“You Can Wash My Back” He Slyly Grinned

Guest Blogger today!

~By Kristy

“Said the spider to the fly, ‘come on in.’”

My Uncle Dick is the spider and I am the fly. He used to have me wash him when he was in the tub.  Oh yeah, you can wash my front, too, he said.

During the summers when I was 10-12 years old I spent a lot of time at my Grandmother Inga’s home in Lowell, MA. She and Herman, her husband lived downstairs but slept upstairs. My Uncle Dick (her youngest son of 3 boys) lived with his wife Pat upstairs, as well. It was 1959-61. I was just beginning to get breasts. I was tall, lean, long legged, and very shy.

I think my parents sent me to stay with them for weeks or weekends because my two younger sisters were like a different family: There was 10 years between me and my youngest sister and 7 years between me and the middle one.  It was more “cozy” for them without me there to disrupt the idyll of the young family.

In reality, my Mom was a paranoid schizophrenic on clozapine, had had numerous shock treatments at an insane asylum in Maryland, where we lived in an apartment in the mid-1950 and my sister Laura was born in 1956. Postpartum depression turned to psychosis.

The fights between my parents I witnessed were excruciating and physically violent. I was stabbed by Mom with a pencil because she was jealous Dad rubbed my thigh. She made all sorts of accusations that he was cheating on her. She did crazy things like filling his ignition with glue and match sticks to keep him at home. All in all, it led to Dad having her committed to the asylum. She was there almost a year before my Aunt and Uncle, Mom’s siblings, came from Massachusetts to sign her out. Laura had been sent to live with my Aunt during this time, Maria was not yet born.

So out of asylum and on drugs she was mute, passive, and scared to say anything. We moved to Massachusetts so we could all live near Mom’s family, as that seemed best for her. Dad got another job working for the government and was away a lot. I had to make sure Mom took her meds while he was gone, under threat of punishment.

When Maria was born in 1959, Mom had her second nervous breakdown. The cops came and took her away in a strait-jacket. Screaming. She had tried to kill my Dad with a knife. She was in for a year again at Worcester State Hospital and had more shock treatments.

My Grandparents came to stay with us so my Dad could work.  So we formed a tight bond. I loved them a lot. They were the “normal” in my life. So after Mom came back from the hospital I began to be sent away to their house in Lowell for summer weeks…

That was the beginning of my Uncle Dick “grooming” me for sex. He would buy me things, take me driving, sit me at the bar at the Country Club” and buy me Shirley Temples to drink. He liked to rub my thighs and have me sit next to him on his sofa upstairs. His wife Pat and my Grandma Inga would go to choir practice. Uncle Dick would make popcorn and play cards or Monopoly with me. He usually made me cry at some point of the game. Power-Over was the game here. He would threaten to not let me go home if I didn’t be “nice” to him.

Then one hot summer evening I was sleeping on his sofa, everyone else was also sleeping, I thought. But he came to the couch and put his hand over my face and said “Shhhhhhh.” He had his penis in his hand and stuck it in my face, forcing my mouth open. I was choking, but trying to be “good” to be “quiet”…And so the ritual began. All sorts of weird sex. With the threat not to tell or else I would be severely punished.

After almost 2 years I finally told my Mom what was going on. It was in the kitchen doorway near the dining room table. I will never forget what she did. She slapped me. She said I am going to tell your Father what you said when he gets home. And she did.  I was 13.

Neither of them believed me. Oh, they would not let me go to Grandma’s house anymore. But they told me to forget it. I was a liar.

So I took Mom’s whole bottle of clozapine, and tried to commit suicide. They found me and had my stomach pumped out at Clinton Hospital. Then I was sent to St. Vincent’s in Worcester for “observation”. A psychiatrist wanted me to start treatment but Dad came to the hospital and said “I am the Doctor in this family. I will treat her.” And he signed me out. He neglected to say he was a Doctor of Physics, not medicine.

I will NEVER forget the ride home. I was in the backseat and he drove with Mom in front. He looked in the rear view mirror at me and said “If you ever tell anyone anything that goes on in this family, you really will wish you were dead.” Mom turned in her seat and parroted “Yes, Kristy, you will wish you really were dead.” My little soul was crushed.

