Tag Archives: Child sexual abuse

Jane Street and Woolner Ave

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario Canada. For those who don’t know where Toronto is, it is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. It is the most multicultural city in Canada.  It is the provincial capital of Ontario. It’s where everything happens.

This is the place that I immigrated to at the age of 5 and left at the age of 29. It is the city that I am trying to desperately move back to.  My current community is not home anymore.

I grew up at Jane Street and Woolner Ave in a high-rise building. We lived on the fourteenth floor. As a child, I thought my street was the safety place in the world. The kids I hung out with and grew up with had tons of freedom. We would leave our apartments in the morning and not return until dinner time.  We got in tons of trouble.

The illusion that my street was safe changed when I was 12. The year I was raped by two men on my way home from the corner store. As soon as I could get away, I did. I never looked back.

As an adult, I found out that my street was a well-known area for dealing drugs. I was shocked because I never saw that part of my community. Now when I do look back at my childhood, I do recall things that were a bit….odd.

There were always guys hanging out at this one store, they were there everyday.  All day long. They never left to go to work or to go anywhere else.

Also, I recall coming home from vacation one summer to hear about a man who lived in my building who had killed himself, his wife and his child. He left another child alone in the apartment with the dead bodies. He jumped in front of a train. I am not sure if this was true or not.  But that was the rumour.

So, as I write this I am interested to know if anything has changed about my childhood community.  I haven’t been back since I was 18 and now I am in my forties.  I found out that:

“Jane and Woolner is home to many new immigrants from various backgrounds, this area was once ruled by drug and gang activity, but now is slowly emerging from its troubled past. The main gang inhabiting the area are the South Side Gatorz as well as their subset the Junior Gatorz, but members of transnational Hispanic gangs such as the Latin Kings as well as MS-13 have been known to frequent the Woolner Apartments as well.”  If you want to read more, click here.

I am shocked that there was gang activity. It’s funny how your world is so small when you’re a child, and you see what you want to see and nothing else.  Jane Street.  Woolner Ave.  I don’t think I will be going back there anytime soon.

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The verdict Is In…….

And the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board held their hearing regarding my application.  They have  decided that I will receive an undisclosed financial amount for pain and suffering and additional funds for ongoing therapy.

I have never seen my hospital report after my rape, but today I was told I had severe physical injuries.  I have been vindicated!

SOLDIER-BOY

Closure

Editing challenge

I became a victim of a crime in 1985.    I never knew the offenders who changed my life but for 29 years we lived in close quarters of guilt and shame.  I lived and breathed everything about these men because they took my childhood innocence away.

At the age of 41, I went to see a therapist because I felt that it was my fault that my sixteen year relationship had failed.   We talked for a few sessions about the relationship and how I ended up sitting in his office.

After a few sessions I quietly mention that I want to talk about something that happened to me when I was 12.  He asks me if I would feel better talking to a female therapist.

My new counsellor leans in to listen to what I say.  At first my voice is very quiet almost a whisper as I tell her that I was raped by two men then molested by a babysitter.  I tell her that my mother never believed me.

She doesn’t flinch she looks right at me as if she has heard my story before.

She makes me walk through the events of my rape several times.  What was the weather like,  what did I see and what did I smell.  I was able to tell her all these things and I remembered things about that day that I had thought I had long time buried.

The more I told it to my therapist,  the more louder my voice became.  I felt stronger.   I was no longer this 12 year old victim but I was a 41 year old survivor who was telling her story.

I wasn’t angry at these men for hurting me anymore.   They held me captive for over 30 years and I was so tired of being owned by a situation that happened so very long ago

In less than three days, I go before the Criminal Compensation Board for Victims of Crime and I get to tell my story to a panel of people who can give me justice in this case.  Financial justice.

I don’t know how I will feel on that day but I assume I will be very nervous.  Will they believe me? What will they ask me? How will I feel? Is this the closure I will need to finally move on?

