**Editor’s note: this story contains highly explicit material. This author chose to remain anonymous due to the highly sensitive confession. Please respect her privacy and the bravery it took for her to write this out for all of you who may be experiencing something similar.
How early is “too early” when it comes to teaching your children about sex?
How about the differences between gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, and transgender? Back when I was in school, I learned about the human body and how sex works between man and woman. Well, and how to apply a condom. Now they are teaching sexual education as early as the third grade, children are between the ages of seven and nine. Even more difficult, how early is too early to teach your children about rape and molestation?
As you all continue to read my story, I ask that you remember those questions and what your first instinct told you. Will it be the same when you finish reading?
I was born and raised in a military household with my father, mother, grandmother and two brothers. My father served in the United States Air Force as a plane mechanic. Although my family was a military family I did not experience living on base, attending school with other military children or shopping on base. My family and I lived on a ranch in New Mexico where we raised show horses and rode in the rodeo when it came to town.
I also never experienced the packing and moving every few years because my family stayed in New Mexico while my father left for a few years when he would receive new orders, such as Alaska. In New Mexico, my closest neighbor lived a mile away which made playing with your friends from school a difficult task. My time was spent working on the ranch and playing with my brothers when I was not attending school.
When I was only three years old, I remember waking up in the middle of the night and running to my brother’s room for him to “protect me” because I had a nightmare. That was the first time my brother convinced me that in order to protect me he needed to see me naked. He would tell me that he was going to tattle on me for getting up from bed if I did not follow his directions. I immediately stripped down and hid under his bed.
He tattled on me and I was caught, naked! I was a gullible little girl who looked up to her older brother. I trusted him and that is how he got me to never say “no”, ever! Or, he would bribe me with gifts. He told me that people who love each other show it by having sex.
I wish that was the only time my brother talked me into stripping down. He continued to molest me for nine whole years. It started slow but quickly increased when he found my father’s stash of pornography. He would make me pose like the Playboy girls in the magazines and reenact sexual positions and movies with him. Any time we were working or playing outside he made sure that his zipper was down with his penis hanging out. No matter where we went the two of us always had sex. I began to crave the sex and needed it every day.
When I was six, my brother convinced our other brother to join in the action, now there were three of us doing sexual acts with each other. On our property we could hide and perform oral sex and sometimes full sex if our parents were not home. We hid in ditches, behind garbage bins, in the barn and the list goes on and on. When I started craving the sexual contact, I remember getting naked and standing in my bedroom window flashing the men working on the farm. Any means possible to reach that pleasure was my goal.
The sexual contact began to drift off with my brother’s as we got older and a dark figure in my bedroom doorway at night started replacing it by watching me sleep while he pleasured himself. He enters my room and removes my panties then spreads my legs to gain access to my privates. To this day, I can still feel his stubble on his face between my legs. This man was our sitter and our only neighbor. When he would leave my room I always tried to hide on the top bunk of my bed but he found ways to get me. The best thing I could do was pretend to be asleep until he was finished.
In that moment, I started understanding how wrong all of this was. My second brother felt the same and was the one to speak up first and forced me to tell our parents. Our family was separated quickly while child protective services conducted their investigation by asking questions and having me show them exactly how we did sexual things using Barbie dolls. This was a very traumatic situation to go through and relive it with dolls.
My eldest brother was placed in a home for sex offenders and remained there for a few years and I received counseling. After being released, he tried to kill me while raping me but my second brother burst in the door and called 911.
I have not seen nor spoken to him in 20 years, and now 6 with my other brother.
I have been at a loss for words for the first time in my life, just recently. As a teenager, I learned to speak openly about being raped and molested, the struggles of a father being gone, and a mother who attempts to commit suicide a few times a year. I counseled my own brother who stopped it because he too was a victim. However, I was very sexually active in high school, I flirted with older married men, I wanted to expose myself to the world, and I became a mother at 17.
My cognitive thought process was completely out of control, after I was married and pregnant with my second child I struggled with fear that my ex would take my eldest child away from me. My past has been thrown in my face as a ploy to convince others and the courts that I am an unfit mother. That was the worst because I started believing it.
A few years back I sought out counseling and thought I was doing much better and eventually stopped going. Two years ago my health started declining; I was in so much pain and suffered from heart palpitations and migraines. I was constantly in a doctor’s office trying to figure out what is going on.
My PCM recommended I see a Neurologist after I started having severe short term memory loss and tremors in my arms and hands. I started becoming OCD and angry with everyone and grounded my children just to make sure they stayed at home so I can protect them. The Neurologist ordered a head CT which showed nothing of concern.
My heart sank when he looked at me and said that he would like to ask me a set of personal questions that might be difficult to answer. The amount of all that weight I thought I had moved passed came crashing down on me and a flood of tears kept coming. My husband told the Neurologist why I was so upset, I couldn’t talk. In that moment the words “you are suffering from debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD? No way!! He continued to explain that my health and my mind are falling apart which is why I’m always in pain and have a tough time remember simple things.
As a Psychology Major, before my diagnosis, I took an interest in working with the military and those who suffer with PTSD. I was so blind to see the symptoms in myself because if you were to ask around who suffers from PTSD you automatically associate it with Active Duty Military Personnel.
Before you can heal, you must recognize it and raise awareness for those who battle this disease and are not servicemembers. I am reaching out and sharing my story in hopes that it helps you find your voice and start your healing process. I struggle every day just thinking about what my doctor said. In order for me to start healing I needed to be open and honest about my experience as a child and how it has affected not just my life but those who are in my life as well.
I am very lucky to be married to the man the Great Lord sent me. Without my husband I know that I would not be who I am today. Being a military spouse is the only thing that feels “normal” in my life. This is my first step to healing and I ask again, how young is too young to teach a child about sex, rape and molestation? If I knew sooner, would I have told my parents before it went on for nine years?