The following story was written by a woman who was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her adopted father during her childhood.
So I want to share my story for two reasons: to close a painful chapter in my life and also to help anyone who feels like me. I want those people to know that they are not alone.
My story starts with two people who fell in love while they were very young. They decided to get married and it was an amazing time in their lives. He was a good man, studying to make a career in law enforcement. He also felt the calling of God on his life, to preach the word of God.
She was a simple woman who wanted nothing but to live the American dream, have a house, raise some children, and be a loving wife. I would like to fast forward the story a few years to a point in time when she discovered that she could not bear children. In response to this sad news, the young couple decided to serve as foster parents to a young boy. They cared for this young child for a short time but then he was adopted and removed from their care as a result.
The wife felt devastated by this sudden change and said that she never wanted to experience that kind of heartbreak again. After thinking through their situation, they decided the best way to move forward was to adopt a child, and so they adopted a young boy who had experienced abuse while in the care of his previous family. They noticed some behavioral issues related to this prior abuse but they loved him regardless.
Soon after this adoption, they decided they wanted a second child. When communicating with the adoption agency, they made it clear that they wanted to adopt children who were hard to place with families. Everyone involved or who became aware of this fact, later on, thought that the young couple was doing a wonderful thing. And so they adopted a daughter, who was very beautiful. Both husband and wife fell deeply in love with their second child. Everything in their lives was coming together.
The husband had become a police officer and the wife had her two children to mother.
Soon after this adoption, they decided they wanted a second child.
Then one day, the adoption agency called to tell the couple that they had another child that needed a home. The couple took some time to consider the situation and prayed to God for guidance about what to do. They both agreed that adopting a third child felt like the right thing to do. The third child they adopted was another beautiful baby girl. As their family grew, the couple decided to make some changes. They started a few small businesses of their own and bought a larger house to accommodate their children.
One day the phone rang again and on the other end of the call, the adoption agency told them about another little girl that they had failed to find a placement for because she had a strawberry mark on her head. The adults who had met the child feared that the mark might become a tumor, so all of the potential placement families decided against adopting the child.
The couple again prayed in response to the agency’s call, and they heard God’s clear reply that they should adopt this beautiful baby girl, who would have two older sisters and an older brother to look after and play with her.
They adopted their fourth child and life felt complete.
Now, fast forward three years. The children are growing up. The husband had developed a very special bond with this youngest of the four children. Sometimes he would ask the young girl to come and lay in bed with him. The girl would lie in bed with her father because she loved him very much. The girl would lie in bed with her father because she loved him very much.
One day, the girl’s father said, “Let’s play a special game only for us.” The girl felt delighted to receive this extra attention from her father. They had a secret between them, and he called it “the touching game.” The girl’s father would touch her on the leg and she would touch him back.
This game continued for several years until her father told her that he wanted to play a new game. The girl was five years old and loved playing games. Her father told her that the new game was like “the touching game” but more fun. She felt excited to play this new game and relished the special attention she received from her father. He started the new game by touching her vagina. After touching her, the girl’s father directed her to touch him down there. The young girl did not understand what he was asking her to do. So, her father grabbed her hand and placed it on his penis.
She saw that this made her father happy and she was happy too. Her father told her, “This is our special time together. Do not tell anyone.” The girl promised not to tell anyone, and so “special time” went on for quite a while.
One Sunday after church, the girl’s mother told her it was nap time. The girl usually fell asleep on the couch while her brothers and sisters went to their rooms for naps. The girl’s father approached her and asked if she wanted to have “special time” with him. She told her father “yes” because she knew it made her father happy. When they were in his bedroom, the girl’s father told her to lock the door, which she did. Something felt different to her this time, but she adored her father so she assumed everything would be okay. Her father then told her to take her panties off and lay at the edge of the bed.
The girl told her father, “I won’t tell.”
The girl obeyed her father’s instructions and positioned herself at the end of the bed, where he kneeled and told her that he was going to kiss her vagina. After he kissed her there, he told her that he would always keep her safe.
