"Lori" has corresponded with me a number of times about her concern for her granddaughter, aged five at the time of the interview, being molested by her grandfather. When I asked if I could interview her about her own abuse, she agreed.
Interview, October 2003.
All names have been changed.
I don't remember spanking as being directly mixed with anything sexual, so my childhood may not be of interest to you. If it's not, that's okay.
I was very shy while growing up, and extremely introverted. In school, my oldest brother and I were considered "weirdoes" by other school children. After graduation, my brother (we called him Beaver) retreated within himself, and to this day he lives in a fantasy world and draws disability. He is unable to function normally in society. When confronted with people, he still shakes uncontrollably and blinks his eyes repetitively.
As a child, I was very confused about a lot of things. My mother was very religious, and we were taught that she was chosen by God to be a leader in God's Kingdom. She believed, and still believes, that she will have the authority to discipline people, and destroy all those who are evil. Her method of discipline was similar to that of brainwashing. She attacked me often by hitting, pinching, and pulling my hair. I wasn't allowed to talk to other people, especially boys.
My mother often referred to me as a whore, and I got frequently punished for being a whore, even though I had never had sex. She punished me if I tried to wash my hair, or bathe more than once a week, or if I tried to fix up, etc. I wasn't allowed to wear make-up or to wear antiperspirant, or any kind of deodorant. She spent a lot of time lecturing me, calling me names, and telling me that I wouldn't make it into God's Kingdom. She often called me evil, and she later rejected me as a member of the family. My brothers all consider me to be evil, and to this day, none of them will have anything to do with me.
After my birth, my father started studying the Bible to find the truth so he could save my brother and me from hell. He heard Herbert W. Armstrong on the radio, and he thought he "found it." My mother also became a member of this church, but she claimed that my father wasn't truly called. According to her, God used him as a tool to guide her into the true church of God. She always claimed that my father was demon-possessed. She sometimes blamed demons for making her do various things; such as, she claimed that demons forced her to marry my dad a second time by immobilizing her and putting her into a trance.
My earliest memories of my childhood are those of fear. I don't ever remember a time when I could look at either one of my parents without getting cold chills and becoming nauseated. I lived in constant fear, and spent most of my childhood daydreaming.
Family members noticed that I was bruised a lot, especially during the first five years of my life. My father was jailed for seven months when I was two years old for severely beating me. My father did admit to spanking me earlier that day, but he denied beating me in the face and pulling out my hair. Actually, he probably didn't. That was the kind of punishment my mother often gave to me, and according to the police report, I had head and facial injuries.
People were always making comments about how sad I looked.
The church was firm on spanking children, so every Sabbath was a day of punishment for most church children. My dad spanked us often with a belt or a paddle, and sometimes after spanking us, he'd make us sit in a closet for what seemed like hours and hours at a time. He did spank us on the buttocks, most often bending us over his lap, but I don't remember if he ever pulled down our pants. The swats he applied were very hard, and were very painful. Often my bottom was bruised, but I'm not sure if my dad caused this, or if it was my mother.