One sister called me selfish when I rarely came home anymore. I did not explain nor did she understand that I basically fled the ongoing sexual abuse to survive. I was told, there was even more years of abuse by this sexual predator toward my youngest sister.
I left, I moved on, and I never pronounced my need that it was to merely survive. I wanted one day and one night without stress. I had no words for it. I just knew I needed to distance myself from the dysfunction that went on for too many years in my parent's living space. I never felt safe or any comfort. I was on constant vigil. I slept lightly every night starting at the age of 12. Prior to that age, I thought it was a ghost who came in to my bedroom at night.
I was not selfish, I was a survivor. No one else was going to save me.
I remember the years of struggle and deep disappoint in my parents over their son's horrible behavior towards his sisters. After a particularly night, after my 20-something brother crept in to my bedroom that I shared with a younger sister, my father asked his son in front of me the next day, "Why do you do this to your sisters?" His son, with a Navy service in his past, snickered at my father, then laughed as he walked out the front door without an answer.
My father never defined to their son out loud what 'this' was, nor did my mother. Instead, both looked weary, embarrassed, and sad for too many years. They did not know what to do with their son. I never understood why they could not cast him out of their house years before. They were worn beyond their years because of his perpetual sexual voyeurism and harassment toward their daughters.
Also on that next day, after that night of sexual abuse by their 20-something son (As I slept he stood fully naked and slapped his penis on my face as I slept) -- My parents finally said to their son the next morning, 'You have to move out.' He had been a sexual predator in my life, both day and particularly at night, since I was a pre-teen. That night when he slapped his penis on my face, I was a senior in high school. I was 18, and already slept like a soldier ready to stand up at any noise.
That night, I did spring to my feet when I heard their son moan over my head, and felt his penis being slapped down on my face. I screamed at the top of my lungs for my parents who were sound asleep. It was the first time in nearly 10 years where they would finally see him in his nightly routine. My mother screamed as she chased him downstairs, "Where are your clothes -- Get your clothes on!" I finally heard her anger after nearly 10 years of sexual abuse.
I was still standing on my bed, and my heart was racing. I could not help but feel a sense of relief that he finally got caught in the act, and it just wasn't an after-report to them by me the next morning. In my relief, I had a weak smile. Finally!
But no one ever came in to my bedroom to ask if I was ok. No one put their arm around me ever, to say, I would be okay. No one ever asked me throughout all the years of sexual harassment if I was ok. It was all ignored. My parents were as lost as I felt. This was their son. I had learned to protect myself.
And, my dear people, there lies the issue with a sexual predator in anyone's family or workplace. It is often pushed away, it is ignored or denied. It is too embarrassing to deal with; there is an inability to identify what it really taking place. Parents and other people think it will go away -- that the person will grow out of it. Their aging son continued to sexually harass a sister in to her adulthood long after he moved out.
Once he did finally moved out, my sisters biggest fear was that he would move back in with our parents, and that they would let him do so. My sisters wanted me to stay silent. And I did stay silent about his sexual voyeurism and abuse for many years. It was wrong for them to ask me to stay silent and it was wrong for me to be controlled by their fears.
In the end, we must learn to stand up for our-self. No one else will have your back. Not even my parents could cast out their sick son. Nor did they seek him psychological help in his teen years when his abuse was a near nightly occurrence.
Many years later, I talked to a psychotherapist to try and understand why my parents did not protect their daughters as well as they should have when he lived too many years in their space. Denial, embarrassment, it will go away...it was their son.
I grew weary of protecting my younger sisters and defending myself for nearly a decade. I had battle-fatigued by my teens years. When their son left for Viet Nam, I knew I would not feel sad if he never returned. But he did return, and he was even worse in his behavior which also included daily lewd-sexual comments.
My parents were good people but their son left them feeling helpless when he lived in their space. Instead, they told me to lock or bar my bedroom door, or stay out of the house if they were not there -- but one day their son kicked in the bathroom door as I bathed in the tub. He was in his 20's, I was 17. Their words to him were after that were, "You broke our lock." Or when I pointed out to them the small holes he was drilling in their bathroom door, they said, "You ruined our door!" They seemed to deny the truth behind his actions, and had great shame, but did nothing to him. Instead, I would fill the holes with toothpaste, and fantasize about using an ice-pick to stab him in his eye if I caught him peeking.
I was on my own from about the age of 12 in dealing with a sexual predator. So many of us were, and are on our own. I suggest one needs to get over any shame or confusion you may have if you have a sexual predator in your midst. Start helping the victims, there are so many of us. Look out for the young.
Do not ignore sexual predators. Sexual predators use excuses for their behaviors -- I had heard them all. Their son said that the night he was slapping his fat dick on my face that he was drunk. Well, he was not drunk for ten years from his teens in to his 20's. Nor in to his 30's...
I think of Harvey Weinstein and his line of male bullshit -- 'That's how it was in the 50's & 60's'. Liars -- And they are oh so apologetic with an array of excuses, or go toward anger and deeper denial when they get caught. They do not change. Sexual predators are in all walks of life. And sadly many are like Bill Cosby use drugs in food or drinks of any kind to subdue.
Bravo to the women who speak up, even if years later.