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My Story - Toni

I want to praise God that He has been with me every step of the way.  I will start where my memories began.  My dad left when I was two.  I don’t remember that much about him.  I never had any kind of male figure until mom married my stepfather.  He was a horror.  My mom went to work in a power plant.  Most of the women worked because of the war.  She tried to work and take care of my sis and I.  When we did not do as she asked, she would lock us in a small dark closet. My sis and I would yell and scream and beg for her to please let us out.  We always thought we heard noises.  We would get so tired we would finally just give up and sit on the paper box that was in the closet.

Mom and her new husband would get drunk and fight.  When he would beat us, she just watched him, we were so frightened.  When my stepfather would beat my sis and I, it was like mom was paralyzed.  We always felt like we were walking on eggshells when he was around.   We never knew what kind of mood he would be in.

My sis and I were raped by my uncle when she was 7 and I was 8.  My aunt and uncle had a T.V …our family didn’t.  They made a lot more money than our family did.  We thought a T.V. was a big deal.  When our aunt would go see one of her relatives on Saturday, my uncle would come to the house and ask mom if we could come to his house and watch T.V.  That is what he would tell our mom.  I don’t think she had any idea what was going on.

When we got to his house, he would show us little nasty comic books.  I still remember the program he always wanted us to watch with him.  The program was “Big Top”.  He liked to see the women with the small costumes on. I have never gone to a circus, too many memories.  I could go to one now, since my healing.

Mother always told us that if we didn’t be good she would send us to the “Girls Home”.  That was the scary house that they sent bad girls to.  My uncle knew this and he would always remind us of it.

I can’t remember the first time he raped us.  It all ran together. I do know that it went on for around 4 years.  I can’t grasp everything that happened.  He penetrated me.  I can’t remember it.  Thank God for taking away the memories and pain of the penetration.  The reason I know that he did is, mom saw my bloody panties.  She thought I started my period.  The subject was never brought up again.  So I didn’t know what really happened.

It was about that time that I started sticking pins in my feet.  I would pull the skin from my heels.  I didn’t know that this was one of the signs of emotional disturbance.  A long time of disfiguring myself.   As time went on I started beating my head against the refrigerator, walls, and cars.  I would do this on anything hard and solid.  I cut myself with razors, glass, cans.  Sometimes when I couldn’t find anything sharp, I would use my fingernails to scratch myself.  When the pain is so bad on the inside you use what you can to make the pain on the outside more intense.  It never works.  There is never any relief in doing this.  You are just hurting yourself.

I became promiscuous.  There was so much pain.  I would try anything.  That was my life as I knew it.  I really didn’t care what happened.

I was seeing a guy and I thought  I had fallen “in love” with him.  We talked about me getting pregnant so we could get married and get me out of the house I was living in.  That was my way of getting out of the Hell Hole. I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.  I got pregnant and married when I was 14.  I turned 15 in June and my first baby boy was born in August. After we got married things got worse.  My husband was an alcoholic.  At that time that was the only way, I knew to live.  We moved from place to place.  When he wanted sex, he took sex.  I got pregnant again at 16. I had another precious boy.

My husband left us in one room with kitchen privileges.  He had stayed away from us before but this time he didn’t come back.  After 4 or 5 days the furniture truck pulled up to our door and took our bedroom suit. That was all the furniture we had. The boys had a small red wagon.  I filled it with personal things.  I held a baby on my hip and the other hand pulling the wagon.  My oldest boy was holding on to the back of the wagon.  We hit the sidewalks.  I was 16 and I had 2 little boys and nowhere to go.  I didn’t know what to do.

My stepfather would not let us stay at their house.  We slept at the Salvation Army, cars and graveyards.   Once in a while, someone would let us stay overnight.  I even went to the uncle’s house that raped me.  I would do anything to have a place for my children to sleep.  My aunt told me that since I was on the street, she was afraid to let us in her house.  I loved my aunt very much.  Too much to let her know about her husband.  She was not well and I was worried that this would do her in.  She never knew.  You learn who your friends and even your family are.

It came to the point that I knew I had to have help for my babies.  I went to the Welfare Department for help.  I didn’t want them to take my babies.  I just wanted to get help.  What would it be, I didn’t know.  This hurt more than I could ever tell anyone.  I was afraid they would take them.  They bought us lunch.  I couldn’t eat.  My boys pigged out.  Thanks be to God they got us a 2 room apartment (kitchen and bedroom).  I was so very, very glad that I could keep my children with me.   This is the beginning of my life.

There is so much more to my story.  It will be told at another time.  There were more rapes and beatings. I didn’t know who to love.  I didn’t know how to love.  I was always on the lookout for someone that would love me the way my flesh wanted to be loved.  I wanted to change the men I was with.  Guess who got changed????  I was homeless for more than one time.  I finally had to put the children in a children’s home.  I wound up having 5 children.  I love every one of them.  I am in my seventies now and expect to live a long time.   My dreams now are to help whoever I can.

There are so many women that have gone through so much abuse and rape and are afraid or ashamed to tell it.  Let go of your fear.  There are thousands in the same place that you are.  I give so much credit to Reclaim Global and our very own Dr. Kaye.  It seems that seeing ladies set free from all the abuse, anger, low self-esteem, the ability to stand up for themselves.  To take charge of their life and the things that are going on around them.  This is her mission in life and I am so glad that I have the privilege of knowing and loving her.   Please don’t wait until you are an old person.  It is great to feel loved and protected.  When I heard about reclaim, I knew that was my freedom.  It is a safe place to fall.  If you stumble you will have someone to pick you up and hold your hand through the hold program.  If you want to cry, you can cry, and we will cry with you. You will be with ladies that have walked where you are walking.  We understand.   Our hearts will break for you.  The end is the absolute best. When you walk out the door, you will feel like thousands of pounds have been lifted off you.  (((((They Were))))     FREEDOM is GREAT.

I couldn’t have made it without my Lord Jesus Christ.  I am so happy that God is going to use my past to help people that are hurting.  My God is going to take what Satan meant for evil and turn it into good.

What an awesome God we serve!!!!!!

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