My name is Katie. I am a 25-year-old from a small town in Ohio. I have been asked to write a blog about something that had been discussed by the Radio ARTPOP team and me in a previous episode that I personally feel should be “re-hashed” so those of you who may have missed the episode can check this blog out and, hopefully, it can be someone’s go-to-guide.
As a quick disclaimer, I am warning anyone who reads this that it is a bit graphic. At first I was leery on what details I should share with you, but I really am not one to sugar coat. I feel that people who have been or are current victims of this kind of abuse need to hear the details so that they know that they aren’t alone. It’s not normal and it won’t be the end of the world to finally ask for help.
When I was in the fourth grade I had become the victim of molestation of a family member. My granddad had passed away early in the school year, so my family and I had already begun to break. I was a wreck, he was my all. Little did I know that shortly after his passing would be the start of a three year struggle and a decade-long battle with family, friends, an amazing boyfriend and, most of all, myself.
When you are that young you look up to those around you with admiration, as if they are your own personal super heroes or rock stars. This person in particular was my rock star. He was the guy I looked up to because he was the coolest! He had all the coolest friends, coolest clothes, coolest attitude! So whatever he did, I was right there wanting to be just like him. I had no idea that behind the “cool” facade was a guy who was very much into drugs and in a mindset, even to this day, I’ll never understand. I would do whatever he asked, so when he would come to the house with his friends to smoke weed and order me into my room I would do it without hesitation. This went on for a few months before summer break. Due to Mom’s work schedule, it was just me and him most of the time. One night he made a move on me out in the living room. I was terrified, frozen, scared. He told me that it was okay and began to touch me. My life changed that night. I lost my innocence and my sense of trust, safety, love, self-worth and what pride I had for a girl that young.
For three years he told me it was normal, he would kill me if I told anybody. The routine was pretty set: he would do drugs in his room, watch something on his TV that he wasn’t supposed to, then get amped up and take what aggression he had out on me in whatever way he saw fit. The babysitter caught us, finally. Though it should have been a relief, I was so scared that we would get into trouble. My mind was molded to think “this is okay,” so in a way I was confused. My mom came home around midnight that night. I was in my bed afraid of what I would deal with. She came in my room, a wreck of silent nerves. I looked at her and she just started crying. She didn’t know what to do.
Going to doctors and specialists had become a daily task. Did that change his mind on anything? Did it change anyone’s minds on anything? I still am forced to be in contact with him and still feel as if no one will help me. He was never asked to stay away or answered the question of “Why?” Thinking it was all over, feeling all of the blame on me for the whole situation being put on me from a fellow family member I shut down.
He pounced on the opportunities of my weakness for months after. Never going “too far,” never penetration until one night. He had been very messed up, took me into the living room and tried to have anal sex with me. Up to this point, I had been so used to the routine that it took me off guard. Once he entered, I screamed. Mom wasn’t home to help me, no one was around. It was 3 a.m. and I was alone. He jumped back as if he snapped out of a trance. He simply went back into his room. Another incident was during a family trip we had gone to a family home in California ,and he coaxed me into the pool with no one home. He undressed me and held me against him just floating around the pool. I didn’t understand it. I was again terrified, frozen, scared, only this time I had prayed someone would come home and catch us.
Until the age of 17, I was a puppet in my own home. If he were ever here we’d get into huge altercations. One time he kicked me from the entry way we have onto the kitchen table. He choked me in the hallway in front of my mom. She stared for a minute then decided to break it up. Even then seeing harm inflicted on me there was no actions taken against him.
Once I finally snapped (and I do mean snapped). I went on a verbal rampage. I was lost in a blackout rage on my mother and “him.” Ever since then he now knows that I am aware and I do remember. Has he changed? Is he sorry? I’ll answer that with him sitting me down, telling me that he had a similar experience with his best friends mother taking advantage of him when he was 22 years old. My response? “Were you molested at the ages of 7-10? You know, when someone’s mind is truly vulnerable? Because 22 sounds like an age where you can make your own decision.”
Because of all of it I do not know what I am “supposed” to be like. Was I supposed to be a normal person who felt pretty? Would my Dad and I get along better? He has blamed me for it happening for years. Would I not have an eating or drinking problem? Maybe I would actually have a healthier relationship. At this very moment, I am in a relationship where I cave to demands and guilt trips. I do my everything for this person and yet it’s almost always never enough. But he is the only guy I know who I can relate to about my past and who I have felt safe around. I don’t trust men. I can’t get past the issue of men in my life. I have this issue of being normal then I will close off and tell no one why. Body issues, trust issues, sexuality issues, anger issues, I have an eating problem that will eventually kill me if I don’t fix it, I am an alcoholic who doesn’t feel like she needs help because I only drink when I have too much on my mind. I got smashed last night because I can’t break up with my boyfriend. I am too worried about how he will handle it and deal with it all, not myself. Never myself.
I know this is a Gaga-related site, and I want to point out that what I am about to say is not because of that — if I were to tell a stranger on the street my story, I would make this a key point. Lady Gaga saved my life. She continues to do so each day that I put her on my phone to play through my soul. Every time I have seen her I go all out and dress up, we all know the rituals we go through for the Queen’s shows. This past year has been one of the worst, mentally. So the artRAVE came around. We made a weekend of it. Got all decked out for her show in Cleveland. You guys, I can’t even tell you how much I felt re-born that night. I cried so much, letting go of anything that was outside of that arena. In my eyes it was just me and her. With each song I grew closer and closer to myself, closer than I have been in years. She makes me feel like I have a purpose and that I, as a person, am needed on this earth to express my visions and talents. She is the only person on this earth to tell me I look beautiful and I believe her.
You guys, if anyone is reading this and has gone through this, please find someone to talk to. I can not express enough how much venting and letting it out helps. If you are a current victim, tell anyone who is willing to hear you out. School counselor, friend, parent, family member. No one deserves to go through what we go through. We will always be associated as “victims” but we also need to understand that we are Warriors. We have been through hell and back. There are two routes you can choose.
1) Let it eat at you. Take it with you in your heart and soul, allow it to make you a bitter and angry human being who only sees the hate and horrible things in your environments.
2) Be a Warrior. Take it with you in your heart and soul and allow it to make you stronger! Allow it to be there as a reminder that you have been through something that is hell, however, let it also be the reason you hunt for the good in all you see and do.
Know that your struggles are not only your own but we are here for you. No voice is silenced by strength, only by fear.
I am here for you. All of you.
Love always and Paws Up,
This post was originally written for RadioARTPOP.com. For more information about Radio ARTPOP, please click here.Note: Populove is currently undergoing site maintenance following a hiatus. Some post images and comments from previous months may not appear as we work on the issue.