My Story- My name is Candice M. Martin, I'm an author, an epileptic and struggling survivor of rape, domestic violence and childhood sexual and physical abuse. For years I did what I was told and kept my mouth shut. In fact, until my book came out in December 2005, I really didn't go in the specifics of my past, nor did I share my writings with many of my family members. Sure they read some, but not the darker ones-the ones that contained so much of my pain. Now I would post them on my website, hoping that I wasn't the only one with the feelings I'd had when I'd written each piece. It took me a long time to even think of actually seeking out a publisher-not because it wasn't my dream, but because I didn't want others to think I was certifiable after they read my work. But after a while, I didn't care. I'd written what I'd went through and my writings were my voice-an affirmation of my past.
Near as I remember, the abuse started when I was 4. I don't have a lot of memories from my childhood-which I'm thankful for-but the ones that I do have are painful and usually flashbacks of my father touching me, whispering not to scream or I'd regret it in more ways than one. And I knew better too. I still have the scars to prove it. I carry his wrath on my body. I have a scar that runs along my right chin to my ear-the bone area there-it was where my father cut me when I was around 4-5. I believe he was trying to slit my throat. I also have a stab mark on chest, somewhat faded now, where I remember my father holding a knife to my chest and saying that he could kill me at any time-I was to always do as he said. I remember him taking me to the attic-something for years and years I'd been told WE didn't have in our house. Memories fade in and out, but I always remember the pain, of my father shoving his hands between my legs -the one thing that sticks out so clearly was the roughness of his hands-like sandpaper.
I'm not sure what age I was, but I remember that my sisters were taken out of the home, because my oldest sister told a teacher what was going on -with her. I don't believe any of us truly knew that it was happening to the other one. In fact, I still have one sister that denies it ever happened to me and her story changes on a regular basis on if it happened to her or not. I was left in the home-for who knows what reason-sheer state stupidity would be my guess. Anyways, after my sisters were removed, I remained and became the prime target of my fathers desires and rage. When he wasn't abusing me sexually, he was beating me. I remember he had this leather belt-and in it, he'd pushed thru sharp rocks, rusty nails and broken glass pieces. When he was mad or I wouldn't do as he directed, he'd beat me over the back with his belt. But for all his pain that he caused me, what hurt more than anything, is the fact that I remember my mother yelling up to my father one night when he had me in the attic. It had been a rough night. For the first time he'd completely penetrated me and I'd bled. My mother's words were, "Are you done with her yet?" and my father replied, "Almost, just cleaning up her mess!" THIS will stick with me above all else- for it meant my mother knew and did NOTHING. To this day she still denies it and even remained with him until the day he died. She says that there was never any abuse to any of us girls, that we made it up. But I know different, as does at least one of my sisters. And I have proof-for in a counseling session, my therapist found an old file of mine, from when I was in foster care and had seen a therapist. There is documentation from a social worker of my sisters and I, that states our mother finally admitted to her that she knew our father had abused us and did nothing. The social worker was even looking at bringing charges against her. But nothing ever happened-to either one of them. The whole situation what quietly sweep under the rug, and they severed their rights to us, so that he'd never have to do a day in jail.
I spent many years in foster homes, and in one of them, I was again sexually abused. I ran, but was returned. After almost a year there, I was finally moved, then moved again and again and again...you get the point. One too many foster homes and not a one of them a HOME!! At age 17 1/2-18, I started having seizures-but at that time I didn't know what they were-and the system sent me to a stomach doctor!! There goes that Sheer Stupidity Syndrome again! Well at 18 I was on my own, with a disease I knew nothing about, trying to go to college like I'd always wanted to. That dream ended quickly. My seizures became so out of control I was forced to drop out, and have never went back. It was not meant to be. I moved to the town my sister lived in and stayed with her, all the while my seizures getting worse. I battled depression, self hatred, PTSD, suicide attempts, drinking to numb the pain-everything! At 19 I was raped by a boyfriend's best friend. I never reported it because, 1) I was used to being abused and 2) he was my boyfriend's friend. The relationship ended ended shortly after that. I bounced back and forth from my sisters house to being homeless to living with friends. I was a mess. I still had no control over my seizures. I got into a 2 1/2 year domestic violence relationship with a man that SEEMED perfect at first. I thought he would take care of me and help me deal with my seizures and everything else I was dealing with. But know, he just added to the pain. He'd come home from work and throw me to the floor and just start beating me. He didn't care where the punches landed or what I looked like when he got done. He'd call me every name in the book. I ended up having 3 miscarriages due to his beatings.
I dealt with this for 2 1/2 years, day in and day out, the names, the beatings and his sick sexual games-for he'd take sex-rape me-and do it in ways to make sure I would hurt-AND he'd see that hurt. He got off on seeing me crumble. I was broken. I had nothing left. I no longer cared what happened to me. He could kill me, it didn't matter to me. BUT, I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of killing myself. He wouldn't win that way. I wanted to die, but not by my hand-if he was that much of a man, then let him do it himself! The beatings kept coming, some days worse than others, until one day I'd had enough. He came home, ready to fight. He threw me to the floor again, but when he went to hit me, I hit him first and broke his nose in 2 places with one punch!! I'd had enough. I was done! He knew it. A look of shock and defeat came over his face all at once. He didn't say a word. He moved out a week later and last I heard he went to jail for knocking his girlfriend down a flight of stairs while she was holding their new baby.
I met my husband shortly after that and expected the same treatment. When it didn't come, I tried to make it. I'd pick fights just because. I wanted him to hit me-in that "I deserve it" way. After a while I realized that he wasn't going to treat me that way. He has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and I think God for him. We will celebrate our 8 wedding anniversary in March 2006. He is my world. My seizures are still a major problem for me. Doctors haven't controlled them yet, and I'm still fighting for my disability-I first filled almost 12 years ago, but restarted the process about a year ago. I still battle PTSD and depression, some days worse than others. Through it all, I write. My husband is the main reason that I submitted my book to the publisher. When they excepted it I cried with him for who knows how long. When I actually got my copy of my book, I cried again. He is my rock. I have written so much in my life that I've recently sent in my second collection of poetry entitled, "Reflecitons In My Tears" due out fall 2006. If it was not for my husband, I know that I never would have had the strength to do any of this. We don't have much, but we have each other. He is required to care for me, due to my seizures-so he doesn't work. He's had to do this since early last year(doctors can't stabilize my seizures). We've come to know that money doesn't buy love nor happiness. And we know best for we have little income, but much love. Faith and Prayer has gotten us this far, as has our love. It is my hopes that my words will help someone who has gone through the same thing or is going through the things I've gone through. "Petals of Life: A Survivor's Writings" is at the major online bookstores, as well as most brick and mortar stores. Please visit my site at http://www.freewebs.com/candicemartin and let me know you've stopped in by signing the guestbook! This is my story~
Candice M. Martin
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