Hidden Family Secrets Exposed #WhenIBecameFree - Kelli's story

What you are about to read is true, tragically true. I met Kelli a few years ago when I started this project. She was among the first survivors to share their #WhenIBecameFree story. Kelli's story hits on so many levels of abuse - child sexual abuse, incest, emotional/verbal abuse, child neglect, and even using religion to abuse. Her story shows how a family, communities, and the system turned their backs and didn't follow through in protecting a child. This is a story of a young woman who lived in many rural communities in Wisconsin - so, it wasn't just one area not paying attention, it was many. 

This story is not for the weak, but even so, if you can - read it. Take in her words...this is HER story, HER words! . Realize that there are others out there, right now, living a similar nightmare, and yes, they are in your community...somewhere. 

The video at the end is the one I filmed back when I first met Kelli. Thank you, Kelli, for having the courage to live and speak out!  

She stands alone (Hidden Family Secrets)
by Kelli

I am a Survivor of rape, incest, and sexual assault for almost two decades at the hands of my biological father. I among millions of other survivors struggle every day of our lives to just make it through the day without breaking down and falling apart. The strength it takes just to hide the pain within. Is overwhelming itself. We struggle with depression, PTSD, anxiety every moment of every day. We trust no one and fear all. The strength and the will it takes just to want to live and breathe normally again is overwhelming. I,  like many survivors,  have been able to put what happened behind us although we will never forget what was done to us we can finally breathe. For a lot of victims, it is too much to handle. I hope by telling my story that I can help someone else who is struggling to let them know they are not alone. And to help them breathe again. My name is Kelli and this is my story. 

I was born on January 17, 1980, in Mankato Minnesota, My parents were married and I was the second child born. I have two siblings a brother who is older than I and a sister who died at a young age. I don't remember to much about what happened to me when I was an infant but I have been told many stories about how I was treated as a baby. I was torn apart by the stories I heard about the things that had happened to me, So I started asking more and more questions. When I was 6 months old I was really sick with pneumonia and was hospitalized. After I was released from the hospital I had been crying which didn't make my father very happy. I was told he grabbed me and my swing and threw me across the room. This didn't surprise me as I got older the abuse got more intense. The first memory I have of being abused was when I was 3 years old.

I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I had been at the hospital because I needed to have surgery done on my stomach. I opened my eyes and I remember seeing my father standing in the doorway of the hospital room,  I was in holding a bear. I also remember that the night before my father had sexually assaulted me. He made me lay on top of him. I remember crying and telling him I had to use the bathroom. I got up and ran into my room and hid under my mattress on my bed for the rest of the night crying for my mom who was in the room down the hall with our baby sister. I never understood why my mom never came to me that night. I was alone and afraid and wasn't sure what had happened.

The fear I felt in the years to follow is hard to explain. Everyone always told me I was a quiet kid. I was scared to talk because what if I had said something without thinking. That was because I knew he was watching. We often lived with family members which allowed him to abuse me more because I was in the same room with him. He told me that if I said anything about what he was doing that no one would believe me and that I would get into trouble.

 At this time we had moved again to a trailer in Elroy WI. We lived there a few months but moved after I had made a fuss at school and started slamming my head into a brick wall. I was in second grade at this time and was telling my teacher I didn't want to go home. She took me to the office and they called my father. I never went back to that school after that. And then it happened!

We were living in Delavan WI, with family members and I told my sister what had been happening to me and I wanted to make sure it wasn't happening to her too. She told me that nothing had happened. The night I told my sister what our father was doing to me I also told an adult. And he was right,  they didn't, believe me. They told me not to mention it again and that was the end of it.

 A few months after telling my sister what was going on,  I told her that I needed to run away but she stopped me, she said she wanted me to stay with her. She told me that we would get through it together and that we would be ok. A few days later we were caught smoking in the bathroom. My sister knew that I was going to be in a lot of trouble,  she took the blame. She told them it was her and not me. Our father took her to put her in our room and came back to me ... he punished me.  He told me I would pay for making my sister take the blame. He said I would be grounded to the house for 2 weeks and grounded in the house meant I was grounded in the bedroom that he shared with my mother. I remember thinking I can't wait until school starts back up again. School kept me safe, that's where I wanted to be. But,  shortly after school had started something bad something life changing happened. This would tear my family apart in many pieces leaving me with no one to look out for me.

