My name is Jillian.
My earliest memories as a 4 year old are being sexually molested. I use that term rather than the many others because it sounds the worst to me and I dont want to ever again sugar coat what happened to me. I know this is going to sound hard to believe, hard to swallow, hard to imagine, but I was molested by every single member of my immediate family and also at least one other.
My earliest memories are of my eldest brother (8 at the time) simulating sex with me and touching me. I also have vague and dark memories of my father abusing me around the same time. For some reason my mind has tried to bury them, perhaps it was just too great a betrayl for my hero like status that I saw my father in to cope with. Im not sure, the memories of my eldest brother molesting me are clearer but still also distant and dark.
Mainly I remember the fear. I remember lying in bed trying not to move, trying not to breathe, hoping they might think that in the dark I wasnt actually in the room and just leave. I had an obsession with a night light. I used to complain about it needing a new bulb for ages and ages and I can remember my mother asking my father to fix it and it not being fixed for what felt like months and months. I complained until I guess I must have had such a tantrum that it got a new bulb, but it didnt last for long. I remember feeling so elated, just completely overwhelmed with happiness that it had gotten fixed, but then I also have these memories of waking up in the morning and not being able to turn off the light.... and remembering that someone else had. I wonder if that is the excuse he used. My father. 'Ill just go turn off the light.' It makes me sick to my soul. mainly that I was so stressed and afraid that I buried the memories so deep that I could still somehow allow myself to love him so much, think he was my hero when really he was the darkest form of evil I can name. A pedophile.
My Grandma once told me years later that I used to complain of having a sore 'diddle' (what I used to call my vagina as a child, I even have memories of him calling it that, a name I had gotten from him, so he could 'fiddle with my diddle'... disgusting bastard.) She said she suspected but after you hear my story you will come to beleive, as I do, that she had PLENTY of reasons to DO something. She claims that she as a grandmother had no rights. But I know the truth, she was just too goddamn afraid to take us away from her own daughter in case it killed her. My moher had severe depression.
My other brother started 'fooling around with me' when I was abot 8 or 9, I know he probably has alot of guilt about it, probably blames himself for other abuse I actually reported. We have never talked about it. Perhaps he thinks I misdirected what he did with me with the abuse I reported and was his hero a man named Terry, my mothers boyfriend who came into my life when I was 11 right after my father held a seige on our house and I believe would have killed us all but when I escaped first and the rest of my family followed he shot himself in the head instead. He survived.
The man my mother brought into our house followed the same form of extremely violent domestic violence that my father had paved the way for. He did put some structure into our childrens lives by getting us to do chores around the house for money, building a fishpond and generally maintaining the yard... for all exterior purposes he seemed like a guy who was positively contributiting to our lives... inside the house he drank every night smoked two packts of cigarettes a day beat my mother to a pulp and sometimes us children as we got in the way and of course sexually assaulted me while my mother watched and also participated. I will never forget the words my mother said as I left the room after that horrible night 'at least now she'll know about sex.'
He assaulted me after that night when we were on our own too. One time in the shower and another time in my room. When I told my mother believing, stupidly, that she would do something about it because he was now abusing me without her supervision she gave me some incest pamphlets. I remember feeling lost and afraid, that I was now on my own with my final frontier of sexual assault- the rest of the world. My mothers participating and condoning of assault in the home meant that I had lost my last barrier, soldier of my childhood. I remember clearly reading those pamphlets and thinking with absolute disgust that she couldnt even support me with the right pamphlets because incest means a relation and he was nothing to me but a man she had brought into the house to take more of my childhood from me. Also she had taken from me the belief that men were the only ones to be feared. I had been assaulted by not just a female, not just a grown woman, but my own mother. She was normally very overprotective about how far from home I could play and was constantly telling my brothers to 'look after your sister' and then she had assaulted me. The irony is still bitter.
I started smoking cigarettes when I was 12. I started stealing them from his packets believing he wouldnt even notice. I made myself addicted to peter jackson virginia cigarettes, 16 milligrams of nicotene. I threw up and had 'headspins' until I had achieved my goal. Perversely through the negative action that smoking is I was trying to take back and enjoy somethng from the man who had taken the last thing I had left of my life, my family, my innocence and what I thought was myself.
I had actually stopped physically growing when I was 11. They say that smoking stunts your growth but I didnt grow AT ALL for 3 years. I weighed 35 kilos and was 135 cms tall for 3 years. I only know this because we did examples of heights and weights in every class I had for those three years. I didnt know it at the time but it was a significant result of my upbringing. Children under intense stress often dont grow or do so at a very minimal rate. I have seen photos of myself when I was 15. I looked like an 8 year old.
