During Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in partnership with the 1 in 3 Foundation, The Tyler Loop presents Ann’s story as part of the Share Your Story program. The Share Your Story series seeks to help end the stigma around sexual assault and to give voice to survivors’ experiences.
“Many survivors suffer in silence for years,” Maya Golden Bethany, the 1 in 3 Foundation founder said. “Survivors have often experienced blame, judgment or disbelief during the times when they do open up. This program provides participants an opportunity to reclaim their voice and raise awareness. It is not just their experience but a call to action.”
The 1 in 3 Foundation exists to remove the barriers to healing from trauma in Smith County for women recovering from sexual abuse and assault. “We believe that the 1 in 3 women who will experience sexual abuse or assault during their lifetimes deserve meaningful understanding and crucial access to support,” Bethany said.
Ann — an alias — submitted her story to the Share your Story program, read by actor Susan McKinney of Tyler. Ann recounts a night of rape and abuse from her mother and sister.
“I am 75 years old. I’ve been divorced since 1984 with one child and five grandchildren. I’ve lived in several Texas towns; also in Hawaii, California, Colorado and France. I have a degree in psychology and practiced for over 20 years.
When I was six years old, my mother caused my father’s death. She would not take him to the hospital, and he died. He was very sick; I was crying.
My mother told me to stop yelling, and then she threw me in the bricks of the fireplace. I don’t remember any more about that night.
The next day, I found out that my father was taken to the hospital and died. My mother told me I killed my father, that I was a killer.
A year later, we moved to Austin where my mother’s family helped her find a job running two boarding houses for male students near the University of Texas.
I was seven years old. My mother and my sister were very close, and I was on the outside. Both of them would play games abusing me, threatening me if I didn’t do what they wanted.
My sister would come into the bathroom when I was taking a bath and stare. She would talk about my body and what she would do to me.
Meanwhile, my mother tormented me. Once, she walked out of our bedroom and pushed the bookcase across my bed on top of me.
During junior high, I had two years of my mother not on me so much, because she was sick. Those were the best years of the rest of my life until now.
When I went to high school, my mother recognized that I was stronger and she had less control over me.
She went to be with my sister, and I was left with two aunts. I was alone in a house full of college boys by myself sometimes. One night, when I was already in bed, I was attacked by three college boys. They pulled me out of my bed and into the living room. Two of the boys were drunk, and they raped me. The other boy was older and told the other boys to leave.
Then he pulled out his knife and started to carefully cut me. I cannot tell you the things he said to me, but I knew I needed to be very careful not to make him mad. After he finished cutting me with his knife, he raped me. He demanded I watch him. When he finished, he had both of us standing and he was touching me with the knife.
He told me he was going to kill me now. He put the knife to my neck, and I thought I was going to die. I looked right into his eyes and did not show I was afraid as much as possible. He stopped and said something like, ‘I won’t kill you because you will live with this memory all your life. You don’t know when I might come back and finish this by killing you.’
I went to the bathroom and cleaned myself up as much as possible. There was blood inside me and outside me.
I never told anyone what happened.
I never dated in high school at all. My mother picked my husband from one of the guys at the boarding house. I got engaged in my junior year at UT to the boy my mother picked.
When my mother died from cancer, I thought I was finished dealing with a horrible mother, but no. Now started the husband who was like my mother.
After many years, the psychologist I saw told me my husband was a sociopath and I needed to divorce him.
Later, at a university in California, I was given an internship to work with sex offenders. I worked with sex offenders for over a decade in Colorado.
I was in charge of a program designed by the criminal justice of that state. I very much enjoyed working in that job. I understand the mind of criminals, because of my mother, my ex-husband and my long-time work with offenders.
Years passed, and I began working on my emotional problems. I remembered I had been raped but not what happened.
Two and a half years of being in the group that 1 in 3 started, I am healing – finding that I have complex trauma and PTSD has turned my life around, and I am in charge.
I would like to help others who have been sexually abused. Sex abuse can ruin the lives of children and adults. Sex abuse affects the families and friends of the victims.
Sex offenders are real, and the damage they do is real.”
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