Thursday, April 18, 2013

Almost raped

I had a memory bubble to the surface in the wee hours this morning.

These memories make me tired - they are more of the same theme.  Yes, my parents were assholes.  Yes, my childhood was a lesson in endurance - enduring time, pain, depression, physical abuse, loneliness, ostracization, etcetera lather rinse repeat.  But bubble they do, and even though each one just piles on the facts of the case, on top of the already loaded fact shelf (so to speak), I need to take them out as they get here, and examine each one.

Because I never know what triggers these memories.  And it is likely something in my present-day life, my under-brain is niggling me to HEY!  pay attention!  this could apply! so maybe if I keep writing I will get there...

{Scooby Doo Flash Back Music}

I was 10-years old in this picture.  I was TINY.  Imagine how small I was at 7.
(p.s. I was clean here, but that's because there was going to be a picture.  I NEVER had my hair brushed or had clean legs, always scuffling around by the railroad tracks and scabby knees - nobody groomed me until picture day.  These were probably new clothes.  Those were my usual Van's tennies, but clean socks.  Where did that barrette come from?)

I was probably 7.  Second grade.  Very Young Indeed.  Saturday afternoon.  I was riding my banana seat bike around, alone.  I was ALWAYS alone, even by 7 this was by choice.  I didn't know how to be around other kids and I was always trying to quiet the scrambling chaotic rats in my brain, from being yelled at/going to get yelled at/was already yelled at. (I'm all kerfuffled even writing about that feeling, it's the same feeling as after a party and I have to go lie down too much sensory overload ugh)

I had ridden aimlessly *deedle dipple doodle la de dah* all the way over to Palmyra elementary school.  (Where my dad had enrolled us the previous summer for softball (go, KITTENS!) but never. ever. went to a practice, they never drove us over - the four youngest sisters had to ride our bikes there every week and we gave zero fucks about sports, I had never held a bat or even SEEN ONE before then.  I hated sports, I was uncoordinated so I was laughed at and the other sisters were on other teams so I was isolated at a school I had never been, with kids I had never seen, with coaches who had never seen me, with equipment that had never occurred to me (a MITT? on my HAND?  wtf?  how do I catch a ball with THAT?  oh, I see, I catch it with MY FACE.  huh.), and nobody on the sidelines who knew who I was, what if I had gotten (seriously) hurt?  what if I had actually caught a ball? - typically awful memory there).  anywhoozle:

THIS Saturday, I had no agenda, just Get Out and Stay Out Of The House like every weekend, so I made my way over to this school, through 1960's suburbia,  to see if I could find it on my own.  (I just google mapped it - it's only 1.5 miles from our house, but it seemed WAY farther.  I'm guessing my size/age had something to do with that).  There I was, on the deserted playground, in the grass on the swings (near the monkey bars!).  Noodling around in my head, just sitting there.

A group of like 5 boys comes into the scene.  Kids always travel in packs (besides the freaks like ME), and this group was 8? 10? years old-ish.  Typical boys, on bikes.  Loud, laughing.  Hang-10 tee shirts, Van's tennis, etc.  We start talking and I go over and hang on the monkey bars and laugh and it was all just fine, a day in the life.  Just fine.  Until it wasn't.

I dunno if I was being too friendly - too chatty.  I had learned some skewed behaviors when I was in Florida, and inappropriate flirting with males was just ONE thing.  Something had made me suddenly REALLY register on the collective radar of that pack.  The change was sudden, at least to me.  And they started circling me.

(no, not excusing THEM with MY behavior.  But it was all very Lord of the Flies - they were very young too.  We had no social clues.  Remember, this was 1968 - the age of Seen and Not Heard.  Kids only learned social behavior of adults at cocktail parties and from our older siblings in basement rec rooms - not a great way to learn respect) - (at least, I hear that's how kids learned about societal norms.  My parents never, ever had people over.  We never had family barbecues.  We NEVER met any of dad's "friends".  I learned in Florida, and then from Charlie Brown cartoons).

They started circling me.  And cat calling.  And talking about sex.  Rubbing my arm.

It was getting ugly quick.  Make no mistake about it - this was going to be a rape, in the dirt, and I knew it.  (I already knew what rape was.  What penis penetration was.  What forced sex was.  Yep, Florida must've been a great place).  These boys - there was something in the air, egging them each on.  Individually?  probably just your average lost-front-tooth 8-year old, getting-sorta-chubby 10-year old.  But as a group?  They practically had war paint on and sticks in their hands.

I was backed up to the swings.  I was on the ground.  I remember fighting VERY HARD with my feet and legs - I was in the dirt under a swing.  I got away.  More like, they let me go.  Probably because I fought so hard - there had been no previous plan to find a 7-year old girl and rape her - I actually even doubt those boys ever formulated the word 'rape' but yeah, once it started the older ones at least knew what was going on.  There were lots of grabby hands and yelling and struggling and scuffling.  Then it was over and I was running to my bike and gone.

I rode my bike home.  It was getting on toward dinner time anyway - the street lights were about to come on and that was the Bat Signal that your ass better be in the house.  I just shrugged it off.  In the time it took me to ride my bike home, I calmed myself down and filed the memory away and just went on with everything.

I never told anyone.  Why on EARTH would I tell my parents?  I had been too far from home.  I had no way of knowing who those boys were - they all looked like Bobby Brady or that kid from 'Flipper' to me.  I never had 'neighborhood boundaries', but I know I would have gotten in deep shit for being so far from home (the irony there, oh it hurts).  It would have been my fault, and I would have gotten in big trouble.