It was Sunday, September 24, 1989.  I was 9 years old and the Greenbay Packers were playing on the television. I remember our father telling us we needed to go outside because we were being too loud. We kept running in and out of the house so eventually they closed the inside door. My cousin and my sister were playing in the sand in the driveway and my brother and I was riding around on our bikes. Then we noticed that the police had a car pulled over that looked a lot like our parents' car which my aunt had been driving that day. My brother started to head down the road on his bike to find out if it was our car. And I started walking with my sister and my cousin. We were standing in the ditch holding hands,  my sister was one step in front of me and our cousin, the driver never saw us. He swerved to miss a dog that was in the road. He came right into the ditch hitting my sister who was standing right between me and our cousin. I look at my cousin and said "Where is Genie?" Then I looked up and I saw her falling from the sky. I tried to catch her so she wouldn't hit the road but she went right through my arms. I saw a semi headed right towards us,  I knew if I didn't move her she was going to be hit again. I picked her up and held her on the side of the road.

I start screaming for help, no one was stopping. I was holding my sister in my arms as she was dying. This can't be happening is all I kept saying to myself. Finally, an off-duty EMT from Illinois stopped to help me. Someone else had gone and got the cop from down the road. The people who hit my sister came back and told the EMT not to touch her to leave her alone. His wife got me and my cousin in her car and took me to the house to get my parents. I jump out of the car and I start pounding on the windows screaming to my mom. I ran into the house and told them that my sister had been hit by a car.

Both of my parents went running to my sister along with my brother. By the time I got back down by my sister the ambulance was there and my parents were holding my brother and our neighbor grabbed me and told me to stay away from them telling me they were saying it was my fault and she just held me. The police officer asked my parents if he could give us a ride to the hospital. As my parents held on to my brother I sat there crying praying to God,  "please don't take my sister away from me." The trip to the hospital felt like it had taken forever.

I remember walking into the hospital and going into a small room where I sat where my mother held on to my brother and where my father was on the phone calling all the family. I remember sitting in the corner alone and scared crying. And then the doctor came in. As my family sat on one side and I sat on the other side of the room, the doctor said." I am sorry there is nothing more we can do for her she's gone" My mom fell to the floor,  my brother and father held on to her while I sat by myself and cried. My mom was screaming and crying. The doctors had to give my mother a shot to calm her down. Then they asked if we wanted to see her before we left. I wanted to go say goodbye but our parents said no and we left.

That night we went and stayed with my great uncle. We couldn't go back to the house. I stayed outside most of the night just praying to the stars crying asking for my sister back. My best friend,  my only friend,  had been taken from me. The next few days that followed I spent a lot of time out by the pond that was behind my uncle's house alone while my family contacted the rest of the family and prepared to lay my sister to rest.

After the tragic death of my sister, we moved to central Wisconsin, once again living with other family members. The abuse started getting worse. My mother distanced herself from us, so,  my father did as he wanted. He told me all the time that it would stop but it got worse every time. I would hide in the closet crying,  afraid to go to sleep without my sister there with me. It left me open for him any time he wanted.

I remember going back to school for the first time since my sister's death and everyone was staring at me and coming up and asking me about my sister. Most of that day I sat behind the school and cried. I didn't know what to tell them. This was a school both my sister and I had attended a few years prior. Everyone knew us. I felt as though I was being attacked and I just wanted to be left alone. My teacher asked if I wanted her to call my parents and I said no because I knew that if I went home he would be there waiting for me. The rest of that day I sat in the office. When school was over I started walking home and somehow ended up on the steps of the church which was behind the house we were staying in. It was a place I could sit and remember the times my sister and I spent in the parking lot of that same church riding our bikes. That day will never leave me. It was that day that I felt my sister was truly at peace.

After a few months of staying with family we moved further north to a small town called Melrose, I started struggling in school and kids started to make fun of me. I was a loner and never talked to anyone which only made matters worse. But I was still hurting I was missing my sister and being severely abused at home. I didn't want friends. I didn't want anyone but my baby sister. For months I prayed, "God please wake me up from this nightmare." But the nightmare was real. It was in Melrose that our father made us break into a store to steal for him. He told me if I didn't do what he said I would pay for it later. I always did as I was told because I was scared of what would happen not just to me but to my mom and my brother.