Let’s fast forward a few years to when the girl is nine years old. One day, her father asks, “Do you love me?” She replied, “Yes.” The girl’s father then told her, “I want you to lay on the bed and take your panties off. As she was doing this he grabbed some Vaseline from the bathroom. She did not understand what he was going to do with the Vaseline. Next, he told the girl to lay at the edge of the bed. The girl’s father wiped the Vaseline on her vagina and stuck his fingers inside of her. He then rubbed Vaseline on his penis and placed his penis inside of her.
The girl did not like when he inserted his penis because it hurt her but she felt conflicted because she wanted to make her father happy. The girl’s eyes filled with tears caused by the pain she felt, but he continued doing what he was doing and then he finished. Her father then told her to put her panties on and “go wipe off.” The girl went to the bathroom and felt a physical pain that she did not understand. As she wiped herself, she saw blood on the washcloth that she was using. She called out for him and said, “I am bleeding down here.” The girl’s father told her, “it happens” and that it was okay. He then kissed her and told her that he loved her before saying, “Remember, this is our special time.” The girl told her father, “I won’t tell.”
This interaction became routine. The girl’s father would do this a few times each week. Every time it happened, the girl would bleed, so he started putting a towel down to absorb the blood. The girl did not understand what was happening but started to feel that the things her father was doing were not right. It was difficult to think through clearly because she loved and trusted her father.
One day after school, the girl’s mother came to her and said, “Your oldest sister went to her youth pastor and told him that your dad was touching her and she thought it might be happening to you.” The girl did not know how to respond, because she had promised her father she would not talk about their secret. The girl still felt that something was not right about “special time.”
She started crying and told her mother that her father had been touching her. The girl’s mother told her that what her father had done was not okay. She also told the girl that she could not tell anyone about what her father had done because it would break up their family.
The girl told her mother that she would not say anything.
Later that same night, the girl’s father set her down at the table and told her, “Your sister hates me, but I didn’t do anything to her. I have done more with you.” The girl felt herself getting upset by what her father had just told her. She had thought that she was the only one her father had “special time” with, but that was not true. Her father then said, “Promise me you won’t hate me.”
The girl told her father that she could never hate him and told him that she loved him.
After all of this happened, the girl’s mother kept her and her two sisters close, though something felt different about this closeness. It felt like the girl’s mother was mad at her for what had happened between the girl and her father. Her mother began beating the girl. During these beatings, the mother would tell the girl that she was a “bad child” and would beat her with anything she could quickly grab. The girl did not understand why this was happening. She thought to herself that she needed to be better.
“Special time” never stopped, even after the girl’s mother had found out that it was happening. The girl’s father would make “special time” happen in the bathroom or in the family van at a park that was close to their house. The girl’s father started giving her money after finishing “special time” with her.
The girl, now 11 or 12 years old, knew that the situation was wrong but she did not want to disobey her parents, so she told no one.
Sometime later, the girl’s mother sat her down and told her that she was very ill. The girl’s mother would have to go to the hospital and that her hair was going to fall out. Even if she had to visit the hospital, this was going to be okay, her mother told her. The girl did not understand what her mother was telling her and asked if they could have pizza for dinner.
Fast forward the story to when the girl has reached the age of 13 and has experienced menstruation. During one of her mother’s stays at the hospital, her father picks up the two younger girls from school. Once they arrive home, the girl’s sister goes to her room while she decides to watch some television. Her father then came into the room and told the girl that he needed to speak with her, so she followed him into his bedroom. The girl’s stomach started to ache, and he told her to lock the door. She knew what was coming next. Her father told her to go to the bathroom.
Her father then got out some Vaseline and placed some inside of the girl’s butt. She felt confused, and then her father forced his penis inside of her anus. The girl felt a kind of pain that she had not experienced before. It was excruciating, and her eyes began to water because of the pain she felt. When her father finished, he handed her a washcloth and told her to clean up. Her father knew that she was now having menstrual cycles, so he changed “special time” by wearing condoms or engaging in unprotected anal sex with the girl.
