Hi my name is Ti and I'm a newly 19 year old. I feel that I'm a survivor of almost every abuse that is out there; sexual/ incest, physical, emotional, and neglect. I have read your book and been to your site. Your book helped me understand that I do not have to forgive my step parents, or anyone else who has abused me. It has always been painful for me to forgive all of those who have hurt me. “Invisible Girls” showed me that many other girls have suffered and survived. It gave me such hope.
Okay, here goes. My life has had some rough bumps in it since the day that I was born in '87' in Korea. Right after I was born I was given up for adoption and was in and out of adoption agencies, hospitals, and foster homes until the age of three. I was told that at the age of one I was kidnapped and was held captive for several months. By the age of three I was adopted by my parents and was moved to the States. Many people may claim that this "new life" would be better for me; when in truth it became worse.
My very first memory with my "new family" was getting beaten by a belt by my mother and my father for unknown reasons; the beatings were something that I became used to and that happened until the age of 12. During the summers my siblings and I were woken up at 6 in the morning and had to stay out until 10 at night pulling weeds at our place and at my grandfathers, take care of the garden, and clearing out and burning my grandfathers old things, who happened to live with us but his property was located next to ours; and this happened until I was 14.
My first experience of sexual abuse was by a boy my parents were going to adopt; and at this time I was around four or five. I know I was around this age because I was just about to enter kindergarten. Well I remember him asking me during the day if I wanted a baby and I said yes; for at this age I had no idea were babies came from. So he said okay tonight I'll give you a baby. After this I think I may be repressing memories for I have no memory of anything except that I'm laying on the bath room floor with my panties off and him on top of me with the door unlocked for there is no lock on the door even to this day. I remember telling my parents about it and they would tell me to stop lying and making up stories. They didn't believe me about it until I asked my dad if he wanted me to show him how to kiss the right way; and him thinking that I was only going to kiss him on the cheek got a rude awakening for I kissed him on the mouth. After this they believed me and sent him back to the agency. After this beatings got worse and they started themselves to sexual abuse me and tell me I was no good and that they would have made more money off of me if they kept me as a foster child than adopting me. Around the age of seven or eight my parents divorced and I was told that I was the cause of it. This is when my life got even worse.
Soon after words my father got married and quit seeing his children and my mother brought in her new boyfriend. The first time I saw him I remember feeling very uncomfortable around him. I never understood why I was feeling this way until the night he came in to my room and started molesting me and my younger sister. I remember telling my mother about it and she kept beating me and telling me that it was my fault that I was asking for it. So from that day on I believed that. So all the way up until the age of almost 15 I was repeatedly raped and molested by my step father. I must have been a bad person, I must have been responsible for all this abuse. What finally made me crack was the constant lying my mother would make me do for her. The thing is I would repeatedly state to my school counselor r that my home life was something that I hated and she would ask my to explain it, but of course I wouldn't go into full detail, but I would leave little hint about it. So of course she would call CYFD (Children, Youth, and Families Department) along with calling my parents. So what my mother would do is tell me that if I loved her, and to prove that I loved her I would tell the social workers that I lied about everything. So of course I would, just to prove that I loved her; so in a way I still feel that is was my fault. So up until the age of almost 15 I was still being in and out of home and foster care.
I was later placed with my father whom I haven't seen in about eight years. This of course didn't last long for he kept telling me to stop lying about what happened, that my step-father was a good man and that he would never do thing like that to me. He also repeatedly told me that I was no good and that he wishes that he never adopted me and when I was told that I had an STD my my step father and my dad starts to shout at me to quit being a slut and who the hell was I sleeping with to catch this disease. Since I was as young as I remember I was also responsible to cook, clean, and get my niece and or younger siblings ready for school, and to help with homework, and make sure she the younger siblings were ready for school, and on bed on time. This sometimes was difficult for she was in elementary school and as freshman in high school. Though I was soon sent to a few other places to stay in for my father was charged with domestic violence.
At the place I am currently residing (group home) for the past 4 years I have been through 12 different sets of house parents (and only at this place); who all haven't been that great for some were just like my parents, and I've been to 5 different high schools. Though I feel that I have over come all of these little bumps in the road (for there are worse things out there, and there are those people out there who have had worse lives than me), for I feel that I have forgiven every one of my parents adopted and step. But forgiving them has always made me feel as if I have given up a part of myself. Reading "Invisible Girls" gave me strength to know I do not have to forgive the cruelty I have gone through at the hands of others.
I have also graduated from high school last year (year '05'), and am now almost finished with my first year of college. I feel that I've overcome a few things in the short 19 years of the life that I've lived. I don't tell my story for pity but to let others know why I am stubborn, and aggressive when threatened, and kind and loving to the little ones. I apologize for this being so long. But I hope that this goes to show all you young ladies out there that no matter how difficult your life is you can survive it and still make something good out of your life no matter what the statistics or the odds tell you. Thank you for your time, patience, and concern for those who have been through it all.
Dr. Patti responds:
Dear Ti ;
Your story is amazing and you are an incredible writer. I hope that writing your story helped you to sort some things out. Sometimes putting down on paper what has happened is a good release. You are an inspiration to so many, including myself. I am so inspired that you sought out the "Girlthrive" website, read "Invisible Girls" and that you took the time to write to me. It brings me so much hope that there are girls out there, all over the world who will find "Girlthrive" and my book "Invisible Girls" and these survivors will get help. Just knowing that there are others out there who have been through what you have been through is a link in the chain of healing. It is usual for girls at age 19 to begin to process their abuse, when they are out of the abusive home they can breath and begin to step back. I want you to know NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT. Is that clear? NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT.
So many things in your story are so universal. I have had many clients tell me that finally when they had the courage to report something and the Children's Welfare services came to their home, their mothers implored them to say they lied. In my book there is a story (Garnet's Story) where that exact scenario took place. As you, all these girls I speak to are just trying to get their mother's approval and love. Also many girls with horrible stories are always saying how they are sorry to take up so much time, and that they know there are others out there with worse lives. Ti, you have had to live with abuse your whole life, of course you will be defensive, and distant at times. That is natural too. You also are very protective of the "little ones". That too is something almost every sex abuse survivor has told me. You have my total respect and awe. You are a warrior who has been through a battle, and now you are free. It is time to know that no one ever has the right to hurt you again. It is clear to me that you are meant to survive, you are meant to soar in life. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story of courage and strength.
................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.