mother saw it, she did not know what kind of a body to attach to it…so she decided to attach a clown’s body …mine was the only one that was horrific in nature…I made the head life size of a child…I painted it blue…made huge bulging, bloodshot eyes…a bloody tear came from the eye….and the mouth was turned down with swollen lips…I remember doing another project …but I do not remember what the project was…I drew two blonde witches holding hands overlooking the world…I believe that this was the reason that sister C started having concerns and she was the first person in my life to try to help me…I was told to stay outside during this visit…I waited on the front lawn…dread filling me…I heard yelling from inside the house and later saw her leave in a state of fear with tears streaming down her face…this would be the last time for many years that anyone would try to intervene for me …or was she intervening?…was she trying to help?…or reporting to my father that the programming and conditioning was not working?…that I was breaking the conditioning?…after all…I have had nightmares of the S.R.A. re: my private school…I hope and pray with everything inside of me that this is not the case…I was still having nightmares almost every night…I found myself ‘practicing being dead’ as I would lay in my bed…I would lay on my back and stare at the ceiling…I pictured the ceiling as being ground level and I was underneath…I would continue to find myself doing this into my teen years not quite knowing why I was compelled to do this at times…this is a reoccurring nightmare I remember clear as day that I would have often.
-nightmare began with my parents standing in our hallway just outside my bedroom
-there was two of my mom and two of my dad
-I had to ‘choose’ which ones I thought were my ‘real’ parents
-all four of them were begging me to choose them…that they were my real parents
-after a lot of anguish, I finally made my choice…one mom and one dad
-when I made my choice…the two parents I picked smiled and said I made the right choice…
-then they came forward to hug me
-the other two replicas of my parents were in the corner crying
-as I went to hug the mom I chose…her arms became steel and I could not move
-her arms dug into my spine…felt like steal rods
-I screamed with pain and she began to laugh wildly…woke up
Here are a couple of other reoccurring nightmares from childhood that I would have often:
-nightmare began with my sister and I going into a toy store to pick out some toys
-but when I got there the whole store was divided into two sections
-on the one side, there was 100 ‘Jack in the box’ of my mother
-on the other side, 100 ‘Jack in the box’ of my father
-the heads of my parents were bobbing around on springs and each one had a different expression on their face
-I just looked at them feeling scared not knowing what to do
-my mom’s tongue was hanging out in some of them…in others she looked kind…and in some she looked sad
-I ‘knew’ I had to ‘choose’ the right mother and father again
-I was too scared I would make the ‘wrong’ choice so I ran from the toy store
-I dreamt that my dolls came to life…had huge fangs…and tried to kill me in my sleep
*I told my mother about this nightmare as a child…told her it scared me and that the dolls reminded me of my mother
*(as a way to cope with this fear I had as a child…I kissed all my dolls and stuffed animals goodnight three times before going to bed every night…remember doing this as early as 6 yrs old)
My mother called me about this years later…still upset that as a child I told her that the dolls trying to kill me in my dream reminded me of her.
I remember my sister waking up in the mornings with a ‘sticky substance’ on her face…she would cry as she could not open her eyes in the morning…my mother would come into her bedroom in the morning and help my sister open her eyes by applying a wet warm washcloth to her eyes…both my mother and sister deny this…but I remember this like it was yesterday.
Also during my childhood I had an ‘itchy’, ‘red’ and ‘sore’ vagina and I would complain to my mother about this a lot…she would tell me to get the ‘zinc ointment’ from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom instructing me to apply it on myself telling me that this would help ‘cool’ that area…*when I brought this subject up with my mother later on in the years she flatly denied this along with flatly denying any sort of sexual abuse perpetrated by my father…she would concoct yet another huge ‘fabrication’ of the truth saying that as a child I had climbed a tree and had fallen and got a ‘branch’ stuck up inside of me…I called my doctor about this in my adult years asking if this was at all possible…my doctor told me that if I had been ‘naked’ (which I was not as my mother dressed me well as a child) and ‘aimed’ over 10 times that I still would NOT get a branch stuck in my vagina…my doctor told me that my mother was yet again trying to find another ‘reason’, ‘cause’ or ‘illusion’ to explain away her version of ‘nothing ever happened’…and of course she said yet again that I have brain damage from my stroke.