I was interviewed by child protection services when they had been ordered to assess us kids because the police had been called to our house over 50 times in 6 months for domestic violence between my mother and her boyfriend, it was the final interview and I had done what we were ordered to do, lie or be killed or told we would be taken away and put in a foster home where we would be abused worse than we already were, I was asked the question, 'has anyone ever touched you in a way that you didnt like or made you feel uncomfortable?' I can remember that room clearly. She was sitting behind a desk and the words she had said directly before that sentence were' well its clear from what you have told us that you are happy at home despite the problems your mother and boyfriend are having but I need to ask one last question....' I hated those interviews, being pulled out of class. Lying to save myself for the devils I knew instead of the devils in the dreaded foster homes that I didnt.
The question was still hanging in the air and I just felt all the air sucked out of me. I was petrified and felt like the dirtiest scum on the earth, convinced she could somehow see all that had been done to me. I was 13.
I cried my eyes out.
when I was asked to say what had happened to me the ugliness of it all was too much for me to even say out loud. To hear my own voice say it made it real and right there in the room not just a nightmare I was running from.
The school constable and the case worker tried for over an hour to get me to talk. I just couldnt. I eventually gave the breifest explanation on paper and then answered yes no questions until I was emotionally exhausted and allowed to go. but where? Perversely I was asked if I wanted to go home. I was horrfied and screamed and cried not to make me go home. I believed they would kill me.
The case worker had trouble placing me in a foster home. eventually they found me one and I had nothing to wear except hand me down clothes from a girl who was 9, I was ravenous and not fed enough and I couldnt sleep. My middle brother came and stayed with the same foster family for a few days, I think he was sent by my mother to make sure I was alright. When he decided it was ok he went home. He hardly spoke to me the time he was there. He was so angry with me. I realised right away that my family had finally completey turned against me.
They have tried to contact me numerous times over the years though. Especially my mother and grandparents. After she got rid of her boyfriend she must have thought I would come home. I had a handful of conversations with my mother from age 13 to 16 and have not spoken to her since. Its been 12 years.
I have fought with my grandmother so much about whether I am a liar or not. I even hit her once.
I went to live with my father when I was 14. I somehow talked myself into believing that he had shot out the part of himself that was evil. he SEEMED so 'well.' amazing right? That I could go back and live with a perpertrator. I figured I knew the people to go to if anything happened and I needed food and clothes, I needed someone who might provide that.
I was stealing food from supermarkets to eat as the second foster home I was in didnt cook for me at all. They also never bought me any clothes god knows what they id with the money they earnt from the government, but I was lucky enough to negotiate through my caseworker to get some clothes from my mothers sent to me. My mother wrote long stupid guilty letters to me that after a while I didnt open. It made me angry and disgusted to hear her begging when she had forced me to live with strangers that didnt feed me just so that I could be away from the abuse she had essentially brought into our home first with my father and then with her boyfriend if not for her own participation.
I can somehow forgive my brothers, they were children abusing another child, but I will never forgive my mother or father or Terry. I just cant. they have taken too much and they knew better.
I lived with my father for almost 2 years. I think now that the reason I was safe was because my mothers boyfreind was being prosecuted during that time for the assualt. I still dont know why my mother had no charges brought against her.
He got off. Lack of evidence.
The whole experience of court almost killed me. I was ready to make the second attempt on my life with razor blades in the bath (the first attempt was when I was 11 and my brother had gotten caught stealing textas for me to do a school project with and I blamed myself, and thought he would go to jail forever so I put a pillow over my head and succeeded in just passing out. I had pathetically failed at my own attempt.) but my father managed to coax me to unlock the door.
I think now that when he cried with me all those times through the court case and nightmares he was crying with guilt for himself and the crimes against his own children he had commited.
He had essentially come face to face with what he had created.
I truly think he believed his salvation was through being mine.
In the 2 years I lived with my father nothing happened except my middle brother had come to stay with us until my father kicked him out. My father told me it was because of drugs and stealing, a convenient lie based loosely on truth, my brother did smoke drugs, but I think he believed if I knew the truth he would lose me and since I had participated in prosecution before what was to say I wouldnt again? Also I think he had found some peace from his own sickness through reinventing himself as the 'good father' and with the shattering of that he would be left with nothing to live for again.
My brother told me as he left, as he was getting into the car to drive away that my eldest brother had had an accident in his car and since had been having flashbacks of seriously severe sexual assault my father was the perpetrator of for years and years of his childhood.
He left me there with that in my hands to deal with.
I broke down. The almost 2 years of near peace I had had to start to repair my mind, start really believing in a future without pain, shattered. I was on my own again. I packed a bag, confronted my father hoping for a confession, an end to the lies, the beginning of healing maybe, and left feeling completely alone and hollow holding his lie in my head as another vivid memory. I went and stayed with my grandmother and lied to my father that I was staying with a friend.
