The domino effect

473 17

More than almost three decades later I still vividly remember when it started. I remember being paralyzed with fear and unable to say a word. My very favorite thing to do was go swimming in our pool. I remember one time wanting to swim so badly that I went in at 70 degrees. I remember my mom saying that my lips were blue, but in the water I was weightless, I could do anything. Sometimes my mom would trust my brother, who was three years older than me, to supervise me. It was the summer between first and second grade, I had just gotten my ears pierced. My brother was always rough with me, he would slap and scratch me, he always convinced our parents that I deserved it. What could a little girl do that would justify choking her? He groomed my parents to think I was a liar. Then that one day in the pool he was unconventionally sweet to me. He offered to pick me up in the water and to piggyback me. Then all of a sudden I felt a finger in a place where I had never felt anything before. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. He didn’t say a word. As soon as my body allowed me, I made my way to the ladder.

My mom volunteered at school a lot. She was a stay at home mom, helping at school was her outlet. It was nice knowing that my mom was at school even though I didn’t see her. She didn’t believe in babysitters, sometimes she would leave us alone so that she could help at school. She would take us to the video store beforehand, the television was our babysitter. Only, the television can’t say that it saw my brother come up to me and pull down my pants and everything that followed. Eventually it progressed to oral sex and penetration. This went on frequently for years. I remember being in third grade and helping my teacher after school, wanting to tell her what happened at home. My brother would tell me that if I told anyone “they” would come and take me away and it would be so much worse. I didn’t know who “they” were but the fear was enough to keep me silent. I almost told my band teacher. He was so kind and really cared about me.

The abuse stopped when my brother was born. I was twelve. I made it my mission to ensure that my brother was safe. I didn’t find the courage to tell my parents until I was 19, they didn’t believe me. Looking back I understand because I allowed an abusive boyfriend to manipulate me into telling, he hoped that my parents would just throw some money at me. He was a narcissistic prick. The silver lining is that I finally spilled my guts as it were. They still blame me that their family is fractured. Though they say they finally believe me.

I’ve studied all of this yet I still manage to become a statistic, allowing terrible people to control me. So much more has happened, it’s like a domino effect. I just happened to be one of the persons who had their dominos fall, it can still be a lovely sight to behold. Also, I can rebuild. I love this site and what it stands for. So I wanted to share my story. 🙂

Join the Conversation


  1. Deanna Volunteer

    Thank you all for the support. It’s funny, I seem to have a problem with my spam filter. I just happened to be bored and checked it and wow, it is just so awesome to be (virtually) among positive people. ?

  2. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi Deanna, I am so glad you came here to share your story. And I love this site too and everything that it stand for as well. First off, I want you to know that I think you are incredibly strong. To endure all that you have but to be able to end your story with a smile and the sentence “I can rebuild” shows that you have so much courage and strength. I know that you can and you will rebuild! What has happened to you in the past does not define who you are in anyway. I am sorry that you have had to go through all of this and that your story / emotions were not validated. Here at AVFTI, we will always believe you and we will always be on your side. I hope that you continue to use your strength to keep pushing past this and find yourself among the bad. Know that we are here for you and I hope you will come back to share more if you need it!

  3. blashea Volunteer

    I am so sorry that that happened to you and that your family did not support you like you deserved. You are so brave for sharing your story. Although, it may have not been in the way you’d hoped, don’t let someone else take that away from you. It was still a brave thing to do. It is not your fault at all that your family was affected by this. Please don’t ever believe that. You did nothing wrong. You are always welcomed here, we all support you.

  4. MH Volunteer

    Hey Deanna,
    I’m sorry for what you went through with your brother- i am also sorry that your parents did not believe you when you first told them. That must have been extremely difficult to go through alone. It is scary telling someone- and then having them not believe you must have been horrible.
    Know that we believe you! We are here for you- to support you and listen to you!
    Some days will be bad, some will be good- keep moving forward and things will get better!

  5. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Deanna,
    I am so happy that you decided to share your story with us. Thank you so much. You’re brave for coming forward.
    That being said, I’m terribly sorry this happened to you. You didn’t deserve this, and it wasn’t your fault. What your brother did was unacceptable, and he shouldn’t have threatened you to stay silent. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to keep this secret for so long.
    I’m so sorry your parents didn’t believe you and that they blame you for fracturing the family. You didn’t fracture the family. You spoke out about what happened to you, and that is powerful. I believe you.
    We’re here for you. If you ever need anything, please feel free to write back.

  6. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi Deanna,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are so strong and so brave.

    I’m sorry for what you went through, and I’m sorry that your family was not supportive of you. You deserved support and to be believed. We support you, and we beleive you. Is there anything we can do to help you more?

    We are here for you, and we are so grateful that you came to us. Stay strong!


