I was eleven years old. I still watched disney movies and imagined myself finding a prince and running away. I admired my older brothers and was just getting to the stage where I wondered ‘what do couples do behind closed doors?’ Eleven years old. Grade 6, a transition period in my life – new school, new friends, new teachers, and new feelings about the world.
I never, in my wildest dreams would have imagined that it would be you showing me what couples do behind closed doors. I never could have guessed that my views of reality and romance would be so skewed by your vulgar and abusive behaviour. I was eleven. My biggest worries was if I would be able to ask Timmy to dance with me at the school dance. Until that night. “Let’s play truth or dare…” You. Me. Alone. I went. “Truth?” I could see the distaste in your eyes. You went “Truth”. I was curious, so I asked you when your first love was. I went. “You can’t choose truth two times in a row” – Real mature. “Dare?” And it all went down hill from there.
Somehow, you convinced me that it was not wrong… that it was supposed to happen. I was eleven years old, and you taught me that what happens in truth and dare stays in truth and dare. My life began that very moment you dared me to touch you. Even when I protested.. I only had three chickens. It became a regular thing with us. It’s funny how even now.. saying ‘us’ when it relates to you and I makes me sick to my stomach. Literally, vomit due to the terror that rushes through my mind. You let your relationship with your son slide, treated him like garbage when I was around and I was finally getting treated like you allowed my distorted views to believe princesses got treated.
I felt dirty. I was ashamed. But I was finally the centre of attention and that part felt good, great even. The ‘dates’ that were set for you and i to ‘go to the pool’ became more and more regular and I slowly began to accept the little games as they came. When I would think about it, I felt guilty like I had done something wrong. You would let me know that I was doing everything right.. everything better than her, better than she had ever done. How was I to know that it was all a game inside of another game? A sick and twisted game of control and sexual satisfaction that you got from demeaning me and taking the one thing that I could have saved for the right guy. I got no choice in life. Sex became a tool. Used to make guys happy, used to get me attention. You created a swirling tornado that would become the brink of my insecurities and my promiscuity at such a young age.
When my mother left you, and you were forced to go to rehab.. that one day when you took me aside and told me that if anyone found out – a single soul, that I would be taken from my mother for her ‘bad parenting’ because she allowed it to happen and that you would be sent to jail. You justified your actions once again reminding me that it was all truth and dare, that I was good.. and that I gave you consent. I was twelve now. I finally could see that it was wrong. That you were wrong…and that I was not a bad little girl for my actions.
I am sorry that it took so long. Sorry that even though I finally realized that it was wrong, that I still didn’t open my mouth and remained ashamed of my behaviour. I am sorry that it took a brutal abuse story in a book in grade 12 for me to embrace the fact that this was, in fact, abuse.
I do not know what I would have done if my mother would not have left you. Protection? Of course not.. what if I would have gotten pregnant? You idiot? What would you have done then?
I wish I could say that I have learned from this. I am only just beginning to accept it as true. I am only beginning to look back at my life, at the choices I made, and relate them to the one day when I agreed to play truth or dare with a sick and twisted man. I heard recently that you have a daughter. I heard recently that she has turned two. I hope that I am not too late, and in a way, I am sad that you are not going to read this. You won’t know what’s happening when that police officer knocks at your door and your life begins to fall around you like a house of cards. You ruined my sexual potential. You ruined a valuable part of my life. Now, I am going to do whatever is in my power to ensure that your daughter doesn’t have to go through it. Small steps, but a step in the right direction all the same.
I was eleven years old. You taught me how sick and twisted men in the world can be. I am nineteen now, and I am slowly learning that not all men are that way. Still, I cringe when I think of that pure eleven year old who never stood a chance. I cringe at the thought of that eleven year old girl not knowing that she had the strength to say no… and to tell her mom, your wife.