I dropped out of school (god knows I had only made it that far because of the escape it had given me as I threw myself as hard as I was able into study and I actually achieved good results.) I went to live with my grandmother. We fought. I was horrified that I in one arguement had struck her, a woman of 60+ and succeeded in becoming 'like them' through violence that I called the 24hr sexual assualt line and got my councellor. She came and took me to a youth refuge the next day.
I was very scared at first staying there. I thought I would be beaten or raped or have things stolen by the other 'dysfunctional' kids who I believed were nothing like me. Thoughout my life, I dont know how, I think its just a gift from god really, but I knew I was better. I knew that what had happened to me was wrong and I would have a better life. Better to me would be normal. I have strived for normal my whole life. Just a place to live without violence and someone sexually molesting me. A place where I was understood and accepted and loved unconditionally despite what had happened to me.
I actually found all of that in the youth refuge.
I made a lifelong friend in a girl called Shannon who had a strength and quiet grace I learnt from. I owe her much.
I was accepted for government housing and was one of the youngest in the NT to receive it at age 17.
I was ready to start living alone.
Imagine my complete distress when the night before I was due to move in to my apartment set in an elderly placment area when walking back to the shelter only 500 metres from where my new apartment was a man pointed at me on the street and yelled 'OI'... Terry. he lived in house 500 metres from my new placement.
I was in turmoil. I was reccomended to wait for new placement and I almost did. But I had faced my demons before living with my father and I knew I needed to face this one too. I was stronger now with people who KNEW me and I wanted to LIVE and I REFUSED to let my demons ruin any MORE of my life.
I accepted the placement and moved in.
I suffered flashbacks and made attempts on my life. I am sure there were nights I could smell his cigarettes coming in through the windows of my apartment as he watched me. But I refused to give in. I wanted him to know I was bigger and better and stronger than what he thought he could make me despite the court decision. I wanted him to know I would always fight. I lived there for almost a year and a half before I sold almost everything I had amassed for my 'home' and moved to brisbane.
I lived in a house run by drug dealers for 2 months before I came screaming home and started living with my female drama teacher at 18. and then moving in with my first serious boyfriend also at 18. We were together almost 18 months but I coulnt stand him smoking drugs everyday and I left and started sharehousing.
Life has been up an down since then.
Some of the lows have been intense.
But the last serious attempt I made on my life was in that apartment up the road from one of my abusers. I was forced to call the ambulance myself and ever since I vowed never to face that shame again. The shame of having fought so hard and so long only to then hear myself saying 'Ive take something.'
Probably the only thing I regret about my life is my abortion. Everything else was done to me. Its the one thing I fucked up for myself.
I had a boyfriend of almost 2 years. At 21 I was more in love than I have ever been since.
A few years previously I was reccomended to take my abuse to 'victims of crime' court and I will NEVER forget going through the whole horrible court process again to hear the words from the magistrate ' clearly this girl has suffered sexual abuse and the justice system failed her the first time.' I was awarded $20000.
The money meant nothing to me.
The words were amazing.
I did it for those words. words I could hold close and tell myself when I felt like I was slipping off that familiar edge. I could tell myself finally 'someone believes me.' Someone who wasnt a friend who loved me and said the words becasue they had to, thats what a support person does. A person who didnt know me. Who just took the shattered pieces of myself, the psych report, the numerous attempts on my life and self harm, the councillors, youth workers, social workers and school councillors who had tirelessly helped put me back together, my artworks that were banned from school exhibitions because they were too emotionally evoking and my previous testimony from my previous courtcase and found I was CLEARLY fucked up through some form of sexual abuse.
The boyfriend I had at the time was in the army. He didnt believe in the courtcase I was pursuing and was not supportive. He didnt understand that it was my last shot at justice and that I felt I needed it not for the girl I was that day right then with him, but the girl I would sometimes be, lying on a bathroom floor crying and screaming to god 'why have you forsaken me' and reaching for a razor that I needed to try one last time for her. I didnt want to wonder anymore if I had tried hard enough, fought long enough to find a slice of something 'right' for me.
but he never could hear about my assault. i have never met another who could who wasnt sitting in an office and paid to do so.
I wish I could.
He was right that it would break me open again. but I NEEDED to try and I will NEVER EVER regret that feeling, that TRUTH upheld, the whole truth OUT there that was mine and was finally now known as it should be. WRONG.
