Over a month ago, I told my story to a forensics investigator at the Hamilton House, since I was a child victim. Two investigators were also watching and recording my story as I spoke, and I am still waiting for a call or two back from the Captain of the investigation on my case. Today, I spoke with an officer in the city of the county of where the rapes and abuse occurred. Here is what I have learned about this repulsive system of statues for rape and assault and incest.

I found out today that if a person, at age 17, repeatedly commits rape, in multiple ways, and confesses to it or has been found guilty of it by the time they are 21, they will be put through the juvenile court and jail. However, if a person, at age 17, repeatedly commits rape, in multiple ways, and confesses to it or has been found guilty of it by the time they are 32, there is no sentencing.

So, for clarity’s sake, I was 11 the last time my brother raped me. He was 17.
Now that I have been mentally, physically, and emotionally able to write and draw out and report the details of his horrific abuse, he is excused from sentencing.

He is excused from sentencing because of all of the years that he has lived free. How is this possible? My parents silence has not only kept him and themselves hidden from justice, it has EXCUSED him.

My story has been told.

My voice has been heard.

I am not done.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

I want to preface this with thanking you all for taking the time to read my story. Know that I am  under the care of an incredible trauma therapist. I also began a regiment with a trained herbalist.

I wish I could eloquently type this.

How does someone proficiently write out their trauma?

In therapy, I have had to draw out my trauma, my abuse, my memories. Words, sometimes, can have little effect with healing. I must see the trauma, to process. I must write out the words of the abuse with the name of the abuser, to be free.

I can say it out loud to anyone who will hear me, now. It is my story. It is my truth. It is no longer paralyzingly silencing me. It is empowering and healing for me to say it out loud. I did not cause my trauma. I no longer want any part of it to own me.

I want to shout it to everyone because I have survived. I am on the other side, completely. The other side still has an enormous amount of triggers and nightmares and hyper vigilant scopes and boundaries. The other side is free from a false connection with the abusers, however, which brings me to the next paragraph.

I want to shout it out to everyone, but then come the questions.

I will answer a few questions here.

“Did you ever tell anyone when you were little?”

Some of my abuse was investigated, but when you are living in an abusive house, and you fear being the one that b r e a k s the f a m i l y apart, you’ll tell the family lawyer that you have forgiven the abuse, and sometimes the lawyer isn’t a good person, and they are okay with that answer being a reason to keep everyone together. As an adult now, I know one thing that the court won’t find: evidence. In a home with systemic, incestuous abuse, the victims are groomed (well, in some cases) to live with high-functioning PTSD to keep things as seemingly normal as possible. That means, no…no dates of the abuse were written down in my journal I kept when I was 9. No, when I was 14, I didn’t mention my triggers when I talked to my doctor about my anxiety. No, I don’t have copies of the photos that were taken of me. No, I don’t have any physical scars from the abuse on my body.

I have memories, that are so traumatizing, one haunting word or scent or touch throws me into my Fight, Flight, Freeze mode. One good day turns into a bad night which dissolves into a bad week. The consistency of the abuse conditioned me to believe everything I did, everything I said, or everything I wore was the cause of his actions. My desperation to minimize my pain has given me so much anxiety… everything sets me off. Because I am a survivor of being abused in my home from the age of 4 until the age of 11, my triggers happens all of the time.

“Did it happen to anyone else?”

It’s never just one victim, when someone can abuse a child for years in their own house while be protected by their parents, the abuser becomes more vicious and more free to prey on whom they choose.

Follow up question: “Did your parents know?”

Yes. They knew from the beginning. From the time I was 4 years old. When I was about 15 years old, I told them more, too.

There was always the missing piece that everyone has refused to believe or to think of. I know, it’s really hard to hear this. My story is the unimaginable one. I don’t want it to be my story. I am so righteously angry that this is my story. The truth, and the gripping fear of worse to come once the story is told, is mine to speak now.

Alex made me a victim of child pornography.

Alex physically abused me.

Alex sexually abused and assaulted me.

Alex raped me.

Alex, my brother.

