Where to even begin. When I was around 9 years old, (not quite sure of how old I was because I repressed the memory for years) I was sexually abused by my older brother. Thank god it only happened to me once, as I know many sexual abuse victims are not so lucky. He also terrorized me as a child in other ways, yelling at me, making me cook for him, throwing shoes at me, and one time terrifying me so much that I had to call my grandmother to pick me up so I could stay at her house. He abused me on my living room floor with my younger brother in the room. He promised I would be able to play Halo with him if I did something. I’m not sure how long the abuse lasted, all I know is that I’m not sure what was happening to me at the time, but I knew it wasn’t right and I wanted it to be over. I repressed the memory until I was 11 years old, and I realized what rape was and that that had been done to me. I told my best friend, who then told my principal, who then made me come in and tell him and another teacher what happened. I was so traumatized I had to write it down because I couldn’t say it. I’m an 11 year old, how could I face something like that? The police were called, and I had to file a report with my dad. I had to see a Social Worker once, my mom talked to me about it once, and then it was pretty much forgotten. No one got me into therapy, no one made sure I was okay. It seemed as though life “went back to normal”, and nothing had changed. And it was that way, for a time. Sophomore year of high school I began having panic attacks and was in an unhealthy relationship with someone who would mentally manipulate me into doing sexual things with and to him. He would manipulate me into sucking his penis and shove my head down without asking. He knew about my abuse and didn’t care. I wasn’t strong enough to say know because all I wanted was the affection and love of a guy. But I know now that he never cared about me at all. I got myself into therapy after my panic attacks, but quit prematurely because I got into a fight with my dad, who was the one who would take me to therapy. I got out of my unhealthy relationship and found a relationship with someone who did care about me and did treat me better. I opened up to him about my abuse as well. He claimed to be understanding and said that we wouldn’t ever have to do sexual things if I didn’t want to, but every time we would hang out he would always ask if we were going to do anything sexual. I told him that put a bunch of pressure on me, but he never stopped asking. We broke up my freshmen year of college, and that’s when I went a little wild. I was getting drunk and having one night stands because I felt like I had to be drunk to not worry about having flashbacks or to not worry about being uncomfortable in sexual situations. But then I started dating my current boyfriend. He is completely understanding of how I am, and he is the first healthy, sexual relationship I have ever had. I don’t worry about having flashbacks, and I never worry about being pressured into doing anything physical with him. At the Take Back the Night march last year, I spoke out against my abuser through this poem that I am about to post below. He may have taken away my childhood, but he will not take away my strength. I believe everything happens for a reason, and this happened because God knew I could handle it and that I would be a stronger person because of it. It is a daily struggle dealing with these emotions, but I am in a better and stronger place now than I have ever been. Here is the poem addressing my abuser:

And I will never know the reason, Behind your lowly, selfish treason
Pick through the sticks and brambles, and you will find me there in shambles
Because you left me there to rot, In that shameful, dirty spot
What did you expect me to do? All I could do was hide from you
Stuck inside that painful place, Too ashamed to show my face
I put up a facade for all to see, Because of the things you did to me
And now I’ll never be the same, I only have you to blame
What could I possible have done? From this noose, my neck you’ve hung
My life hanging in the balance, Because of your selfish malice
The pain will never cease, It infects me like a disease
Because of you I am lost, You never thought of what this would cost
You’ve compromised my very life, And me there alone in my strife
But here I stand, and I will fight, I am here to Take Back the Night
In silence I will no longer sit, I am crawling out of your pit
From the ashes I will rise, Free like the bird who flies
Up, up, and away I go, Away from you, to a place called home.


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15 comments

  1. Eric

    Erin, I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through such horrible experiences. I say this to people a lot, but I believe it’s especially hard when the people that we trust betray us. You deserve to be in the loving company of those that would hold you on their shoulders and never let you fall, despite the cost. That’s why I’m so glad that you’ve found someone who respects you and considers you before anything else.

    I was at Take Back the Night, and I, too, was struck by your absolute bravery. It must have taken so much courage to stand in front of all of those people and pour out your soul. I just want you to know that it had a profound impact on all of us. I’m certain that you’ve personally touched many people with your words.

    I’m so happy to have you around and so humbled that you’ve chosen to share your story with us. Thank you so much for continuing your healing process and for speaking up in order to help others!

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Thank you for your kinds words Eric. I’m very glad I could have an impact on others, and I hope that I continue to have a positive impact on others through AVFTI and in other ways. I feel very lucky that I get to be a part of this amazing organization and I am overwhelmed by all of these responses. Thank you, as your support keeps me strong. 🙂

  2. Becky

    Erin, thank you so much for sharing your story! Your incredible strength and your insight are so moving and such an inspiration! And your poem
    …raw, honest, and beautiful! You have an amazing way with words! I hope that if you aren’t already utilizing writing on a regular basis to express yourself, that you’ll consider it. I guarantee your words here have touched many people. Thank you <3
    -Becky

  3. pinky

    Oh my gosh, Erin. I remember hearing these words so clearly that night. I write a lot, too, and I remember thinking how brave you were to get up in front of all of those people and read something so personal, because letting others read my writing is something I’ve always really struggled with.

