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Victim of a Senseless Crime: Part 3
© by Jennifer McLeod writing as jenjen0703, all rights reserved.
Mom Gets a Clue
...Where did we leave off, oh yeah, I am hiding at my friend's house. Her mom did not like me much, and my friend was afraid she would get into trouble, but she did not want me out on the streets in the middle of the night. I confided in her what had happened with Jim. I could tell she was upset, but what could she do? Not much, except just be there for me.
The next day, I was returned to my family, scared, emotionally scarred, and forever changed. The worst of the sexual abuse I ever endured happened from people from church I was supposed to be able to trust. And you would think that when my family found out, I would be able to trust them, too. It did not work out like that. I got into trouble for running away, and I did not speak to my parents about what had happened with Jim.
A couple weeks had passed, and the stress of the situation wore me out, made me nauseous, and threw off my cycle. I was talking quietly on the phone with my friend, who knew about the situation. I was asking her (I was 14) what I was supposed to do if I was pregnant. I did not think I was talking very loudly, but the door to the room I was in flew open and my mother was standing there with a look of rage on her face. She told me to hang up the phone. So, I did. I followed my mom to the living room, and she asked me why I thought I might be pregnant and what happened. So, I told her. She became angry and told me if I had not run away from home, none of this would have happened. I felt as if she just slapped me in the face. I felt no relief that my mother knew. I felt nothing but dread for what was about to happen...
Don't Tell Anyone
Hardening of My Heart
I could not believe what I was hearing. What Jim did to me was MY fault? How is that possible? I wanted help for my family, not to be raped three times. What I wanted was someone unbiased to talk to, not to hear that I deserved what had happened. I felt so degraded.
To add insult to injury, my mother hauled me down to the church we attended to talk to our pastor. She made me go in and tell him what happened with Jim. When I was finished, they sent me out of the pastor's office and closed the door. Mom was in there for quite awhile, and I do not know what was said between them. I remember sitting on a hard wooden pew feeling dread in the pit of my stomach. This was unfamiliar territory, and I felt dirty, used, and humiliated. These feelings were starting to become a part of my daily life, like this is all I had to look forward to.
After what seemed like forever, Mom came out of the pastor's office and instructed me to follow her because we were going home. I remember thinking, "That's it? What happens now?" Because I did not know what was said between her and our pastor in that office, I was confused and let down. I figured the police would be coming, and that Jim would be in trouble for what he did to me. That was not the case. How could my pastor, who was a retired police officer, do nothing? Because he was friends with Jim's father? Because they thought I was lying? Because he left it up to my mother to decide?
The Day I Became a Nobody
On the way home, my mother told me that she had decided that she was not going to tarnish the reputations of our family, our church, or Jim's family and church. Again, she reminded me that if I had just stayed home and not run away and went to Jim's, that none of this would have happened. At that moment, not only did she blame me for what happened with Jim, but she also held me completely responsible.
And if that was not bad enough, the following Sunday our church had a special presentation, and people from neighboring churches came to the service. Our sanctuary was packed. In the far back corner sat Jim, and when I noticed him sitting there, he looked at me and our eyes made contact. Since Mom told me the rape was my responsibility, I had to deal with it myself. Jim did not sit through the service and left early. I followed him out of the church and into the parking lot. I asked him, "I am late, what am I supposed to do if I am pregnant?" Jim could not look at me instead stared at his feet and responded, "Well, I guess I will have to marry you, won't I?" Without another word, he walked away, got into his truck and left. He offered no apology, no remorse, and he could not even look at me, like I was a nobody or someone severely deformed.
I climbed into my parents' car and waited there until the church service was over. I cried and cried as another chunk of my heart broke away. The innocence I had known broke away with it. I knew what my purpose was, or at least I thought I did...
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