While the girl was enduring “special time” with her father, her mother was battling cancer and losing the fight. The girl never felt more alone than she did at this time. She started using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain she felt. Her mother soon lost her battle with cancer and the girl felt devastated. Now, her father does not want her, so she begins to really abuse drugs and having sex with multiple partners. The girl just wants the pain to stop.
One day while sitting at home, the girl is getting high and decides she does not want to do any of these things anymore. She takes one of her dad’s revolvers and puts the barrel in her mouth. She pulls the trigger but nothing happens. She pulls the trigger again. Nothing. Again and again. Nothing happens. It was a dummy gun.
Fast forward the story again. Now the girl is in her twenties and living as a drug addict. For years, she lives with the addiction and experiences failed relationships. The girl does not know how to trust or love anyone. She is afraid of rejection, of people she loves leaving her behind.
One day, the girl’s oldest sister comes for a visit and tells her that she feels scared about the “dark path” she sees the girl headed own. The girl is in her thirties now and makes a decision: it is time to stop drowning in sorrow.
The girl decides to move and start her life over. She meets a woman and falls in love with her at first sight. They start seeing one another and she learns that this woman has a child, a beautiful little girl. They fall in love but the girl’s self-esteem issues resurface. She fears being abandoned or that she is being taken advantage of. She starts pushing the woman away, the woman that she loves so much.
The relationship feels like a struggle at the beginning but then it calms down. She feels good and is happy with her life. She has her own family and resolves to be the best wife and mother she can be.
She starts seeing a therapist and gets on medication, which works so well it makes her believe that all of her problems are solved (but they are still there). She gives up on herself. Starts misbehaving, getting more paranoid and scared each day. She begins to hate herself again. Her self-hatred takes a toll on everyone around her. Her wife asks for a divorce.
Being a mother changes her. She looks at her daughter and thinks about her own life. She looks at her life now as a mother and decides she has to do something about what happened to her. She finds courage from her daughter to go back home and tell her story to the local police. She presses charges against her father. She doesn’t want to be the victim any longer. She wants to change the story.
She tells her story and that changes the story too. There are things that start to happen that she had not anticipated. Her father is eventually arrested. An investigator calls and tells her the day it happens. She is pushed and pulled by this news. Was she doing the wrong thing? She promised him she would never tell, but shouldn’t he be punished?
A divorce looms over her. She did not know that telling her story would reopen so many old wounds and activate so many hidden memories and feelings. Old nightmares come flooding back. She returns to that old feeling of isolation, of being completely alone in the world. She tells herself, “You will feel it all again. Allow it to happen and push forward.” She decides to grab something to write with instead of a gun. This story is about her.
This story is about how dark life can become and about how many obstacles and terrible situations can be thrown at one person. This is a story about pushing forward into the good part of the story and surviving. This is now a story about helping herself and working on these lingering issues. This is a story about a successful woman with a career that she loves. This is a story about a person with wounds who can now help other people with their pain and their stories. This is a new story in which her father loses the power to control her life and dictate her feelings.
This is not a story without questions. Will it all be worth it in the end? Will putting herself first make it all better? She has learned this is the most important step right now. If she does not put herself first, she cannot learn to love herself. And without that ability to love her own self, she can never learn to love someone else. She always thought that saying was odd until it rang true. Now her story is on another path where she is learning love herself again.
She has distracted herself with relationships, drugs and alcohol, but she was never able to fill that void. She has overcome addiction and depression and made herself the woman she knew she could be. It is easy to be a drug addict or a victim to one’s own sorrow. It is much more difficult to face your demons and come out on the other end, but it can be done.
She is living proof.
Brother of Pastor John Hagee, ex-Harris County Pct. 3 captain accused of sexual assault of a child