You’ve Got to Believe Me Mom – Because IT Did Happen | Legitchics.com | Written by Amanda Potts | Edited by Vicki Marie
Warning – this article contains graphic details of child sexual abuse. The graphic details are Amanda’s truth and are included in this article as this is her story – her story of abuse – and her need for healing and closure. Reader discretion is advised.
I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while now – but I always start then stop. This time however, I want to actually follow through. I can’t promise my posts will be earth shattering or anything like that – but one thing I’ve come to realize is that I’ve been constantly learning lessons the hard way – and I’ve been through much more in my 29 years of life on this planet than most people do in their whole lives. To understand why I make some of the choices I do I need to go back to the start, to the very begging … not to sperm meets egg (though I think that could explain A LOT) but to my early childhood.
I was born in October 1988, to a single mother. She wanted to be a good mother, and well she tried in all reality, although she probably shouldn’t’ve had children (even her own mother has said this – and on occasion she had even said it herself). My mother was young and she apparently knew who my father was but she said he denied me – at least that was her take on it and not his – but that’s a different story. From birth to about age 3, I was raised by a single mother, whoever her boyfriend was at the time, and my grandmother, whom I called Nanny.
I can remember having good memories living in Charlottetown. I guess I don’t really have any negative ones when I was that young – but honestly who can remember much before they are 5 years old anyway? I do however remember bits and pieces of being a child under 5 – but the memories are almost like flashes if that makes sense? Nothing solid – so I cannot confirm or deny any of the stories I’ve been told about things that happened during that time. My Nanny has told me that I had spent a lot of time with her back then, that my mother wanted to be young and party, and that my mother had made many questionable choices in men. Apparently, I witnessed a lot back then. When I’ve asked my mother about this she didn’t even deny it, (though she does say my Grandmother has some of the facts mixed up), but I do believe Nanny when she says my mother handed me off to her every chance she could get.
I myself am a mother of 4 children and although some days get stressful – I can’t imagine just handing my children off to my mother and going and living it up – to me that’s just so selfish. If you want to be young close your legs and use a condom! I love my mother but to know she gave up so much precious time with me as a young child really hurts me … even today. However, I cannot change the past, and thankfully I do not remember any of this.
When I was about 3 years old my mother met my now stepfather (whom raised me and I call dad). After talking on the phone for about a week she packed us up and we took a Greyhound bus from Charlottetown all the way up to Saskatchewan. That choice is probably one of the ones I really wish she would of thought about more, however I do think my mother only thought about herself and what would be easier on her. She claims she fell in love and knew it was love … but my grandmother said it was the fact he had two small children that he was raising all alone. My mother always wanted to have more babies but couldn’t, so after a five-day bus ride we moved across the country.
One of the earliest bad memories I have of being a young child was when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. My parents and my stepdad’s cousin and his wife were all drinking when an argument broke out (alcohol tends to bring out the worst in people). In the heat of the moment my father’s cocky friend pulled out a 22 gun. He was stumbling around drunkenly threatening his wife (he was very abusive and aggressive towards his wife). My dad told him to put the gun away but he didn’t – instead he stumbled and pointed the gun at my youngest brother (step brother but I call him brother because we were raised together) – and the gun went off. My dad dove into the line of fire just in time to save my brother and the friend’s son from being shot. I barely remember this … but I do know for sure it happened. What a messed-up thing to witness as a child. My stepfather had to be hospitalized for quite some time after that incident. I remember visiting him in the hospital and being upset – like that feeling you get when you’re scared and upset, yeah that’s basically all I remember of that time. But, from that point on things were a little different.We moved around a lot when I was a kid. We lived in every small town on the way from Saskatoon, SK to North Battleford, SK. My parents were alcoholics and they fought a lot. I suspect that between the alcohol, the fights, and the fact my mother was just kind of a restless spirit was the reason we moved around so much. Nonetheless, my family had a bad reputation. My parents were known as the town drunks and we were the “welfare” family wearing hand-me-down clothes – so I never had very many friends.
