“Shhhhh” was what he used to say. “Don’t make any noise” he would whisper, as his fingers found the innermost secrets of a small girl child. What was he looking for? Why was he touching her down there? Nobody had ever done that before. Why shouldn’t the child say anything? He obviously didn’t want anyone else to know what was going on. But why? What was wrong with what he was doing? What was he doing when he would back her up against his body? What was he doing wrong when he would reach down to what she only Knew as something that would be going between her legs? At the time she thought it was warm and comforting. “I guess my Daddy does love me,” she would think to herself. This activity must be ok. He is her Daddy now. And certainly Daddy wouldn’t hurt her. Her Mommy married him. He had promised her Mommy that he would take care of her and her children. “I must be safe”, she thought.

Why did the Mommy marry him? I guess she loved him. Why did he marry her? Did he love her or did he just want some little girls for his enjoyment. Why does he do this? Does he understand that he is ruining this little girl’s life? Does he understand that when she grows older she is going to realize what he is doing today is wrong? Does he care? Does the mother know what is going on? Does she care or is she afraid if she says something the marriage will be over. The little girl wonders.

The little girl is all grown up now and is still doing a lot of wondering. That little girl was me. I often wonder, as I grow older if my mother really did knew. I will never know. Both of them have since gone to the other side. All I can do is guess.

I was 2 years old when my real father passed away. I hear stories about him, good and bad. I don’t think he would have been sexually abusive. I would hope not anyway. I guess when I was young, I did really love my stepfather to be. I have no recollection of any sexual activity with him before I was 6. There might have been but I don’t remember it. I remember that I was excited about calling my new stepfather, Daddy. It was very important to me to have a Daddy. And my mom seemed to love him so it should have been ok. I do remember, though, that my oldest sister did not like him. And when we moved to the farm she did not come with us. To me that was sad. I loved her very much and didn’t want her to stay behind. But he said “We are going to buy a farm” and it was ok with mother. My sister chose to stay behind and stay with my aunt and Uncle and their kids. STRANGE. So it was Mom and Dad and us two small girls, my sister, and myself who was2 years older than I. I found moving to the farm as both scary and exciting as only a 6-year -old could see it. I wonder to this day why he wanted to move us so far from anyone that we knew and loved. He must have had a plan. As I have stated before, I don’t know if any of the abuse happened before the move to the farm. My memory doesn’t go that far back.

I can say I do remember for sure at the age of 6 and 7, my Dad had started his secret activity. I can remember some evenings when Dad went to bed and Mom wanted to stay up and read or watch TV, I would go into the bedroom and lie down with Dad. (Normally that would be an absolutely safe situation for a little girl) I would love to cuddle in moms’ blankets on her side of the bed. The blankets were always warm and cuddly and smelled like my mom. I somehow felt some affection from her when I was under those blankets. I would fall asleep very fast. To this day I have a blanket that I enjoy taking to bed with me when I am sick or under stress. Somehow it makes me feel better.

Our house was very small and only one bedroom so my sister and I always slept on the hide-a-bed. But until Mom would go to bed we would sleep in her bed. If we were tired the only choice we had was to sleep in moms bed. Which you would think would normally be ok. BUT…

Then one night the hand came and started probing. I didn’t know what to do but I trusted him. I had mixed feeling about what was happening. Was it wrong? Couldn’t be. My dad was doing it. It was attention and it did feel good. So then why did I feel something was wrong? Why did he keep shushing me? What was the secret all about? Mom would come in the bedroom sometimes during this time. He would stop the movements immediately. But when she left the room he would start again. Did she know this was happening? I often wonder. My mother was a very devoted wife and always put him before her children. Honor thy husband. Whatever happened to honor thy children.

As time went on there were more secret meetings. The warm hardness of his being always felt good and natural but, though he never penetrated my inner aspects, it was wrong just the same. Why was it when mom stepped into the room to get something or to say something, he would stop. Why didn’t she see what was going on? Was she that naïve or was it that she wanted to ignore the situation. I will never know. I can only imagine.

As years went by nothing was ever mentioned. When I came to the age of, “being a woman”, as my mother explained it, the activity stopped. I guess maybe he thought I would start smartening up.

