Sandusky Trial Rekindles Personal Story of Abuse
By triciajoy on July 05, 2012
The trial of Jerry Sandusky is over and he's been found guilty of atrocities that I don't have the stomach to list. All reasonable people are shocked and disgusted by his actions and saddened for his victims. While he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, that is only a small drop of justice in a flood of evil. His name sparks a lot of emotions in our country these days. I know it does for me. I am also a survivor of sexual abuse.
Image: Bob Donaldson/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via ZUMA Press.
I honestly can't remember if I've talked about it on this blog before, but I'm going to talk about it now. I know that this isn't a topic that makes people comfortable. Or a topic that people expect to find on an infertility/parenting blog. But this space is for me and about me, and right now, it's what's on my mind.
The man who abused me was my grandmother's third husband. He and my grandmother married when I was 3 months old, so he was the only grandfather I ever knew. His name was CH (That is his real name.) but I always called him grandpa.
I don't know when it started. Before my memory, that is all I can tell you. I can remember being somewhere around 3 or 4 and learning in church that those kind of touches were only for married people and telling him he had to stop because it was a sin. He told me God was okay with it because we loved each other. I would later learn that he was an Atheist.
When I was about 8 or 9, I was playing, hiding behind a built in laundry hamper at their house when I found some papers. Of course, I read them. They were court transcripts. My grandma and CH had foster children for a while. He had molested two of the girls they had. They reported it. And here were the transcripts of most of the interviews. He denied it, of course. They had been removed from their home because their dad was molesting them. He told the interviewer that they must have been having flashbacks.
My grandma swore it wasn't possible. They'd never been alone, whatever.
I asked him about it one day and he told me "they wanted [him] to." I asked him what he would do if I ever told. He said "I would deal with it because I love you that much." I took that to mean that nothing would change. There was no point in telling.
As I got older, things escalated. I would stay with them in the summers sometimes, or long weekends. If I wanted money to go to the pool or something, I had to perform for it. Every moment alone, I tried to cover my developing body because it attracted too much attention. But I went along with it, too. I pleased him because that's the way it had always been. In the same way that a child does the dishes or mows the lawn to please her parents, I performed sexual acts.
For a few years we lived several states away and I was safe. It was a relief, but at the same time, I missed them. Despite the abuse, he was my grandpa and I loved him. (Gosh, those words hurt me more to type than all the rest of it.) When I was 14, my dad decided to go back to college, so we moved back to Illinois and in with them. The abuse started up again immediately.
One day, a friend at school told me that she had been abused and been to counseling. I told her that I was being touched, too. She told her mom, who called the school, who called the state, who called my dad. That friend probably saved my life.
The telling was hell. The school counselor called me in and asked me if it was true. I told her that it was, but tried to lessen it by saying it had only happened twice. In my mind, I didn't want to say I had been lying to my friend, and I knew that it only happening once wasn't believable, but somehow I thought it happening twice was. (Magical thinking of a child, here.) As there is (was?) no statue of limitations on sexual abuse in my state, it still had to be reported, despite my pleas not to tell my dad.