My brothers and I were picked on a lot in school – we were the kids with cooties. We never had the good stuff – like Dunkaroos. I remember one time when I was in the 2nd grade I think it was –one of the girls who always picked on me had Dunkaroos and I touched her unopened package. Of course, she wouldn’t eat them because I had cooties – so I got to have Dunakaroos that day – and boy did I enjoy that treat! From then on I was a spitfire. I mooned the class, swore and was just a regular ole hell on wheels. However, I don’t think it was solely the teasing that attributed to my behavior…
When I was 7 years old we lived in a small town. My parents had some friends they trusted and me and my little brother would go to their house on the weekends. One weekend, I remember being so excited to go with them as we’d gone so many times before. But this time we went to the video store and rented movies – Pocahontas, which was my favorite movie at the time, and I’m not sure what else. I remember feeling so spoiled because our parents never did stuff like that with us. I also remember being in a room sitting on the husband’s lap – and him putting his hands inside my panties and rubbing my parts (I don’t want to use too many words here) and me knowing IT was wrong, but I just let him do it – because part of me enjoyed it. I guess at that age you don’t know what IT even is. I remember knowing it was wrong – but IT felt good. It messes me up to this day to think about that.
I wish I knew better – but I was 7 years old – what could I do?
Why didn’t I tell his wife … or someone … anyone?
I remember that the wife was at Bingo when IT happened that day. To this day, I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I drive by that house.
He did IT to me a few more times. Once at my parents’ house by the Christmas tree. I remember him saying, “You like how that feels don’t you?” It makes me want to vomit now just thinking that a grown man was getting pleasure out of a child like that. Even now as I write this it doesn’t seem real to me. This happened so long ago and it seems like things like that don’t happen to people like me – but they really do.
I don’t exactly remember how my mother found out but when she did all Hell broke loose. The police were called and accusations were thrown around by the man’s family. My only real friends at the time were the man’s nieces and his brother was one of my stepdad and mom’s closest friends. I lost the only friends I had – I wasn’t allowed to talk to them or see them anymore. This made me very upset – remember I was only 7.
I remember not being able to talk about IT though.
And, I’m not even sure why – like I said maybe I felt guilty because I somewhat enjoyed the feelings or maybe I thought if I took it back then it would all go away and I could have my friends back – but either way, the only thing that went away were the police officers when I took it back. I didn’t get my friends back until much later.
And, this set up a pattern that I wish that I would have broken then.
I want to stop writing, but I feel like if I stop writing I will never get it all out, and I have been wanting to get this all out for so many years. I want to heal and move past all of this.In 1997 or 98 we moved back to the city but things did not get any better – in fact they kinda got worse. My parents drank and fought a lot – the fights got physical – so physical that the police would become involved. We had moved into an apartment and that apartment was the worst apartment ever – I’ll tell you that. I hated that place. The landlord wouldn’t even let us draw on the sidewalk with chalk!
I am not sure why but I kind of went into a rebellious phase.
One day, I was drawing on the sidewalk with a rock. The landlord came and yelled at me – but I went and told my mom that the landlord had hit me. I got what I wanted – mom few off the handle and we ended up staying with friends for a few weeks before my parents found a new house on the other side of the city.
That house was probably one of the best houses we lived in. We lived there for about 2 years I think. The first day there I made friends with a girl that to this day I still talk to now-and-again. Because of her and her family, I remember those two years being some of the happier times in my life. That is … until the sexual abuse started by my stepfather.
I’m not even sure what brought it on. Up until then I was daddy’s little girl. I always wanted to be with my dad. I always wanted him to hold me and to tickle me and carry me up to bed.
He had never done anything he wasn’t supposed to – and then one day that all changed.
I can’t pinpoint when that happened … it just did. I can remember IT started with him coming into my room when I was sleeping at night – and at first, he’d just watch me sleep. I didn’t think anything of that at first and he did it to my brothers too. I do remember one of the first instances of some touching that began when I was in the bathtub. I remember we had this huge clawfoot tub … but I don’t remember if the touching kept on or not. If it did it wasn’t anything dramatic or I’ve just completely pushed it out of my mind.