I also remember that around this age my sister and I hid our tape recorder in the kitchen plant that was on the floor, and hit record…it was one of those big plants that looked like a small tree…we wanted to record what went on in our house so that someone would believe us and help us…we got this idea because my sister and I use to pretend we were radio hosts and we would play what we recorded back and laugh at how funny we sounded…looking back, we were quite resourceful…we picked the kitchen because that was the spot in the house that we figured would tape everything the best…it was close to the dining room and the living room…and it was the room with a big enough plant to hide the tape recorder in without my parents discovering it…but they found it anyways…we kept hanging around the plant and checking it, and my parents figured it out…we got into a lot of trouble…we never tried that again…also around this time I would sometimes stand over my parents as they slept in their bed in the middle of the night with a fork in my hand…‘willing’ myself to have the guts to kill them in their sleep…I would then turn around and go back to my room…I would cry for hours quietly realizing that I needed to get away from them if I were to survive this life…I would have to come up with something else…and that something else was what I did when we moved.
I need you
Where are you?
Please don’t turn your head away and ignore what is right in front of you
I am right here
Can’t you see me?
Right in front of you
Yet you insist that I am alive
You turn your eyes away
For you can not bear to look truth in the face
Denial is how you cope
But what about me
Your first born
Shouldn’t you live for me?
I really need you
And this time I’m not able to keep my head above the water
Why aren’t you throwing me a rope?
Anything at all
Something to hang on to
Can’t you see me?
I’m reaching for you
I guess you don’t
To you I represent a threat
I threaten your truth
You live only for you
Not for truth
I don’t need you now
I can drown on my own
Grade 8: 12/ 13 yrs old…
We were moving…thank God…we were going to Ontario…and away from this hell that had become my way of life…I was stupid to think that just by moving all of my problems would stay in the province of British Columbia…I was in grade 8…this was also the year I got my period …and of course my father found out about it and I felt I was humiliated as he managed to make me feel dirty once again…he loved to center me out and make me the brunt of his anger and his jokes… he usually put a sexual twist on things whenever he could…we were at this point living in a rented house close to my new school… high school started in grade 8 in B.C…I could not wait to leave this house either…this was the house that he came into the bathroom as I was taking a shower to pass me the phone…I was not allowed to lock any door …so he always had access at any time…it was my grandfather, my father’s father…I do not remember what we talked about…what I do remember was my father standing there with the ‘see through’ shower door being held open…and I was forced to take the call…through my tears I talked to my grandfather…my father would not leave and continued to stare at my maturing body until he decided to take back the phone while I was in mid-conversation…I always thought that it was odd that my grandfather never commented on this.
It was now the month of October…and it was Halloween…I have always had a tough time with this holiday…most holidays actually…my father used to take my sister and I trick or treating…I liked getting the candy…but hated dressing up…I always wanted to be a princess or Cinderella…but my father would not allow it…he dressed us up the way he wanted to…I was usually something ugly and scary…I remember him dressing me up as a monster one year…he put my mother’s fur hat on my head for hair…and he put charcoal on my face…making my face into that of an ugly monster…I do not remember much around Halloween…this is the only memory I have of the old house regarding this holiday…so it was Halloween again and I decided to go out this year with my sister…I decided that this would be the last time I went out…and I wanted to do it…I had it all planned out…I knew what I would be…I did not need to think about it…it was easy...I went out dressed up as a whore…not surprisingly, my father approved…I totally felt like one and I was ok with it…I had a kind of ‘fuck you’ attitude…and I asked the people who gave us candy if they knew what I was…kind of challenging them to look at me and see me for what I felt I was…looking back, I think I was reaching out for someone to notice my pain.
We finally sold our house in the country that held most of my memories and horror…so like I said I was excited to be leaving and was the happiest I had been in a long time…as happy as I could be to be turning 13…turning 13 was hard for me…I was afraid of this number and did not know why…I felt cursed and could not wait until I was 14…before we left the house in the country, the one my father had built…I wrote a message in pencil on the inside of my bedroom closet on the wall for the new people who bought the house …it was a ‘help me’ message…I told them my name…where we were going…and that I needed help….I seriously believed that I would be rescued…what a joke…no help would come from the new people…but I was still thinking that this would take place and I felt a sense of calm…we packed our things in our van and my father had the rest sent over… for 2 weeks we drove across Canada…my parents, my sister and I, our dog ‘Dukey’, one cat named ‘Butterscotch’ and my sister’s budgie ‘Blue Bells’…through the rocky mountains and straight to Ontario…I was sure my life would change…I could not wait to get out of having to share such small quarters with my father…the van was not big enough for me to get any distance from him…I would often leave the van and go on walks by myself when we rested from driving …secretly planning my escape…he would follow me…and I would return to the van not wanting to be alone with him…I remember us stopping at one of the many gas stations as we drove across Canada…I went to use the washroom and when I came out…my family was gone…no van…I waited…I started to panic and realized that they had left me there…in the mountains…alone…I started to plan how I would live and what I would do with my new found freedom…then the van came back…my father yelled at me to get in and thought that this would some how teach me a lesson …what lesson?....what did I do?...I remember him laughing to himself and acting smug…I guess he was starting to sense my hatred for him and he wanted to show me that he was still in control…he determined how I lived…if I lived…I remember one of his favorite sayings was ‘I brought you into this world…and I can take you right back out’…the feeling of fear and dread was back…I was trapped…for now…but not for much longer…I started putting my escape plan from him into action…I had had enough…we were leaving B.C. and this would be my chance…it would be three years until I finally got the courage to leave.
To pass the time in the van…my sister and I would draw a lot…we drew a lot of dirty pictures…and laughed a lot…I was glad my sister was laughing as she was so upset to be leaving all her friends…she did not share my feelings on wanting to leave B.C. …we would draw naked people doing sexual things…(I remember one picture in particular that I drew…I drew a picture of ‘wonder woman’, naked on a log, going to the bathroom while a man was ejaculating in her mouth…looking back, this is kind of messed up, and knowing what I know now…I am not surprised that I was drawing pictures of that nature)…my sister and I thought it was hilarious…my father would often ask angrily what is was that we were doing…we always responded with a ‘look’ at each other and answered in unison, ‘nothing Dad’…while fighting back laughter…I am smiling now thinking of this moment with my sister…we also took flashlights at night and put our faces up to the windows, with the light under our chins…we would make funny faces to other vehicles and their passengers…this made us crack up…I really miss my relationship with my sister and all the fun we used to have.
When we arrived in Kitchener/Waterloo Ontario, we stayed at a hotel until we bought a house…this is where I did my school work and tried to stay away from my father…again I spent most of my time outside in a tree by the road…planning my escape…I spent most of my days searching for ways to leave and coming up with none…my sister and I started school in Waterloo and made friends…the friends I had made from this school were all planning to go to a different high school…this was the high school I eventually attended after much begging and pleading to my father along with my sister…we had just lost all our friends from the move and we did not want to lose friends again…my sister and I were still somewhat close…my parents had already started to divide us….but it had not completely happened yet…this too would change… after many fights, my father agreed to let us attend this high school and we bought a house close to the school …my father wanted us to go to a Catholic school for girls…he did not want us around boys…this was his biggest fear…he was my biggest fear.
My nightmares had changed in a way I did not know how to handle…the monster in my dreams was replaced by my father…the ‘thing’ that was violently raping me in my nightmares every night was my father…I did not know what to do…I was scared…and I wanted to run away…but my father would not let me out of his sight and he was always touching me…wanting to be near me…my mother confronted me on my ‘cringing away’ from my father every time he was near me or tried to touch, kiss or hug me…I told her what I was going through…she did not believe me and told me that she would be taking me to see another doctor about the stroke I had…that this was too much…and she did not know what to do with me and the ‘crap’ that came out of my mouth.
My soul is lost
Shattering on the emptiness below
Only the hollowest of memories remain
The darkness has thrown her cloak over my eyes
I struggle to regain
All of the pieces
The darkness tries harder than ever to conceal my view
I lay motionless
Stained are my cheeks
From the heart that was stolen
Hurled at me
Are driven into my soul
I cover my ears
But the memories swirl in my mind
My mind is used against me
I shut down
I loved high school…it took me away from my father…I spent as much time there as I could…I joined the track team and the swim club…I loved to swim and I had been a member of the swim club back in B.C. …I kept myself as busy as I could…my high school years were some of the best years of my life…filled with friends, parties, dances and boyfriends…but as I soon learned, these would be filled with pain eventually too...for I seemed to be doomed to have pain as a constant part of my life…and my father set the stage.
Grade 9: 13/ 14 yrs old…
My mother was extremely religious and we had been going to church all these years faithfully every Sunday…my father refused to go to church because he thought it was all bullshit…but he would attend once in a while to please my mother…I remember the feeling I have had all my life regarding churches…and it has always been the same…when I entered a church I would immediately feel trapped…and I wanted to run out…I would become dizzy and start to space out…I would be pinching myself hard in church to try to feel my body…to feel real…church made me feel so unreal…the candles, the alter and the saying of the prayers all at the same time really got to me…the standing up and sitting down and the kneeling all at the same time really made me feel sick…and I had no idea why…I wanted to throw up…I could not wait for the mass to end…when mass was over and I stepped out in the sun…I felt free…and alive…it was weird…my energy came back and I no longer felt sick.
All of this became too much for me and I approached my mother on the possibility of no longer attending church…well…this upset her badly…she really wanted my sister and I to know God…I fought with her about this and I could see that I would never have the choice to not go…I do not know how this came about, but my mother no longer attended church with us anymore…she was doing something else…she sent my sister and I to church and insisted that we go…we would have to produce the church bulletin and tell her what we learned in church…my sister and I had a great idea…we would walk to the church in case my parents followed us…and go inside…we would wait…and then run across the street and walk to the park that was 5 minutes from there…on the way home we would stop by the church when mass got out and we would pick up a bulletin…we would read it quickly and make up some bullshit about what we learned in church…this worked for a few months and then my mother caught on…this brought my sister and I closer for a while and I treasured these moments with my sister.
This year was a tough year for me like all the others had been…it seemed like life would always be hard for me... this was the year that my art teacher made sexual advances towards me…and three of my friends…we did not know that it happened to each other until I had the courage to tell my one friend…then she and my other friend said the same thing happened to them…I told the school…I was not believed…when I told my mother of the abuse from my father…I was not believed…she continued to take me to doctor after doctor to ‘prove’ again that I had brain damage from my stroke…even though every doctor that she had been taking me to over the years had been telling her that there is no damage…she would not hear of it…I had brain damage....she was sure of it and she was hell bent on proving it.
My family and I also started family counseling at my mother’s insistence…my father had no interest in this and refused to go…but when my mother said that the family needed to deal with the problem, and that the problem was me, he agreed …we went to our first family therapist and my father did all the talking…if my mother, my sister, or I tried to talk, he would warn us with his eyes and we would all shut up…this counselor told my father that ‘he’ was the problem …not me…we stopped seeing this therapist and so my father found another…this time it would only be me who went…but only after my father spoke with him …my father must have told him that I was a liar and had brain damage, because when I met the therapist, he winked at my father before he closed the door…I was alone with this man who I knew, believed my father…there was no point in talking to him…but I tried anyways…he looked at me with total disbelief and shook his head…telling me I was a messed up little girl…and that I should have more respect for my father than this…I left in tears and my father was triumphant over me again…not being believed would become a pattern in my life.
Grade 10: 14/ 15 yrs old…
During this year I quit my competitive swimming after fighting with my father about it for months…I just could not do it anymore…the love of the sport had diminished for me…he took all the joy out of it …this was just another place for him to humiliate me …yell at me and abuse me…crying while competing in a race because my father was running and screaming along side me while I swam was no longer enjoyable for me…so I became a ‘lifeguard’…how appropriate…I did this for a job as well as teaching lessons to disabled children in a special class, and I also taught stroke improvement for the more advanced swimmers…the money I made from work went straight into a joint bank account that my father set up…he set it up so that I could not take out any money with out his signature and permission…he controlled every aspect of my life.
Things between my mother and I were getting worse…she had taken to threatening me with kitchen knives when I would be preparing dinner…and on one occasion during an argument with her regarding my father, she started yelling and screaming at me while foaming at the mouth, acting like she had gone crazy…she grabbed me by my wrists, and bit my arms… I struggled to get away from her…this scared me and reminded me of how she would ‘go crazy’ when I was a child…I have often wondered if her acting crazy was the result of my father’s abuse and my refusing to be controlled and silenced…her hatred towards me was blatant and she started acting like I was the competition…how could she hate me?...what did I do?...except tell her what my father was doing to me?...I even jumped on my father’s back once to protect her when he was in one of his rages…why was she not protecting me?...I also started to defy my father…I began picking my own courses in high school…this angered both my parents as they did not feel I had this right…or any rights…they also felt the courses I chose taught kids to hate their parents…I do not think so…parents teach their children through abuse to hate them.
This was also the year that my first ‘real’ boyfriend drugged and raped me...I met him at a house party that my sister and I went to …he went to a different high school than my friends and I did…my sister and I told my parents that the parents would be home and that there would be no drinking or drugs…this was not true…I was surprised that we were allowed to go as we were not allowed to do much …my father made an appearance and scared a lot of the kids and spoke to an older brother of the guy who was having the party…he posed as the father…and my father bought it…when my friends saw that I had been talking to this particular guy outside by the basketball court in the townhouse complex where the party was held…they warned me not to go near him…said that he was trouble…and that I did not want to get mixed up with him…I refused to listen to them…I always made up my own mind …I had a strong desire to think for myself…we dated for about 4 months…he was always trying to goad me into sexual activities with him and finally he put the pressure on to have sex…of course I would not…I was terrified of sex and wanted no part of it…he used to try to get me to let him insert his finger into my vagina…I hated it but he made me feel guilty and that something was wrong with me for not wanting to do it…I would let him do some things to me …but not much.
Well…one night I called him up on the phone…things were bad at my house and I needed to get away…he met me at the end of my street and we bused it back to his town house…he had asked me before if I wanted to try drugs with him…I always said no because I was afraid of drugs…I wanted some control over my body…but this one particular night I was desperate to escape the pain I was in, I asked him if he had anything...I needed to ‘get away’ from my mind…he told me he was not going to give me anything…he pretended to care for my well being…he said he would mix me a stiff drink…and since I was used to drinking to escape from my painful existence, that was ok with me…it was rum and coke…we were playing video games in the living room of the townhouse he lived in with his grandmother…he was insistent that I finish my drink…it did not taste very good…it was kind of strong…I kept forgetting to drink and he would keep insisting that I finish it…I ended up feeling very drunk and heavy for almost finishing only one drink….since I used alcohol regularly at parties to numb myself…I was experienced as to how much I could consume before getting to this point…and it was a lot more than just one drink.
I had to lay down…I could not move…he just stared at me for a while…then he picked me up and carried me upstairs…I asked him what it was that he had given me and asked him why he was taking me upstairs…he did not answer me…at this point I knew what was going to happen… I had been drugged…it had happened before…I do not know how I knew that…but I knew this was familiar to me…he put me on the bed and turned his stereo on full blast…I started to cry … fear shot through me at the realization that I was completely helpless…I could not move…he took off my clothes…and his…he forced me to kiss his chest and suck his penis…this was hard for me as I could not feel my lips…I remember his chest in my face a lot…I can still see his curly hair…he was mulatto…he slammed my head into the headboard over and over …I was screaming at the top of my lungs.
He kept telling me to shut up and covered my mouth…this with how roughly he was raping me made my neck hurt…his grandma was in the next room…sleeping…she never came to help me…I think she was afraid of him…or maybe he drugged her too…when he finished …he had to dress me…I could barely move…he dragged me down the stairs, half carrying me…he told me to leave…I told him he had to take me to the phone booth at the plaza on the corner, or I would continue screaming…he repeatedly told me to shut up and covered my mouth as I was still in shock and crying heavily…he dragged me to the plaza…he dropped a quarter in the phone and he dialed my friend’s number for me…and when I turned around he was gone…I spoke to my friend and told him where I was…I asked him to please come and pick me up…he came and picked me up…when I told him what happened…he told me it served me right for taking drugs…he took me home…I never said another word about this to anyone…I added this to my growing list of secrets that my mind filed away for my protection.
