Even though he is still alive, I refer to him in the past tense—was—as he is not, and has not been my father for a long time. This story will most likely evoke ambivalence – you will want keep reading, and at the same time, you might want to turn away. However, I do believe my story is another drop in the sea, and it is important that I share it, in hopes to give strength to anyone who might have had a similar experiences, just like I’ve received strength from the recent uproar in the media. This is the first time I share this with anyone in full detail. This is the first time I’ve compiled it all together for myself, too.
My earliest memory of my father as a creep, is when at home he once took my clothes away and left alone with the TV on. I was locked in the flat, naked, the TV staring at my nakedness. I remember hiding behind a couch. I remember not even considering to look for clothes, as father would back at one point, and I had a feeling he would be angry if I had my clothes on. I think I must have been maybe seven then.
Soon, a week or maybe a month later, there was the shower incident. My apologies for this will shock you but, physically, this will be the darkest paragraph (so the rest will be easier on the eye). We were living in pretty poor conditions, in a five story building with shared showers – there were maybe 3 or so cabins in the basement. As such, kids couldn’t wash by themselves (the taps were too high to reach, too, if I remember correctly) and were accompanied by their parent. During one such shower, my father forced his penis into my mouth. I remember shock, and I remember resisting, and I remember biting. The latter stopped the abuse. Afterwards, when we went upstairs, I remember him saying something in the lines of “you know what you did”. I remember instantly knowing that I didn’t know what I had done and having a very good sense that I hadn’t done anything wrong at all.
I promised that the previous will be the darkest paragraph physically, and that is true. However, the abuse was far from over. I remember, despite my objections, having to go to the beach with my father. He seemed to have some sort of thing with nudism that in retrospect wasn’t about nudism. At the time I didn’t know how to articulate a thought so basic as “I don’t want to go to the beach and be completely nude”. This whole nudeness was on the edge of impropriety, I felt, but most importantly, I did not want to be naked with my father. I think he dismissed me as grumpy, or not wanting to go outside. The elephant between an adult that knows very well what they are doing, and a child that doesn’t yet know anything about morality of any sorts, or understands what they are submitted to, had entered the room.
Some time later, we had switched apartments a few times. Frankly the memory is fuzzy – I just have these episodes from here and there, but at one point we had moved to a new apartment, and by that time both of my siblings were already around. I was sharing a room in our new place with my seven years younger brother. I think I must have been 13 then. I was reaching puberty. I remember waking up one night, and in the darkness I saw my father leaning over me. He had his hand under the blanket, holding my penis, that was erect now. I don’t think I had even discovered by that time what penises were all about and what’s an erection at all. I do remember not liking anyone touching my private parts without my knowledge, not to even mention consent. But all these concepts were still foreign to me – I was a kid. I remember pushing him away. He left. But these awakenings kept happening.
There was no lock on the bedroom door, and in despair, I started nailing the door shut before going to bed. I didn’t use proper, big nails, don’t remember why – probably and paradoxically, to avoid angering my father. I used fixture nails – they were maybe an inch long. It was an improvised door lock of sorts. I remember my father trying to push his way in at night, waking me up, and being surprised that the door was stuck, but he got it open nevertheless. I’m pretty sure he got the message though. That didn’t stop the episodes though. I imagine the message was received but it didn’t matter.
Fast forward a bit further – at one point I was old enough to start to learn to drive – 15-16 maybe. It was very exciting, to sit behind wheel, also scary – two tons of steel at your control. My father had a work car he used to teach me to drive. Not sure when it started, but I remember that once, while my eyes were on the road, he unzipped my pants and grabbed my penis. Think we are starting to see a pattern. I rejected the advances, and I think most of the time (and there were several occasions of this) it ended up in him being angry at me. For my father, I think, there was some mix of perverse sense of trade – driving and getting molested, and dismissal that nothing’s being done.
I think it was at age of seventeen, when all this finally started clicking together in my brain. When I understood that none of this is appropriate or normal, and that I shouldn’t be taking any of it. One night late, there was a loud argument between my parents. I think my father was at the brink of hitting my mother (as far as I knew, he wasn’t physically abusive, but there was always the looming threat). I rushed to the living room where they were fighting, and blurted out the shower incident that had surfaced just recently back into my memory, ashamed of the words I was saying. I was afraid that my father would deny everything and my mother wouldn’t believe me. Luckily that wasn’t the case. And something changed between my parents. That also was the year I moved away from home.
Just like in any other case of any abuse in family, I was afraid for my siblings. My mother assured they would be fine, she would make sure of it. And I think they did end up being fine. As far as my mother – the thinking goes – what can you do with a teacher’s salary and 3 kids? So even if I didn’t approve of it at the time, I don’t blame her for staying with the monster. The situation, if you are reading this, mother, is different now – you are all alone with the now pacified, internally very ugly person (he is 63 now, I think) – there is no excuse for you to stay with him any longer. I don’t speak from rage or hatred – this person simply does not deserve your companionship.
This was almost half life ago for me – and before my conscious and independent life. There are scars, but I believe I’ve managed to not make them define me. There was good deal of professional help as well. What you see now – none of it is the result of years-long abuse. What you see, is me, fully self-defined. That’s not just a cushy thought – that’s the the way I have chosen to live.
I’m afraid our (that is you and I) relationship will change because of this. It shouldn’t. And only on that hope I’m sharing this story. I want to stress – I am a survivor, yes, but I am not a victim, and, most certainly, I am not my father, even if I have inevitably inherited a good portion of the genes. I know all of this will be new and shocking for you, but keep in mind I’ve had more than 18 years to process it. I’ll appreciate your sympathy, but do know that I am very well.
Now, finally, our cultures have gone immense distances in the last 20 or so years. We are a better people now. However, I doubt anybody even hopes that we have gotten rid of sexual and physical abuse – as the news show – far from it. There are kids, and not just kids, out there right now going through what I went through. Going through all kinds of crazy and damaging shit, much worse than what I went through. And it is very likely, that some of the vicitims, or their abusers, are your friends or in the family of your friends, or your friend’s friends. I don’t have a good advice for how to deal with such situation, except for one – don’t stay silent.