I remember in that house there was a lot of drinking, parties and things of that nature, always people in and out, fights and such – but to me that was normal. I had tried to spend as much time away from home as possible. I slept over at my friend’s house down the street A LOT – we spent so much time together. She had the coolest toys, the most awesome pool, and the best food. Her mom always let me be there – I think her mom suspected something was going on with me – and she treated me like one of her own. I will always thank her for that. Even if I don’t remember much of what was happening to me back then – I attribute my spending so much time with my friend and her family and wanting to be away from home as much as possible to IT.
They saved me for as long as they possibly could.It was around early 1999, when my stepdad and mom got back in contact with his cousins – the ones that I lost when the truth came out. I remember being so excited to get to see my friends again. It was the most exciting thing to happen to me in a very long time. The first time I saw them after so long it was surreal but we soon became thick as thieves again. And of course, our parents became the same way, and not long after we moved back to that small town …
In that town, it was the norm to be on welfare and drink – so my parents fit right in.
And, it was there that the sexual abuse with my stepdad really took off.
Again, it began with him watching me while I slept. Only this time I’d tell my mom to tell him to get out of my room and usually she was able to get him out. I can’t remember when the touching escalated but I do remember a bad instance that has always stuck with me. It was Christmas break and my brothers were at their biological mother’s house for a few days. I was laying in their bedroom on the brownish carpeted floor watching the movie Madeline that my parents had rented for me, and I remember my mom was sleeping, and my dad had been drinking.
I was wearing a nightgown and laying on my stomach watching the movie when he came in to talk to me. I asked if my friend could spend the night and he said if I agreed to let him touch me – I wanted my way so I agreed. Bear in mind, I was only about 10 years old or so and I was too young to give consent. I remember him putting his hand into my panties and then jamming his finger up inside of me making me cry out in pain. He told me to be quiet and my mom had asked what was going on.
I’m not sure why I lied … but I lied and said that I had stubbed my toe or hit my leg or something along those lines.
I wish I knew why I didn’t tell her … I still don’t know why.
The watching and touching continued.
Another time he was driving into the city and I really wanted to go. He always took my brother on those trips and I remember saying it wasn’t fair that my brother was the one who always got to go. My dad finally agreed to take me with him. I asked my dad if I could get a magazine while we were in the city and he said he’d get it for me if he could touch me a little.
I really wanted the magazine so I agreed.
You know those dumb J14 and Popstar magazines – yea, one of those stupid ones.
Later that night, driving home from the city, I was cold as I was wearing shorts and a little shirt. He stopped and got me hot chocolate and chips. We got back on the road heading for home and I soon fell asleep. I woke up to the car stopping thinking we were home.
He said we were out of gas and I just took his word for it as I was just a kid and this had happened to us before. He then said we were going to have to stay the night so we should cuddle for warmth. I didn’t object, after all he was my dad, but then the touching started.
The memories of this night are in bits and pieces for me … I just remember him pulling off my shorts and preforming oral sex on me. I tried my hardest to get away and I cried so hard I ended up puking.
When I tried to get away and climb over the front car seat of the car I can remember his naked penis being around my butt and me crying so hard – I remember it was wet – and I was calling out for my mom but obviously, my mom wouldn’t be coming to save me.
I don’t remember what made him stop.
When he finished, I got dressed, he started the car (it wasn’t out of gas), and we drove home.
I went straight to bed and didn’t tell anyone what happened for a very long time.
I’m still not sure why but I just kept it to myself. I remember trying so hard to tell my mother so many times what was happening to me but the words wouldn’t come out. I’d say, “Mom” and she’d say, “Yeah?” and I’d just say something else and other times I’d open my mouth to speak but nothing would come out – literally, I couldn’t speak.
I lived with the secret for a few years – maybe 3 years – before finally one day I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I finally told my mom that he’d been touching me where he wasn’t supposed to.
Her response to this was, “I knew it!”