I started getting into fights in school and came home with a bloody nose and a cut lip after being hit in the face with a chunk of ice by another student. I remember having to call my father for a ride home. He came and picked me up from school and he took me out on a back road and started screaming at me asking me what I was doing,  why I was fighting and that because of me we had to move again because I brought attention on to the household. Before leaving he smacked me and told me that was my last chance. He said if I acted up again I would regret it. Two weeks later we moved.

I knew the reason we were moving all the time was that he was scared I would open my mouth and the more scared he got the more intense it got for me. The threats of the sexual abuse got worse every day. Sometimes I would pray to die. Being 11 years old and not wanting to live was very hard on me. I started staying to myself and not really talking to anyone. I didn't have any friends because I wasn't allowed to have friends at that time. I would wake up screaming from the nightmares hoping it would be my mom that would come into my room to check on me so I could just try to get it across to her without really saying what was going on. But every night it was him coming into the room. I couldn't help waking up screaming, those nights were the hardest nights I was already scared and upset about nightmares just to be abused.

Now living in Bangor, I was almost 12. I remember we moved to this horse farm it was so cool because I loved animals I thought that being around the animals would help me cope with some of the things that were happening to me. But that was not the case He never allowed me to go out by the barns because there he couldn't keep an eye on me because the barns were behind the house. The more I thought I was catching a break the worst his grip got. A few weeks after moving in my cousin had got us going to the Baptist church in West Salem, I thought maybe I would finally get to break free, I went to talk to the Pastor and told him what was going on with me and he refused to step in and help me. I made a few friends and was allowed to go to church doings and visit with friends but before I would walk out the door threats were made towards my mother and my brother.

I choose to use the time with my friends as an escape from reality. I tried to be a normal kid even though I was hiding a very dark secret. One that even a man of God wouldn't help me with. I choose to keep his secret so I could have some kind of life but as I got older the more disturbed I had become. I started getting into trouble in school hoping they would keep me after just so I wouldn't have to go home. I would go and sit in the park down the road from our house until it was dark just so I wouldn't have to be in the same house as him. We had moved again to a house not too far from where we were. I started to distant myself from my friends and keeping myself locked in my room.

This house was a big house one where I thought it would be so easy to hide in. I was wrong. In this house, I had my own room which gave him all the power he needed because now all he had to do was come up into my room which he did almost every night. I would throw heavy things including a big rolled up carpet in front of my door every night just hoping that this would be the night that he wouldn't come in. I was so scared at this point that I couldn't even walk downstairs to the bathroom because my parent's room was right at the bottom of the stairs. I started using my closet as a bathroom. I would hide under my bed until it was time to get up and go to school. I would get ready for school and I would go and stand outside until the bus came and the entire time he was staring at me out of the window as if to say watch yourself. I started babysitting the kids across the street just so I had a reason to stay outside. I didn't want to be in that house. Because I knew what was going to happen.

We stayed in that house for about 6 months and then we moved again outside of the town we were living in. It was a little hobby farm with calves in a shed. I finally thought to myself this is a place where I can find peace and be able to roam free. We were miles away from any town our nearest neighbor was a half a mile away. Boy, was I wrong. It only gave him more opportunity more places for him to take me while others were in the home. Then my uncle asked my father if I could go with him to his wife's house and see the kids. Him giving me permission to go, I took this as a chance to get it out what was happening to me and when it came time to leave my aunt's house I cried and screamed and told my aunt what my father was had been doing to me.

My aunt called my other aunt who was next door at my father's brother's house. She came over and we sat on the porch and I told her what was going on. As I was telling my aunst that my father had been abusing me my uncle was in the house calling my father and telling him everything I was saying. He told my uncle to get me back to the house right now. So my uncle made me get into his car and he took me home. My aunts had called the police and told them what I had said about my father. I got home and my father was waiting for me inside the doorway of the house with an evil look in his eyes. I knew that someone had told him what I said. So he made me stay outside with him and he told my uncle to get in the house so he could talk to me. He grabbed me by my throat and said this is what you're going to say. " You will tell the cops that what you said was a lie." " You will tell them you lied because you wanted to stay with your cousins longer." "You will tell them I never touched you and I will be standing right there." " And remember If you do say I touched you your brother and your mother will die."

