Before I Was a Survivor Part Four

I told my mom that Sunday when she got home from work. She said she thought something had been going on and that she’d talk to him. Well, she talked and he decided not to listen. It was not very long til he was back to old tricks. My Girl Scout troop had a woman come in and do a presentation about what to do if you were being abused. My mom was there and she and I both went to talk to the lady after she was done. Her husband was a state police officer. She didn’t tell him or anyone else what was going on.

The abuse continued. I told my minister at church. She was new to the town and didn’t know what to do. As an adult, I contacted her and asked her why she didn’t do anything right away. She said she thought about it for 24 hours and then made the call to DCFS because she didn’t want my sister to be abused. The actual time before she called was closer to 8 months. During that time, she tried to counsel my parents on their marriage and encourage them to have more sex and go on more dates to spend time together, so dad could focus on mom and not his oldest daughter.

I told her again that the abuse was still going on. Then she finally called the police. An investigator and his wife showed up at my house on a Sunday afternoon. The interviewed me in the living room while dad and mom sat in the kitchen. Dad was told to move out of the house that day. He, of course, moved into my grandparents’ house, two doors down from my house, with them and their foster kids.

We had visits twice every week for two hours with a social worker. Dad was put on probation for two years. He broke probation with one of my grandparents’ foster kids, and because that person was not a member of his family, it was considered a worse crime than molesting his own daughter. He was sentenced to four years for breaking probation and five years for molesting a person outside his family. The sentences were to be served at the same time and were to be reduced to two and a half years because his crime wasn’t really that violent. He went to prison in my junior year of high school. It was a small town and the story was in the newspaper. Everyone knew my family’s dirty little secret, but no one understood how awful it really was. People in the town would come up to me and tell me they were sorry dad had gone to jail because he was such a nice man. My sister has told me people in her school thought it was her and treated her badly after dad went to prison. If anything was different, it should have been that we were both offered a little more compassion than we had been before.

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