The trial of Larry Nassar, the ex-USA Gymnastics team doctor, has inspired me to want to update my victim impact statement. I have loved the way Judge Rosemarie Aquilina has presided over this case. She has enabled the victims of Larry Nassar to have a voice. A voice that was listened to, heard, and validated. That is so important to the healing process.
As I think back to my victim impact statement, I think about how naive I as at the time. I didn’t have the slightest idea about how the abuse had really impacted me and my life. I had not yet faced the real impact of what happened to me till AFTER I had went to court. A large part of that is due to me still being subjected to unhealthy family dynamics at the time I filled out my victim impact statement. Not being able to see and recognize how unhealthy my family is kept me from being able to recognize how deeply I was affected not only by the sexual abuse but also by the emotional neglect from the rest of my family.
While I filled out my victim impact statement my grandmother had told me to add information about how it had affected my mother because “she is a victim too”. This came back to bite me in the butt during trial; along with other advise she had given me.
I had first disclosed about the abuse to my grandmother. My mother was suicidal all through my teen years. The adults around me had made me responsible for making sure she didn’t kill herself. Since I was living overseas at the time I told my grandmother, I had asked her to let me know when my mother was stable enough for me to tell her without worrying about her trying to kill herself. Shortly after I had disclosed to my grandmother, she had told me that my mom and step-dad, my abuser, were planning on getting a divorce but they didn’t want to tell me yet. My grandmother advised me to wait until after they told me about the divorce to tell my mother about the abuse. Then after I was told about the divorce, I was told I should wait till after the divorce was final to tell my mother because my step-dad would say that I was making it up due to the divorce. Finally, my grandmother suggested to me that perhaps we would NEVER need to tell my mother about the abuse I had gone through. She wanted to sweep it under the rug. I ended up telling my mom about the abuse before the divorce was even filled for because she was considering still living with him after the divorce. I couldn’t stand the taught of going home to see her and still having to be around him. I had to let her know what he had done.
To think back to all of this just pisses me off! It shows me how disposable I was to them. How I was just something to be used. My grandmother was not concerned about how the abuse had affected me. She was more concerned about making sure my victim impact statement showed how my mother was affected. When it came to my mother I was the first thing sacrificed on behalf of her.
After the trial I came across a book called Toxic Parents, and that book changed my life. For the first time ever, I saw how unhealthy my family relationships were. It opened my eyes to so many things. This started my journey of finding out how the abuse had truly affected me. It’s been nearly 11 years since trial and I still feel like I’m learning how not just the abuse has affected me but how everything else I went through as a child has impacted me.
Now that I have a better understanding of how the abuse has affected me, I want to update my victim impact statement so that it more accurately reflects how I, not my mother, has been affected by the abuse.