So I did as I was told. The police showed up and he stood behind me holding on to my chair and every time the officer would ask me a question he would grab my chair as a warning to watch what I say. I was twelve years old and I was scared I told the officers what I said was untrue and that I just didn't want to come home yet. The officer told me they would be back to check on me the next day at school. They never showed up. I never heard from them again. After the police showed up that one day, a few days later my cat died I knew he had done it as a warning for me to keep my mouth shut. A few days later my rabbit also died. Two weeks after my rabbit died another one of my cats just died. He wanted to make sure I knew he wasn't joking. I knew his message was that he would kill what was close to me and so I decided after my cat Pesky died that I would just stay in my room and not say a word to anyone. He promised me that he would never touch me again. I tried to believe that was true. But it didn't take him long to start up again.

He told me that I was no longer allowed to contact my aunt. That she wasn't going to be a part of my life anymore. And, that she believed him because I had told the police that I lied. He made me think that she was mad at me and wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn't talk to my mom, she never wanted anything to do with me and when I did talk to her she would tell me to just go walk it off and that things would get better. I gave up thinking that anyone would ever help me. I remember standing on a hill in the middle of the woods screaming to God, "Why me?" Asking why was he letting this happen to me? What did I do that was so bad to deserve what was happening to me? Every night I would pray God,  "don't let him come in my room tonight." I would move my dresser in front of my door just hoping he would leave me alone. But I always knew nothing was going to stop him.

About a month after the police came to the house, we moved again. We had moved to a town where we had lived several times before. I made friends with the neighbor kids and tried to keep out of my father's sight. I started having problems in school. I was looking for any reason for them to keep me after school because I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to have to see him look at me like I was a side of beef that belonged to him. I knew that once everyone in the house was asleep my nightmare would begin again. Shortly after moving I had found out that my little cousins lived a few houses down from us. So one day I took off while my father was sleeping. While I was at my cousin's house I begged her to chop off all my hair so we did. I wanted to make myself look ugly so he would leave me alone.

Cutting my hair off didn't work, it only made him angry. So that night I had decided that I was going to try and sneak out of the house. At that time the fest was going on in town so I had run up there as fast as I could and met up with my neighbor which was a friend of mine. A few minutes later my father comes flying through the parking lot, grabbing me by what little hair I had left on my head and forced me back into the car. When we got back to the house he grabbed a 2x4 and busted my stereo and everything else I had sitting on my stand in my room. He told me that this was the last time I would disobey him. The next morning I got out of bed and walked out into the living room where everyone is sitting. And he looked at me and said " So because you want to run away and break my rules you are grounded. You will also be writing chapters out of the Bible." He then walked into my room with a board and nailed it over my window so I wouldn't be able to get out of it again.

By this time I think he was scared, he started making me sleep in his room with him so he knew I wouldn't run away again. I tried many times to sneak out of his room but it never worked, it was like he was watching me at all times even when I didn't know it. One night he made me sleep between him and my mom and at this point I was fourteen he started touching me and I started to cry and it woke my mom up. She looked at me and said, "great because of you I am not going to get any sleep. Now I am going to have to go sleep on the couch because you can't stop messing up" She didn't even ask me why I was crying. She just yelled at me and left the room. I remember thinking "oh my God shes just going to leave me in here." I tried faking I was sick so I had gone into the bathroom and I laid on the bathroom floor with my head on the bathtub, crying and begging for the night to end so I could go to school. But little did I know that because I said I was sick he kept me home. I was kept in the house all that day and the rest of the weekend. I was to write out of the Bible for seven hours each day.

At this time we lived in a two-bedroom trailer. Eight people lived in this trailer. My parents, my uncle and his son, My brother and my grandmother and I. And the entire time I was being abused daily sometimes several times of the day depending on who else was in the house. So I decided to try again. I ran away to a friends house who lived up around the corner. I ended up sleeping on the top of her house for two days avoiding going home. Well, one of our other neighbors had seen me and went and told him where I was not knowing what my father was doing to me. We had two weeks left of school and I missed the last two weeks because my father had called the school to tell them I wouldn't be in because I was sick with mono, which was true. I was sick but I didn't want to stay home. I was grounded and wasn't allowed to leave our house.

