A Note About Abuse
In which I share the names of my abusers
This piece will feature discussions of abuse, assault, and rape. Please practice self-care and self-love after reading if these issues are triggers for you.
I have not pressed any legal charges against the people listed and will not do so. This will be the only piece in which I share their names.
The ‘fun’ starts after this photo.
Yesterday, I had the amazing privilege of reading a piece entitled “My Friends and I Beat Up My Rapist, And I Will Never Apologize for Getting Revenge” by Emily Eveland.
It hit home, hard.
For Mother’s Day, I wrote a piece about my abusive mother and why I no longer have contact with her. I recounted her efforts to gaslight her daughters, her foray into covert incest, and her continued involvement with someone who sexually assaulted me.
The anger I still feel, years and years later… It’s as present as ever, but has mutated from fuming anger with an urge to drive down with a baseball bat and hit people to a righteous anger with the urge to tell my story fully in order to help others.
Up until now, I have kept names of those who have abused me quiet. Part of this is from fear:
- these people may reach out to prove their innocence;
- they will attempt to pursue legal action against slander or some such ridiculousness;
- naming them could put me in more danger;
- this may alienate family and/or friends who don’t want to hear about these events.
These fears swirl in my mind, combining with memories and creating a tornado of anxiety and crippling fear.
I have nightmares and then trouble sleeping.
Sometimes when I drive, I swear it’s my mother in the car behind me and I have horrendous panic attacks.
Certain touches, intimate or not, trigger my Post-Traumatic Stress and I turn back into a scared kid. Smells and sounds bring it on, too.
I have tried to hide from this all to a certain extent. I have shared things without names, allowing those fears to guide my actions and how I act.
I know that there is something more powerful within me than that timid action of biting my tongue.
I know that, even if my abusers haven’t harmed others, my story can help victims on their journey to healing.
Today I choose to fully own my story, to share names associated with the details I’ve spent years working on sharing with those closest to me.
Below is a list of people who have participated in my abuse:
- Michelle Walters, my mother — all types
- Balkar Singh, her ex-boyfriend discussed here — sexual
- Steve Jahns, mother’s current beau — emotional & psychological
- Patricia Walters, my grandmother — emotional & psychological
- Claire (withholding last name as the molestation I endured at her hand happened when we were young children) — sexual
- John Palmer-Rye III, my high school boyfriend — all types
Various members of my extended family contributed to the abuse I endured as well with their harmful words, whether they were aware of it or not. Since this post isn’t meant to attack these people unbeknownst to them, I won’t name them here.
It’s important to note, though, that children should not be scolded for being ill, for not believing in a certain religion, or for coping in ways that allow them to survive.
The proper response to a sick child throwing up and missing a family event is to try to help, not to bring over food for the adult of the house and yell at the sick child.
Just, you know, FYI.
I am not alone in the abuse I suffered, in general or even in my home. I know that it is not fair to out others’ experiences and share them without asking for their permission or opinion.
Other children in my household were abused, assaulted, and more.
Other children were harmed by each other as well as trusted adults.
Some of these children have grown to have families of their own and others haven’t.
There is a frustration inherent in the lives of my fellow victims, though. We become angry at small things and overreact, yelling and harming those we love in the process. We stop talking to each other as a way of not facing the pain, unknowingly allowing the past to rule our present and future.
For those that didn’t realize or didn’t have the opportunity to help us, there is a grief present as well. Family feels incompetent and as though they aided in the abusive situations we found ourselves in.
Some of that is accurate.
Some of it isn’t.
Wait, why are you writing this again?
I asked myself this question this morning.
I am not writing this to attack people, even if they may be worthy of that. I am not writing this to hurt others.
I’m writing this to expand upon ideas I’ve already shared so much. I’m writing this to help other victims realize that it’s okay to own the story of your abuse. I’m not proud of my abuse by any means, but I know that owning it allows me to take the power over my own story.
I’m writing this to remind myself that the anger I have? For me, it’s healthy. I get so wrapped up in treating others with compassion at times that it puts me at a disadvantage.
Keeping that anger and resentment can be healthy for people. It helps me protect myself from my compassion.
My mother is still making me second guess what I’ve experienced through her gift of internalized gaslighting. Without taking these steps to share my abusive history with others, I risk the opportunity to gaslight myself — to try to trick myself that my life hasn’t been ‘that bad’ and that I must be making some of these stories up.
If you know what happened, it’s easier for me to talk about it and more difficult for me to decide that my abusive family was simply dysfunctional.
By sharing, it makes it easier for all of us to believe.