I would have gotten YELLED AT, probably grounded <--(worst punishment ever, meant I had to stay at the house fuck me) and possibly beat.  Even if I HAD gotten raped, I know I wouldn't have told anyone.

I have no idea how I lived through my childhood.


  1. I don't know how you did either, Gladys. You must of been so scared! For a whole buncha reasons, we were IMO set up to be predated upon by anyone and everyone even (and especially) in childhood. The Perps just got larger and more sophisticated as we got older, still ignoring our gut instincts until it was just about-or too late-to protect ourselves.
    Yeah, I wouldn't have told my "parents" either. sigh. It was *always* "our fault" especially when it wasn't.
    Those "bubble memories?" I just had one about 2 wks. ago involving my 5 yr. old self and I've been disgusted/furious ever since. I'm thinking we need to be in a safe place both physically and mentally before these memories start to surface?

    1. TW - I agree about the safe place thing. It wasn't until I moved to Maryland that I started this blog, started writing my stories. Started commenting on other blogs. I had to move all the way across the country before I even had the IDEA to do any of that.

      I wasn't consciously silencing myself. But once I had the physical space, my brain wanted some space too.

      These stories are so horrific. I don't know if I've told you before, but if you ever want to write any of your stories in a longer-than-a-comment format, I would be HAPPY to host you on my blog. I'll clean out a closet and a shelf in the fridge and even put fresh sheets on the spare bed. Any time, always.

    2. Thanks, Gladys. I really do appreciate it. But this is your place and I don't want to hijack-especially when I

  2. I always hesitate to tell things like your story Gladys because I am afraid I will hear the only response I have been programmed to expect from others .......which can't blame EVERYTHING on your parents. I can if I want. And I will if I want to. As much adult like hub bub as there was going on around me and sis 24/7 there was very little adult conversation about adult common sense that might have prevented a child from exposure to some very adult like activity. I was talking to the missis last light about how as adults my parents went around doing what they damned well pleased just couldn't talk about it. Me asking for a jock/cup when I joined football was a conversation that was not going to happen So if a kid can't ask for protective gear to play a contact sport for fear of making an adult uncomfortable and me dying of mortification do you think it was ever discussed about not getting into a car with a fat old man waving a candy bar. It never happened to me, but stranger danger was not instilled in us, it's much less stressful to let your kid get sodomized by a pedophile than it is to bear the discomfort of answering his questions about WHY the kid shouldn't get into a car with a stranger. I read somewhere that being raised by these people is like declawing a cat and throwing it in some back alley to fend for itself.

    1. That 'blame' thing - I know, I know, I know - I was too far from home. I was probably flirting my 7-year old ass off. I shouldn't have been alone. IT WAS MY FAULT. <--I fight those instincts so hard, because when you say it out loud JEEBUS it's obvious how ridiculous it is to blame a child.

      But people do. 'you can't blame everything on your parents' - BULLSHIT. I'm with you, Q. The way I described it is they gave me a huge rock, pushed me into a lake and said 'I know you can't swim. Tough shit. Get to the other side by dinner. AND BE DRY, or we will beat you'. But your cat analogy works too.

      No, talking about ESS EEE EX was not going to happen in my house either. But, in my case, my parents weren't embarrassed so much as they couldn't be bothered to take the time to talk to me one-on-one. They figured I'd learn. What they didn't know was, I already HAD learned. *sigh*

    2. MY mother was just plain Lazy But my father had some weird shit going on between his ears, his grandfather was a baptist preacher and his parents (my grand parents) wouldn't let me and sis bring board games or a deck of cards in their house.

  3. "It would have been my fault, and I would have gotten in big trouble." I hear ya Gladys! I had a couple of close calls like that in my teens and never told the NPs because somehow I knew it would have been my fault.

    Early in my teaching career I was victimized by a sleazy principal and he threatened to have me fired. I still lived at home and was only about 20 but I remember getting home and breaking down because I thought I might lose my job. When I told NM she started screaming and asking what I had done wrong and said how she would be humiliated if I got fired.

    I ended up finding a job in another city and having to leave home (thank god). In the 30 odd years of teaching that followed I got nothing but glowing evaluations. It NEVER occurred to my NPs that the principal was a fuck-up and not their own kid.

    It's a fucking miracle some of us made it through when no one cared what happened to us as long as it didn't interfere with their lives.

    People who think we should suck it up and carry on can go piss up a rope as far as I'm concerned. Walk in my shoes for 60+ years then get back to me or better yet, fuck off!

  4. It seems it all distills down to a basic principle...responsibility. When people have a child, they are responsible to care for and teach that child to be an independent and capable adult. And that doesn't mean leaving the child to their own devices to figure it out on their own. We all know how much NPs love to avoid any responsibility in anything.
    What Dr. Laura said about NPs is so true, "They tore up their parent card long ago".
    Kudos to every child who raised themselves and became responsible adults on their own, despite growing up in a war zone called home.
    It seems there's always a few more items in the old brain to sort through, but there's alot of progress that's already been done--and that's a good thing! When I look at where I am today (mentally) compared to where I was at a few years ago, it is nothing short of miraculous. Keep taking care of yourselves physically and mentally. Best wishes to all.

  5. Hey from Pitstop! That's where I got my name from! I can TOTALLY identify with the 'being on your own' stuff. That was me! I'm glad you fought hard, and were ok.
    I used to wander up to the local woods and climb trees on my own. Anything could have happened. I was happy though. I loved it. My parents allowed it too, which I find difficult to understand. They were very over sheltering in other ways. Thanks for this! I'm trying to follow your blog but don't know what to click on! Ah me! lol! x