I made a few friends at school but was only allowed to call them and he had to listen to both sides of the conversation. I started thinking I am never going to be free this is the life I am going to live forever. I started doing as he told me I kept my mouth shut I stopped breaking the rules. So he allowed my best friend to come and stay for a few nights. It was so hard having my friends there because I knew I was putting them in danger too. I wasn't sure if he would go after them. And then it happened. I was in the living room talking to my friends and he came out by me and said: " I need to talk to you right now get in my room." I knew what that meant because it happened many times when there was other family at the house. He wanted to have his way with me and do what he wanted because he felt he was untouchable. I walked back out to the living room where my friends were and I was crying. I didn't say why, just that he yelled at me because we weren't sleeping yet. I turned off the tv and I laid down. The next day my mom and I took my friends back home.

A couple of weeks went by and my mom had gone to my cousins to go shopping and my father had gone fishing with our cousin's husband. I was left home alone for the first time. I was also left with a car and a set of keys. Being almost fifteen I stole the car and drove out to my friend's house. I was going to tell her everything I was going through,  hoping I could finally put an end to all the abuse. But as luck would have it I ended up getting a flat tire on my parent's car. So I had to call my parents and tell them I took the car and where I was. By this time I was so scared of what was going to happen that I couldn't even bring it up to my friend why I was there in the first place. A few days later she had called me and my father answered the phone, he told her I was a liar and a thief because I stole the car. He went on to tell her that I also stole money to put in the car for gas. Making me out to be a really bad person, she told me she never wanted to be friends with me again.

Having lost the only friend I really had I sank into depression. Summer was almost over and it was time to go back to school. Only when I got to school I had a surprise waiting for me the teacher took me out of the classroom and told me I wasn't supposed to be there. I said, "what do you mean I am not supposed to be here?" She said, "well we got papers from the state saying that starting this year your going to be homeschooled." So they sent me to the office because I had no idea what they were talking about. They sent me home. My mom had contacted the state to take me out of school because of the trouble I was getting into. My father had her take me out of school.

A few weeks later my mom disappeared she had said she was going to go to her cousin's and going to the mall but she didn't return. After 24 hours had gone by I called the police and reported her missing. The next day she walks into the house and slaps me and she said,  "how dare you call the police on me? You had no right." I replied that I was worried about her and no one knew where she was. She told us she was with a man and that she was moving out. She took me out of school so she could leave. She did that for my father so he would let her go. By this time my brother and my cousin were always gone and my father was paying them to stay gone. He would give them money so they wouldn't have to be at the house. Eventually, I snuck over to our neighbors behind us and told my friend's dad what my father had been doing to me. He came over to the house and the next thing I knew my father was chasing him with a rifle telling him to mind his own business.

The police were contacted and my father was picked up but released shortly after. In that time I tried to run away again. But he always found me. I could never get far enough to get away. I couldn't ask for help because every time I had before,  I failed. I literally couldn't stand being in my own skin. Scared and alone. I gave up. I stopped all contact with my friends because I was scared of what would happen if they ever tried to help me again. About 7 months after my mom had left I found out I was pregnant. I cried I was even more scared now. What was going to happen to me and this baby would we end up dead so he could keep his secret? Would my family finally try to reach out and help me? My family did nothing. He told them I was out partying and that I had slept with some random guy and that guy got me pregnant. No matter what I said he told them I was a liar.

I started going to Dr appointments which I was not allowed to attend alone. There was always someone with me either my father or my grandmother. I was never alone to tell anyone what was going on with me. And now not only do I fear for my life but I also fear for this baby's life. "How was I going to protect this baby? When couldn't I even protect myself? " On January 11, 1998,  I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. I finally felt love. I knew I had to protect my child. This baby was not at fault for what was happening to me. This baby gave me a reason to live. But I also knew this baby and I was in more danger now than ever before. When my son was 3 weeks old I was sitting on the couch feeding him when the police car pulled into the driveway. My father grabbed the baby from me and told me to go outside and get rid of them. He told me before I walked out the door,  "if you say anything I will kill your son before they can even get up the stairs to get me."

I took a deep breath shaking and scared not knowing what I was going to do next. The police officer and social worker had said they got a report that my father was abusing me and that he was the father of my son. I remember the conversation as clear as day. They asked me "Is your father the father of your son?" I put my head down and I looked up towards the apartment and I saw him in the window holding my son. I knew I had to do whatever it took to make sure my son was not harmed. I knew my father was a bad man, I knew he would hurt him if I didn't do what he said.  I told the officer and the social worker that he was not my father's son. I gave them the story he gave everyone else. I got drunk I slept with someone I didn't know. I knew I wasn't going to get another chance to get help. But I also knew my son's life hung in the balance and that was not a risk I was willing to take. They took my report and left. 