I never did tell or talk about it again until I was 40 years old. I had a mini- breakdown of my own. I got counseling and healed best I could, but it was recommended to get the truth out, not let it fester. So I confronted them and they were horrible. Laura was horrible, too, taking their side. She said “Get over it.” She sent me a book in the mail “Co-dependent no more” or something like that. I had already read it on my own. I am an avid reader.

To this day we do not speak. She showed her true colors again when my parents died, by taking over their estate when Dad contracted Alzheimer’s. My younger sister Maria and I no longer speak to her.

We never saw Uncle Dick again, at least I didn’t. I got pregnant in senior year of HS, then married the day after I turned 18. It was the only way to get away from them that I could think of at the time, other than suicide.

And the moral of the story is “Believe what your children say and help them heal from sexual abuse. Nurture their lives with love and understanding.”

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9 Responses to “You Can Wash My Back” He Slyly Grinned

  1. Natalie says:

    This is the first story that is similar and echoes mine… My mum was admitted to a psychiatric ward when my dad left us on Christmas eve for a 19 year old girl, I was 7. My uncle had been abusing me from the age of 6. It went on until I was 19… Lots of other things went on and he made me believe we were in love and that we were going to run away. He is six years older than me…so it was child on child abuse when it first started but then obviously transitioned into an adult abusing a child when he turned 18 and I was 12… I have only recently told the police…as there was concern for other young girls in our family, so I spoke out for them. The only one that truly supports
    Me is my mother, yet that’s still sometimes difficult. It looks as though I was the only one it had happened too, but there is talk that my nan abused him… Child abuse is a vicious cycle. It’s time to shine a light on it and to show that we will not be victims anymore, but survivors. Much love and support to you kristy x x x x

  2. Alethea says:

    Kristy, it’s amazing what children can survive, and your story is so important for people to read because society needs to understand how much child sexual abuse is covered up. If your parents were willing to protect your UNCLE, and with such vehemence, then think how many parents are sexually abusing their children and covering for each other. A spouse is much more likely to cover up abuse and protect the offender if they are the spouse, than an uncle or cousin etc.

    Thank you so much for voicing your story.

  3. shanakd9 says:

    As a teenager I contemplated suicide, but I really didn’t want to die, I just wanted to cry out for help, I knew though that if I did, they would let me die. They wouldn’t care and would be annoyed that I did it. HOrrible parents. Again I am so sorry that you had the awful past that you did. I am sorry that we can relate to the hell of sexual abuse.

    • Cati says:

      I’m really sorry that Kristy had to go through that. I can only imagine the confusion that comes with sexual abuse, but the isolation and the denial inside the family are about the same in all types of abuse. And it is crushing.

      I was never sexually abused, but emotionally and psychologically abused every single day. At age 13 I tried to kill myself, I remember thinking that the situation would go on forever and I would never escape them. My abuser’s only response to that cry for help was “you better succeed next time, and we are never talking about this again”. We’ve never talked about it to this day, and I’m 34. It only made things worse, but I really saw no other way out.

      • Alethea says:

        Cati, I am deeply sorry for your suffering. I find that because they say not to ever talk about it again, it means they know damn well how much pain they caused you and that your suicide attempt is their doing. Pretty painful for a parent to ‘hope you succeed’ at a suicide attempt.

  4. little nel says:

    I am sorry that you had been so hurt and crushed at such a tender age.

    Your parents were wrong to say that you were a liar and then to deny you therapy after the suicide attempt. Give your brain and hug and a kiss for the great post and keep on speaking out.

    I too have read the book Codependent No More. It’s a great eye opener that allows us to put away our denial system and face the truth about our lives.

  5. shanakd9 says:

    that is awful Patricia. I am so glad you got the hell out of there. What a horrible experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. I am so sorry this happened to you and when you told your parents didn’t believe you. I never told until I was 38. Codependant No More was a life saver for me when I read it after being introduced to it in a 12-Step meeting. It does not tell you to “get over it” or to stay in denial as your sister aparently is. I applaud you for the courage to speak out and to heal. You are worth healing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    thank you for sharing your story, Kristy. i wish you well on your journey.

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