Op/Ed: Adding My Voice and Story to the Many Who Were Once Silenced by Violence

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It's supposed to be another nail in the coffin. Every injustice, discrimination, theft, just one more nail in the coffin, until the injustice and discrimination, the injury becomes the final stake and the coffin and secrets are sealed.

Those in positions of power and authority and yes especially the abuser, the serial abusers they understand. Abuser expect victims to be silent and remain silent. Abuser believe shame will keep women, especially from speaking out about the insidious crimes, of rape and sexual assault and violations.

And they often do carrying the shame of the crimes to a very early grave.

Abuse, ugly violent vicious physical abuse began early in my life. Not long after my parents divorced our lives went from a loving family and extended family to hell.

My sister has passed away and so I can't really share her stories except of when they intertwined with my own. My mother remarried a man who vicious, brutal, violent and misogynistic. He hated women. We were beaten often. Physically and brutally beaten. Often times we were made to disrobe and would be beaten until we had welts. This was the new normal.

Over the next five years, the backhanded slaps at dinner, progressed to sudden ambushes with the leather strap for no apparent reason other than we, all, my mom, myself and my sister were sharing a funny and separate moment.

The abuse began to take on different forms.

The First Time I Died

After my mom remarried we went to Lake Erie for boating. My mother, didn't seem concerned, even as she couldn't swim, I wasn't able to swim yet either; and on this day, my mother, myself, my uncle, the my mother's husband and two other unknown people were all the boat when I think I said, it would be fun If I could swim and then Jim [the step-father] threw me like a cannon ball into the lake, from up over his head away from the boat, as one would toss a sack of potatoes.

I remember, watching myself even now I see the out of body experience, of watching myself trying to get to the surface and finally making it grasping for air and crying and hearing my mom, who couldn't swim and was deathly afraid already, scream, "Swim Janet," and then in the boat crying.

I did swim and remember sitting on the boat and screaming at this man, "Stay away from me. You could have killed me." Not knowing that was his intent and not knowing as I do know he was offered money to have me killed which is another element of the evil that has followed me.

Over the winter we went up to Lake Erie where the boats were housed and found it had a major hole in the hull and it couldn't be fixed.


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Then the rage. One night, when my sister and I slept in separate rooms I heard her crying in her room. I, a child, of eight maybe nine, opened the door and saw this man in bed with her. I told my Mom the next morning, "Debbie was crying in her bed last night and Jim was with her."  From that point forward I was targeted with more aggressive and more violent beatings.

My mom moved us into the same room.

The second time, one of the few times of genuine fun my sister and I were having. We slept in the same room and I know she did not expect the rage, murderous rage, of this man and it was not her fault and I know she lived with the guilt of that night. As she called down the steps and said, "Janet is keeping me awake."

What I saw after that, as this man started up the stairs was murder. I saw the man who would kill me that night. I ran to bed and attempt to stop what I knew was coming. I did not expect that he would pick me up by my pajama bottoms and throw me against the wall and I know what happened as my spirit left my body and I watched the scene unfold from the corner of the ceiling, I think I was dead, for a minute, and my spirit was leaving, and I heard my sister scream, "Stop, you're killing her" and he said, "See what you made me do."

I bounced off the wall and landed back onto the bed, and it was like the window shut and my spirit was no longer watching myself being beaten. I was unconscious for the remainder of the night and remember waking up with a busted eye vessel and the usual bruises. I went to school and explained to my teacher, when she asked if my step father had done that to me, I said yes and ask for help and she said, I can't I'm afraid of him also.

Maybe it was stupidity but after that night I wasn't afraid. I did not fear, I told everything every time. I never stopped no matter, I didn't stop them and I won't stop now.  

I remember once sitting with my sister, I had skipped school and she asked, Aren't you afraid of Jim?" And I said, "No, all he can do is kill me. And I don't think he is going to." I was nine. By that time, I had survived two murder attempts.

I could do the play by play over the five years that my mom stayed married to this person and I suppose at some point the play by play will be talked about but for today I want to say, I think an appropriate picture can be drawn which is close enough to accurate. For all the abuse we suffered she did also.

So moving forward – After five years of torture my mother had PTSD and I guess I did also and it was difficult for her to manage. My sister went to live with my Dad and I was placed in Foster Homes. Again no need for the play by play.

After that time, I lived in two separate type of situations for children that had no other options. My dad was the finance director of the city, his wife, didn't want to take a chance on me. So for about a year I lived in a residential facility and after in a Girls Group Home.

At thirteen a case worker asked me what are you going to be when you grow up? And I said "Famous." I had no idea how and yet that much I knew.

As I have attempted to seek justice for crimes committed against myself and to right the wrongs of so many years ago, many others are also trying to take the heartache and pain and turn it into profit and gain while once again cheating myself out of what is singularly mine,my life rights. 

The remainder of my story has been removed as individuals seeking to profit have hired private investigators and sought out relatives to assist in the theft of my intellectual property, again with fake credentials, stories of undying devotion simply out of jealousy and hatred.

So for every Victim who doesn't want to share their story, I understand what it is like, I hid behind a moniker for years, it's easier to talk about it in the third person and thought I would wait until the right time to breathe life into my effort for prosecution.

I guess, I add my story to the growing list of survivors who have the courage to speak out. 

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