She’s Not the Person She Once Was

Abuse, Domestic Violence, Facing Teen Violence in Muncie, Indiana, Teen Dating Violence

Lisa’s story as told by Pam Fancher

She won’t talk about any of this or get any counseling for the rape. She feels like she survived and it’s over. I think she has been raped by at least two other men, but she doesn’t think of it as rape. It’s like something inside of her just shut down. She looks like the same girl, but she’s not the same daughter I had before she was raped.

My thirteen year old daughter was alone after school. I worked at a homeless shelter second shift and got home about 9:30at night. We lived in a small town, like Mayberry. I had somebody right next door who owned a business that would look in on my daughter, so I figured everything was fine.

So, there was this boy in the neighborhood who wanted to go out with my daughter. He was older, seventeen almost eighteen, I said no, she is too young to date, and definitely too young to date someone as old as him. I later found out that the boy broke into my apartment and was waiting inside the house before she got home from school. He cut her clothes off of her with a knife and forced her to have sex with him. She had bruises and bite marks all over her.

He told her that if she said anything, he would kill me. He had an elaborate story about how he would get into the apartment and shoot me in the head with a nail gun. I know she believed him. It’s troublesome to me that she was raped several times and manipulated with this fear that he would kill me. Her father isn’t around; I was all she had.

She didn’t tell me what had been happening to her. She was just too afraid. I started to notice something was different about her, but I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe it was just thirteen-year-old drama; everything is a big deal. But then I realized I hadn’t had to buy feminine hygiene products for a few months. I asked her, and she said that she might be pregnant. We did a home pregnancy test and sure enough she was. I took her to an ob-gyn and also to a counselor.

I thought everything between us was good. We always got along really well. I was surprised to find out she had been telling her counselor that she hated me. She had the idea that it was supposed to be mommy, daddy, and baby. I believe now that she just didn’t know how to handle what was happening to her. It was easier to be angry with me. When we would go to her ob-gyn appointments, she would sit on the floor and play with the wire bead baby toy. In time she would tell me that she was just wishing she could go back, like a child, and this wouldn’t be happening to her.

The doctor had to call children’s services because she was only thirteen, so then we had to go through all of that process. First, they had to make sure that I hadn’t contributed to this happening. I wasn’t selling my daughter nor did I have some man living with me that was abusing my child. But it just added to the difficulty of the whole situation that we had to face. Children’s services determined that she had a crush on the boy and would have been happy to cuddle and kiss, but nothing more. He had raped her.

The legal system raped us too. Nothing happen to him. They dropped the charge from rape to “encourageable.” He got probation and a “no contact order” that he must stay away from her, but that was all.  It was ridiculous. The boy had admitted he had sex with her, that she was a virgin, and that he was the child’s father. Sometime later, that prosecutor died and new administration took over. They called me in and gave me a formal apology for how badly we had been treated and the mishandling of our case.

She didn’t want an abortion. But she knew she couldn’t be a mom. I told her I would raise the child. She had a baby girl, and we have always told her the truth that I’m Granny and that my daughter is mom, but I have always been the mother figure in her life. My daughter has more of a big sister role.          

After the baby was born, the boys’ mother encouraged her son to sue for custody. She tried to make it sound like it was my fault that I let my daughter get raped. The court would have at least granted him visitation so I urged my lawyer to insist that a mental evaluation be done on him, so he backed off.

My daughter has been through rape, birth, a criminal case, and a custody case before she was done with the eighth grade. After the baby was born, my daughter went to the Anderson Center for a short time. She needed help with self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. They helped her a lot.

A pattern developed as he would find out where she was going to be, and he would show up and continue to rape her. He became obsessed with her. He carved her name in his arm, on his chest, and on the dashboard of his car. The police did nothing. He even tried to take the baby out of the nursery when we went to church. He told my daughter he would get his daughter, cut her hair and take her to Canada. He continued to terrorize her for a long time.        

My daughter has PTSD and bipolar disorder because of all of that has happened to her. She went through a period of time where she did drugs, pills and stuff. She quit on her own. It’s like she needed to know she could conquer something. Now, she is going to school to become a drug counselor. My hope is that as she goes through these classes, maybe she will be able to take a look at herself and what she has been through. Maybe she will heal as she learns how to help others.

This story originally appeared in Facing Teen Dating Violence, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by A Better Way in Muncie, Indiana.

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