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Welcoming Lucille Jane

March 20, 2015

From previous experience, I had been praying that I would be able to sleep all night before I went into labor. I went to sleep around 9:00pm on March 19th. Labor started around 7:40am. Prayer answered! We called my dear mother in law so she could pick Cohen up for the day. The plan was for her to be back with him at our house around 6:20pm so he could sleep in his crib. When my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart, I realized something incredible: I did NOT have back labor this time, PRAISE GOD! I just had so much pelvic pressure. I continually reminded myself that it was a good feeling because that meant baby was moving down! I labored with just Steve for a couple of hours around the house and I also took a quick bath. I believe it was around 10:00am when we called our midwife, Debbie. She arrived within the hour and I asked her to check my dilation. I was almost at 7cm and fully effaced! Steve, Debbie, and my sister, Leah, began setting the birth pool up in our bedroom. I called my friend, Sheila, because we seemed to have lost the water hose attachment.

I believe it was close to 1:00pm when I hopped in. I was sooooo ready to get in the birth pool. I cherish and truly recommend Hydrotherapy! I cannot describe the immediate relief when I am laboring in water! Everything progressed smoothly, with each hour.  In one photo, you can see a look of excitement on my face as my midwife is supporting me after a contraction, and that expression is from deciding I wanted to try to “check” myself, and when I did, I felt my baby’s head! It was amazing!!! My waters were still intact so I felt a thickness and then baby’s head! An hour later, Debbie suggested that I move to the toilet to pee and to help baby move down. I hate being on the toilet during labor!! Only because it actually progresses my labor, and instead of being comfy in the pool, I am sitting backwards on the toilet, ha! It is hard to breathe when my face is so close to a wall as well, so Steve was near by fanning my face. I used counter pressure on the front of my pelvis during these contractions, I don’t know why, but it helped! “I need Your strength, Father”, I prayed. 

( 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 )”But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the Sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sweet Debbie quietly stood in the bathroom doorway after a few contractions and peacefully reminded me that this wasn’t Cohen’s birth, and that everything WAS going much better, and to let go of any fear I was holding onto. Hearing those true words breathed life into me. I almost started crying when an even even stronger contraction came over me, which I grunted through. I was shocked. Grunting meant pushing. I looked up at Leah and said, “I think I was pushing…”. She excitedly reminded me to get back in the birth pool. I decided to have a few more contractions on the toilet to help baby move down faster, and then (6:00pm) I waddled back into the pool.

I was laboring on my knees when I felt a “POP”. I kind of giggled and began handing Debbie pieces of my waterbag. She had her eye on the fluids and everything was clear, praise God! I leaned back into a seated-squat position and felt the urge to push. Steve was holding onto my back and arm, Debbie was on the other side reminding me to breathe out and blow out instead of bearing down during the contractions. Sheila was fanning me and  Leah was in front of me outside of the pool holding onto my knee and taking photos.  I could feel burning and stinging so I asked Debbie to help me apply counter pressure on my perineum. I had one hand braced onto the floor of the birthpool while I used my other hand for counter pressure on my back. I also needed to relax my legs, so I let them float. With a few more contractions, I breathed/blew our little baby out! Steve had her head when she crowned. When her shoulders were born, he took my arm from my back, and he had me pull her up and out with him and place her on my chest. I could hear one of the women say, “6:15pm!” Debbie began placing warm blankets on her back as I rubbed her sweet chest. She was screaming, and I was so happy! I could hear the song, “You Make Me Brave” playing and I said, “Steve! The song is playing!”, and I began to praise God out loud. He is so faithful. Surprisingly, it took me a few minutes to remember to check baby’s gender. I was hugging baby so close, and  I realized the cord was also in my hands. Then I thought, “Wait, IS this the cord??” I lifted baby off of my chest and exclaimed, “Lucy!! It is Lucy!!” We could not stop crying and laughing and praising God. The whole labor was actually full of worship and praying and I am so glad. It was also very, very intimate for Steve and I. He is absolutely the most incredible man. He kissed me and prayed over me through every. contraction. This was the most perfect day. About ten minutes after she was born, Steve had mentioned that Cohen and Cathy would be back soon. He stepped out to check and they were there! He came back in the room with Cathy, and we gave her a huge surprise when she thought she was just going into my room to “see how labor was going” haha! That was Steve’s fun idea, and I am glad we got to shock her! The cord stopped pulsating after fifteen minutes, and then it took about five minutes for me to birth placenta. I had to get on my knees and squat. It was a relieving feeling. The placenta was so tiny, but thick and healthy! Lucy and I soon were ready to take our herbal bath, and then we snuggled into bed. It was such a wonderfully, beautifully, humbling, and strengthening journey. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Lucille Jane, born at home, March 20, 2015 at 6:15pm

