Precious Things by Tori Amos

The following is my story; please be careful as it could be triggering.

I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and rape. My agonizing battle began shortly after my seventh birthday. Throughout my childhood, I was unwanted. My parents were always busy working, and when they had time to be home, they fought. They fought a lot. My peers rejected me, and the only people who wanted me by their side were my grandfather and his mother, my great-grandmother. This is when I began to experience changes in my life.

My Childhood Battle

My great-grandmother was a wonderful woman who took care of my brothers and me. I spent a lot of time at her home; a home she shared with her son, my grandfather. He was an old and lonely man who worked for a major beverage company. Every evening, my brother and I used to wait for him outside his garage so we could get our 15ў. If I had been good to him, he would give me a quarter, and that was a lot of money for a seven year-old. That meant I could buy all the candy I wanted, making the kids who already disliked me, hate me. Every Sunday I went to my great-grandmother’s house. She would be in the kitchen, making dinner very early. My grandfather would call me into his room and ask me to shut the door. I may not remember much. I remember warm sunny afternoon, his room was bright and clear. The sound of cheer surrounded the room as he listened to the ball game on the radio. The room had dark brown panels, and his clothes were scattered all over the floor. He would ask me to sit beside him, and I would. He would grab my face, which made my lips stick out a pucker. He would kiss me passionately, just like grown-ups do on TV. I felt his warm, slimy tongue dance all over my little mouth. And this was gross. I felt his hands slide across my arms as he felt my chest for signs of early development. He would give me a dollar once I let him fondle me. I was a happy kid once I left that room. I was rich, but also unaware that what he was doing was wrong. This occurred every single Sunday, after going to mass. He would take me to mass and lock the doors inside of his car, and that made me freak out. An innocent 7-year old child lost in the wild. This went on until I turned approximately 10 years old.

