I was born to a 14 year old girl who didn't know how to take care of herself, much less me and my younger brother. We were removed from her care and placed in state custody shortly after he was born. While in state custody, we lived primarily with different family members but also in two foster homes, one of which helped to build the foundation of my faith, the other tried to destroy it.
We lived the longest with our grandmother, our mother's mother. Mamaw, as we called her, was really not able to care for children, either. She still liked to drink and dance and have men over while her boyfriend was at work. I remember one time, when I was about 6 years old, she told us to sit on the couch and she would be right back. It seemed like it was forever and we were getting hungry so I went to find her. I looked up the stairs and I saw a neighbor man on top of her and she was yelling. I thought he was killing her. I ran and got my brother and we took off running down the road to the neighbor's house to try and get some help. I don't remember much about what happened after that except my mamaw was okay when we got back and my Paw Gary, her boyfriend, sure was mad when he got home.
Mamaw also had her mentally handicapped brother living with her. She took care of him and was the overseer for his disability check. He was a big, strong man and he had a bad temper. I remember one time, he got mad about something and he hit the door facing with his bare hand and split the door facing in half! He cooked for us alot and he started teaching me how to cook simple things. He also started teaching me other things. When I was standing at the stove one time and no one else was home, he came up behind me and held me where I couldn't get away. He ground himself on me for a few minutes, breathing really hard. Then, he suddenly got quiet and said "Don't tell anyone." This became pretty much a weekly activity and not just when no one was home. He would catch me in the bathroom with the door open and would come in and shut the door behind him, pushing me against the bathroom sink. He would do his deed and would tell me not to tell anyone, then leave.
I also remember when we were living with Mamaw, I was 7-8 years old and my mom was staying there with us for a while. She brought a guy home from work one night who said he didn't have anywhere else to go. He was sleeping on the couch in the living room. My bedroom was right beside the living room. I woke up when he lit a cigarette and coughed. I went back to sleep only to wake up a little bit later with him by my bed. His head was laying on my stomach. I didn't know what was going on. I raised up and hugged him and he went back in the living room. A few minutes later, he brought me a bag of change and told me good night and he loved me. When I woke up the next morning, every one was very upset. Come to find out, he had tried to get in the bed with my mom, then my aunt, before he came to my bed. I realized that my panties were pulled down to my knees but still didn't know why. I know he didn't actually rape me but there was a hickey on my arm. He was gone. Apparently, he had taken off before everyone else got up. My Paw Gary went to try and find him but never did.
Also, around this same time of my life, I remember we were able to have an overnight visit with our mom. I don't know who her boyfriend was at the time but I remember him tucking me in and I don't remember what he did but I remember feeling very strange about it. Then, my mom stuck her head in the door to tell me good night and I remember him acting really nervous.
My heart aches for so many children living with the reality of abuse every day. I am sickened that I can not read the newspaper or watch the news without hearing of another baby who has been subjected to the evil lusts of other human beings. I have learned that the cycle of abuse is perpetuated by silence and I have determined to no longer be afraid but use my voice to speak out against crimes against children and call out the predators who call themselves "men"! I am so thankful the Lord chose to break the chains with me!