6lbs 9oz  and 19.25in long

 

Hoaloha

It has been such a long time since my last post. So much time has passed, that I have already given birth to our second babe, Lucille (story to come soon)!

I hope that everyone reading this can relate. I hope that everyone has their….person.

Yes, that is Grey’s Anatomy terminology because it is the best way to describe…

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Sheila.

 

Sheila is my person (with the understanding that Steve is also my person ).

To explain how much I trust her, I must explain my own personality first.

I have always had many friends. Growing up, I have had several good friends, seasonal friends. Having seasonal friends is perfectly okay. Many of you can relate this to your high school friends. You may still like them, see their life changing, but you are not a part of it. I have only a few childhood friends. We have seen each other grow up, literally, but we also live separate lives, for the most part. I have also had seasonal best friends, but those too, come and go.

Sheila is brave. She will climb the highest rocks and scare me to death. She will drive for hours for an adventure. Hiking, surfing, camping, and swimming, to name a few, are her hobbies. Oh, also, she got married on a cliff, and I had to be brave like her and face one of my biggest fears to stand by her on her special day. Anything for you, Sheila.

Sheila is strong. No, I mean really, really, really strong. She lifts weights and she runs miles. Josh, her wonderful husband, lifts weights with her too. More than her outward strength, which again, is astounding, she has a strong spirit. Life has thrown her difficulties, and she leans on the Strongest. Her bravery and strength are founded in Christ.

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Told you she was tough. She comes from a tough family, as you can see.
Told you she was tough. She comes from a tough family, as you can see.

Sheila is beautiful. Her Hawaiian features and her natural glow are the envy of this white girl’s heart. Yet, she constantly makes me feel beautiful no matter my attire or hairstyle. When my body stretched with childbearing and birth, she helped me learn to love and accept. Her heart is beautiful most of all. I have watched Sheila grow, struggle, change, and discover herself. I am so proud of her. I’m so incredibly blessed to be so close to her. We have been through different seasons of life and yet we have remained so close.

She is my best friend.

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We have taken so many silly pictures together, and I am so glad.

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If we are in the same building or event, I can hear something (a song, sound, etc) or I can hear someone say something (good, stupid, etc), and I can look at Sheila for just a second, and she will know precisely what I am thinking or feeling. The same thing goes for my soul mate and husband, which is a given, but Sheila, she is my person.

I can be happy with her.

I can cry with her.

I can sing with her.

I can be angry with her.

I can pray with her.

I can be mad at her.

I can be stupid with her.

I can be sad for her.

I can be inspired by her.

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Sheila + Josh + Kenai + Shenoa {OHANA}

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OH! sneak peek of Lucille's birth!
OH! sneak peek of Lucille’s birth!

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Sheila,

thank you for being my roommate.

thank you for going to every show with me and rocking out.

thank you for calling me to your room  when you were scared.

thank you for running to my room when I was scared.

thank you for staying up late

and watching movies with me,

and playing games with me,

and listening to music with me,

and praying with me,

and sneaking out to swim with me,

and eating at chilis until they close with me.

Thank you for being in my wedding.

Thank you for smiling at my wedding even though you wanted to cry all day because you thought it was the end of an era.

Thank you for playing with Cohen so I could clean my house.

Thank you for cleaning my house so I could play with Cohen.

Thank you for being at my daughters birth, and for everything you did for me that day.

Thank you for loving my babies.

Thank you for encouraging me as a Christian, as a wife, and as a mother.

Thank you for supporting me.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for being such an honest and true person.

Thank you for being my person.

Sheila, look at me. Thank you so much for everything.

