The Process of Survival

5-29-07 (13 years old)

 

Today during social studies my phone rang and I got it taken away, but got it back after class. A while later I checked the voice message that was left, it was that son of a bitch, he said: “Hey baby, when you get a chance, call me, thank you!”

It hurt so much to hear his voice, but no one understands how much. I was so traumatized I was and am… I thought I was safe from him with him being in jail, and me at school. And we still have no idea how he could have called and especially cuz he made it seem like the call came from Yuma. I really want to call Mrs. Cathey, but I’m afraid she’d get tired of me calling. I have so much homework tonight, but every time when I go to do it, I start thinking, wondering, dreaming. I absolutely HATE IT! In class today when I got called to the school police officer’s office everyone in my class started yelling and screaming “Busted!” and “What’d you do!!?” I got so pissed cuz Mr. Moore wasn’t doing a thing to calm them down so I yelled at the top of my lungs, my throat still hurts at the end of the day! I am so freaking pissed right now, I’ve had a horrible two months, and the kids at school aren’t helping it in any way. I wish life wasn’t so hard. I want a hug right now from either Mrs. Cathey, Mrs. Buhler, or Mrs. Mathews, they all have this good thing about them, and they’re all really awesome. For most people, when their dad calls, it’s a good thing and they’re happy about it, but it scared me half to death! I was frightened and when I heard his voice, I didn’t even ask Mr. Lanning if I could go to Mrs. Nelson’s office, I just told him I was going, that’s like the first time I ever spoke to a teacher or any adult like that. I was just so scared, scared that he was in town and had escaped from jail and was out to get me. And it scares me, he’s such an intelligent man that when he goes to prison he’ll probably escape and come after me. I really do pray that everything turns out just fine.

5-30-07 (13 years old)

 

Today mom told me to be cautious about what I do and say. She said to always lock the door and not to answer my cellphone if someone calls that I don’t know. And that if I feel like someone is following me to call the cops right away. She said that since we now know that he knows people down here that he might tell them to do something to me, cuz I’m practically the only thing that determines his future. If I’m dead and can’t testify, then he goes free and he might do the same thing to someone else. And yeah, sometimes I do have thoughts about death and suicide, but I know I have a lot to live for, I just don’t know yet what exactly. I got a new book today, and I think I might actually enjoy it, but it is really big! Oh well, hopefully I can get out of this world for a while by reading, that’s my whole plan. I really wish he hadn’t called me, it scares me now and I keep hearing the message over and over again in my head, it just won’t leave me alone, no matter what I do to try and forget it. My birthday is coming up and I’m not sure yet what to do. I had everything planned out for if I were at the ranch, but I didn’t expect I’d be telling on him so soon, so I never put any thought into my party (having it here) till now. Not very many people know my true reasons for telling on him, yeah, it was REALLY getting on my nerves, it was finally getting to me, but Lilah. I know he did something to me when I was a baby, and I just couldn’t let him do anything like that to her, she’s just too innocent. I love her so much, I have no clue what in the world I would do without her.

6-5-08 (14 years old)

 

The last 3 days we’ve been in the courtroom from about 9am-4:30pm. Mrs. Cathey was there for most of it, and thank God she was. They wouldn’t let mom be in the courtroom before she testified. I have to say I was “strong” while testifying, but I’m not sure it was that or if I was just numb to it all. Bruce kept trying to make me seem like a liar, which I’m definitely not! Cynthia was there for a while and testified but she left while I was in the courtroom and I never got to say bye to her… that really hurt. Detective Ruby stayed for just about the entire trial up until a few hours before the verdict was read. The final verdict: count 1: guilty, count 2: guilty, count 3: guilty, count 4: guilty, count 5: guilty, count 6: guilty, count 7: guilty, count 8: guilty, count 9: guilty, count 10: guilty. Guilty on all counts! I felt like 500 pounds were lifted off my shoulders as each verdict was read. I’ve been waiting WAY too long for this and now it’s finally over and I saw him getting cuffed, it was great. I didn’t cry the whole trial until Roberta’s closing statement when she started talking about my niece. My sister got up and left, she couldn’t take it, I barely could. Shortly after the verdict was read I went outside to call Maritza but left a message instead. I started bawling my eyes out. It’s finally over, I can continue on with  my life. Today, June 5, 2008 Jan Borrud—GUILTY.

 

 

You Son of a Bitch: Your Sentencing Hearing (14 years old)

 

When I was really little I would get up at least once or twice a night to make sure the front door was locked. All along though I didn’t realize that who I needed to be afraid of was sleeping in the bedroom just down the hall.

 

You always told me that “hate” was too strong of a word to use, and there is only one time I use it. I HATE you.

 

Last spring break my sister went ice skating late at night. I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep but I went with her because I was afraid of staying there with you.

 

You always told me to never use the word “never” because it’s longer than anyone can imagine. I will NEVER forgive you.

 

Did you notice that last year I stopped calling “shotgun”? There was a reason for that, I didn’t want to be near you.

