At age seven, I told my mother that I was being sexually abused by my paternal grandfather. In the middle of a contentious divorce, my mom believed me. My dad, an up-and-coming attorney, sided with my grandfather and assisted him with his defense in court. I was forced to tell the story over and over again to police officers, counselors, and attorneys. Even though my mom believed me (and thank goodness she did), the verdict was not guilty. My grandfather’s attorneys had delayed the trial for a year, so my recall of events wasn’t as strong. Additionally, testifying in the same room with my grandfather made me extremely nervous and weakened my testimony. Despite everything, I feel comfortable telling people about what happened to me.
Life after the trial was a tangle of coping mechanisms. My relationship with my dad fractured and I lost contact with every member of my paternal family. All I knew was that my father didn’t protect me. After high school, I moved across the country to attend Wells College in New York, where I tried to find myself first through drinking and smoking, and then an eating disorder. I developed relationships with both men and women, often in overlapping time frames, rarely fully honest with my partners. As my unhealthy coping mechanisms sent me into a spiral, I began recovery multiple times – until, finally, I started to regain control of my life and the autonomy that was taken from me so long ago.
Today, with the help of the same therapist I worked with immediately after telling my mom, I am making waves! I am completing work on a memoir, and I’ve owned my own business for over 15 years. I control my life and what happens around me!