Guest Blogger Dawn, bravely shares her story of healing from abuse, as a warrior and survivor. As you read the following, it will speak to your very soul. Her resolve to not give up is evident, and her willingness to give her inner warrior a voice for others will encourage you.
I told my therapist that I have the most beautiful life. I have two wonderful boys, I have an amazing, supportive spouse, I have a little house out in the country that sits on two acres, I have chickens, a dog, a cat and a rabbit. I have a beautiful life….now….but the past keeps creeping in to my brain.
It is this damn PTSD. So here I am in her office. She is a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Trauma specialist. She has helped me greatly in the half-year I have seen her.
**Trigger Warning** Dawn discusses some intimate details of her survival story and healing from abuse, so please be kind to yourself as you read.
I tell her that this is Healing III. She asks what was Healing I and Healing II….Here is what I explain:
Healing I – I finally gathered the courage to look at the sexual abuse. I had always thought that it had started when I was eight. Then I remember age 7 years. I have medical records that state things like “her hymen was broken” and her “vaginal opening is large for a child of her age.”
The nightmares were plaguing me badly, so I went to therapy. This was one of the more difficult things as I was raised in a very strict independent Fundamental Baptist home/church/school which taught the Bible has all the answers. When he abused me, my father, would quote the scriptures to me. “Children obey your parents….” and many other verses. He would also beat into me to never tell. At this young age, the abuse was physical, mental, spiritual and of course, sexual. He would come into my room late at night and pick me up and carry me to his bed. My mom slept at the other end of the house. He would r*pe me and then take me to the bathroom, clean me up and take me back to my bedroom. This he would do maybe three or four times a week.
Abuse By The Scriptures
Obey your parents for this is right
Listen to them don’t put up a fight
Do what they say, no matter the cost
Honor is what must never be lost
If I beat you, you will not die
It is rebellion if you cry
Do not move an inch you are obeying God
Just so you know, “I won’t spare the rod”
Train up a child the Good Book says
Don’t obey …I’ll beat til you’re dead
I’m showing love as I do this to you
I’m doing what God wants me to do
If you tell, you are in sin
Promise me promise me no one knows where we’ve been
You made your promise, you made your vow
I’ll beat it in you, I’ll do that right now
With each swat of the board, say this…just yell
“Before God Almighty I will never tell.”
We are all witnesses to what you promised to me
Because this is the way God said it should be
HEALING II – I met and married my spouse and was so extremely happy. We worked on her healing from her abuses…and when that happened, I seemed to get a break from mine. Yes, I still had nightmares….but the flashbacks seem to slow to a very rare trickle…and the body memories the same… TEN Years of this…and then they came back with a vengeance.
In healing II, I began to look at exactly how his abuse escalated over the years. It went from him raping me two to four times a week, to him handing me to his brother and showing his brother how to do things to me. It escalated to him parading me naked in front of three men at a time, bending me over, showing them the goods and selling me to them to “do as they please for an hour”….and they did. It escalated to him using restraints on me so he could hurt me more. Tying me up, hanging my by my wrists, using ties on my wrists and ankles to hold me in place while he raped me. Healing II involved me speaking these abuses out loud for the very first time. I did not want to go back to therapy so I worked with a therapist via email. We did this almost daily for an entire year. Until she decided that I needed a trauma specialist when I began to tell her of the escalation of his abuses. She wants me to take our emails and make a book of them called the Warrior’s Song: Healing from Sexual Abuse and Torture
Healing III – Dealing With The Torture. He took me on trips to different places. Mostly remote cabins. These trips would last for three to four days (this started when I was 14 years old and lasted til he died when I was 24 years old). One trip, lasted for seven days….It took me two months to tell of that trip to my therapist. I called it the worst seven days of my life.
He had a few tool boxes. One of the boxes was a very long box. He built it himself. It contained his beating implements. In it he kept the following: a riding crop, a leather strap, a three-foot green rubber hose, a horse whip and a bull whip. He used those each on me many, many times.
The second box contained pulleys and ropes and a hitch that would click as he turned the rope in it. He would build a rope and pulley system in order to tie me up to it to use it like the old-fashioned rack. He would stretch my body as far as he could without breaking anything or pulling the bones out of joint. He had a special cabin where he would do this the most often. It already had the eye hooks in the door and wall needed to make the pulley system work.
The third box contained a back up battery….something like a very small car battery. He built a machine where he could administer electric shocks via clips on the end of a wire. Something like small jumper cable clips on the end of insulated wire. He could turn the electric shock from something like a 9v shock where it kind of stings to a full-blown muscle jumping, me screaming, type shock. The first time he did it, he burned me. He never ever made that mistake again.
He did full research on all of his torture devices.
His torture was not limited to these devices. He tied me above fire, he tied me to trees and poured honey on me and left me out there all night, he branded me with a can on my back, he drilled a screw into a rib, he put me in a dog carrier and thew me in the crawl space below the house where I stayed for several hours….and there is much more.
And yet…… I am strong….I will speak my truth….I will hold down a job…I will raise my boys to be good citizens and respect people…..I will not allow him to win. I am a Warrior.
I feel the need to not keep my abuse to myself. To me, if I keep my abuse to myself, what does that make me, his victim. However, if I speak out and help others hold on for one minute more. … If I help my patients (I am a Respiratory Therapist) and give the survivors a voice……then I make what he did to me worth something….and I am a Warrior and he loses.
main image courtesy of abduzeedo.com