 

People say that nothing is impossible. It is impossible for me to even think about forgiving you and it is impossible for me to stop hating you.

 

Did you notice that every time last year when you asked if I wanted to go to the ranch, I asked you who else was going, and then, if you said no one, I said I wasn't in the mood to go? There was a reason for that, I didn’t want to be alone with you, I was scared it would happen again.

 

I trusted you. You were my father.

 

Easter used to be my favorite holiday ever, until the last Easter I spent with you. I didn't have a dress so I borrowed one from my older sister, you told me that I looked so beautiful in it, you said I looked better in it than she did. I wanted to beat the crap out of you right then, I just about cried because that was the LAST thing I wanted to hear from you.

 

Parents and teachers tell kids to not speak to strangers and that they might hurt them, but no one ever warns kids about who is more likely to hurt them; their own parents.

 

Every time I saw you holding Lilah I would break down inside and my heart broke EVERY TIME you were holding her, bouncing her on your knee, changing her diaper, feeding her, and looking into her eyes. I saw the way you looked at her and I couldn’t help but think about what was sure to happen to her, just as it had happened to me.

 

When I was with Lilah alone I would repeatedly tell her that she could talk to me about anything, and that if you ever touched her for her to tell me, and then I realized, I can’t wait to help her until after it happens, she’ll already be affected by then, so I knew I had to prevent you from taking yet another girl’s childhood.

 

Did you notice that last year when you told me you loved me I just said “you too” (in a kind of “whatever” way)? There was a reason I didn’t say “I love you.” I don’t lie.

 

I suck at holding grudges against other people besides you. I think that’s because I am so unbelievably pissed at you for everything you've put me through, that I can’t even stay mad at anyone else for longer than a few days.

 

You put me through hell! I couldn’t live with it, I thought about suicide so many times, but I knew I couldn’t because if I gave up there would be no one to help Lilah and every other little kid out there.

 

I was depressed because of you, my grades slipped, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t get the fact that my own father molested me off my mind.

 

Do you know what it’s like not having anyone that understands what you’re going through? I do, I went through that every day of my life since you touched me.

 

At the beginning of 5th grade I was the happiest, most cheerful little kid ever. Then, by the beginning of 6th grade I was completely different, sad, and I had a bad attitude, cussing all the time, then I cut my hair. I always said I was never gonna cut my hair, partially because you liked it long so much, but then I didn’t care anymore what you thought so I chopped it all off so that maybe you would stop thinking I was so pretty.

 

I want to say I'm sorry though to Julene, his girlfriend, for not cleaning her house when I should have, but I had no reason to listen to you, you were no longer my father, and me doing something because you told me to would have been like me listening to some drunken hobo on the side of the street. You had no authority over me.

 

Remember this as you walk away on your way to your cell: There is only one person I hate, and that’s you. No matter what the Bible says, I will never forgive you. You say you love me, but no one would make someone they love’s life a living hell, which you did to me. Words cannot describe the hatred I have for you and how much you ruined me.

 

I Wish I Had (14 years old)

 

I used to hang his picture on my wall

No one was to know he hurt me at all

He was there every night watching me dress

Watching me sleep

He haunted me now

Even more after what he’d done

The frame shattered as it hit the floor

He doesn’t see me anymore

Now he’s gone, now he’s gone

Now my life can continue on.

 

 

Its Not Funny. Its Not a Joke (15 years old)

 

It’s not funny.

It’s not a joke.

Stop laughing

Every time my heart is cracking.

To be touched like that

No, you don’t understand

Yes, it’s really that bad

And yes, I’m really that sad.

 

It’s not funny

It’s not a joke.

 

If it had been your sister

I know there would be no laughing

Your heart, too, would be cracking.

 

Sometimes I wish you understood

But I know you cannot unless you’ve lived

Through the pain and suffering such as I did.

 

I wish this upon no one

That’s why I tolerate your “jokes”

I know you don’t understand

That yes, it’s really that bad

And yes, you’d really be that sad.

 

Every night feeling that pain,

Trust me, I had nothing to gain.

When he touched me that way

“It’s all okay.”

That’s what he’d always say.

 

It’s not funny

It’s not a joke.

 

I’m still in this fight

Crying every night

Replaying those “jokes” you said today

No, it’s not okay.

 

Free,

That’s something I'll never be

Free from his horrible memory.

 

Stop yelling your “jokes”

Just stop, they’re not funny.

 

Rape is nothing to laugh about

I hope you never learn

From firsthand experience.

 

Please, just take my word for it,

To be touched that way

No, it’s not okay.

 

And no, it’s not funny

It’s not a joke

To be touched that way

Even after I said “don’t.”

 

It’s not funny.

It’s not a joke.

 

I See Your Picture (18 years old)

 

I see your picture 

I see I am your daughter

But you’re a stranger to my heart

It's been ten years since we’ve been apart

-- 

I see your picture

We have the same crease between our brows

The same small eyes

However, yours are full of lies.

