Warning: This article has explicit content about things that are taboo. It may be difficult to read if you have a history with sexual abuse, and it is a sad peice of writing. My apologies in advance to anyone who has a difficult time after or during reading this. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns.
Let me start by asking all of you an imortant question that may or may not cause you some pain to think about. How is your relationship with your family?
Here is some background about myself that I would like to share, to help others like me see that they are not alone. However hard it might be, this is a subject that can not remain dormant. I need to let this out, and so do many other women and men out there who have cut ties with their loved ones for a number of reasons.
I was born August, of 1999. This was the year of transitioning from 90s hip hop and alternative to 2000's pop and love songs. What I didn't know, is that a few years into the birth of this soon to be dreamer, things would take a turn for the worst.
I was four years old when I saw the flashing lights from a police car while in the arms of a strange man whom I'd never met. It's funny how some people can remember things from when they are so young, but can't remember what they had to eat a few hours ago. I can feel his arms, holding me up to his chest. My mother and step father were being arrested for making drugs in the trailer home that we were squatting in.
Taken into the care of the state, my two sisters and I were sent to our aunt to stay until they find placement for us in the system. Foster care sent us to many homes in the span of three years. Some of which I can still remember vividly. While in the home that was to be my "forever home", we recieved a call for an impromptu meeting with my social worker. My new family took us to the social work office, and that is where they proceeded to tell us that my mother was released from custody. However, it had been a few days and she was already back to her old ways. They told us that she passed away. From a fire. What they didn't mention, but I found out later, is that the fire was caused by drugs. She had set up a new spot and was trying to make more. Something went wrong, started a fire, and she was unable to escape. Since I was just seven, I wasn't quite sure what I was hearing. All I know is, the woman who used to color and paint a lot was gone forever. The woman with long dark hair like mine, was never coming back. The woman who helped me catch snow in a cup so we could have water to drink, had died.
The loss of a family member is difficult. It is so difficult that sometimes you don't even know what happened until a while later.
Years later, in Junior high, things changed. I learned a lot in this year, about speaking up about our fears. One day, I decided to take this knowledge and new found courage and use it. I waited until my father went to work to speak to my mother alone. It wasn't until late at night after my two younger sisters finally went to sleep, that I got up the guts to walk up to her and say
"mom, I need to talk to you about something important."
I hadn't even said one sentence about what I was about to tell her, and I was already bawling my eyes out and having a difficult time breathing. I went right ahead and said it.
"Mom, I waited until dad left, because I have to tell you something that has to do with him."
I told her all about how my father had been doing things to me. Inapropriate things that I was confused and scared about. She sighed and told me to be quiet. She took her keys in her hand, and grabbed my wrist and pulled me with her outside to the car. Once in the car, she said not to speak until she finished. I respectfully agreed.
"Julz, when I was younger, I had sex with a boy. I was in Junior high, just like you. It was wrong, and I was scared. I thought if I was pregnant, or if someone found out I would be in so much trouble. So you know what I did? I told everyone that he raped me. I know how scary it is, and completely understand. So Julz, if this is what you're doing then you need to tell me".
I was so stunned. I thought I could trust this woman. She adopted me, and was supposed to love me. Just like my father was supposed to do. But he didn't. He did wrong by me, and now as I tell my mother, expecting her to help me, she was accusing me of lying. Lying in a terrible terrible way too. I was shocked, and unable to speak. I just started crying again and mumbling under my breath about how she was supposed to protect me. She heard this, and started raising her voice.
"What do you want me to do Juliana?! You want me to leave him? Call the cops and send him to jail? How will we live? I don't have a job, if your father leaves we will have nothing".
After that everything became a blurr and the next thing that I remember is waking up with my father and mother standing in my room. They told me to get my shoes on and come meet them across the street on the picnic bench at the park.
"So I talked to your father about what you told me last night and he has a few things he would like to say to you."
I just sat there and listened, scared of what punishements were about to come. I knew he couldn't hit me, we are in public. Perhaps, only verbally.
"I'm sorry if I ever made you feel unsafe. I don't know what you think I was doing, but I think I should be allowed to hug by daughter."
He went on for another minute with his apology, without confession. Then my mother stepped in and asked me a question. Now keep in mind I was scared, tired because I just woke up, and my mother is an excellent manipulator.
"Is there any possibilty that you misconstrued what was happening?"
I said no, absolutely not. I was uncomfortable and what he was doing was not normal, and definately not okay.
"Well, we adopted you and you have never had a father figure before him. So is it possible, that you just don't know what he was doing isn't wrong? Maybe it felt wrong because you've never been so close to anyone before?"
Confused, I began speaking shakily.
"well... I don't know. He touched me in places that nobody is supposed to"
"Is there ANY possibility. Any at all? Even the slightest chance?"
"I guess... but I really don't think so mom."
My father just sat there quietly, acting as if he wasn't here.
My mother then began to explain to me that last night after I went to sleep she googled symtoms of children who are victims of sexual abuse. She said on of the things that they said was that if a child goes back on their word in any way, it means they are probably lying. So basically, my mother had tricked me into saying there is a change I was wrong, to make me look like a liar. I was scared, and infuriated.
My mother told me she will be buying a lock for the inside of my door, so that way I could feel safe and he won't be able to do anything to me if nobody is around.
About a year later, by sister ran away from home. When we found her, she told the police the same thing I told my mother, and begged for them not to let us take her home with us.
There was a trial, and while we waited for everything to be through, they kept sending my sister back to live with us.
Scared, that if we tell the truth, we will just be sent back to them as well, my other sister and I remained quiet. We lied and said nothing bad had happened. Our parents dont beat us, my father doesn't sexually abuse us, and our mother doesn't watch and verbally abuse us too.
After the trial was finished, the result was my parents filing for a failed adoption and signing rights of guardianship of my sister back to the state. She was sent back into foster care and I didn't see or hear from her again.
We recieved letters from her and gifts on our birthdays but our parents threw it all out before we got to look at them.
When I graduated high school, I moved away to college in the morning of August 16th, 2017. I didn't wake them up to say goodbye and they did nothing as a send off. That was the end of it. I speak to them maybe twice a month now, and everytime I ask for help they tell me no.
A few weeks ago, I went searching for my sister. I called her old probation officer, and social worker right before I was about to give up. They sent my number to her new social worker and I told me she was actually only a few hours away from where I live. Now I talk to her about twice a week, and she is about to be released from a youth center and finally adopted by a foster family who is open to us having a relationship.
She is working towards healing, and I am working towards gaining back the relationship we once had as best friends and sisters.
Family is not about blood. Family is who nurtures you and cares for you. The people who love you, understand you, and protect you. So the moral of this is though it is hard to lose family, you can get through it. And there is always someone out there who is more than willing to be apart of your family. Blood, or not blood related.
So to answer my own question, my relationship with my family is great. Because my family consists of all the friends who have helped me through the loss of many things and people. My family are my sisters who have been with me through thick and thin and still remain a part of my life even if miles apart. My family are the people who speak to me everyday about how my day is, and help me stand up when I am down.
I asked you, how is your relationship with your family. I would really like to know. Comment below, or email me to talk. I am here to help any and everyone who has been through the same kind of thing as me. And even people who have a different problem with their family.
Because sometimes you need someone to talk to, and I want all of you to be apart of my family.
Because family is Measured in love, not in blood.