“In my hands”, that’s what I’m going to do I tell myself, I’m taking this matter into my own hands. I can’t do it anymore; I can’t pretend this isn’t happening. Not anymore. All at once it hits me like a rock to the face, gut and heart. I hear his voice again, I start to quiver I want to run and hide but I know that won’t work, he will find me. He always finds me. Should I scream? What do I do? If I don’t go he will beat me, and I don’t want to hurt any more than I have to. “I’m coming I called “and I was off to play a new game.
A game that I knew was wrong, I knew wasn’t going to feel good. I’m scared. As I walked towards his room, I thought of everything I could to get out of playing these games. He calls for me again; I know he is getting impatient And angry now, I better move it along so it won’t hurt so much. As my brother explains that this is a new game, I couldn’t imagine what could be next. All the games have been “new” and they were all equally as bad. I began to cry, he hates it when I cry he gets angry, yells and hits me. “Shut up! ” he screams. I stop knowing the punishment if I didn’t.
As he tells me to undress he starts to smile, I’m all of eight years old and Terrified of my own brother, my protector, and my family. I am not smiling I’m slowly dying Inside and don’t know what to do. I go along with it; I don’t think he thought he was doing anything wrong, he liked it too much. As he does unspeakable acts to me he laughs and calls me names, he’s only eleven, how does he know this stuff? These acts continued for a few months and stopped, they just stopped. To this day I don’t know why, I still can’t explain it to myself.
What I do know is I was weak, all thoughts and no action. That was until later in life. At seventeen I moved out and married a man twenty years my senior and in retrospect this man was also a child molester. But I will never forget the moment he asked me why I had such hate and resentments towards my brother and for the first time I said it out loud. I remember feeling as if wasn’t even me doing the speaking, like I had no control of my own words, “He raped me repeatedly as a child of eight years old”.
I will never forget the expression on his face. I’ll ever forget how good it felt when the words left my wounded heart and out of my mouth. Years later I received a phone call from a private detective in regards to my brother, I was stunned when this man told me at the same time I was being raped by my brother, he was doing the same thing to the five year old little girl who lived next door to me. I went speechless; I never told anybody about this how could this man know? The little girl from next door had told him of the incident, she had recalled my brother telling her that it was ok because he was doing it to me!
All these years she knew, she shared a horrible secret with me that I was completely unaware of. The detective wanted me to testify against my brother in her case and for me to tell him my story. I couldn’t do it. How could I betray him? I knew he had wronged me but should I shame myself, my family? I couldn’t do it, maybe due to low self-esteem, maybe it was some sick maternal love, I don’t know. It was a year later when I finally decided to act; I finally decided to speak out.
After a whole year to stew and fill with an anger that I had never felt before I was ready to act. It wasn’t just me he hurt, a five year old? What the fuck! What kind of sick fuck would do that? Not a good and decent person, not a person who had warm blood running through their veins. I had enough; I was taking it into my own hands. It was a cool, cloudy September day, it was the day I began to calculate my plan for revenge; for redemption. I called the detective from a year prior and told him I would be driving to Ohio in the morning to meet with him.
He was completely taken off guard and questioned Me on my change of heart, I responded with “Sir, my heart has never changed, but the hate I hold in it has” I hung up with that and met with him the next day. I told my story and I testified against my brother in the other girl’s case, I could not pursue my own charges due to the statute of limitations and the days were counting down on hers. I never saw any emotion on my brother’s face; it was as blank and cold as it was all those years ago. My brother got sentenced to one year in prison yes I said one year, so much for justice.
Although the justice system failed us, our stories were told and with our hearts not so heavy, a small sense of peace had been given back. Although he still claims to this day he did nothing that was accused of him, the truth was still the truth and I did not need him to believe it for me to start living again. The story Bonnie Jo Campbell’s “Family Reunion” was able to thumb a cord in my own heart. Marylou, a fourteen-year-old girl from the country has experienced a horrific event that would alter her style of life forever.
This quite young girl has had to deal with loss, disassociation, and the fact that her Uncle Cal had raped her. She holds on to the past, a past that was good that was fun and full of childhood play. She loves her cousins, her aunt and even her Uncle Cal, that’s a familiar scenario for me I still had love for the person who hurt me the most. In both cases I’m not so sure it was real love but a thought, a distorted type of delusion of what kind of love should have been there. It was a year after Marylou was raped that she chose to take revenge, another similarity.