A few months later I was pregnant again with a second child. We had 4 family members living with us. All of which knew that he was making me sleep in his room. At this time I was 19. How could no one know what was going on? They knew but they also knew not to mess with him. Everyone else knew to stay out of it. I felt trapped I knew I had my chance to get help from the police but I also wasn't willing to risk my son's life. On March 24, 1999, I gave birth to another son. After he was born we moved to Sparta WI. There I had more friends and cousins - so, I thought,  "ok maybe now I will get a little more freedom. " Yeah, I got more freedom. I was allowed to do things as long as one of the boys stayed with him (so he could remain in control.) And , if I wanted to do anything that involved me leaving the house I had to do things that he wanted done first.  It was just to show me he is still in complete control.

A few months after moving to Sparta I ran away. I took my uncles truck left my kids behind and ran. I was hiding out at a friends house.  A few hours after I ran away,  he found me. My friends and their father were standing outside when my father grabbed me by my hair and threw me over the hood of the car. Their Father got on the phone with the police. But instead of taking me back to the house he took me out on a back road where he beat the crap out of me, assaulted me and left me there. He made my uncle come back out and pick me up. He told my uncle I had called and said I got beat up and that I needed someone to come get me. The whole way home I didn't say a word to my uncle. I curled up in a ball and cried. When I got back to the house my grandmother told me the police had stopped by because my friend's father called them said I was being beaten by my father. But my father told the police he never left the house.

He told them that I had left several hours before and that he remained at the house so he didn't know what my friends were talking about. He had told the police that I called from a pay phone on the outside of town and that he sent my uncle to pick me up. The police never came back to talk to me. The next day I couldn't talk because my jaw had been dislocated. My ribs coved in bruises and dry blood on my scalp where my hair had been ripped out. Every day I was scared to wake up and walk out of my room. Every night I was scared I knew that nighttime meant as he would soon be in my room and nothing I could do or say would stop that.

After running away and the police being involved again, we moved. This time we moved to a town where we knew no one. We lived in a small town called Wilton WI, At this point, he had me away from everyone I knew, everyone I felt safe with. We still had several other family members living with us. My brother, his girlfriend, my grandmother and my uncle. Even though this new place was larger and I could finally have my own room I was not allowed to. I was made to share a room with my children and my father. And no one ever said a word about it. That's just the way it was. Being 19, almost 20, you would think someone would say something.

Shortly after moving to Wilton. I had noticed bruises on my oldest sons back and I freaked out. I wanted to know what had happened because I was gone for a few hours. Everyone in the house told me he was choking and that my father had to beat him in the back. I said he shouldn't have marks like that and everyone started to defend my father and I let everyone in the house that night know exactly what he was doing to me. Not one person said a thing. No one cared. My aunt sat on our front porch with me telling me she would help me if she could. I never understood why she couldn't. But that night there were several people present. I just wish one of them had stood up and said something or took the boys and I out of the house. I wanted them to do something, anything.  He told everyone in the house I was crazy and was losing my mind and trying to blackmail him if he didn't give me money. He told them I was lying about everything and they believed him. He had kept me so sheltered from everyone that no one would listen to me. He told them lies about me having to be on medications because I was unstable.

In February I gave birth to yet another son. I felt as if I was never going to be able to escape. At this point, I was being sexually assaulted every night with family right there that could have helped me. I felt alone,  isolated, and scared. 

I talked my father into getting a computer so I could have something to do while being locked away in the house all the time. He got me a computer and internet so I could play online games. But, instead of playing online games I downloaded Yahoo Messanger and I went into a chat room.  I met a woman who I became online friends with. After talking to her for a little while and seeing if I could get the courage to tell a complete stranger what was happening to me. I finally told her.

I told her what my father was doing to me and I asked her for her help. After a little while of knowing my friend Devon, we set up a plan for her to help me. I started getting my father to trust this woman and when the time came when I needed a ride to the clinic for two of the boys - saying I had no other way to get them there,  I asked him if she could take me. He said yes but before that, he made sure to let me know to keep my mouth shut about what was going on. He put me in my place before I left. My friend came and picked me and the boys up and we left. On our way to the clinic I asked her to take me to the police station. I told her I needed to get out of that place and with one of my boys still being at the house I knew I couldn't get him out of there alone.

