February 10, 2016

How I Caused Incest by Listening to a Record

Posed with sister
Mother always posed us
The people at the shelter found my family a nice two bedroom apartment in a white A-frame house that had been converted into two apartments.  There was even a nice yard in the back for us to play in.

Peter and Grace shared one of the bedrooms and mother and father shared the other one.  I have no memories of where I slept in this apartment.

I have fond memories of Peter teaching me to catch flies and being presented with my first butterfly hunting net which I cherished because Peter had given it to me.  Peter had always been a nature nut and always found insects in the back yard to teach me about.

These are my only memories while living in our first Chicago apartment.  Except for when I dared to listen to records on my sister's record player that looked like a miniature red briefcase.

 It was summertime.  Both Peter and Grace had made friends with some of the neighborhood kids.  I can't remember if I had any playmates or not.

It was a warm summer's night when after dinner Peter asked mother if he could visit with his friends next door.  Since Peter was going to visit with friends, Grace asked if she could do the same.

Father hadn't been home for dinner and mother looked upset and spent most of the night talking to herself.  At least that's what I thought she was doing at the time.  It would be many years before we learned what she was really doing.

Since Peter and Grace weren't home I decided to play in their bedroom, far away from mother.  Instead of taking any of my toys into their bedroom, I decided to listen to some of my favorite records on Grace's record player.  I used to like singing along and pretending I was a famous singer.

I was having a great time in my imaginary world of being a world famous singer until a high pitched scream pierced through a perfect summer's night.

I turned off the record player and froze.  I turned around I saw mother standing in the doorway white as a ghost.  She opened her mouth to say something and then there were more screams.  Mother ran out of the apartment, leaving me alone.

I heard Peter shouting for mother as he ran into his bedroom and saw me.  He picked me up and when we got to the kitchen we saw mother walking in with Grace.  Mother was holding Grace up by the waist.  Grace had blood on both knees and her elbows.

Peter put me down and helped mother sit Grace down in one of the kitchen table chairs.  I was frozen with fear and remained standing where Peter had put me down.

Both mother and Peter were asking Grace what had happened.  Grace looked like she had frozen.  She was staring straight ahead at nothing.  Tears were flowing down her face.

I was just a little girl and the first thing I assumed was that Grace had either fallen or gotten in a fight with one of the kids in the neighborhood.  I felt myself wanting to walk up to Grace and put my arm around her.  She looked so sad and scared.

It was the words she spoke that stopped me after only a few steps.  She said our father had hurt her despite mother telling Grace that father wasn't home.  Grace stood up and screamed, "He raped me."

Both mother and Peter stood up and were speechless as they stood there staring at Grace.  Grace started crying harder and then she looked over at me.  She raised her hand and pointed at me.  It was what she said next that would forever change my life.

As Grace pointed at me, she said with hatred and venom, "It's all her fault."  It was my turn to be in shock.  I didn't even know what "rape" meant, but from how she was acting it had to be something bad.

I heard myself protest along with Peter.  Grace explained that if I had not been listening to records, someone would have had heard her screaming sooner.  She said the record player was so loud she could hear it as father raped her right below her bedroom window on the side of the house behind the bushes.  It was my fault that father raped her because no one heard her screaming to stop him.

Peter couldn't stop explaining to mother how ridiculous Grace's explanation was.  Mother told Peter to shut up because Grace was right.  I had been playing the records too loud and we couldn't hear Grace being raped right outside the house.

Mother walked up to me and by the look on her face I thought she was going to kill me.  She grabbed me by the arm and told me she knew I was the devil's whore when she saw me wearing a whore's dress at the shelter.

I was crying and begging mother to stop as she jerked my arm too hard.  I looked back at Peter for help and saw him crying.  For a second I thought I saw a slight smirk on Grace's face.

I remember being thrown onto the sofa.  I remember crying and begging mother to please stop as I saw her raise her hand.  Then everything becomes a blank.

I have no memories of seeing our father at this apartment again.  Since I didn't know what rape was, I didn't understand what I was being blamed for.  I understood that father had hurt Grace, and somehow it was my fault according to Grace and mother.  They were never going to let me forget and they were going to make me pay.

The impact this incident had on my mind was that even into adulthood, anytime something bad happened and I had the misfortune of being present, I immediately felt that it was my fault.  It also set off a feeling of paranoia, because I believed that anyone looking at me was blaming me for whatever may have happened.

It didn't help that throughout my childhood my mother and sister would remind me how our father raping my sister was my fault.

As I grew older I came to understand that our father had not raped my sister that night.  However, my sister took advantage of our father not being home that night to expose him for molesting her in the past.  I’m not sure why she used such a bizarre method to expose him, instead of simply going to mother and telling her.  Perhaps she felt she needed to do something drastic to make mother believe her.  Perhaps she felt she had to do something drastic that would kill two birds with one stone, make mother understand what father was doing, and hurt me in the process.

As you travel with me through my journey, you will discover that my sister also became one of my abusers out of a twisted sense of resentment that our father had not molested me.  Little did she know that someone was touching me.