My Father was a Sexual Predator
My Father was a Child Molester.
He was 21 and she was 16. He swept her off of her feet. They met in Philly when he was there for some military thing, navy I think. Her father was abusive, and she fell in love easily because she was looking for a way out. She couldn’t handle getting hit or seeing her mother get hit any more. My dad was her escape route.
Nowadays, he’d be labeled as a predator. A sexual molester. He would have to register in the town he lived. But in 1956, no one thought that. It was normal back then for girls to take husbands at a young age. Gosh, I think that Mom was young until I met the hubs. His mom was 13 and his dad was 21 when they married. Michael’s mom had all her children by the time she was 21. Can you even imagine being a mother at 13?
When I think of the responsibilities that motherhood bestowed on me at the ripe old age of 23 for the birth of my first child, there were things that never even would have dawned on me at 13, 14 or 16 years old. These girls were just that, children.
So he fell in love and rescued her by getting her pregnant at 16. Sure she was 17 when I was born and that doesn’t sound as bad as 15. But now that I am in my fifties, and well educated on sexual predators, I realize he was no better than those men who show up to visit on “To catch a Predator” with Chris Hansen. He was one of them.
And he was no better than her dad really. His abuse toward my mother was mental. I don’t remember ever seeing him strike her with a fist or open hand, but he slammed her with malicious words. Mind games is what she calls them now. And her and I are the only living people who know who/how he really was.
When I was very young, he loved me, so they said. I was the “apple of his eye”. And then I fell out of grace somehow. I must have, because he abused me. Never in a sexual way. He would come home from work, and I would shake because Mom had said “just wait till your father gets home” when I was naughty, if I did something wrong. And instead of being happy to see him, I was afraid when he came home from work. Not every day, but often enough.
He would say: Karen Lynn, go take your pants off and wait for me in your room. I will be in to spank you after I finish my beer and cigarette. I didn’t dare disobey the pre-punishment order. And so I would wait. Sometimes he’d make me wait for an hour. Sitting on my bed with no pants on. Waiting to get spanked. I’m not sure what hurt worse, the slaps on my bare butt or my ego, my feelings, sitting waiting to get spanked, naked from the waist down.
I don’t miss him, and I understand why my mom could only stay for 17 years. She tried to leave him when she was 17, and then again when she was in her 20’s. I remember “moving to Philly” a few times. I remember missing him. There are letters to prove it, he saved them. The Daddy I Miss You letters I wrote to him from my grandparents house.
And when she strayed, first by finding a job outside of the home, and then other ways I suppose, he made me choose sides. It’s me or your mother he would say to me. Mom left him when I was a senior in high school. I came home from school and she was gone and he was crying. I remember how agonizing it was for me to realize she not only left him, she left me too. She hurt my dad, and he now says I have to pick. There was no divorce talk. Nada, nothing. I came home from school and she was gone.
I picked me. Drugs helped, I didn’t fit in anywhere in high school, not with the brains, or the athletics, or the cheerleaders, I wasn’t part of any clique. The stoners accepted me. They got me. They understood. Smoke a little of this and you will feel better. So I drifted through my senior year. Dropping acid, doing any drugs I could get my hands on. The drugs help numb the pain.
When I graduated, I got a job (with his blessing) on a traveling magazine crew. (that is a future blog post, my three years “on the road) My main goal after my mother left was also to get the hell out of there. With Mom gone, I took on the wifely responsibilities. I cooked and cleaned and took care of him while he recovered from spinal fusion, all at the same time that I was just desperately trying to graduate from high school. And always the “you have to chose, me or her” conversations. I got out. And never looked back.
So tonight, when Mom and I had a chance to sit and chitchat, just catch up, she started telling me about my birth, and then she told me (again) how much my father abused her emotionally. And then she said, “you know Karen, nowadays men like him are locked up”. Yes they are mom. And when they come back into society, they have to register as sex offenders. My dad was a predator. He robbed mom of her childhood, and he made my childhood miserable.
But I am ok now. And I am here to tell you that at some point in your life, you get over it. You rise above your childhood. You become a better person because you survived what you knew was wrong. I am who I am because of where I came from and my life experiences.
NaBloPoMo day 23! 7 to go!