Oh how I loved him. Why? He had done me wrong. And by that time I realized that it was wrong. Why didn’t I say anything then? I guess I thought people would judge me rather than him. I don’t know. Why didn’t I at least tell my mother? Would she believe it? I don’t think so. She absolutely thought he could do no wrong. So as time went on I just put it in the back of my mind and said that it didn’t matter. That it was over and done with and not one would ever know. But I knew. And he knew.

Growing up I never had what you would call a real hug, or the real love that a father would normally give his girl child. He was not ever affectionate, openly. We never talked like a father and daughter. The extent of his talking was telling us what to do. “Don’t talk at the table. Don’t interrupt when adults were talking. Don’t chew with your mouth open.” He would pick and pick at us until the tears started coming. Then he would scold us for crying. Mom would be hollering at him because he made us cry and the meal would be ruined. And God forbid if we would waste some food. At the dinner table we either didn’t talk or we talked about the subjects he wanted. If we interrupted when he was listening to the news. That was the end of the world.

My sister reminded me of the time we were at the table and he slapped my hand with the table knife. I don’t remember why and neither did she but we remembered the incident. He was a very stern man and definitely was the boss. We never had the chance as children to advance ourselves. Never had any of the growing up pleasures such as playing a musical instrument. Dad never felt it was a necessary thing. It cost too much money. Yet he used to talk about how he used to play the violin. At parties and dances. So why was a violin ok for him but not necessary for us to learn how? We never owned a bicycle. Dad always said feet were made for walking on or he would say, “You pedal your feet off to give your ass a ride”. God forbid we should have it because it was fun. We had one sled for sliding in the winter. And had that one sled for many years. Never had an animal that didn’t earn their keep. Like a horse to ride. “Nope, cost too much” Yet other neighbors around us were just as poor and had bicycles and horses. Go figure. So again I ask, “Why did I love him?”

When I would spend time with my friends at their homes I used to think they were so lucky because their Dad would talk to them. And would talk to me. Real talk. Not hollering. Not criticizing. Just talking. Asking about me like I was important to him. When he would give his daughters a hug good night, he would hug me also. I loved spending the nights at their house. I wished he could be my dad. Sounds silly doesn’t it.

Later in life I realized that the affection that I thought I was getting was not really affection, but some kind of a perversion. Mother wasn’t very affectionate either. I do remember when I was ill; I would lay with my head on her lap and she would stroke my hair behind my ear. That was about the extent of it. Never a hug. Ohhhhhh how I wanted a hug.

When I graduated from high school and went out on my own, I searched for a kind of affection that I was missing in my life. I didn’t realize what I was missing, just that I was missing something. I went through years of searching, then I had my children. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. Mother had a fit when I got pregnant with my first child. Dad was quiet. What was he thinking? He never said a word. He never condemned me for what I had done. Never expressed anything. Maybe he was thinking it was because of him. I don’t know if it was. I just knew that for the first time in my life I would have someone to truly love. And I would never treat my children the way I was treated.

When my dad got very very ill with cancer, I was the one at his bedside tending to him in the hospital. Mother couldn’t come to the city every day. I would go every day and make sure he was ok. When he needed his duties tended to, I was there for him. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t hate him. Why? Why did I worry about him so when he was sick? I was the one he confided in when he was so sick and wanted to die. When he did die, I hurt so badly. I mourned him. Why? He had done me wrong so many years ago. Did he go to heaven? Only God knows that. I had a funny dream on the eve of his death that I never told many people about. I often wondered what it meant. I would like to tell you about it now.

We were at his funeral. The family was going down the isle in the funeral procession. As we are going down towards the casket, I spied my dad in the pews with the rest of the congregation. What did that mean? I took his hand and led him down the isle. I said, “Common Dad, you need to come too.” When we reached the casket he stopped dead in his track and looked inside the casket. He was looking at himself inside the casket. Dressed only in a hospital gown. No pillows were under his head, no padding under his body, only wood. He was withered away to skin and bone. He screamed out, “NO!!!!!!!!” and ran back down the isle, through all the people and ran out the door. Not attending his own funeral. After he left the funeral the dream stopped. What did that dream mean? Did it mean that he was going to be punished? Did it mean that he would never have peace? I really hope not. I do hope he had to answer in some kind of way when he got to the Golden Gate, if he indeed got there. We will never know. I have to put that in God’s hands. I have never been a super religious person, but I do believe that in his own way, God will take care of that.