We have the same jaws

And clench them tightly when we’re mad

Oh how you clenched your jaw

As I gave you, the judge, the jury,

A recap of your sexual perversions.

My mind was not in the court room that day

My mind, my heart, my soul

Were back in time

Narrating to you, the judge, the jury

When you had your way with this body of mine

Hell, I was just older than nine.

--

I see your picture

Orange is not your color 

But suits you so well

You put me through hell

You don’t deserve the ground

To sleep on.

--

I see the etching of your face

It’s forever in my mind 

That moment you said

It was all in my head

In your memory, have you left behind

All those times?

It was me you embraced

Your child, your daughter

Age ten.

-- 

I see the carving—your face in my brain, in my heart, in my soul

I feel your hands forever on my body

I feel your mouth against my breasts

Why couldn't you just give it a rest?

--

I’ll never forget the things you said

The only complaint you didn’t have was your bed

You were scared, what would they do?

Everyone knows what happens to men like you

How impolite of me, I should have asked,

How have you been? How often do you get it up the ass?

Or are you careful to not drop your soap

Have you started smoking dope?

Wait... really I don’t care

Cause what you did to me, Papa it really wasn’t fair.

You took away my innocent laughter

Who knew my father would be such a disaster

Just think of it this way, you’ll be free in 2088

I hope you enjoy your time, 80 years

That’s not much to replace my thousands of tears

--

 

Drift Away (20 years old)

You don’t like it so you drift away. To school, and the game of house you were playing with your friends at recess, and to your choir concert the night before. And sometimes when you drift away, you drift away to nothing, emptiness. It’s as if your mind and soul have completely disconnected from your body. But sometimes you can’t drift away, no matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you squeeze your eyes shut—you still feel him. His dry, rough hands. His slobbery, wet mouth. His breath on your chest. You look anywhere but in his eyes. You look towards your feet but his head is in the way. His light brown hair just above your nonexistent breast, his mouth warm and repulsive. One of his hands is massaging your other nonexistent breast while his other is on your privates, moving around. You want to stand up and walk out the door, but you can’t. Papa seems to be enjoying what he’s doing, you’re making him happy, so you just lay there—motionless. Finally you drift away again to nothingness.

 

“It’s almost bedtime, mommy’s going to be mad if I’m not home soon.”

 

“Just a little longer, it’s okay,” he said.

 

***

 

“Now, you can’t tell anyone about this, I could lose everything, my job, my money, I could even go to jail. This has to be our little secret.”

He takes you back to your mom’s house. You say hi to your mom, walk straight to the bathroom and brush your teeth. In your room you change into pajamas, not feeling like you own the body you just dressed. Climb into your top-bunk bed. And with your older sister sleeping beneath you, you grab your stuffed Teletubbie and try to sleep as feelings of guilt and confusion run through your mind. And your mom doesn’t even know what her ex-husband just did to his youngest daughter.

 

3-17-14 (20 years old)

 

Would you trade your silence if you knew he would touch me like he touched you?

If you had known that someday he would molest his own daughter, would you still have kept quiet?

There was a point I kept quiet, too. I too, thought it would end with me.

And then I saw her face, I saw him holding her, feeding her with a bottle, he stared at her—like she was a piece of meat that he would spoil as soon as he had the chance.

While giving her a bath one night, before she could even sit up on her own, I told her, “If he ever touches you, you tell me right away.”

And then I realized that if I made her wait that long, it would be too late.

Because I told, I have a sister who hates me, a grandfather that wants to kill me, a grandmother who won’t speak to me, half a country that thinks I’m the devil, a father in prison, 

and a niece who will never have to feel the touch of her grandfather’s hands in her vagina.

My. Temple. Of. Strength. (Gillenwater Hall) (23 years old)

 

For ten years people told me I was strong.

Courageous.

Bullshit.

I wasn’t strong. I was weak. I let it happen. I let him touch me. I didn’t tell anyone. I obeyed him. I obeyed my father.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

 

It looks unsuspecting.

A red brick building in the center of the NAU campus.

Students walk in and out of the doors occasionally as I watch.

They have no idea.

They have no idea.

 

I see the window looking into the room,

The room, the red brick building that for thirteen years represented the weakness. The guilt. 

The despair of a ten-year-old girl.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

 

But as I walk past this building every day on my way to class, it has changed.

It has morphed.

The building that I, for thirteen years referred to as

“the last place he molested me” has changed.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

 

That room, with the window looking into it.

That unsuspecting, rather dull, red brick building in the center of the NAU campus

Is my temple of strength.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

 

That two-story apartment-style dormitory

Is where my ten-year-old self told my father never again.

Never again would he touch me like that.

 

“The last place where he molested me.”

 

No, not that.

If a ten-year-old child finds the strength to tell her father

To never molest her again,

The place where that happens deserves a better name.

A stronger name.

A more representative name.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

 

They have no idea.

The students walking in and out,

The students living in that room,

They have no idea.

They live in a temple and they have no idea.

 

My. Temple. Of. Strength.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon