I started writing this specific post about a year ago. It’s taken me this long to write, re-write, delete, cry, find the courage and finally publish it. Even if it’s baby steps I will continue to share every incident that happened to me. Why? Because how can I encourage others to speak up, come forward and be brave, If I can’t do it myself. I want to walk in my own journey, it’s very important to me!
Disclaimer: I recently in the last year or so reconnected with some family members (YAY! so happy and Blessed for that happening) and I struggled to share the “name” of my uncle. However, I have 5 uncles and I don’t want anyone accusing the wrong person. The uncle that did this was Robert Renteria!
(Me and my two sisters) We have only a handful of pictures of us as kids. This is one of them, blurry but still a photo I cherish.
It started with him paying a lot of attention to me, telling me I was his “girl”, giving me beer (yes beer!) in my bottle when I was an infant. I had a very close relationship with him and he was my “favorite” uncle. I wasn’t old enough to know what he was doing was grossly wrong/sexual abuse/molestation. I’ve struggled with the emotions that I genuinely loved my uncle and how I could love someone who did this to me.
The incident that happened to me when I was 17 years old has been one of the most difficult to open up about. I believe part of it was feeling ashamed and I never wanted to upset my grandmother. I remember moving out and getting my own apartment at the age of 17, going to school to finish my Senior year and having a part-time job. Things seems to be heading in the right direction and I was pretty proud of myself. After living in my first apartment for about a month, I heard a knock on my door. I run to the door thinking it’s a friend stopping by. I open the door and there stood my grandmother, who I had not seen for eight years. The last time I saw her I had been placed in foster care at the age of 10. I remember her trying to get custody of me and my two sisters. We would go and visit her on the weekends. I remember going to a few Court hearings and expressing that I wanted to live with my grandmother. I loved her very much and I remember her always trying to protect us from her own daughter (my biological mother). However, on a scheduled weekend visit no one could find my grandmother. It’s like she had vanished and we didn’t know what was going on with her. After months of not being able to track her down there was nothing we could do. So my sisters and I remained in foster care for the next 7 years.
Fast forward to the age of 17 and that knock on my door. There stood my grandmother! I was beyond happy to see her because I had missed her for so long. Standing next to her was my uncle who was my molester. I never wanted to disappoint my grandmother or upset her. So I did not say anything to her and I just pretended like everything was alright. I invited my grandma and uncle in to catch up. My grandmother explained they had nowhere to go and they were here to stay. This was very typical of the way my family lived. They would literally pack up at the drop of a dime and venture off to wherever with no real plan. I remember telling my grandma she could stay with me since I had an extra bedroom. At the age of 17, I didn’t know what else to do and I was also conflicted with wanting to be with my grandmother. I ignored the fact that I also invited my molester/uncle to stay. This same night my uncle came into my room and molested me again. It’s still difficult to think about and talk about what happened that night. For so many years I blamed myself. I felt like I had to grow up pretty fast when I chose to move out at the age of 17. So I held myself accountable and felt like I should of been mature enough to make adult decisions. I looked at myself as an adult and I repeatedly asked myself why didn’t I say no?
The truth is even though I had my own apartment. I was still a young kid trying to grow up into an adult world quickly. I have to remind myself of this because I can easily fall back into the bad habit of blaming myself. I will fight hard to never fall into old patterns again.
I have never publicly shared this and I have only told 1 person because of the shame I felt. There are incidents I remember and some my brain has blocked out due to the trauma. As hard as this may be to write or for YOU to read, please don’t feel sad. I want you to know that I am Surviving and Thriving!