When I initially wrote this, Lauren requested to use another name. She has now chosen to use her real name. *Trigger warning: rape and incest. Meet Lauren. Her face. Beautifully formed. Eyes clear blue. Her eyes reflect the purity of her clarity. She spoke, “He raped me.” Again, she used her voice and said, “He raped me.” She was 14 when it happened. For the next 3 years, her body reflected an inner torment of coerced silence while forced to maintain a relationship with her abuser, her father. Cutting. Starving. Binging. Raging. Withdrawing. Panicking.
She did not know how to describe what happened. Her father told her that she remembered it wrong. It never happened. And because her young mind refused to accept the depth of the violation, she believed him. But her body would not. Lauren whispered to her mother that she was afraid of him. The fear was vague and imprecise, but Mom had her own horrific experiences with the father. Those horrors resulted in a long, “high conflict” divorce. The courts allowed Lauren continued contact with her father. The courts assumed he would not treat his own child the way he treated her mother. But Lauren’s mother knew his heart and she fought the courts for years, pleading with judge after judge, attorney after attorney, to please protect her child. Cutting. Starving. Binging. Raging. Withdrawing. Panicking.
At 15, Lauren was diagnosed with PTSD. At 16, she had a feeding tube inserted into her broken body because she stopped eating and lost the will to survive. Her soul was vanishing as her body struggled to live. Given the dire circumstances of her suicidal ideation, her mother agreed to repeated hospitalizations at the recommendation of Abbie’s therapist. It was there, where she was safely protected from dad, she began to remember parts and pieces of her past with HIM. The weird, dark behaviors that haunted her dreams. After 3 months, she returned home to her mother. She was not healed but something shifted. She found her voice and spoke her truth. To the horror of her mother, she described the rapes. I don’t know if you can possibly understand what it would be like to have your child describe how her father violated every part of his child, your child. The details and visuals go beyond what a mother should ever have to tolerate. I can’t even go there. Mom knew the potential for catastrophic behavior from the father was present for years. She was aware of the fathers’s potential for horrific acts as is obvious. She spent hours, years and thousands of dollars she begging someone to hear her. And save her child. Finally. This truth, this proof, was what she needed to stop the father from abusing her child. Justice would be served. She did receive an emergency court order stating the father could not see his daughter. She did call the police and report the incestuous rape. She did support Lauren and give her space to heal. And she waited. And waited. And waited. For over 3 months, the father was given the freedom to live his life, go to work, enjoy vacations. For over 3 months, Lauren continued to live in fear, endure panic attacks, and wonder what he would do to her next. Mother and daughter are still waiting for justice. I don’t know what kind of a country we live in that allows a man to rape his daughter and be free. They cry in the dark So you can't see their tears They hide in the light So you can't see their fears Forgive and forget All the while Love and pain become one and the same In the eyes of a wounded child Hell is for Children. ~Pat Benatar I don’t want to end this blog mired in hopelessness. The truth is, this story is heartbreaking and it isn’t my only story to share. Hope arrives when we can speak our truth. Lauren found her voice. Let’s find yours. Visit www.coachinghope4u.com