I never felt very close to my mom. I believe she loved me in her own way but I don’t think she like me very well. I don’t know why. Maybe I felt that she could have stopped the activity that I now know as being wrong. Why didn’t I tell her before she passed what he had done? Why should I? It didn’t matter anymore. She would not have believed me. He was gone. What could be done now? Nothing. What would it prove? So I kept quiet. Not thinking about it every day; just once in a while.

When mother was so very sick, both my other sisters told her that it was ok to go. I couldn’t. Maybe because I had to get an answer to my questions before she left. But it never happened. She died. We were sad but also happy for her because she was out of pain. She also died without ever giving me the hug that I so desperately needed. Just one little hug.

Mother was also not very good at explaining the facts of life to us children. Sex to her was not talked about. When my sister got her first period, instead of telling me the truth, Mother said that my sister had cut her leg and she could not play with the boys anymore. What did that mean for heavens sake. What would the boys do now to her that she had cut her leg.? It was very hard for a girl of 9 to figure out. My sister finally told me about the menstruation after months of me torturing her with questions.

I am writing this at this time just because I need to think things out. People say “Put it on paper, it’s the best way for closure.” I spoke to my middle sister about the molestations about a year ago. I told my oldest sister just a couple weeks ago. She was surprised. My middle sister was not. As I sit and think about the situation so many years ago, in a little house in the country, I wondered how many he had done this to. Was there others. Did he ever try anything with any of our friends? I don’t think so but we don’t know. Maybe. He was in his 50’s when he married my mom. That is a lot of time under the bridge that he could have done this to many children. We will never know. He was also married once before he married my mom. Is that the real reason for his breakup? He said it was because she ran around with other men. That to is something we will never know. It doesn’t matter. It’s over now.

I still don’t hate him. I hate what he did to me and it makes me feel resentful that he took my innocence away from me. And he did. I am also realizing that I was not the only one in life that has had this happen to. There are so many men, and women, out there that are destroying the lives of so many young girls and boys alike. What gives them that right? Some of the men out there are supposed to be religious leaders. Molesting several boys and girls over a number of years. Church leaders are condoning this by moving them from church to church and hiding it under the carpet. We have gym teachers, school teachers, boy and girlscout leaders and perverts from every walk of life taking advantage of children every where. Why does the law condone it? They show that by not doing anything about it? They just slap the hands of the predators.

“How could you let this happen?” people will ask. Well, at a tender age such as I was when it happened, I knew no better. As I go through life now, I look at children, around the age that I was, and I wonder what would make a person molest a child that age. With there chubby little cheeks and runny noses and eyes of total innocence. What is it in a young girl or little boy that would turn a man or woman into a molester? I look at my pictures when I was that age and I wonder what he saw but an innocent child. What was the turn on? A sick turn on. I don’t have any idea what could make a grown man prey on a child but I guess only God can judge. I forgive him because I have to for my own sanity. But I can’t forget.

I refuse to accept responsibility for what happened so many long years ago on a little farm in northern Minnesota. I DO know that what happened was not my fault, it was the fault of a man that was desperate for something. Some kind of perverted need.

I really hope by writing this and sharing this with other people, I can get past the anger I have started feeling lately with all the media on this subject. The predators of young children are sick people. People say, “This has been going on for hundreds of years.” Maybe we just didn’t talk about it. Maybe it was a forbidden topic. What ever the case may be, the molestation’s and pervertedness of the situation needs to stop.

I have been to the cemetery to visit once since mother’s death. She past in 1992 and my Stepfather passed in 1985. I have no reason to go there. I have never had a need. I know people judge you if you don’t go but…….. Oh well. You have to want to go before it does you any good. It would do me no good to go there, nor Mom and Dad. That part of my life is over. I need to move on and let that part of my life be in the past now. That is the reason why I am doing this writing. People say “ Write down your thoughts” “Be truthful”. Well this is it. My truths.

God bless us all and God forgive those who trespass against us. Amen

© By Marie Paulson (TOPINSMAMA@aol.com)




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