My Incest Story
34% of incest survivors were assaulted by a close family member. Incest survivors’ cases are largely unreported due to a shroud of silence. Incest survivors often never get justice and many are forced to continue living with their assault perpetrator. The damage is lifelong with victims developing self-destructive behavior,
I was 7 years old and he was 69. He was my Grandad. The only man in a household of 7 women, He is known to have molested all his children except my mom as told us by her.
My mother had three sisters, one was her twin, and they were identical. The other one was her cousin /sister. This happened as a result of my grandfather marrying my grandmother’s sister. When my grandmother died I guess the only other available prospect was her sister. This indicated the kind of person he was from early on.
My aunt/ second – cousin was dumb and deaf. She had been living alone with my grandfather when we arrived to live with them from the country.
When we arrived there were two of her children. One was elsewhere but that’s a story for later.
Any whoo my mom and dad had just separated. I remember they used to fight a lot and I guess my Mom couldn’t take it anymore and left.
Life In Kingston
We moved to Kingston to live with my Grandfather who lived in a tenement yard downtown. With him being the only male present in a family of seven women I idolized him.
He was a fisherman and told us stories of his fishing expeditions, and what it was like to live throughout the war. He told us riddles and showed us tricks.
As a fisherman, he would go off fishing during the week and come home only on weekends with a bounty from the sea. Although we were poor, because he was a fisherman, having lobster for dinner was not a special treat. We would often feast on lobster, shark, snapper, and all manner of seafood.
When he came home he would request that we read him stories at night. I would sit by the bed and listen to his tales and then it was my turn to read to him.
At some point during this storytelling process, he started putting his hand around my waist and would fondle my genitals. I don’t know if he did this with the others but I am here to share my story and my story only. This is where I
The sad part of this and a major source of my guilt is that I would go to him to read because what he was doing felt good. I often wondered if this made me a bad person and if what he was doing was somehow my fault. This burden is borne by many incest survivors who are made to bear the guilt placed on them by family members trying to cover up the shame.
My mom would often take us on trips to the beach, to the country, and to the Hope Gardens and Zoo. On this particular trip to the Zoo, my dumb and deaf aunt/second cousin was nowhere to be found. While looking for her, grandfather became tired and wanted to go home. I was chosen to go home with him while the others stayed to look for her.
When we arrived home I proceeded to read to my grandfather. I think at this point he realized we were alone at home and wanted to take it further. Whipping out his erect member, he proceeded to try to rape me. I don’t know how or why, but somehow I realized that this was wrong and I ran away from him and escaped under the bed.
While he was naked and trying to get me out from under the bed the rest of the family came home and walked in on the scene. My mom was very angry and I don’t know how it happened but somehow I was the one who ended up being blamed.
That incident however brought an end to his incestuous behavior. The scars however were deeply embedded and would stay with me for the rest of my life.
Incest Survivors Rarely Get Justice
I shared this story once with a group of psychology students who asked what was done at that point. I never thought about it till then but it was at that point I realized that life went on, as usual.
I continued calling this man father, which was how we addressed him. I lived with him until his point of death at the age of 88 I was 26 and pregnant with my second child.
When he died, I was again alone at home with him. He fell and shouted lawd me dead now(Lord I am Dead). My response was you shoulda dead a long time ( you should have died a long time ago).
I left him there till my mom came home and got someone to lift him up. He ended up in the hospital, where he later died from pneumonia. I never visited him nor did I attend his funeral. You see, by this time my hatred for him was so deeply rooted and complete.
I will admit this just added another layer of guilt to my existence but at that time I didn’t care.
Bullying and Child abuse
So back to the story. Let me first lay a little background on who I was and how I fitted into the family structure.
As we all know within almost every family there is one who just does not fit in. That was me. I was the second child of my mom and the middle child among the five of us cousins. I was the big boy of the family.
Whenever anything went wrong I got the blame and I was beaten severely by my mom for things I didn’t even do. I recall one episode when I neglected to wash my socks for school. I was beaten so badly, I ended up on the ground in the yard screaming murder and crying out for help. My mom proceeded to kick me while I lay there crying and stomping on my stomach.
Incest Survivors Often Suppress Their Emotions
I was also very ticklish. One of my sibling’s favorite activities was to gang up on me and tickle me until I peed on myself. To protect myself, I decided not to show any reaction to the beatings and tickling. I taught myself not to laugh when I was tickled and not to cry while being beaten.
The tickling soon stopped but the beating continued and worsened as I was no longer reacting to the pain. By this time I was about 10 years old and at this tender age, I no longer laughed nor cried.
Rebellion A Common Trait Of Incest Survivors
I became very rebellious and obstinate and would fight all the time. I fought at school, boy or girl I would never back down. I fought at church, every Friday after bible class and I fought the other kids who lived in the yard. Oh did I forget to mention we lived in a tenement yard? Yeah? Well, we did deep in the south side of downtown Kingston.
My sister was well-behaved, very studious, and did not fight. So as is usual in these situations I grew up with the mantra why can’t you be more like your sister? That chorus was thrown at me so often. Your sister is this, your sister is that, why can’t you be more like her?
I hated my life and developed suicidal ideations at a very young age. I often asked myself why my mother had bothered to bring me into this world if she didn’t want me.
Incest survivors are very often suicidal and often engage in self-harm. Many develop substance abuse and become sexually promiscuous. A lot of them end up as prostitutes, develop trust issues and find it hard to enter into committed relationships.
There is an old picture of the family I came across a few years ago, that took me back to that time. It was the tradition of independence in those days to dress in theme colors. In that photo, all members of the family were wearing that year’s colors which were plaid at the time. I was the only one who wore something different. My first thought when I saw that photo was how apropos.
I’m now fifty-nine and don’t laugh very often and I still don’t cry
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