It was Friday the 13th of March 1998 the last time I was ever abused. I can say I have never seen any of the Friday the 13th movies for good reason. I already felt like I was in my own horror movie on Friday the 13th when I was 13 years old. I didn’t need to watch a horror movie called that. My Friday the 13th lasted just as long as a movie if not longer. A night that felt like eternity. A night where I was asked to babysit last minute for my aunt and uncle.
Alone in a house with two little cousins fast asleep while I watched television in my aunt and uncle’s bedroom. Suddenly I think my mind is playing games with me when I start to hear sounds coming from the lower level of the house. The sounds of someone walking around. I kept a watchful eye on my aunt and uncle’s bedroom door as my anxiety began to rise. I turned up the volume on the television hoping it would stop me from hearing anything but once again I would hear it and again. Each time it sounded like it was getting closer. I finally told myself it was just the furnace and quit getting scared and looking to the door. Suddenly I heard it again but I didn’t look to the door. It wasn’t until I heard the door closing that my heart seemed to skip a few beats and I jumped to my feet and was on the other side of the bed in a matter of seconds in a state of panic.
There was no stranger standing on the other side of the room locking the door. Instead it was my cousin. While I wish it was one of the two cousins I had put to bed an hour earlier it wasn’t. Instead it was my older cousin, who as many know up until this point had been sexually abusing me since I was eleven as I described in my first book Stolen Innocence and second book Living for Today.
This night was different he didn’t have twenty or thirty minutes until my aunt or uncle would be home. This was no family holiday with relatives in the room down the hall that he had to act fast. It was a little past nine that night and my aunt and uncle were not expected to be home until 1am from a night in the city.
A struggle between the two of us broke out on the bed. I knew I had to fight to save myself otherwise I feared what I had feared all along if he had been given enough time that he would rape me. He was laughing at me. Then he began calling me what he had called me numerous times in the past “little psycho” because I would fight with all the energy I had to free myself. He made it look so easy to hold me down and even pointed out as he sat on top of me and held my wrists above my head with one hand, how much stronger he was then me. He used his free hand to tickle me which he knew pissed me off and made me squirm, kick, and continue to hear him call me psycho. Slowly he made his way down towards the front of my pants and I knew and continued to remind myself in my head don’t let him get your pants off.
When I saw an opportunity I went for it. I was able to get one of my hands free and without even thinking about it I punched my cousin in his private area. He was hurting and I saw my escape as I got myself off the bed and ran downstairs. I stood in the family room for a few moments trying to decide what to do as panic and fear consumed me. I knew he was angry and feared what would happen to me. I thought about running home. It was dark and I feared he would come after me. I moved myself into the kitchen and suddenly heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs. I placed myself right in front of the refrigerator so I was even with both entrances into the kitchen and kept glancing back and forth between both waiting for him to pop out. No longer could I hear the footsteps I knew he was on the main floor and I just wanted it all to be over. I was so terrified.
He came around the corner and I took off running. He was running after me through the kitchen, front entrance, and dining room until he eventually stopped and went into hiding. Once again I knew he was going to pop out I just didn’t know when so I decided to run upstairs to my little cousins who were sleeping. As I ran to the stairs he popped out from the dining room and was right on my back chasing me all the way to their bedroom and stopping me as I opened the door. Whispering in my ear for me to close it. He soon was pulling me by the arm back to his parents’ bedroom as I tried to use my hands against the hallway to prevent him from pulling me back there.
Once back in a locked room I found myself begging my cousin not to have sex with me. I tried to distract him with the television. I was trying everything to save myself from the horror I knew awaited me. Nothing could distract him he had one thing and one thing only on his mind and it was satisfying himself with my body. Soon he was back on top of me with his heart beating very fast against my chest.
The red numbers on the clock are burned into my mind. Time seemed to stop that night. Every minute felt like an hour. When I looked and saw 9:38 and then only to look again to see it say 9:39 it seemed time was going so slow. He raked his hands through my hair and asked me if I liked it. I certainly wished that is where he kept his hands all night. Those pants I desperately didn’t want him to pull down were soon around my ankles as he laid himself back on top of me. Soon it became painful and I could no longer distract myself. I went back and forth of opening my eyes and closing them. Eventually I just had to go somewhere in my head and do what they call disassociate. I tried closing my eyes and seeing myself at a beach and pretended his heavy breathing in my ears were waves. Since I knew I physically could not escape I had to mentally take myself away however it wasn’t that easy. At times he would say things in my ear that I could not pretend I didn’t hear. Then he would make me do things to him or cause me pain I could not mentally get away from. Pain I will never forget.
I have never publicly in either my books when I talk about this last night of what I went through get into all that went on in nearly 3 hours. Nor do I get into the depth of those details in any speech I have ever given. It is a decision I made long ago. In a sense a lot of that has stayed locked back in that room where it happened on that Friday the 13th.
The abuse of that night ended at 12:05 a.m. after I prayed long and hard to God for my aunt and uncle to come home early which they did by an entire hour. For the last time my cousin stood between a doorway warning me this was our secret, it never happened, and nobody would believe me as he walked down a hallway and disappeared. I tried to wipe away the tears before my aunt and uncle saw me. When I got home that night I walked through a dark house where my parents and sisters slept and found myself in tears in the bathroom. At one point I was curled up on the bathroom floor crying my eyes out. I eventually took those tears to my pillow where I cried myself to sleep. My innocence was killed.
I went on to reclaim my voice and be a voice for the voiceless.
Tuesday will be March 13th and for the first time ever I will be giving a speech on this day. I will be speaking at a child abuse conference in Illinois from 3:15-4:30pm. It is a two day conference and I am closing the conference Tuesday. Some might think I am taking a risk speaking on such a painful anniversary. I gave it much thought before telling the executive director of Illinois Children Advocacy Centers I would do it. I honestly look at this as another opportunity to allow the voice of mine that was silenced particularly on this day to be heard.
I am not worried God was with me on that day 14 years ago and He will be with me Tuesday. He has been walking with me all this time. I appreciate the prayers on Tuesday.