A few months later I started dating another guy …he did not go to my high school…I met him at another house party…luckily for me…he was good to me…it was during the course of our short-lived relationship that I made my first attempt to leave home…we were out one night and I was crying after drinking too much and confided in him what was going on in my home…he talked to his brothers and they agreed that I could stay at their place for a short time…he lived in a town house with his brothers because he had also been abused at home and understood what I was going through…we had it all planned out…if my parents called…he was to tell them that he dropped me off at home but did not wait to see if I got in…so this would clear him and they could not blame him.
We set up a bed in the basement with barriers blocking us in so we would be hidden just in case my father showed up…we went back upstairs and moved my shoes from the front door and put them, along with my jacket in his brothers bedroom closet…no sooner had we done that then the door bell rang and there was banging on the door…it was my father…he had found my phone book and got my boyfriend’s address…my boyfriend hid me in his brother’s closet and piled a bunch of clothes on top of me…one of his older brothers went to the door and spoke with my father…my father threatened all of them and demanded to search the house for me…they would not give him access and my father left…I was shaking violently and feared for my life…I did not feel safe at his house and wanted to go on the run …we threw on our winter jackets and boots… and I took off running in the trees behind his house…he had no choice but to follow me …I did not know where I was going…I just had to run.
We ran all night…throwing ourselves in the ditche when a car drove by…fearing it was my father or the police looking for me…finally at his request I agreed to return to his house as it was very cold to be out in the snow for as long as we were…we went to sleep in the basement behind our barrier …in the morning I called my parents …I was so afraid of leaving home and what they would do to me, that I was going to return…I called them and told them that I was dropped off by my boyfriend…and I decided to not come home…and that in case they were worried…I was ok…I left him out of it so they would leave him alone…I had my boyfriend and his brother drop me off a few streets from my house and I walked the rest of the way home…knowing it would be bad.
When I got home the door was locked…I had to ring the doorbell and was greeted with my father’s rage…he laid into me right away …and my mother was there backing him up…she had already turned on me a few years earlier and I had already approached her twice on what my father was doing to me…I knew she did not believe me…the yelling and screaming between my parents and I got out of hand and I lunged at my father…my hatred for him had grown to the point that I was becoming bolder and my fear had taken a back seat…he retaliated by throwing me against the wall and then dragging me down the stairs by my hair and threw me into a chair…he haled off and smacked me hard across the face…I spun sideways…he and my mother stood over top of me and he said ‘maybe now you will listen and follow some rules’.
I was not a bad kid…I did what I was told…and I never talked back…I knew what would happen if I did…sure I lied about where I was going sometimes…I had to…or I would have never been allowed out of the house…and maybe I should not have drank alcohol like I did…but I needed something to take away my pain…and my feelings of being crazy…my mother was not there for me…she was out to prove that I had brain damage from the stroke…I do not think she will ever give up on this…my sister had already been turned against me …she was really mean to me at home and at school…she started picking apart my physical appearance and tried to make me feel ugly…she talked about me behind my back with her friends at school…I had no one …I was on my own.
I did not care anymore…it did not matter how good I was…I was always abused in some way for something...not long after this my boyfriend and I broke up…he was terrified of my father and I had to hide the fact that I was dating him…my father did not believe in race mixing…and he was black…again I was alone…the first guy that was nice to me and tried to help me was gone… my father had driven him away.
This was also the year that my father was becoming increasingly violent with me…he knew that I was getting stronger and my inner strength terrified him…he was losing control…he tightened the rope …he started pushing for more physical contact with me…demanding I spend time alone with him…and always demanding hugs that would last too long…and be too tight…kissing me on the lips in a lingering way, a way father should never do…and brushing his lips across my ear while talking suggestively…I hated the feel of his hot breath…he always smelled of stale smoke or beer…doing all of this in front of my mother…but it did not matter how bold he was…she never noticed…or at least she pretended not to…she turned her head the other way.