We get to the police station and I am so scared I can barely stand. I'm shaking scared! So scared I almost changed my mind. My friend told me she would be there for me and reassured me that I wasn't alone and that she wasn't going anywhere. I thought to myself I am talking to a complete stranger about all of this. What's going to happen to me and the boys if I do this? Will we be ok? Will the family help me? All of these questions went through my head as I was walking up to the police station. Is my family going to hate me? They never wanted to help me are they going to hate me for putting my father in prison? I just kept thinking it over and over again. Finally, we get to the door and I took a deep breath. I knew that I had to do what was best for me and the boys.

As I sat in this little room with my kids all I thought about was I had to do what was right for them. I couldn't let them grow up watching what my father was doing to me. I couldn't allow him to continue to hold me and my children, hostage, anymore. The detective came in and sat down. And looked at me. He said, " I hear you got something important to discuss with me?" I said ," yes Sir." I began to tell him everything, everything I could remember from day one. In the middle of our conversation, the officer had asked me to stop and he had to walk away. He couldn't believe what I was telling him. I told him everything in as little time as possible. I told the officer that one of my boys was still back at the house with him and I was scared what would happen to my son if I took too long. My friend offered to let me and the boys stay with her so the officer took me out to the house so we could pick up my eldest son and I stayed outside with my two boys while the officers went into the house to grab some things for me and the boys. The weeks that followed were a blur.

I was told I could go back out to the house because my father had been arrested. The boys and I went home not knowing that the next very next day he would be released from jail on a signature bond. He was told to stay away from the house,  me,  and the children. That night he showed up out at the house. He was fighting with me telling me I need to change my story,  telling me that he was going to kill me. He had a knife up to my chest and his arm up to my throat. I was pinned up against the wall. My grandma sat in her chair watching the whole thing. I told her to call the police, that she knew he wasn't supposed to be there.  All she said was,  "you two knock it off. "

He left and I called the police. He was arrested again. After that my grandmother moved out. Now it was just me and the 3 boys at the house.

A couple of days later he got out on another bond. I thought he was going to leave me alone but he came out to the house and sat across the street. Again I called the police. I was thinking now I would be safe as he is back in jail and they wouldn't let him out again. Yeah right! He was bonded out by a family member a few days later. The morning after,  I got the call from the police department that he made bail. He showed up to the house again. With it just being me and the boys at the house I was terrified of what he was about to do.  I grabbed the phone and I ran into the room where my boys were at. He came busting through the door,  grabbed the phone from me and busted it. He beat me and sexually assaulted me in front of my boys. When he was done,  he choked me until I passed out. When I came to a friend of mine was trying to get me to wake up. I was crying. I wanted my kids. I wanted my phone. I called my sexual assault advisor and she came out to the house as fast as she could.

When Colette got out to the house she knew right away what had happened to me. Every blood vessel in my face had busted my lip and eye were cut open from being hit with the phone. She called the police and he was arrested again. Finally he was booked with no release but it took him almost killing me for them to keep him in jail. I thought now that everyone knows maybe now I can get the support I need to get through this. That did not happen. After turning my father in,  my family completely turned their backs on me. I didn't have my bother, grandmother, mother, uncle. Everyone turned their backs on me.  Everyone but my friend Devon, You remember Devon right? Well, she kept to her word and was there for me. I may not have had my family but I was not alone. She helped me made sure me and the boys were ok.

While I was waiting to go to court my father had called the house several times from the jail. Threatening me,  telling me I needed to tell them that I wanted him to do what he was doing or he would make sure no one would ever be able to find my body. So even while being in jail, having a restraining order, and a no-contact order,  he was still able to call me and threaten me from jail. 

I discussed with the DA about me testifying without my father being present but they wouldn't allow me to do that. During my testimony I was scared. I knew he had been threatening me,  the DA knew he had been threatening me. So, I clammed up. I couldn't speak. Finally, I told the judge the DA everyone in the courtroom that I just wanted it to be over. I told them to give him his plea deal and told them I couldn't testify. When my father was asked about him choking me and attacking me and leaving me there to die his only response was,  " I thought I killed her." When the judge asked him why he did what he did to me his answer was because he was in love with me. Remember this is a father talking about his daughter! It made me sick I had to be removed from the courtroom. I couldn't sit and listen to the nasty disgusting things he was saying about me to the judge.