  7. Turnschaosintoart Day Captain

    Hey Deanna,
    You are way more than a statistic. You are a person, you are survivor, you are a story teller. I am so happy that you shared your story with us and that you love this site and what we do. We want you to feel safe to tell us your story and I want you to know I believe you. I am sorry your folks didnt. And for what your brother did to you. You didn’t deserve it. I am sure it was scary not being able to tell anyone and it probably felt lonely. I wish I could take that pain away from you. You are very strong tho. And deserve all the happiness in the world. Is there any thing we can do to help? Have you talked to anyone? We are here whenever you need us. Much love

  8. gordonsv Volunteer

    I am so happy that you love this site and have the courage and strength to post and share your story! You’re feelings are entirely valid, however I want to let you know that you are NOT the reason that your family is “fractured”. You did not ask for this to happen to you. The fact that you had to go through this all alone without anyone is extremely sad. I am here to tell you that I believe you and I want to offer you resources if you would like. If not, I could simply talk to about anything you would like! You are very brave in sharing your experience and I thank you so much for doing so!


  9. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Deanna,
    I’m so sorry this happened. Everyone here at AVFTI believes you. You did not fracture your family. The fact that they did not believe you is horrible. You do not deserve to hear this. You are not a statistic. You are a survivor. I’m so happy that you found our website and felt comfortable enough to share your story with AVFTI. We are here for you and want to make sure you are good. If you need anything you can always write back.

  10. Ash Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing you story with us. None of this was your fault and you did nothing to deserve it. We believe you and we are here for you. I’m sorry it took so long for your family to believe you. Let us know how else we can help.


  11. enimsaj

    Thank you for sharing your story with us all. You are so brave to do so. I am so sorry this happened to you. No one should have to experience any of that. I believe you and I am here for you if you need anything at all! I love that you have such a positive outlook on the domino effect.. with rebuilding. That is beautiful! Not everyone can look at such a thing and twist it around like you have.

  12. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry for what happened to you-you didn’t deserve this, and this wasn’t your fault. Do you still have to see your brother? Are you safe? Let us know how else we can help you-we are here for you.


  13. Ashley Day Captain


    Thank you for making the decision to share your story.

    It’s unreasonable for your parents to place blame on you for “breaking” the family. Although your parents didn’t believe you, after you had initially confided in them, the decision you made to speak up is powerful.
    Your older brother shouldn’t have disrespected your boundaries or used threats to keep you silent.
    You are 100% correct that you can rebuild; there’s still some time to learn and grow 🙂

    I noticed that you responded to some of the stories that have been posted – Thank you for being willing to support storytellers!

  14. Jamie Marie Volunteer

    Thank you for reaching out and telling us your story. That takes strength, which you have.
    I’m so sorry you endured this abuse, but whatever you do, don’t blame yourself. None of this was your fault whatsoever except for your brother.
    I hope youre doing well, and maybe if you want, we can help you find a therapist.
    It can help relieve the trauma, or if you ever need to talk to someone, use Crisis Text Line at 741-741.
    We’ll always be here.

  15. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Deanna,
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I know that you know it wasn’t your fault, but maybe hearing someone else tell you will help ease some of the pain. We believe you and none of it was your fault!!! I love your comparison of dominos and how watching them fall can be lovely too. You are right, we rebuild, and rebuild, and rebuild if necessary. Please come back and share with us whenever you want and let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
    Sending you love and strength,

  16. Solongago Volunteer

    Hi Deanna,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to a lot of it, as mine was also brother-sister incest. You are NOT the cause of your family being fractured. It was fractured before your brother ever touched you.

    I am sorry that this happened to you. That your brother did this to you. That your folks were less than supportive, didn’t believe you at first. And that you had an abusive boyfriend.

    I told my parents when I was 22 or 23. This is really hard on family members, on parents. They cannot just kick out the abuser, and never speak to him forever, like they might do with a spouse if they make that choice. And they cannot be guiltless when their son attacks their daughter. Not possible. If they think about it deeply, they will see how they failed their daughter, and probably their son as well. So most folks don’t have the guts to consider it deeply. Instead they try to silence the victim. They blame the victim.

    I am sorry that there is a such thing as sexual abuse and that it effects so many of us, and what it does to us, what it does to families. I am sorry that your family couldn’t protect you, and that it went on for a long time, and that that is what you remember when you remember being a child.

    I hope that your struggle with this brings you to a place where you are at peace with whatever your relationship becomes with your family members. And, YES, you can rebuild. You are strong, and you can thrive in spite of being a statistic.

    1. Deanna Volunteer

      I was so depressed when I wrote that story, I sort of caved in on myself and stepped away for a little while. I’m learning to fall back and let people help me instead of trying to do it all myself. I identify with your’s too, I’m rooting for you. I’m glad that you post regularly. Many times I’ll be in the midst of reading your writing and all I can do is nod my head because I know how you’re feeling. We will both get there, it’s just a steep hill.