A Later Battle
November 26, 2000

My next battle begins at the age of 23. I was dating this wonderful, successful man. He had a great family and we all got along very well. He was good to me, was attentive to detail and made me smile. But he drank a lot. He was very paranoid and sometimes hypochondriac. We lived about 400 miles apart, but seemed to make arrangements to see each other every weekend. We dated for approximately 4 months; a time in which we never slept together. We left on good terms and decided to maintain a friendship. After the breakup, we called each other at least once or twice a week, just to keep up with each other. In November of 2000, his stepmother called me at work on Saturday and asked if I wanted to join them for dinner. His father lived in my city, but I was still unaware that he would be there. I picked up a bottle of Peach Schnapps and a gallon of orange juice and headed for his father’s house. His parents were always very nice and courteous to me and they called me "daughter" all the time. They would say "Lindy, I love you like a daughter." And it showed. That night, I was having dinner at the table when he walked in. He didn’t see me at first, but when he realized it was me, his whole face lit up. He walked up to me, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and said he was very happy to see me. He sat beside me and joined me in dinner. The entire night, we joked and laughed together, caught up on missed time and danced. The night was cold and rainy. I became very tired and as I looked at the time on the kitchen microwave, I said I wanted to go home because it was getting late. His parents insisted I stayed in the guest room; a room I previously slept in. I agreed and headed upstairs to the empty room. He walked in after me and set up the room, making sure I was comfortable. His stepmother walked in and handed me a sexy dark purple negligee for me to sleep in. I was wearing blue Levi’s and a pink button down shirt with ѕ length sleeves. I pulled the covers off the bed and went to sleep in the same clothes I wore. Wearing that negligee would make me uncomfortable, so I laid it on the floor. He said he wanted to spend some time with his father before going back to his town and asked if he could sleep in the same bed with me. I agreed and he closed the door as he walked out of the room. Unaware of time, I hear him come back into the room. I see him standing by the door, as he strips down to teal boxers. He steps out of the room and heads toward the bathroom. I heard him brush his teeth before walking back to the room. He closes the door, shuts the light off and gets under the covers with me. The only way I can sleep is on my stomach. We must have been lying down trying to sleep for a while, when all of a sudden I felt him grab my face. He began to kiss me passionately; a kiss I enjoyed dearly. We were kissing and he began fondling my breasts. He unbuttoned my shirt and unhooked my bra. He then took off his boxers and placed my hands over his buttocks. He wanted me to touch him because I wasn’t doing so. He then unbuckled my belt and removed my jeans. He laid on top of me and gave me this look, and at that moment I knew what he wanted. Without him saying a word, I uttered, “I can’t.” He said, “Why can’t you?” I said, “Because I don’t want to.” Many thoughts ran through my head and I wondered why he was getting so intimate with me when we were just friends. I didn’t even think about asking. I didn’t have time. He began to grind against me and I felt this feeling of fear come rushing over me. I felt the pressure; the body weight was suffocating me. He entered me and I did not feel anything. I saw him looking over my head, as he was thrusting, one, two and three times...and I passed out. I came back from passing out only to find myself sitting on top of the bed, naked. My arms were stretched out on each side and as I looked down, I saw that he had ejaculated over my leg. Shocked, I looked directly to the door where he was standing naked. He bent down, grabbed a white shirt and cleaned himself with it. He then tossed it to me and walked out of the room. I cleaned myself and got dressed very quickly. He came back without saying a word and went back to sleep. I pretended to be asleep; for fear that he might hurt me. I waited for him to fall asleep before leaving the house. Once I heard him snore, I grabbed my things and stepped out of the house very quietly. I went to my car and drove for hours. I had no idea where I went; I don’t even remember stop signs or traffic lights. I got home and showered for a long, long time. I douched and bathed in the hottest water. I was feeling dirty and unclean. I was no longer pure and chaste; I was not innocent anymore either. But I didn’t feel any hate. I had no feeling whatsoever; I was numb. I kept thinking and wondering whether what I thought happened, really happened. I got home and showered for an hour with scalding hot water. My mother saw that I was feeling depressed and took me to the mall. I could not stand to keep my mouth shut, so I called my brother from my cell phone and asked him to meet me at the mall. Once he arrived, I told him everything that happened. His response was, “Lin, if you’re doing this to fuck this guy over, you’re fucked up. Take a pregnancy test, if it reads negative, let it go and keep your mouth shut.” I could not believe what he said, but at the same time, I was confused and had no idea what I wanted to do. I called my best friend and he suggested that I go to the authorities. He said that if I didn’t report it, he would. I got home and told my mother who then begged me to take her to his father’s house. We confronted him and I asked to speak in private with him. He couldn’t believe I was thinking of pressing charges. He said to me he remembered me saying no, but thought I wanted it anyway. He asked me to marry him and move to his town. I declined, and my mother dragged me out of the house and demanded I take her to the Police Station. I proceeded with pressing charges.

The Outcome

After I reported the incident, two police officers asked me to go inside their patrol car. We went back to the house but he was gone. His parents kept saying to the officers that he went to my house to talk to me to try to resolve the problem in a different way. Police cars surrounded my street and its driveway for signs of him, but there were none. The coward had run away, and it was time to give up on the chase. I was taken to Special Victim’s Unit where a detective questioned me for hours. He was very nice and patient; he knew how difficult it was for me to re-tell the story. Another detective took me to the hospital for an examination, and the procedure was mortifying. The hospital room was cold and I was very tired. I was sleeping on the hospital bed naked, just covered with a blanket. A male nurse who wanted saliva samples and urine samples from me for DNA testing waked me. Then, a gynecologist performed the remaining test from the rape kit; a pap smear. I was uncomfortable, but had no feeling. My rapist was arrested and made bail within 24 hours. I was hoping he’d spend a night in hell but he didn’t. 3 days later I was given a subpoena for a hearing, where he was charged with rape and sexual assault. The court battle was agonizing. After being postponed 3 times, it finally went to trial a year and a half later, where he pled guilty and was sentenced to just 2 years probation. This has taken a lot from me, but I learned to endure pain and become strong. I’m glad the whole trial situation is over, although the side effects remain.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."
~Eleanor Roosevelt
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