We fought alot about it. And it was breaking us apart. If his horrible mother wouldnt first! I never knew why she hated me. I really tried with her. I guess some mothers are like that hey? But hey, Ive had worse. laughs. Theres that black humour of mine. It comes up sometimes. I wont apologise for it. It saw me through so much and probably always will.
when I fell pregnant I was scared. I know now why. I was scared because I didnt know if I had what it took to be a good mother. I had always told myself I wouldnt continue on the gene pool I had somehow come from. When I told him and he didnt ask me what I wanted to do instead saying 'Im not ready.' I realised more than anything I was scared to lose HIM. I had found a love that I thought would not leave me alone again. A love that I could live with everyday like it was the first day we met, and thats actually how it felt. For me. So I killed for love. I didnt want to lose him and was scared I didnt have what it took to be a mother anyway so I aborted.
I begged him to go with me. I have a fear of doctors and hospitals almost bordering on pathological. I actually got down on my knees, bawling my eyes out and begged him to be there when I woke up. Somehow I also believed that if he was there when I woke up I could get through the pain of what I had done. We could do it together.
He told me he couldnt. He had to go away with the army on a course. He left me alone with a pain we actually COULD share and I realised we were destined to always feel pain seperately. We loved each other fiercely, but he just COULDNT feel pain with me. I felt abandoned. Again.
After another few months of arguing I broke up with him one too many times, trying to leave a man who would never really ever be 'there' for me but being pulled back by a love I coudnt deny. He solved the problem for me and refused to take me back.
Completely abandoned I fell to pieces worse than ever. My best friend from highschool also abandoned me at the same time because 'I was too depressing', little did I know she was suffering alcoholism and was alienating herself from all her close friends at the time. Almost 18 months later she came and apologised to me and asked to be friends again.
I had since moved out from my exs and had moved in with (unbeknownst to me initially) drug dealers. After years of fighting off the desire to escape into the world of drugs I finally gave in. I worked up to 3 jobs to 'forget' using the same technique I had earned with school work and used drugs almost every night. I tried everything and soon there was nothing left of the $20000 that had been awarded to me. That I could have used to buy my own home. A home. Those words are just so sacred arent they?
I had a habit for only 9 months (never been the addictive type always taking myself to the edge and jumping over rather than just existing each day). i think I was trying to kill myself the final time I used, staying awake for 5 days straight, not eating, barely drinking anything and finally appealing to a friend the next day when I had finished myself off with a bad trip where I thought I was going crazy. I dont know how I didnt, and somehow instead talked myself into going to sleep.
I started putting myself back together again. Eating 3 meals a day, taking sleeping tablets to sleep and anti depressants to get up.
Then I ran over a dead body on my motorbike. Yeah, as if life wasnt full on enough I rode a motorbike. And yes I did say a dead body.
It was just what my psyche neede to tip me over with anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I fell apart again.
The 3 things that helped me get back on my feet again were my best friend (the recovering alcoholic) who I moved in with, getting back on my bike again and running. I ran 6 ks a day. I couldnt work for 3 months and sleeping and eating regularly were feats in themselves. The running was doctor advice I finally listened to. You know the 'exercise makes you feel good' line? Well its true. (not that I exercise now... about am about to again... I actually miss it!
I ran a little bit more each day, making the physcial pain like a war with myself that I was determined to win. It worked until I got back on my bike again and started to work. I was 23.
Since then I have had 2 other severe bouts of depression where I thought I might kill myself but managed to get back on medication and suffer the 6 weeks until they have started to work and I have found my way through to the other side again.
I have been anti depressant and pretty much depression free for almost 2 years now. I am trying to write a book (as if I havent done that here already! laughs).
I have always wanted to try group therapy, talk to others who actually DO understand and then I finally re logged on to this site that I joined years ago. but sometimes you try to run before you need to stop and go, ya know, I dont want to run anymore, Im tired. I just want to rest in a place I belong and feel ok, and supported by people who CAN handle my story.... its been a long time. Ive been trying to be someone else for a long long time. Someone who you couldnt tell this has happened to.
But you know what it did, and I still think despite it all I am a great person. I LIKE me now. I dont mind I am getting a little fat now, (laughs yeah riiiight fat, a HUGE size 10! laughs) I have spent so many years underweight this is a nice change! I dont mind being single with a cat as long as I am happy with myself and my life as it is right now.
Besides, I have found no one knows how to be there for you like YOU do. My own worst enemie is ALSO me. So as long as I BELIEVE I will be ok I will be.
And you know what makes me smile? I AM the person I have been pretending to be. I am a woman you would NEVER know this has happened to, unless you knew me first, laughs.
I look forward to getting to know you guys too, and I hope I havent bored you silly with all of this crap... and it IS crap because it doesnt define me... not anymore. I am the person I always wanted to be. Normal, happy and sane.
heres something my close friend once told me and I have not heard a better phrase to cling to....
'Inside all of us is a voice that is always lying and another that always tells the truth, its up to YOU to decide which one to listen to.'