I’m A Survivor

This is one of the most personal blog posts I have written.  It is also one of the hardest.  Not too long ago, a blogger friend asked her blog friends to participate in a letter writing series.  I wrote a letter, an angry letter, that was long overdue; it is going to be published this weekend on her blog.  At first I asked to remain anonymous, but I have since changed my mind.  Writing that letter brought a lot of things that happened to me back into my memory.  Some of them good, some of them bad and some of them were what the heck happened moments.  I have struggled with writing this post for a while now.  Much longer then it took me to decide to write that letter.  How much of my life do I want others to know about?  Who will it help?  What purpose does serve?  Unfortunately, I know that there are more people out there just like me and what I write just might be the one thing that will help them through.  I am a survivor!  I have survived a lot.  There are some things I have never told anyone, and there are some things that I have.  This is one of those things that I have never told anyone.  Who would have thought that something that happened over 30 years ago would still have so much impact on me?   This is just another step in my process of a year of “Release”.

The summer I turned 15 we were going through some very difficult times.  We were supposed to be going to court that summer but it kept getting pushed back from one later date to another later date.  But that is a whole completely different story.  During that time, my mother was a waitress at a truck stop.  She had worked there for many years and knew every trucker that came through our home town.  I am sure that she thought she knew them well, as they exchanged lots of stories between meals.

I don’t even know how the situation came about that I found myself in, except to say that my mom was gullible.  She knew a married trucker couple that came in the cafe a lot.  They seemed nice enough and sometime during that summer they somehow talked my mom into letting my younger sister, who was 13 at the time, go with them on one of their trips.  At that time from some of the experiences I had been through, I felt that my sister was too young to go on a long road trip by herself with two people that were to us complete strangers.  So I asked, actually, I begged to go in her place instead, since I was two years older I could handle myself better.  But I was gullible too, I ignored the fact that they were complete strangers to me; my mom knew them so they were safe.

I was so excited about the trip, but my sister was mad at me for a long time for taking her place.  All I told her when I got back was that she should be glad that she had not gone.  I often think about that time and how mad she was at me.  I chose to let her stay mad at me than tell her what had happened to me on that trip.  There are a lot of things that happened on that trip that I have blocked out.  For instance I swore to myself that I would always remember their names, but I have so completely blocked them that all I can say is that they were married.  Or at least that is what they told my mom, I don’t know for sure.  I also blocked out how long that trip actually was, I have no clue how long I was gone.  The only thing I know for sure is that it took two days for me to get home on the bus.

The first couple days were great; I got to see a lot of the country that I had never been in before.  I was excited to be going on a cross country road trip.  By the third day I was starting to get a little bored and a little home sick so I started asking when we were going to be heading back home.  That’s when things started getting strange.  They kept putting off the answer, saying they had to check with where the next load was going, etc.  That night they raped me.  The wife held me down while the man did what he did.  He kept saying that he was told how much I liked what he was doing.  Those words alone let me know that this had been set up somehow by my step-father.  When they were done doing what they did, all I remember doing was curling up on the floor of the truck and crying.  They did the same thing to me the next night and all I can remember doing was crying and begging to be taken home.  I really can’t remember after that if they raped me again or how long after that second night it took them to take me to the bus.  I just know that it wasn’t right away and that they had to make a detour to get me to the bus stop.

I truly believe that the only thing that saved my life during that trip was the fact that my mom and everyone that had been in the cafe the day I left knew who they were and that I had gone with them.  Plus I promised them that I would never tell anyone about what happened.  They took me from somewhere in Utah to Cheyenne, Wyoming and put me on a bus home.  That was the longest trip I had ever taken by myself.  I was alone on a bus with more complete strangers.  I think that the bus drivers must have felt sorry for me because they kept a pretty close eye on me and made sure that I made it back on the bus every time I got off at a stop.

I came back from that trip a lot quieter and a lot angrier.  I had a wall built up pretty big that made trusting anyone more difficult.  And I never told anyone, especially my sister.  The only thing I ever told her was that she should be glad that she had not gone on the trip, that it wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be.  My dear sister, I know that you read my blog sometimes and I am sorry that I made you stay home that summer and that you could not go on that trip.  But, in the same breath, I am so very thankful that I talked mom out of it and you could not go on that trip.  You would have left home an innocent child and come back home broken.

I see in the news all the time about the girls that just disappear, here one moment and then they just simply vanish.  I know deep down that I was extremely blessed because I could have so easily been one of them.  I don’t know how closely I came to being one of the disappeared.  I am thankful for whatever reason it was that this couple did not choose to make me one of them.  Those girls that just disappear, I know they aren’t all runaways; some just go on a great road trip with someone they know.  Someone they trusted helped to make them one of the disappeared.  I wonder did this couple help a few of them along the way.  Based on what they did to me, and how easily I let them get away with it, I am sure that I wasn’t the first and I probably wasn’t the last.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. livingwithshadows
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 06:31:46

    i can’t bring myself to click “like” on this because i hate it! i hate what you were put through and admire how you have coped. i have my own personal expereinces and know how hard it is, usually there is some reminder every day not matter how long ago it was and suddenly i become that frightened child again for a few seconds until my mask slips back into place.thank you for sharing



    • CharleneMcD
      Feb 12, 2014 @ 06:51:02

      By the time that happened I was so used to being abused by others that I never gave it the name it was. You don’t have to click like either. I have read other posts that I find clicking on like extremely difficult. In my mind I have changed the word “like” to “I Was Here”



      • livingwithshadows
        Feb 12, 2014 @ 07:04:11

        yes wouldn’t an i read this button be more appropriate at times! what can i say but i also understand that. when my step-father started abusing me i knew it felt shameful but i just thought it was something that men did by then! people say that child abuse is more prevalent these days but really i do think it’s less now with more awareness.. i believe it was simply hidden and not spoken off in our day and before. when i was raped by an employer and then by a friend’s uncle i never told anyone or went to the police. i had already been down that road with my stepfather and couldnt face to go through it again. i got a bad name for myself after that.. any guy showed interest in me i would instigate sex, it was easier to offer it than say no and be hurt. anyway that is something i will get around to talking about on my blog at some point.