If you knew it why didn’t you stop it?
Why would you let a man continue to hurt your daughter?
I still love my mom to death – but I will never understand how she let this happen to me if she knew it was going on.The police were called and we went to my aunties house that day. The next day or so I was removed from the home and placed temporarily in foster care. Those were the worst 3 days of my life! I missed my mom so much. I cried and I cried, I felt sick to my stomach, and all I wanted to do was go home. I had called my mom to talk to her but I was crying so hard that I was hardly able to speak. I squeaked out, “I miss you.” I still remember that painful feeling in my stomach. I was 13 years old then – and I just wanted to go home and be with my mom. I got to go home but my parents were not allowed to live together. My “normal” was now disrupted and I didn’t like that. My mom was either drinking, sleeping, or angry. She was so upset.
She asked me, “Why didn’t you tell me before I married him?” I don’t know why! Even though he hurt me he was still the only dad I had ever known – and I still loved him.
To me – IT was normal – so I just let it go. And, I liked getting “special” treatment here and there so I let IT go on. Doesn’t that make me just as much to blame as him?
We lived apart for about 6 months I think and in that time, we did things together as a family. He was still the dad I had grown up with so I wasn’t sure how to handle how I felt. During the investigation, I wouldn’t open up to the police or a social worker, so apparently, I didn’t act like a child of abuse (I wasn’t aware there was a protocol). I really just wanted my normal life back.
One day, while talking to my dad standing in our backyard, he as clear as day said to me, “You could just say you made it up and that it was all just a dream.” I’m not sure why – I went along with it. Maybe because my mom was so sad or because I thought I was just as much to blame – but either way … I took it back.
To this day my mother does not believe me … then again, why should she?
After the investigation was closed we moved from that small town to a bigger town about a half hour away and things went somewhat back to normal. At least the touching had stopped … for a while. When I was around 14 or 15 years old I had really wanted this Eminem CD and my mom had said No. But, my dad bought it for me anyway. When he gave it to me he said, “It’s okay if I touch you a little.”
I had learned that to get what I wanted from him I just had to let him touch me – or use me. This time I said, “NO.” He did it anyway. I told him to stop! I really wanted that CD and I said No.
After that, the touching stopped. But, instead he would have me wash him in the bathtub. And, by wash I mean his front – his male parts – his erect male parts to be exact.
My mother would never believe me if I told her this … and even if I did she would just get mad at me and try to block it out. She’s said to me, “Why after all these years – why can’t you just let it go?”
I would love nothing more than to let IT go. But, the fact-of-the-matter is, IT has shaped me into the person I am today.
It really is confusing for me as well … to love someone so much because he’s my father … but also hate what he’s done to me at the same time. To have to live with that person. To have to make YOU the adult happy and feel loved was not fair!
I could never hurt my daughter the way you hurt me, mother.
I love you with all my heart – I do – but I never realized how much this still affects me until just now as I am writing this out.
I had to grow up with my RAPIST – and call him DAD. I had to put up with his assaults and be okay with it because you loved him.
Did you ever think about me?
He doesn’t tell me he loves me when we talk on the phone – a normal father would. He knows what he did to me but he will never own up to it because no one has ever made him.
I forgave him because he was the only father I ever knew, but IT still hurts me to this day, and it hurts that he hurt me like this, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel real to me that IT happened to me – but it did.
In some ways, it doesn’t even seem like it was me IT happened to – but it was.
I can’t heal in my life without closure. That’s something I learned this past week while writing – closure is something I need to move forward.
Whether that means closure from you and our relationship – or just some form of validation that this truly happened.
But, I want to heal. It’s been far too long that I’ve been dealing with this pain.
Are you a Legit Chic? Would you like to be featured in Legit Chics 2017? You can even share your real-life story anonymously without fear. Our TRIBE is FAMILY and we talk about it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly! Click Here to share your story!
The National Child Abuse Hotline 1.800.4.A.Child 1.800.422.4453
RAINN – The National Sexual Assault Hotline 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)