How The Justice System Failed Me….

I grew up my entire life thinking my stepfather, a man named Alfredo, was my father. I haven’t spoken that name in years and after this essay I will never even type that name again. My “father” was a convicted felon. My two sisters, who were biologically his daughters, and I were all sexually, emotionally and physically abused by him. He was convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon back before he met my mother, and was also convicted of multiple DWI charges and possession of a controlled substance charges. I lived with this human being for most of my childhood. Some of my earliest memories of him include our “restroom breaks” where I was forced to perform sexual acts on him. I honestly thought that this was how a father loved his daughter. This was just one example of the sexual abuse I endured during those years. After he would finish whatever he wanted with me he would tell me not to tell anyone, because if I did people would take me away and I would never see my family again. Sometimes he would watch us while my mother worked overnight. He would come into my room after he’d been drinking, start kissing me, and rape me. He eventually left my mother in 1996 and I had kept this all a secret until recently.

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 I found out years later that he had started a new life in Colorado. He remained there until my grandfather passed away in 2006. I had always thought about what I would do if I saw him again, but I said nothing. Even though this man was only 5’ 2’’ and 100 pounds, I felt the most intense fear and left the funeral. Later that year, he moved back to Houston. I started experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks. I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At the time I was working for a law firm and confided in one of the attorneys. He told me that it was better for me to deal with this issue, and not file charges because reliving the experiences might cause more harm than good. He told me I would have to face a defense lawyer making me out to be a liar and sometimes people can’t handle it. So I took his advice and once again stayed quiet. I eventually became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I prayed every night that God would just take my life. I genuinely thought if I committed suicide, God would know why and grant me a new life with a better childhood.

 On May 5, 2013, I found out I was pregnant with my first son. That day my entire life changed. God didn’t take my life like I wanted him to, but he did grant me the gift of new life. I started back in school and started seeing a psychiatrist where I was diagnosed with PTSD, panic disorder and major depressive disorder. I now have two children and I am proud to say I have broken the vicious cycle of abuse and drugs. I strive to be the first person in my family to graduate from college and be the ultimate example for them. I lived through a traumatic childhood, but it ironically taught me how to be a mother.

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 My abuser died last year of stomach cancer. I will never speak his name. My children will never know him. I did not attend his funeral. I did not go to his bedside as he lay dying. His last wish was to see all three of his daughters before his death, my sisters went, but I couldn’t bring myself to face him. I never was able to legally charge him. I think ultimately that ate away at me. As a student, with two children, sometimes paying my medical fees are overwhelming and sometimes I simply cannot afford to go. If I would have filed charges against him, I would have been eligible for the Texas Victims Compensation Program for help with my medication and therapy costs, but it’s now too late.

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 I am currently going to school to get my Business Management degree with a minor in psychology, then hopefully get my Masters Degree in Education of Counseling. With my degree I hope to mentor children who have been through the same situation I was. Opening up a life coaching business would help me to inspire children to overcome their past, defy statistics and become someone amazing.

I want to share my story to encourage people to seek legal help from more than one source. Every day I regret not speaking up. His abuse affected me in more ways than one, I have a broken nose and emotional scars. I truly believe the justice system failed me, but I have to at least credit my amazing parenting and perseverance to the monster that took my innocence.

“This article is a submission for entry to the 2016 Monder Law San Diego Scholarship”