        • CharleneMcD
          Feb 12, 2014 @ 07:12:47

          I went down that road for a bit too, not realizing that my body was a temple and I did not have to give it away piece by piece. I was so blessed to have met my husband at a fairly young age (we got married when I was 20) and my life changed for the better. I have never had to deal with that type of abuse as an adult and I think God did it that way because of the horrible abuse I went through as a child. I am sorry you had to go through that as an adult.



  2. late start studio
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 19:16:08

    Respect Charlene, complete respect. Kia kaha . . . stand strong!



  3. donna0418
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 00:06:48

    Why is it that most often family is the last to know something? But then, vaguely, I also seem to remember that things changed during the summers of our teen years. Indeed summers were about the only time we got to visit, and then only for a couple of days. I am so sorry you had to experience this! I wish I could just embrace you in the biggest hug. I do hope that your revealing this will bring release to you and maybe assist some other person in their own difficulties. Love you!



    • CharleneMcD
      Jan 29, 2014 @ 00:17:14

      Donna, some how writing this post and sharing it has helped. I feel lighter in having released that memory. This happened around the time you were in college and I don’t think you had been to visit in a couple years by then. My blog posts are morphing and becoming more personal. Ever since Scott passed away, I realized that by sharing a story of recovery I might be able to give someone out there hope that there is a light at the end of whatever dark tunnel they are traveling through. Sending you lots of love.



  4. Capt Jill
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 18:35:01

    Thank you for sharing that story. I’m sorry that happened to you. Something similar happened to me. Also to my younger sister. She didn’t make it through and died at only 17. My mother was more than just gullible, she was informed but chose not to believe what she was told.
    I’m not yet able to figure it ALL out, either for me or for her. Like you, I don’t know if even I know the WHOLE story. I do know that what happened has affected my whole life, even now all this time later. 😦
    It’s sad, but I have heard these kinds of stories from almost everyone I know. I wonder if we really have any ‘normal’ families here anymore?



  5. Miriam Dixon
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 06:03:42

    Dear Charlene,

    Thank you for sharing and unburdening your heart. Every victim, whether the abuse is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, needs a way to heal.
    My prayer to our Lord is your healing, one day, be completed in the belief, faith and knowledge that Christ is strengthening your spirit each day. You are His, paid by the price of His shed blood on a cross.

    A rich, old hymn found in every Baptist hymnal goes something like this:

    Every sin had to go, ‘neath the crimson flow – Hallelujah! Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away, every burden of my heart rolled away!

    God is with you on your journey, and my prayer is He will protect other precious young girls from the ugliness of evil and abuse in any form.

    Your blog is filled with God’s love, even through the ugliness of the evil and abuse. Your love for a younger sister, especially. Today, you use your talents to help many in a small town who love the library, love to read. God is using you, your blogs and pen scratches, your unique and delicately colored drawings. You have a great gift, Charlene.

    May I leave you with this scripture verse from Romans 8:28

    “All things work together for good, to those who love God and are called, according to His purpose.”

    Letting go of the past, especially one where there is any type trauma, is very difficult. God’s desire is to bring you to accept His love, trust in His healing ways, and you are doing this. How awesome and faithful is God’s love. You are His child.

    Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for bringing Charlene to Society Hill to show others Your love for them. Help Charlene to sense Your presence daily, guide her steps, protect Charlene from all harm, and give her renewed strength for each day as we read Your Holy Word together and learn more and more about Jesus’ love for us. In His name we pray, amen

    Sincerely yours,



    • CharleneMcD
      Jan 23, 2014 @ 07:34:06

      Thank you Miriam, God put you in my life for a reason, and I have come to believe it is for encouragement. You bless my day every time I see you. I am so glad we found that common link when we first met (your cousin) and that we have become friends. May God bless your week in ways you never expected. Don’t you love little gifts from God on days you need them most.
      Bless you dear friend,



  6. tric
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 04:52:50

    If for any reason you change your mind on anonymity just let me know. Your letter is very powerful. I can see this has opened a can of worms for you but hopefully this will allow those worms be emptied once and for all.
    Sometimes when I think back to what happened to me, I am proud. Proud that I have survived and lived a relatively “normal” life since.
    You should be mega proud. xx



    • CharleneMcD
      Jan 23, 2014 @ 07:41:51

      Thank you Tric,
      No, I am not going to change my mind on the anonymity. I am proud too. There were a few times there when I was a young adult that I could have easily gone off track, but I was determined not to let what happened to me run or ruin my life. There are times when I look back at my childhood and think, man I had a great childhood. There was lots of laughter, lots of love, lots of family time. But then the other side rears its ugly head and says “How could it be so great with this in the room.” So I like to tell people that I had a schizophrenic childhood, or was it a Sybil childhood – there were definitely two distinct personalities in that childhood.



      • tric
        Jan 23, 2014 @ 09:08:11

        I so get you on you schizophrenic childhood. My family were unaware what was happening so on one level life was such fun but on the other side it was really dreadful.



  7. mewhoami
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 01:38:14

    This is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine going through what you did. You’re very brave to share your story. Although it was difficult to do so, I’m certain it will help someone. If anything, to know that they are not alone.



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