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Victim of a Senseless Crime: Part 4
© by Jennifer McLeod writing as jenjen0703, all rights reserved.
Lost and Confused
...As I sat in my parents' car I realized that nothing in my life was going to be the same. I cried my broken heart out, as I sat there feeling worthless, used, and degraded. I had no idea what was going to happen after this. I still did not know if I was pregnant or not. This whole situation was wrong. I thought church was supposed to be a place where good people go, where you make friends, and learn about God, a place where you could trust people. If God was love, then why did He allow these people to treat me like this? If God was love, then why did he let Jim rape me and hurt me. Maybe I was so bad that God did not want me to be one of His people. Maybe God forgot about me.
I wished I could go back and change time. I wished none of this had happened. I reasoned that I must have deserved the beating from Dad because I was so bad, and if God did not care then why should I?
Onto a New and Worse Life
A few days went by, and nature took its course. Luckily, I turned out not to be pregnant, but things were no better at home. Not only did I have the original problems with my family, but now I had new ones. My parents made sure I felt guilty for what happened with Jim. If my own parents didn't care, why should I?
A couple of weeks after the rape, I was hanging out with my next door neighbor. I liked him a great deal and had been hanging out with him for awhile. Secretly, I thought he was cute. We made plans for me to sneak out after my parents went to bed and get together. When bedtime arrived, I went to my bedroom and waited until I knew when my parents were asleep and slipped quietly out of my window, running off into the night. I cut through the woods and met my friend at the designated place. Needless to say, we ended up in the garage, and that was the first time I experienced consensual sex with another person. Afterwards, I returned to my house and slipped back through my bedroom window and went to bed.
The next day, I could not stop thinking about what happened with my friend. It was fun while it was happening, but I could not understand why I felt so miserable about it. I felt dirty and ashamed of what I did, but I had begun to crave the intimacy of the involvement. I did not receive hugs and unconditional love at home. My parents were not affectionate and did not tell me they loved me. In their eyes, I was a trouble-making, rebellious child who did not succeed well enough in school because "B's are not as good as A's."
The incident with the neighbor did not occur again, but shortly after, I found a new boyfriend from high school. I was a freshman and he was a junior. We dated for a few months, and one day, he talked me into skipping school to hang out at a friends house. It was not long after this that he cheated on me with another girl, and I broke up with him.
Needless to say, a vicious cycle had started. I found a new boyfriend, fell in love, became involved with him, and then he would break up with me. Each boyfriend broke my heart more. So, I stopped focusing on having a boyfriend. I just slept around, one guy after another. When I was 15, I had a 25-year old boyfriend who later became the father of my first child. After him, I hooked up with my mom's boyfriend's brother (Mom had divorced Dad by this point), who was also 25. The first time we were "intimate," my mom showed up home from work early and found us in the bedroom. She became angry with me and dragged me down to the police department to press charges against him. The police officer asked me what I wanted to do. I was only a few weeks from turning 16, and since that is the legal consent of age in Michigan, the officer felt I should make the decision. In front of the officer, I told my mom that she was too late to start caring about me now, and it was pointless to press charges on the current man because I was going to keep sleeping with him anyways. I was on a downward spiral to hell.
Life Is a Party!
"...you gotta fight - - for your right - - to party..." ~ Beastie Boys
Life became about me all the time. I no longer listened to my mother. I would sneak out of the house most nights to hang out with my newest boyfriend. He was a nice, quiet guy, but one friend he hung out with had the worst reputation in school. During this time, I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I was skipping school more and more, and my grades finally slipped into failing.
It only took a year and I was pregnant with my first child. I was alone, at the age of 16, and pregnant. My first son was born six weeks before my 17th birthday. I kept him and raised him. It was not easy, but somehow, we survived. Even though I was not doing well in school, I worked and held various babysitting jobs to make money. I moved into my first apartment before I turned 18 because my mom had kicked me out of her house. I had a new boyfriend (who later became my first husband and the father of my second child). He broke up with me after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, and I found myself alone again. I gave her up for adoption, as I was not prepared to raise a second child alone. Read my story Adoption: Selfless Sacrifice if you want hear what happened during the adoption process and the wonderful family I chose to raise her.
After the adoption, I was hurting bad and started drinking alcohol every day. I was a full blown alcoholic by the age of 23 (story for another day) and drank to mask my pain. Life stayed like this for a several years, and I was caught up in another vicious cycle of alcoholism and addiction, linked with the vicious cycle of abuse I endured as a child. Life was really messed up...