I think I must have been about seven or eight years old before I found the words to tell my mom what was happening to me. I had tried several times before and chickened out because I really did not have the necessary vocabulary to explain. When I was finally able to make myself understood, she was horrified and confronted my father immediately. Even though it was nighttime, they called the elders from the church to come over right away.
When the elders got there, they all cried and prayed and read scriptures. My father minimized what he had done and promised never to do it again. My mother believed him because she wanted to and they stayed together. My mom was afraid to have to make a living without a husband for herself and a child.
The abuse continued and I tried to find the courage to tell her again. Eventually I managed to tell her what was still happening. Instead of calling the police or leaving him, she decided that the way to protect me was never to let me out of her sight.
That way I ended up being the one punished, by losing any freedom or privacy I may have had. Now I was never allowed to stay home by myself or go anywhere or do anything without my mother because she thought she was preventing him from trying to do his dastardly deeds that way.
It did not prevent him from finding other ways to torment me. He would peep into the bathroom windows when I took a bath and then make remarks later to let me know what he had done. He would wait till she was in another room and make lewd remarks to me or quickly touch me and then laugh about it. It was all a game to him to try and get away with it. If I told my mom any of it, she would say it was my fault for being alone in a room with him or for going somewhere with him or even just being in the yard while she was inside.
I struggled mightily with the predicament of needing a father figure, yet being unable to trust him to have my best interest at heart. I felt guilty and horrible all the time for wanting his attention or attempting to interact with him at all, yet I had to live under the same roof with him day in and day out. I was a child and children need attention from both their parents. I was forced to try to juggle that need with the equally important need to protect myself.
I felt there must be something wrong with me for wanting a father. I simultaneously avoided and needed him. He touched and taunted and made me miserable while she imprisoned and smothered and accused and blamed me. My situation was an inconvenience for her. I desperately needed both of them but they were consumed with their own individual agendas and oblivious.
Eventually I just didn't tell her anymore and there was no escape. The terrible secret smoldered inside me and I developed all sorts of gastric disturbances and other ailments.