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Hi Valerie!

Wow, what a difference your last message sounds than the very first post from you I read! I know things aren't going to change for you overnight, but I sure sensed a change in your words and tone since we started communicating with each other...I really hope that continues for you :) Keep telling yourself that you know you did the right thing--it's Mark and Jerit who didn't do right by you.

I wonder if you find that you still care for Mark or if you've told him that your relationship is over? If you've told him you don't want him in your life anymore, then I don't think you really have to see him again--not even to let him get his b'day gift that he "forgot." Personally, I wonder if he left it there either to give him an opportunity to see you again or whether your thoughtfulness just didn't mean that much to him at the time. You gave it to him, he forgot to take it with him, you're right in that he doesn't deserve it, so give it to someone else or throw it away! Again, it's just one more thing he lost as a result of his totally inappropriate treatment and words said to you. Hope you'll let me know the result of the talk you have with him.

What a funny story that happened at your job...and how nice to hear you laughed about it. It sounds like your current job and planning for your new career, your friends, and your family are keeping you busy which is probably an enormous help to you because it keeps your mind off the unpleasant, upsetting things.

I understand your and Brooke's reluctance to tell her mom just yet...and when you're ready, I have no doubt that you will. Thanks for helping me understand why you go to Jerit's house...I think I misunderstood Brooke's role in all of this, but she sure sounds like a great friend to you. I didn't think of it before when I couldn't understand why you were at Jerit's house, but you're so don't have to let him have any more power over you, so by continuing your regular routine and not letting what he did interfere with your relationship with Brooke, well, once are very strong. And absolutely don't find yourself alone with him, though!

Thank you so much for your kind words to me, you have no idea how much it means to me and what a great feeling it is to think that maybe something that occured during our message exchanges has helped you! A lot of what I shared in the area of my suggestions are really a result of what I've learned because of my own sexual abuse. I feel an obligation of sort to women to share anything good that can come out of a terribe situation

It sounds like your parents are trying to be there for you, and I totally understand when you say that your mom tries to help but sometimes it doesn't always help you...parents mean well but don't always know when to step back a bit and just let you be (I'm guilty of that with my 14 yr. old son and 11 yr. old daughter!) The bottom line is, though, that you know you can always go to a home where there are loving people there doing the best they can to help you.

I wonder when you described the look in your mom had in her eyes when you told her about the other past harassment you've experienced...did it make you feel like she didn't trust, believe, or somehow think you brought it on yourself? I doubt she would think that, but you obviously know her better than me.

The reason I ask you that is, well--I didn't tell you this before (I only told you about the family member because it seemed more relevant to what you were going thru), but after I graduated from H.S., (I was only 16 then as I skipped my Junior year), I moved out a few months later after I turned 17 and got an apartment with a girlfriend of mine. Well, our jobs went sour, we were both broke and we decided we were both going to move back home to our parent's houses until we could get a new place.

Well...the very day we were to move out, a stranger broke into our apt. thru an unlocked window, cut our phone line, came into my room (it was about 5:30 a.m.) where I was sound asleep, put a pillow over my face, held a knife to my throat, tied me up with electrical cords, and raped me. My roommate escaped, the police came, and I was taken to the hospital. My parents were called and they came, but then they actually left me alone to go back to that apt. by myself after I was examined to get my things.

After I moved back home and had been there about a week, dad couldn't even look at me, told me that he would have died rather than "let" someone do that to him, and he kicked me out of the house. I ended up going to live w/my sister, and her now ex-husband picked up where he had left off when I was 15 and began molesting me again. I had nowhere to go and I didn't trust anyone and I hated myself so much. It wasn't until almost another year that I had saved enough money to get a car and my own apt. and moved out of their house.

My parents and I never spoke of it again, and they are both dead now. The only regret I have is that when I became older (I was 37 when they both died), is that I didn't confront and hold my father accountable for his treatment of me, and my mother as well for not protecting me somehow. It still haunts me a bit that I never told them how much their rejection hurt me--more than being raped at knifepoint did, I think. I guess I tell you this now only because my parents were from such a different generation--an era when women were usually blamed for acts of sexual violence against them.

I suspect your parents are probably more around my age and generation, and I think you're fortunate that your mom is trying...believe me, it's much worse than to have them not care at all. So all I'm saying is that she's trying, and maybe she doesn't say the right thing all the time, but she does sound like she's trying, and it does sound like you appreciate her for that. She loves you, so please trust that and rely on it :) You aren't alone in this world, and I hope you take comfort in knowing that.

Didn't mean to go on and on about myself, but if anything I tell you continues to help, then I'm glad I brought it up...I was waiting to tell you about what happened until things sounded like they were on an upswing for you--and I never wanted to sound like a story-topper in the sense that "what happened to me was worse than what happened to you!" ;) Sexual assault and all its various forms are all equally wrong, hurtful, illegal and just plain bad.

Please do keep in touch, I'll be checking in here from time to time, but do let me know your new user name, so glad to know that you aren't "marksgirl" anymore! You've helped me, too, Valerie...I found I talked about things I have buried for a long time now, and in that sense, our sharing situations and converstations helped me enormously to remember who I was and not to discount my feelings either.

Keep up the good things, hang in there, and as always, best wishes...Annie.

[This message has been edited by Annie45 (edited 06-24-2003).]

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