 

 

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

Over the last few days, I have been overwhelmed with the fact that there are many people in my life who I have not forgiven for the pain and the hurt that they have caused me over the years.  I hold a bitter grudge and a dangling chain of animosity and anger when the thoughts of their actions, words or at times their existence even crosses my mind.  To be honest, when I think of what they have done to me, my anger is so overwhelming it can take me a week to push it aside and process my pain.  To be more honest, my angry towards these people have forced me to make some very impulsive decisions that I wish in hindsight I could take back.

I am not an evil person. I want to say that I am kind, generous, loving and caring.  That is the person, I strive to be and the person that is hidden behind and below the surface of my pain.

But when it comes to forgiving those who have crossed me in any way, I wish them double the pain and anguish that I went through at their hands.  The men who raped and molested me, my mother who abused me, my father who did not protect me, the ex who cheated on me and the grade one girls who teased me, it is these people who I blame for the anger that seethes below the surface.

But my anger and my inability of not being able to let go of my pain, has nothing to do with these people but everything to do with me.  I have not forgiven myself.  I cannot forgive all those people who hurt me, if I have not forgiven myself for whatever faults or mistakes I have made.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Did I need my mother to apologize for being horrible at parenting me?  Did I need those men who raped me to know how their actions have impacted me?  Do I really need my ex to look me in the face and say he was sorry?  What would change if I got all of these things?  Sure, I think I would feel somewhat liberated to know that for once, my voice was heard and my pain was revealed.  But what would be next, would I be a different person, would the walls I built around my heart, my life and my spirit come crumbling down and free me?

My struggle with forgiveness begins with me.  It is up to me to forgive the mistakes and choices that I have made on my journey through this life.  I need to forgive the shame I feel for being a semi survivor of child hood sexual abuse.  (I will explain this later). I need to forgive my mother for being physically and emotionally abusive towards me. I need to forgive my ex for infidelity.  It it only through doing these things that I can truly be free from my own painful childhood.  It is only through doing these things will I be able to forgive those who hurt me.  Without self forgiveness and self love, I will always be a caged gorilla, beating on my chest, screaming out…look at me, see my pain.

I don’t know about you, but forgiving yourself is not an easy task to undertake.  It begins with really evaluating every aspect of yourself, your life, your choices and your mistakes and coming to terms with all of that.  It is about realizing that you are not perfect, nor should you strive to be.  Its about coming full circle with the fact that not only have you been hurt and injured but you have also hurt and injured other people.  I really want to forgive those who hurt me, the anger is only a mask.  So, the journey begins with me being able to say and accept the fact that I made some horrible mistakes along the way.  But I am ready now.

“Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here?
I want to be.
I can.
I believe it.” 
― Veronica Roth

 

Stop Child Sexual Abuse

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape.  By the time I was twelve years old, I had been molested twice and raped by two men.  I will tell my own story in another post and at another time.

For now, this is  the story of my friend  I.C., who pressed charges against her sexual abuser and got “justice.”  I think sometimes, she thinks it wasn’t enough what this man got for the trauma, pain and destruction he caused her.  She no longer has a relationship with her mother and other family members, who have called her a liar, although the man who hurt her plead guilty.

But, for me and I believe  for many other survivors of sexual abuse, she got justice not only for herself, but for all of us who will never have a chance to face our abusers in court.  I don’t even know who the men were that raped me and so many other survivors are in the same position.  We live with our painful hearts, broken spirits, distrust, confidence and esteem issues.

She is an inspiration to me, she helped me to begin to face my own demons of the past.  That is how we met, sometimes damaged people know how to find each other.  “Oh look, she is like me, she is a broken spirit too.”  She is brave, she is a survivor and a fighter.  So, I want to share her story with you.  Feel free to LIKE the Facebook group, if you have been through what I.C. has been through, you will find on that group a community of people who share the same pain you do!