It was the time she needed to process and come to grips with the reality of what took place that fateful day. There is no time more important than the day you begin to own the terrible act that had been done to you; this is the day the flood gates burst open and the emotions that have built up will release like a raging rapid that will destroy all that is in its path. That day came for Marylou on thanks giving, exactly one year after the rape took place. During that year Marylou had lost her voice as so many rape victims do, but in her case she chose to literally not speak.
Her voice was something she was the only one who had control of. She sharpened her senses and became a master killer, a trait that I envy. With every kill came a gutting, with every gutting came pain. It was Uncle Cal’s voice that spoke the words “you kill it, you gut it” words that held more meaning than she had anticipated. Grabbing her gun (she had become quite proficient with over the past year) she boarded the small boat to cross the pond that connected her property and Uncle Cal’s, she saw the festival that was taking place, she just had to go.
It was time to take matters into her own hands, for her own self for her own sense of peace. Although her father said no more hunting she couldn’t resist one more pull of the trigger. As she docks her boat she sees her uncle, she climbs into tree where she at that moment replays, confirms, and accepts the facts of that day. As she stares down at that sorry fuck, she knows it’s time to release the pain that’s in her heart, it’s time to pull the trigger one last time. As she aims she calmly chooses her targeted area, she is now prepared, she is taking back her life.
She pulls the trigger and watches as his dick erupts into a flow of blood, she is calm and now at peace. She has reclaimed her voice, a voice that is not always obtainable by victims of rape or trauma, she proves to herself and to all victims that not only should you take back what was taken from you, there is no right or wrong way of doing it. It took me facing my abuser for the sake of another to reclaim my voice; this young lady took off a pecker to reclaim hers. In a world where rape and trauma victims are rapidly increasing, where it has almost become a norm, something needs to be done, changes need to be made.
For each woman or man that has been raped, there has been another voice taken, another heart broken. With story’s like” Family Reunion” it opens the door for people to reclaim their voice or have the chance to take lives matters into their own hands. Just like the case in Sherman Alexie’s, “Toughest Indian In the World”, the story may differ in context but share a similar rebirth. This young Spokane Indian man was able to take his life’s matters into his own hands. Growing up in his Indian family with traditional values and a strong love for his Family and other Indians.
This Indian moved on to be a writer in the white world and hung onto some of the values that his father had passed down such as picking up hitchhikers. He had strayed far away enough from home he had conformed to the world his father hated, the white world. For so long he had suppressed a pain within him and longed for better, for more. He had a pain much like Marylou of not fitting in and wanting too, it shows as he buys his safe car and his safe job where he gets the shittest assignments. Marylou’s pain came from be raped but the urt of not fitting in with her own family is something she shares with the he Indian. Just as Marylou had to take life’s matters into her own hands the Indian had to make the decision to do the same, his just came in a different turn of events. On his way to an interview that had no real meaning or serious matter he decided to Pick up a hitchhiker, a hitchhiker that would change his life forever, just as Marylou’s uncle Had done to her life. The Lummi Indian he picked up was a ruff burly man who made his living fighting other Indians, and was on his way back to his reservation.
As the Spokane spoke to the hitch hiker he had to make it a point to change his dialect to prove just how Indian he still was. As they furthered down the road they began to get tired and decided to stop and get a hotel room for the night, this was the night the Spokane’s life would change, as they got ready for Bed the hitchhiker had moved into the bed with the Spokane and started to move in closer to Him, the Lummi’s dick was hard and things progressed from there, the Spokane was not gay but let the hitchhiker fuck him. He didn’t fight this he didn’t run from it he just took it as it was.
The Lummi Indian grabbed his things and had left, at that moment the Spokane had an awakening very similar to Marylou. Marylou and the Indian both had rebirth through violence and sex. Marylou had to let go of her meek female role and take on the role of a dominant male were as the Indian had to let go of his masculinity and take on the role of a female in order to let his rebirth take place. Through sex and violence these two very different people from very different walks in life took back what was lost or had been taken from them.
He left; he took nothing with him and began to walk barefoot down the road back to his roots back to his home, he took his life back and at that moment refused conformity and took back his life. At the very same time but in very different ways the Indian and Marylou came to a point in their lives where they had to do what they had to too release the pain and the feelings of not fitting in the world as they knew it. These two story’s show an inner struggle and by the end a strange sense of peace, a peace that could only be obtained by Marylou and the Indian’s decision to take matters into their own hands.