When we would go out to eat…he would not walk in beside my mother…she was always with my sister…he was always with me…he would lead me in the door by placing his hand on the back of my neck…applying pressure that hurt…steering me in the direction he wanted me to go…letting me know that I was his…he would sit next to me, and make dinner unbearable by constantly touching me under the table…picking on me…and putting me down…dinner at home consisted of the same …but a lot more violent…he would get the best meal…steak/etc…and my sister, my mother and I would eat what my mother prepared for us…he always got the best cuts of meat…or a different meal altogether…he was the king in our family…and he let us know this constantly.
I got screamed at and slapped at the dinner table for laughing with food in my mouth…for talking with food in my mouth…even if he was the one telling the joke or asking the question…this confused me because if I did not answer him right away I got smacked for not answering him quickly enough…I got slapped for putting my elbows or any part of my arm on the table…and if I cried from his hurtful comments that were a constant part of every dinner, again I was slapped…often he would slam his fist on the table sending food and utensils flying…and spitting food in my face in the process…this only caused my mother and sister to blame me yet again for upsetting my father, along with ruining yet another dinner.
My father was also becoming increasingly jealous of the boys I would date…he would threaten my date before we left reminding them of how he would blow off their balls with a shot gun if they did not have me home on time…I do not remember him even owning a shot gun…empty threats?...he would follow me and my date…thinking I did not notice…and would wait in the dark watching me out the living room window to ‘catch’ me doing something wrong…he was very possessive of me and I was often accused of being a whore…he would sniff my breath, clothes and hair when I came home…inspecting me for alcohol, my dates cologne and the smell of sex…he would also study my clothes and hair to see if anything had been changed.
I started making it obvious that I was avoiding my father….I refused to spend time with him…and I started pushing him away when he tried to touch me…the feel of his touch made me cringe…this caused my father to be even more violent with me, and made my mother upset…and she insisted that I spend time with him and not hurt my father in this way…I also refused to swim with my father in our pool …I would wait until he was busy, so I could swim by myself…on one particular night…I was in the pool…floating on my back…trying to relax and pretend I was somewhere else…I did not hear him when he crept into the pool…I must have drifted to where he was because I suddenly felt him…I had bumped into him and when I sat up…I was on top of him…I jumped out of the pool and ran into our mudroom that led to our kitchen…he chased me into the house grabbing me and throwing me against the wall….he was yelling at me and was angered that I did not want to be alone with him…my bathing suit started to slip and he threatened me with his fist when I tried to pull it up…I had to let the strap fall exposing my breast…I felt sick…I do not know how…but I managed to get away from him…how I hated my father…he made me sick…my hatred was growing and I took it out on myself…I was abusing my body again to cope…I would punch myself and call myself the names that my father used with me.
Sometime that year…my mom’s sister and her husband, my aunt and uncle, came down for a visit…they stayed at a hotel in Kitchener…I was excited as she was my favorite aunt…and I loved it when she came to visit…she loved me so much and I felt good around her…my family and I met them at the hotel to spend the afternoon swimming with them and then we would be going out for dinner…I already had my suit on under my clothes as my father liked to watch when I got undressed…he used to demand ‘family change rooms’ when we would swim at the complex in B.C. …and I was not allowed to have my suit on under my clothes…if I had it on…I would have to take it off and put it back on while being yelled at…this made my sister hate me more…she blamed me for the stress my father put us all under…we also had to shower together…the whole family at the same time…why my mother accepted this I do not know…according to her…she never saw anything, even though she was ALWAYS there…I used to beg her to let us use the women’s change room…but she said that my father would feel left out.
This time, I was prepared and my suit was on …and there was nothing he could do about it…this angered him… he had no choice but to bite his tongue…he had to keep up the appearance that we were a happy, normal family…but he messed up…not like it mattered…my aunt and uncle saw and heard it…and approached my mother…but she had the wall of denial up so thick…she refused to see anything that happened right under her nose, or listen to her own sister.
I was swimming…my father was watching me…he whistled at me and said “whew…look at my daughter…man is she sexy”…and looked at me in a way no father should ever look at his daughter…this, like many other things my father would do, would continue to go unnoticed …and years later when I would confront my mother on this…she would refuse to believe me…she would say she never saw anything…and claims she was never there when these things happened…she would cry to me and say… ‘I would never let him do those things…where was I?’…she was an expert at making me out to be a liar…and a part of me felt sorry for her…she was loyal to my father no matter what he did…my father had complete and total control of her.