Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Daughter's Sexual Abuse: Pushing Through and Staying Strong (Part 4)

CJ's story is being told in a series and from a mother's perspective. This is the fourth and last installment in the series. If you missed the first installment of the series, please click here. If you missed the second installment, please click here. If you missed the third installment, please click here.

October 9th was the first good day I'd had. I was smiling. I had a job interview the next day. That perfect job that would pay the bills and get my foot in the door. I also had a class that night. I was going to take a handgun class. I needed to take back some control and learning to physically protect my children was high on my priority list.

I get to the class early. I was nervous. I walk up to the counter to fill out my paperwork and waivers and there's this Boy. He smiled. I swear to God I felt my whole being relax. It was this little voice that said this one. He immediately puts his foot in his mouth as he realizes who I am. (He knows my story already.) But he collects himself quickly and flashes that genuine smile again. Now I'm a smart woman and I'm not fucking crazy, so I did what any girl would do - I texted my best friend. I told M what had happened and she says, very candidly, "you're fucked."

I take every chance that night to look at him. I had just been through hell and I know I shouldn't look, but I am drawn to him. The Boy gives me his card at the end of the night with his cell number on it. I do not take the hint.

I get home and it's late, but I can't sleep yet. 1:15 am. My phone rings. 

It's my mother. I grab it. When I answer, calmly she tells me, "Your brother just killed himself." My brain spins. What the FUCK did she just say? She repeats herself because, honestly, neither one of us actually believes it yet. She is hysterical. I am numb. Why? I just talked to him that afternoon. We had talked about my planned attempt, and he assured me he would never do anything like that. HE TOLD ME HE WOULD NEVER. He loved himself too much. And then, nine hours later, my sweet brother was gone.

I made phone calls and went through the motions. 

I got another call early the next morning that my interview had been cancelled. They hired someone else. I cried.

The family pulled together, and the next two weeks were fucking awful. Men in Class A's everywhere.

Around that time, the Boy walked back into my life. There was no reason to try and hide any of the awful things that had transpired, so I didn't. And he didn't run away.

I had already been through my worst nightmare and, now, I watched as my parents went through theirs. There are no words. My only sibling was gone. I still haven't had the ugly cry. There just hasn't been time.

My daughter's case is still swirling: The court dates and delays and letters continue. The anticipation and dread make it hard to properly grieve.

The new year brings a bit of hope. I find a job that I'm able to do mostly from home. I am so thankful for all that this company has given me. It's amazing how something as simple as a chance can help to replenish things that you thought were lost. Now that I'm making money, I turn attention to getting a divorce. I hate that I still have to use his last name. It makes my skin crawl.

I start the process and find out that he has contested. He will not sign the papers. We will have to go to court. I am beside myself again. I cannot understand how this is happening. He was late in his reply. He filed it incorrectly. He didn't sign it. It should have been a default judgment! I shouldn't have to fight with him. And yet, the judge allowed it. The system makes no allowances for victims. All I want is to protect my children from this man. I now have no idea how I'm going to pay for this divorce. There is just no money left, but I can't stay married. My heart can't take it. So I did something crazy. I crowd-sourced my divorce. I begged for help, and it worked. I have never felt more loved and supported in all my life. In four days, the money was raised. I got money and messages from people I knew and so many people I didn't. We got words of encouragement and solidarity.

Someone among the masses wasn't as happy for me and they called CPS. Some asshole called CPS and accused me of exploiting my children for financial gain. This cowardly fuckwad made a phone call and hid behind the government. A CPS officer went to my daughter's school to talk to her. She told the nice lady that she knew exactly what I was doing and why. The officer came to speak with me. She told me she had looked at the fund and that she would do the same thing if she had to. She had access to my whole file and knew what we were going through. She told me "God Bless," and she gave me her awesome pen! I'll never know who made the phone call. Again, I have no "right" to know.

Almost another full year of delays has passed before we have closure and a sentence. And then, the day is here. We don't actually think the sentence is going to happen until we hear the words. My daughter's father, the Boy, and I happen to decide to go to court that day. I let the prosecutor know we're there. He pulls me out of court and tells me that the perp is signing plea agreement papers. My head swims, but he does a very good job of explaining that it's not done until the judge says it's done. We wait hours. The longest hours of our lives. I'm sitting between her dad and the Boy, and I'm clinging to them both. Every time the prisoner door opens, we stiffen. It's never him.

And then it is. This disgusting excuse for a human being walks out and he looks like a shell of his former self. I am relieved. I have been worrying that he won't look like a monster, and I'll remember that I used to love him. I shouldn't have worried. I feel nothing but raw hatred. I know what this piece of shit did to my child and my family. The judge says what he needs to say and, just that quick, it's over. That monster will serve every day of his twenty-five calendar years. Nothing will ever be enough, but it will be long enough that my babies won't be babies.

I have read countless articles by women and men about how they gotten through this. I have spoken with friends that were victims as children. These wonderful women gave me such hope at my darkest moment because they were "okay" in the end. They were thriving and loving and managed to have healthy relationships as adults. Scarily, the one common thread were the mothers of the victims. The mothers do not make it through okay. Many turned to substances. Some refused to believe that their partners or husbands could do such a thing and called their daughters liars. Some even allowed these monsters to continue to live in the home with their victims as long as they promised to behave themselves. Some blamed their daughters. Insisting that these children must have "asked for it" or invited it or even wanted it. This horrified me. That a mother would do anything other than believe her child made no sense to me.

I refused to be that mother. 

Even talking with my daughter today - it's almost two years later - she's okay. She knows it wasn't her fault. She knows that I would never let anyone hurt her again. Now, I know that there will be boys and broken hearts, but no person will ever make her feel "used" again. I straight-up refuse. 

I have torn the world apart once to save my family and we survived. I'll do it again without a second thought.

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