He forced himself on me… then again, and again.

I met L at church. I had become friends with his sister and her friend group and he was a part if it. I was 11 and in 5th grade. At first, he was kind, he gave me the attention and affection I was lacking from my parents, he trusted me and he listened and validated my stresses, fears and irritations. Things didn’t go south for a while. He stayed kind and trusting for almost a year. There was an incident a few months in where he tried to throw me down the stairs at my church. But he went right back to be kind and trusting and nothing happened for a long time after. I thought it was just a fluke, a bad day.

Then, when I was 13 and in 7th grade, he soon started pressuring me for sex. I didn’t want to, purely because the only time we could see each other was at church and that seemed wrong to me. But eventually I told him I would be okay with some kissing and heavy petting. We hadn’t even done that yet, after almost nine months of being together we had only kissed a handful of times. But the first time he got me alone he forced himself on me. Then again. And again. And I got pregnant. And miscarried. Again and again. Five months the first time and less than three the second. It brought us closer. The shared loss of Angel and Colten devastated us but reinforced my feelings that he was the only one in my circle other than my best friend S(female).

During this time, he proposed and I said yes. I was in 8th grade at this time. Eventually my parents found my diary and learned about Angel. They brought me to the rape clinic, called the police and enacted a restraining order while also pressing charges as he was four years older than me. Statutory rape it was called. Even with texts confirming that I was an unwilling party in it all, they figured I had consented in the moment and withdrew it after the fact when I got scared. The police officer assigned to my case said that it was my fault for starting a friendship with his sister and ultimately him. They also charged me with child pornography as I was underage. L would demand it and who was I to say no to my love? I definitely didn’t want him leaving me or hurting me or himself like he would threaten.

They ended up pulling me out of public school at the end of 8th grade and homeschooling me while L went to a therapy/jail for two years. I had lost the two people I felt were on my side. L and S. I had a mandatory psych eval as part of my probation. During my evaluation, the therapist talked about her family problems and I easily deflected any questions about my mental health, feelings about the lost babies and fears of my current situation. She signed off on it. Declared me mentally healthy and well adjusted. My mother called bullshit. She knew she couldn’t connect with me or help, especially after the past 13 years of not being there for me emotionally or mentally. My father was no better but at this point he wasn’t even acknowledging my presence in my home.

My mother enrolled me in counseling with a wonderful woman D, who had been through a similar situation in her youth. Except she married him, and was with him for twenty years. During counseling with D, she helped me recognize the tactics he was using. The threats, the distancing me from my social group, the constant contact he demanded. (He had problems sleeping and eventually decided I would sleep only when he slept, which meant I slept from 2am-5/6am every day.) He would get drunk and say the most horrible things to me, calling me names, telling me why my parents treated me the way they did, saying awful things he would do to me if he got his hands on me. He would say he had ‘blackouts’ and during that time his alter ego Chris would come out and Chris would do the same thing as drunk L but far worse.

With D, I realized that I had severe PTSD from all of it. She helped to realign my idea of an ideal man as she knew mine was all sorts of screwed up. She helped me accept that a terrible thing had happened and that it wasn’t my fault. But after three months of shelling out $100 per session per week, my parents soon ended the counseling. (This turned out to be a horrible move. I had just started opening up and processing what had happened the last two weeks of my counseling.)

Fast forward two years. L gets out. We’re both dating other people but start talking again. I wanted closure. My brain couldn’t quite move on even though a past boyfriend had helped significantly. But slowly, I started to slip back into my old mindset yet unbeknownst to me and took L back. For the next six months he raped me almost every day, I got pregnant again and lost it at six weeks. I found out as I was losing it. PP is amazing for what they did for me during that time. My PTSD came back hard and I struggled to even go to classes and interact with people. But somehow I made a friend P, who helped me leave for a second time.

I’m still struggling with the loss of all three babies, especially the last. I go through times of extreme baby fever where I just want to get pregnant and have a baby now even though my gyno told me I have too much scar tissue to be able to have babies. I still struggle with saying no to my SO, being fearful when they are mad or even slightly irritated and during intimate times at the beginning of a relationship. I struggle with extreme paranoia and bouts of depression.

L is in jail again for molesting a 13 year old, he is currently 22. He calls me occasionally. I occasionally pick up and give him about five minutes to talk before I hang up. In a twisted way I feel responsible for her and the many other young girls he has hurt. My parents still do not know about the second time around or Colten and the last miscarried baby. They never knew the extent of our relationship nor did they believe that I was an unwilling participant of any intimate acts. If anyone actually completely read this, thank you for the opportunity to get this out of my head. I have told people parts of it but it’s hard to continue when they give you pity eyes. And half the time they don’t believe me anyway.

Today, I am stronger than I ever was before, but I’m still pouring gold in the cracks. As I spend time in my head and slowly see more of the dark tendrils that were L in my brain I woke on those issues but it is a slow process.

To anyone experiencing abuse… Keep pouring gold in the cracks.

Abigail D.

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