A few weeks later my children were removed from my home. The state wanted to terminate my parental rights on the grounds of incest. I was allowed to see my kids at the beginning, but just once a week. When the state couldn't take my kids on grounds of incest they said I was an unfit parent living in the aftermath of rape and abuse, that I wasn't capable of caring for my children. They had accused me of doing drugs but never once did a drug test. They had said my house was a mess and the kids were dirty but had no pictures to prove it. When I wanted to get the media involved to get help from the community they told me I would be arrested.

So now here I was, 21,  I turned my father into the police and had my children ripped from my home within a month. I had nowhere to turn,  I had no family,  I had no friends. I had decided I needed to get away and I left. I went up to Bayfield Wisconsin. I got a lawyer and got prepared to fight a battle of a lifetime considering what I was already dealing with. I choose to move up to Bayfield even though my children were In Monroe County. I chose to leave because I was being harassed by family. I was being looked at different by everyone I knew. I couldn't stay and before I moved I had talked to my attorney who told me she could get my children placed up in Washburn County. After waiting a year to go to court when we asked for the boys to be moved closer to me they told me no. They wouldn't allow it even though I was away from everything and everyone I knew to start my life over.

After all of that I continued to travel the four hours twice a week to see my children. I missed a few visits due to not being able to make it because of car problems. But I never once gave up. I fought for almost 7 years to get my kids back. Then 2 weeks before my trial to have my rights terminated my attorney quit on me. She said it was for personal reasons after being my attorney for 7 years she just quit. The state gave me another attorney who knew nothing about the case and he never said anything the whole trial. My rights were terminated. I appealed it and as I waited for them to set up a court date. After waiting to hear for 7 months I called Monroe County,  they told me the social worker that was on the case no longer worked there and that the boys had already been adopted out. I was never notified and when I tried doing something about it I kept getting shut down.

I was devastated,  the boys were the whole reason that I got the strength to stand up for what was right and to have them ripped out of my arms the way that they were destroyed me inside. I felt as though I had no reason to breathe. They were looking for every reason to keep me from the kids. I was even told by a family member that the county had no intentions of ever reuniting me and the children. I felt as if I was being violated all over again,  only this time it was by the system. I was alone and scared. I had no family to turn to at the time. Everywhere people were talking about me,  harassing me,  threatening me. I had to get away,  so I left.

The system screwed me. I fell into a deep depression. I started drinking and doing drugs. I felt I had let my children down. I felt like I couldn't breathe, every breath hurt. I cried for months. They took my only reason for breathing. The relationship I was in was a very bad abusive situation. It was like I wanted to feel the pain of being hit and kicked around so I wouldn't feel the other pain that had a massive grip on me. I started cutting myself because it took away that emotional pain I was feeling. The pain controlled me for many years and I didn't want to feel it anymore. I wanted to feel something else. I spent 5 years abusing myself because I couldn't handle the pain.

I didn't want to live anymore. I felt as if I had failed. Or that turning in my father was the wrong thing for me to do because now I didn't have my kids. I felt empty and dark. I had ended up with an infection that put me in the hospital after I had cut myself and I almost didn't make it out. Something happened to me while I was in that hospital room. When I was released everything changed. I stopped cutting myself and I wanted to live to
tell my story to help others. I came out of that hospital with the will to survive.
                                                     To be continued....

My Book will be coming out soon for those who want to see how the book ends wait for part 2,  coming soon. 
Remember no matter who you are the will to survive is in you somewhere. 
Grab onto it and shine.


Last week I was able to get one corp. sponsor, Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston, WI.  Visit them on Facebook and message them - tell them "thank you" for supporting #WhenIBecameFree and survivors of abuse! Let them know we're paying attention!

This week I will be hitting feet to the pavement to get more....expect to hear from me Juneau County and beyond.  ;)   and know it is very hard for me to approach you!

Support the #WhenIBecameFree project by wearing awareness! For every shirt sold, $10 will go to support the project - getting it completed, published and distributed.  Shirts may be purchased here. If you're local to Juneau County, just email me and I will send you an invoice w/o a shipping charge.

Any and all donations are welcome!

Any way you choose to support this effort is greatly appreciated! Even if it is just sharing my blog, the website, or liking and sharing the Facebook page.  


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