It happened almost overnight. I can’t recall the exact moment, but at some point when I was around fifteen I had a sudden realisation that the way my brother had used me to fulfil his sexual fantasies was wrong.
It might sound absurd that I didn’t know this all along. Even though I was only 10 when it started, at some level I knew it wasn’t right. But when my parents found out, there were no consequences for him. I had to carry on living with him for a subsequent five years. So I don’t think I can be blamed for thinking what he did was somehow OK.
In all those years, I didn’t ever feel comfortable with him. I rarely felt real safety at home at all. Even though my parents knew he’d groomed me, repeatedly molested me and forced me to give him oral sex, they decided our family should stay together. At the time I admired them for that. I thought their capacity for love and forgiveness was amazing. I assumed that because they forgave him, I should too. Nobody was angry. So I didn’t get angry either.
Today I hate them for all of that. I hate them for forgiving him. I hate them for leading me to believe that I needed to as well. I hate them for belittling the fact that my first sexual experience, something that should have been exciting and memorable for all the right reasons, was in fact my sixteen year old brother forcing himself on me.
I hate them for not being around to stop him. I hate that I can’t change the fact that the first person I felt inside me was a man I was terrified of and disgusted by. I hate that I was so frozen in fear there was nothing I could do to end it. I hate that I loved him and that he should’ve been someone who cared for and protected me. I hate that I wanted him to like me and that was all he needed to be able to manipulate me.
When I started writing this, I was listening to a Metallica song that I first heard when the reality of all of this hit me as a teenager (I’ve added the video below because it’s pretty awesome – if you like metal). Back then, my depression started with an unnamed feeling. I think that’s why the song affected me. Something sinister and cloying awoke in me and it made me want to tear off my own skin in an attempt to get out of myself. I began self-harming around that time.
That feeling is still with me now, fourteen years later. It’s not a constant, but it rises up from nowhere and affects me with hurricane force when it comes. And I still can’t describe it. Maybe it’s sadness, shame, disgust, horror, anger, or an amalgamation of them all. I know it is pain. I can say that for sure. The pain is huge and intense and nothing eases it. I’m feeling it right now because I’ve written this.
But I felt compelled to write it. I am full of rage tonight and I needed an outlet. I want so badly to go back in time and change everything. I want my parents to have protected me and made me feel safe. I want justice. I want my brother to suffer as much as I have and still do today. I’m so tired of wanting all these things that are in no way possible. At the same time I can’t let go of them.
I wish I could cry, but somehow my body refuses to allow it. I want to cut myself. I want to get so utterly drunk that I forget who I am. I just don’t want to have to feel this anymore.
Photo: darkday, Creative Commons.