Recently my mind sent me an invitation to a memory; I received an image of a pink ball bouncing on a driveway, and heard a voice calling out. I was five years old, and playing on the lot of a foreclosed home with my brother and his friend. There was only a small stretch of forest separating us from the back of another house where a little girl was playing with this ball and beckoning to me. But when I got there, her mother ordered her into the house, and she said I could come in too. In the dingy, musty interiors, amidst a collection of pink toys, she took off her clothes and made me give her oral sex. This was very disturbing because there was something very odd about her genitalia–she may have been intersexed.
What was most disturbing though is that she drove me home afterwards and met with my parents. I overheard my mother telling her she could take me any time, they would give her a good rate… This entire encounter was setup beforehand, my mother knew we would go there and play, as we had before. Two weeks ago I had a different flashback, with my brother and his friend in the woods near this very spot, where they sexually abused me, smearing cake all over their genitals and forcing me to lick it off of them. This woman may have seen it and, realizing that obviously these kids are being abused by the adults in their life, she made her way to our parents, who were already experienced in selling me. I did go back several times, she often had a male friend with her, tall with long blond hair who raped me in their bathtub.
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the memory of this house. I do remember seeing it in several non-repressed memories that likely took place before this incident, but afterwards…it’s a complete blank. I passed it every day while walking to and from the school bus stop for years, yet I don’t remember it being there. I must have almost blocked it’s very existence out of my consciousness in order to escape the extreme betrayal by my parents. But I’m sure it was still there, though perhaps unoccupied.
It makes sense that a lot of disturbed people would come to this development, newly carved out of the woods in the middle of nowhere. People bought because they wanted to “get away” from something, and it made an ideal place for pedophiles to settle. I’ve often wondered what motivated my own parents to suddenly pick and move across the country around the time when I was conceived. Was there some crime, some suspicion they were running from? Something they needed to hide? My mother claimed it was post-partum depression that made her decide to do it, but I don’t see depression as motivating such a frantic upheaval. Of course my parents didn’t wait until after I was born to become pedophiles or involved in child sex trafficking. I’ve started to see many of their decisions as influenced by this activity.
When I was six or seven years old, my father painted the basement a light spring green–from the floor to the ceiling, walls and metal poles. The basement was unfinished, and very little legitimate activity was done there. The laundry was located in a corner and there was a power saw in a small workstation, but the vast majority was just empty space. So why paint? Was it done on an aesthetic whim, or more likely to make a sort of primitive “green screen” to obscure the background on camera? I remember many times I was in that basement, tied to one of the poles or on an old mattress, with cameras rolling.
Recently I flashed back to one night with two men on that dingy old mattress in the basement. I had been given something–it must have been speed or something because it didn’t knock me out, instead I had this fluttery feeling in my chest, my heart was beating fast, and I was ‘on.’ But I didn’t want to be, while my father was standing right there, demanding and receiving more money since we were in “overtime,” all I could think about was how much I wanted to drown. My father had done that to me before, shoved my head in and out of the bathtub, until I passed out (my mother did it too, and my brother…) While I was being abused I imagined it happening again, and just being left there, not fighting or resisting it.
I wanted to die rather then be in this situation, and certainly dying was a very real possibility given what they were doing to me. I survived largely due to luck, not because they made sure of it. I was often shocked by the utter coldness of their behavior when I was a teenager, because they absolutely didn’t care for or look after my well-being. I could have frozen to death one night when I was fifteen because despite knowing I was out they didn’t answer the phone when I called and had blocked collect calls from our number. Letting strange people take me to their houses and sexually abuse me as a child was another sign of that ugly indifference. I have no memories of genuine love from (or for) my parents.
But it is with building love and compassion for myself that I move forward with these new memories. I didn’t disappear, and I didn’t die; I have my own identity today, I have something to offer and I have a future. Likewise, the houses and scars and other physical vestiges/evidence have not disappeared either. These things happened, they are real and there is no erasing them. These weeks have been chaotic as I’ve dealt with uncovering these traumas and what they reveal about my life. I’ve had a very difficult time but I feel myself making new connections, finding my voice and working through the trauma and fear. The brainwashing of my family is very difficult to overcome, but I’m in the process, and that’s what counts.
I know that while my parents had a network of pedophiles to sexually abuse me, they didn’t really need to build a network of emotionally abusive people that would agree my parents were innocent and right and I was just a “burden.” Our society already heaps hate onto young people and gives a free pass to parents. My parents only had to shower me with guilt and shame, and it was very easy for me to see that validated by many people in society. There are collective prejudices and a state of denial that allowed this to happen to me. But that can be turned around too, I can validate myself and connect with others who don’t buy into this system, and thereby help end those cycles both internally and externally. We all can.