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Erin Grace

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pointing The Finger

**This is the toughest post to put out there, over all of the others.  I've debated whether to even write it but it would be leaving a big part of my story out.

For so many years, after this all ended, I really felt as if I was a willing participant in everything. That's what those situations to do you, the abuser puts it on you to carry the guilt and shame. I was afraid I'd end up in foster care if I told. I didn't want to be with my parents but I felt what happened with "K" must have been my fault. I thought if I didn't want to do it, I could have said something, I could have just gone back to live with my parents. I got to be with my sister though and that meant everything.

Eleven turned to 12, then 13 and 14 years old. As I said, except for going to school, I spent all of my free time with "K" and my sister. Eventually, at about 12 years old, I didn't see my father anymore. I went back to live at my mother's house, while going back and forth to see "K" and my sister.

This is why...

After about a year or so of going between my father's house and their place, "K" knew how things were with my father, he used that to his advantage. He'd often try to talk to me about what it was like to live with my parents and he was very sympathetic. I didn't understand that he was just using me for his pleasure and giving the illusion of caring for me. The more he saw me cry and beg to stay with them, every time I had to leave, the more "K" would ask me if anything was "going on". It came to the point where he flat out asked if my dad was doing anything to me. I didn't know how to articulate some of the weirder stuff that was going on between my father and myself. Here I was being told by my sexual abuser, that my father was in the wrong and he was going to help protect me from my father. I felt like a sheep...just follow the leader.

Very quickly I found myself in front of detectives and state police, asking me what was going on with my father. I believe "K" told my sister and then my mother found out. He never said anything specific, just that he knew there were things happening to me, at the hands of my father. I was in over my head before I knew it. It was a whirlwind. Within a day or two, I was giving sworn statements about what my father was doing to me, by recalling events that I had been through with "K". I didn't think I had any other choice, what would "K" do if I told everyone it was him? What would happen to me, my sister, or him? I didn't even have time to consider that it may have been a good thing to tell them the truth about "K". I was blindsided. I was being sent to victim's groups and counseling, all the while keeping secret what was going on and what would continue for another 2 years, with "K".

My father was arrested and put in jail. The guilt I felt was so overwhelming. Whenever I saw a police officer  (it didn't matter if they were just driving down the road), until the day I came out with the truth, 10 years later, I was petrified I would be arrested and thrown in prison for making a false statement. Those words just hung in the air when I was talking to the detectives..."The penalty for making a false statement is..." Never mind that I was 12 years old when it happened. As the years went by, I just played the part. My father wasn't allowed any contact with me and for a while, I was home schooled.

My father put in a plea of guilty but thankfully my mother asked the judge to consider him for counseling and release as long as he kept away from me. She didn't think he belonged in jail. He told my mother he knew it was "K" who was behind this. In fact, one day when I picked up the phone at my mother's, I heard my father's voice. I started to cry. I handed the phone to my mother but I heard him say, "Erin, I know this isn't your fault. I know he's doing those things to you." I cannot tell you how much I felt as if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The first person I ever confided in, was my boyfriend Darin, in 1991. He was and still is, a great friend. For the 3 years we were together, I wanted to tell him what I had carried around for 10 years but I just couldn't, I thought he would hate me. There were so many times I said to him over those 3 years, "There's something I want to tell you but I just can't." A few times he asked, "What did you do, kill someone? Why won't you tell me?"

 I remember one day, at an apartment we lived in, the police showed up looking for the prior resident. I heard the bang of the nightstick on the door and as soon as I looked out, I thought, "This is it, they know." I was terrified. Just before we broke up, I wrote my boyfriend a letter telling him the story. I gave it to him when I knew he could read it and have some time to let it all sink in. When I saw him later that night he was so understanding, I couldn't believe it. I broke up with him because I knew I needed to start dealing with what happened and start my life with a clean slate.

The next step was telling my sister. Gradually, my father and I began to talk again and although I know he didn't blame me, I still apologized for all that had happened. He was older and so was I, there wasn't the same dynamic anymore and although he still had schizophrenia, I was an adult and we had a different relationship. There were times when his illness got in the way but I just dealt with it, there was nothing I could do for him if he didn't want help. "K" was dead and we were trying to start over again. Ironically, the psychologist I started working with for the next few years (who was also my psychology professor) told me that after he saw me a few times, he knew my name sounded familiar. Although he couldn't disclose anything, after about a year of me working with him and knowing I was beginning to talk to my father again, he said, "I happened to look back in my records and a few years before you met me, your father was a patient of mine for quite a while." Out of all the people he could have picked, in the cities he lived near, my father picked that guy.

June 1995 - Dad & Me

A few years before my father died, in 2008, I got up the courage to tell a lawyer my story and see if there was any way to get any charges against my father dropped. He said it was so long ago that I shouldn't worry too much about it. I still wanted him to look into it but he never returned my calls. Thankfully, I found out that the registry for New York State didn't go into effect until January of 1996, fourteen years after everything happened.

I learned more recently, how angry my father was towards my mother, even as I grew older. Before my sister met "K", my father woke her one night to say that he was "going to end things once and for all", by killing our mother (my sister was living with him at the time, while I still lived with my mother). After he left, she tried to contact my mother but couldn't get her. This was long before 911 and the police wouldn't have made it in time. All she could do, she said, was pray really hard for something to stop him before he got to our mother's house. He never made it. A deer jumped in front of his car, caused an accident and he ended up turning around and going back home.


  1. Holy crap. Everything up till this story has been gut-wrenching, and this really tops it. How brave yo are to tell the world. I am so proud of you for putting this out there. There are so many people who are still carrying that guilt around- letting it eat them up ( not wonder you have ulcers). I am so sad that you have had to carry this burden for so long. I hope that this is why you cried for hours the other day- maybe it's finally out of your system. It wasn't your fault, Erin. So many children are made to do horrible things that are just not within their understanding or control. I watched a documentary about children of African war who brutally killed their own parents under the insistent eyes of the Guerillas. They were driven by fear and confusion. I cannot imagine how one contends with that guilt but to tell the story and move forward. There are certain things that we are just stuck with, huh? We do the best we can. you are an angel. Love, Cairn

  2. Thank you! I'm still amazed at the timing of our "meeting" and of starting our blogs....we were meant to be friends =) xoxo

  3. You have the power to change the world with your writings. You are very courageous to share your experience and your journey. I am so sorry your childhood and innocence was stolen from was not your fault~ever! Don't judge yourself through anything but loving eyes...