    I’m glad to hear you’re in a healthy, supportive relationship. Being with someone you can trust is so important, especially after such trauma. I know you’re strong enough to overcome these obstacles with or without the help of others, but it’s nice to have that cushion sometimes.

    I’m happy you reached out to us, Erin 🙂 Thanks for being here.

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Thank you pinky! I’m glad I could let people in, because I want to be a voice to other survivors that we are not alone, and that we will no longer be silenced. I am so excited to be an AVFTI volunteer, and I can’t wait to volunteer at Speak UP Cincinnati! Thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity. I feel so blessed 🙂

  4. reclaimed123

    Your story is a great way to let others know their not alone. You are an inspiration to us all!! Im honored to be getting to know you and call you my friend. The things that happend to us were awful but they also brought us together in this group. I am so greatful to avfti for everything they have given to the community and letting us have a support group here. Sending lots of love!!

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Thank you reclaimed 🙂 You are an inspiration as well. I’m happy to be getting to know you too! I’m so excited for what AVFTI has done for me already, and I’m just getting started. This is something I have always needed, and I am so grateful for that. 🙂

  5. thatjacqui

    Thank you for sharing your story Erin. I am so sorry that you have encountered such terrible men in your life thus far. Relationships can be tricky when you a survivor, but I am SO glad to hear that hasn’t stopped you from loving. That shows how strong you are. The fact you can talk about it AND keep on loving, shows that you are a strong survivor. Never forget that. You have taken a stand by addressing your abuser and the fact that you keep on loving. There is a lot to be said of a person who continues to love after they’ve been hurt, and you are a great person 🙂

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Thank you so much! I’m so overjoyed by the support I am receiving from others. I just became an AVFTI volunteer this week, and I’m so excited that I get to help others like me. I can’t ever stop loving, because I know now that good and healthy love exists. Thank you 🙂

  6. jamie

    I am so happy to hear that you’re in a better place. I think it’s awesome that you’re in a relationship with someone who treats you better and with respect. I commend your partner for that.

    We hear so often that people repress their memories, and while I don’t think that I’ve ever experienced that personally, I know that it causes a lot of trouble for people because they feel like if they can’t pinpoint what happened, they can’t overcome it. I am very happy to hear that you have been able to move forward.

    I do want to ask you if you ever have any contact with your older brother at all? I only ask because my abuser was my father, and while I don’t have contact with him, I do have contact with my siblings, albeit not as much as I’d like. It can definitely make a family situation hard.

    I loved your poem. I write a lot too, and it’s so helpful to get it out on paper and to take control of the story. I remember it from TBTN as well. I appreciate you sharing it there as well as posting it here.

    Thank you so much for coming on to our site. Congratulations on your progress! We are happy that you are here.

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Thank you so much for your reply. All of this love and support is overwhelming for me. I have little contact with my older brother. My mother still tries to include him in the family, and my mother and grandmother help pay for many of his bills. He never went to college, so he has a serving job and lives in a small house with other roommates. I will see him at family functions. Since he has moved out of the house, I have maybe spent one or two times alone with him. It is hard, being around him and acting like everything is normal and okay. I don’t hate him. Sometimes, I think it would be easier if I did. But he is my brother, and he has had it rough, too. The last time I saw him is when him and my younger brother came down to visit me at school and we went to the Reds Indians game. But generally, I only see him at family functions and for the holidays. What is the hardest for me is that no one in my family, after knowing, ever asked if I was okay to still be around him. I had to sit in therapy with my mom and specifically tell her, “Hey, if someone could ask if I would be okay being around him, that would/ would have been nice.” It’s all very confusing and a weird situation. I realize now that my mom probably has done the best she could with the situation she was dealt. But then again, what about what I was dealt? It’s basically just messy.

  7. Callie

    I remember your poem as well, and I was also extremely moved by its honesty and sincerity. Creativity and art are such an important outlet, and sometimes a few lines of a poem can say more than ten paragraphs of words. It took so much courage for you to not only put those words down, but to get up and say them in front of a crowd full of people. I hope it made you feel empowered, because you ARE powerful. You are truly a shining example of the fact that an experience with sexual abuse doesn’t have to define your life. You’ve been through a lot in life and you’ve fought back and reclaimed it as your own, and Im so inspired by that. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Callie

    1. Erin Day Captain

      I am overwhelmed by your words. I read these last night and it brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy that my words and thoughts can help others and resonate ideas with them. That is my goal, to get people to talk about these issues and to get people to listen. I do feel empowered, as I know that I can take my life back and live the way that I want to live. Thank you so much 🙂

  8. Mark

    Erin, I remember your poem from that night. It really struck a chord with me, and I know I wasn’t the only one. I’m really glad you posted your poem here too, though, because there’s a lot of people who might not be able to tell their story but poetry might be a good outlet for them. It’s awesome that you’ve found a comfortable and understanding relationship. I’d be interested to see what type of poetry that could bring about 🙂 I love when people find creative outlets that help them. Good for you, keep it up!

    1. Erin Day Captain

      Wow, thank you for your reply. I am overwhelmed by the responses I am getting. I never knew my scribbles in my journal would ever impact someone so much and so positively. That night was definitely the most liberating and empowering moment of my life. I am excited to see where else life takes me, now that I feel I can be myself and be in healthy relationships and do what makes me happy.