It’s very interesting to me when people say they had a great childhood. What made it great? What was special about it?

I, myself, did not have an exceptionally good childhood. I had parents that did not enjoy each others company. My father was gone most of the time “working” and my mother doted on my little sister. I was left to fend for my self most of the time.

Thankfully, the ‘fending for myself’ has come in handy.

I wanted to start out saying….. “I was born a poor black child….” I love that line from Steve Martin (the movie was hilarious I must admit) but, I was not. I was born into a middle class family in Newark, New Jersey. A good Catholic girl born in a Jewish hospital by a very Jewish Doctor.

My mother, apparently had been having an affair with my godfather, was not at all happy when she became pregnant and passed me off to her husband (the man I grew up calling Dad). I think this was the start of her life long hatred of me.

I don’t think that it was so much that I was born that bothered her so much – I think it was the fact that the man she named my godfather, didn’t want to divorce his wife and marry her.

I think I must interject here that I was not the first child my mother had with this man. She had a baby 2 years before I was born that she gave up for adoption.

Anyway, the affair with my godfather went on for sometime and when my father found out, he decided to move us all to Georgia. My mothers family is from Atlanta, and apparently this was a good reason to move. That and the fact that with my aunts and uncles my parents had built in babysitters.

I honestly don’t remember doing very much with my parents. My aunts had us every weekend (as my aunt now tells me – “so your parents could have sex and ho around with out kids around to mess it up for them”)

My aunts pretty much raised me – and I thank god for them. I’m not really sure where I’d be without them.

When I was in college – at 19, I was attacked and raped at a fraternity party. I am now 48.

A lot of things happened and I was told by those that should have protected me, that it was my fault and that it was in my best interest to keep quiet – so I did.

Because I kept it quiet – I developed a lot of issues. I had an eating disorder and was in and out of therapist offices for most of my life. I was not able to maintain a healthy relationship with any man – and I was/am too overprotective with my children. When I finally decided to get help with my eating disorder the root of my problem came up. Before I could resolve the eating issue, I had to confront the attack.

I started going to therapy at the Rape Crisis Center. Once I started to talk about it, it all came back like it had just happened. It is very hard to come to terms with how I feel about everything -I feel like my life has been on hold and I don’t know which way to go anymore.

Today, while watching a show about Bill Cosby and all the women that are now coming out about their attack, someone asked me why I waited so long to say anything. It had never occurred to me that other people wouldn’t understand.

What is hard for people to understand, I think, is the shame and humiliation I felt. I believed it was my fault and never thought to question that I didn’t deserve it. I was afraid – terrified really, to say anything. Who would believe me anyway? And if I told someone my story and they didn’t believe me – I would feel even more shame and hurt. I think I believed that if I didn’t say anything that it never really happened – like it had all been a bad dream.

The funny thing is – when I started the therapy, and really faced what had happened, it felt like it was a dream. Like I had imagined the whole thing and that I was just making a big deal out of nothing. I never thought to confront it before and now, I was scared shitless.

I was in group therapy with a group of girls that actually felt the same way. Some had waited even longer than I had to come forward and deal with it – and for some it was very recent. BUT – for the first time, I actually felt like someone understood what I was feeling and what I had been dealing with for most of my life. I still feel shame and humiliation – I still feel like I am alone at times and that no one understands what happened and how I feel.

It was interesting that I came to understand that I was hanging around people that made me feel safe. Most of my friends were gay – you see, they were safe. I knew that they wouldn’t take advantage of me. I have a very hard time making friends as I have huge trust issues, so for me to tell you my story, is kind of a big deal.

I tended to not date much – as I ALWAYS ended up with people who were bad for me. People who took advantage of me and treated me like I felt like I should be treated – without respect or love.

One of the hardest things I have to deal with – is someone telling me that I shouldn’t feel the way I do, that I am being ridiculous or that I need to ‘just get over it’.

Unless you have been brutally beaten and raped – you have no idea how I feel or what I have gone through. You have no right to tell me how I should feel or act. It is none of your business. If I choose to share this information with someone, it means that I am comfortable enough with you to share my story.

With all the stories in the news lately, it is hard to not think about it. I really try not to read the stories – but sometimes, it slaps me in the face. With the Rolling Stone article coming out and all the inconsistencies that were in it, it makes it even harder for people to believe my story. Then, with all the people that are so convinced that all these girls are lying – it’s no wonder that people don’t believe a woman when she comes forward to say that she was raped.

It is very hard to come forward – it’s embarrassing, who wants to admit this happened? You feel shame and humiliation and extremely vulnerable. Why go though all of that when people are going to say that I am the problem? Apparently, the way we dress and what we were doing at the time is all anyone can think about.

When I was raped, I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. And trust me, it wasn’t sexy or provocative in any way, shape or form. I had been drinking, but not enough to make me drunk or to forget what was going on. And lord knows I wish I had had more to drink – it is something that I want to forget.

Regardless of how long it took me to come forward with my story – I have to convince myself that I was not at fault, that I didn’t do anything wrong for this to happen. That is the hard part – I still feel like I did something wrong, like I deserved for bad things to happen to me and that I shouldn’t be happy.

I’m not sure if I will always feel this way – I do know that I am working on it, and at this point, that’s the best I can do.

Recently someone posted a picture of the Joker on Facebook with:
“Why should I apologize for monster I’ve become? No one ever apologized for making this way.”

Maybe I’m just tired of all the drama, maybe I’m over hearing everyone complain about how they are destroyed by what has happened to them. But here’s my thought on this – YOU HAVE A CHOICE!

No one made you one way or another – you have done that all to yourself! You have complete control over your actions, your feelings and how you respond to people and things.

You have a choice to be a monster or to be a decent person. No one is holding a gun to your head making you be rude, making you break the law – you have a choice to do the right thing.

We have all had bad things happen to us in our life – ALL OF US! But, that doesn’t mean that we have to hold on to it forever and stay bitter about it.

Life is too short to constantly hold onto things that have hurt us. LET IT GO…..

You know right from wrong – you have a choice to treat other people with love or with hate.

Hopefully you will make the right decision – if you want to be bitter and hold onto all the hurt that people have caused you, you will find that you will end up alone. Is that how you really want to live your life? Do you want to be alone and miserable with nothing but your bitterness?

Regardless of what we think – we always have someone that loves us and wants the best for us. If you keep pushing them away time and time again they may give up.

Why give up on yourself – why push away the people that love you?

Just remember:
You are responsible for your words and actions – no matter what anyone else does.