I know I am a day early, but Happy Birthday, Sheila. I love you!

miña irmá

I have years of full of jealousy towards someone. Jealous for her looks, her faith, her personality, her character.

When I expanded my faith in God (meaning not only did I say I loved Him, I began living it out), my jealousy for her did not stop, it changed.

It grew into admiration, inspiration, and friendship.

C.S. Lewis said, “When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on.

A man does not always say to himself, ‘Hullo! I’m growing up.’ 

It is only when he looks back that he realizes what has happened, and recognizes it as what people call, growing up.”

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My dear sister is such a comfort to me, in more ways than she will ever know.
My dear sister is such a comfort to me, in more ways than she will ever know.

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To my dear, beautiful sister, to my truest friend, I adore you.

More than any line of poetry could construe, more than any word could expound.

Thank you, for everything. Happy Birthday, I love you. xoxoxo

Bliss

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of His roar, sorrows will be no more. 

When He bares His teeth, winter meets its death, and when He shakes His mane, 

We shall have spring again.”  

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“My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.'”

Song of Solomon 2:10-12

Photography by Leah.

Special thanks to my secret sister for the beautiful quilt.

Welcoming Cohen Nehemiah

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” John 16:21

Our little Cohen is over five months old. I have been so excited to share the birth story of our first little one. We decided to have a home birth with our midwife, Debbie, and our doula, Jenny. I was 41w5d when I went into labor around 7:00pm. My midwife had told me during our birth classes/prenatal care meetings to rest as much as possible in the early hours, especially if labor starts at night. I had been up texting a couple of my friends and my sister, Leah, about my contractions. I also began to lose my mucus plug, so in the back of my mind, I knew this was it. I have said this several times, but I was foolish to not rest during those early hours! A part of me, naturally, was in denial. I had been through false labor several times starting at 38 weeks, so I wanted to let everyone sleep as much as they could. It was around 4:00am when everyone started arriving. My house soon was full of excitement and expectancy.

 

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I was having consistent contractions while this photo was taken. Leah was determined to capture it, and I am very thankful.
Steve was immediately at my side.
Steve was immediately at my side.
My midwife, waiting until I need her assistance and my doula, excited about the day!
My midwife, waiting until I need her assistance; My doula, excited about the day!

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My dear sister is such a comfort to me, in more ways than she will ever know.
My dear sister is such a comfort to me, in more ways than she will ever know.

I am so thankful for the ones who encouraged me to thank God before/during/after my contractions. There was an incredible difference when I didn’t follow through with that advice. If I didn’t pray, I would feel more tense, desperate, panicky, and sick.

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The day went on, and there was a time span of about five hours where I stayed at a dilation of 5cm. Everyone was trying to nap, including myself, when my water broke. I was dozing off while sitting up so my wonderful midwife could massage my back when the contractions came. Out of no where, POP! I was suddenly no longer tired as I waddled to our bedroom to wake Steve with the news. I could feel my contractions being stronger, so I decided to get into the pool. Along with counter pressure, I needed someone to hold a fan to my face to help me focus on my breathing. {special thanks to Brittney, Steve, and Jenny for this}

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My best friend / My helper.

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       Hours passed, and my mind was full of confusion and discouragement. I did not ask to be checked for several more hours. I believe it was at this time that I wanted my friends and sister out of the house. I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t already given birth. For weeks, we knew Cohen was in the posterior position. I tried everything from adjustments, Spinning Babies, yoga, etc. I am not sure why he didn’t turn, but I do know back labor is really uncomfortable. Actually, back labor is a killer pain, and I honestly remember that pressure more than the contractions. However, Jenny and Steve were continuously working with me for hours to find relief for my pain. I will seriously leave the importance of a doula for another post, but Jenny was incredible for both my husband and myself. We used massage techniques, worship music was on, rice socks-hot and cold, the birth pool, comedic distractions-Jim Gaffigan, etc. I am forever grateful for their perseverance in giving me comfort.

         When I was checked, I was at 8cm, and I was so thankful. My mind was weary, and all I could focus my mind on was God as I labored over my couch. I remember telling Him how sorry I was for not giving Him more praise, and I prayed He would remain at my side. (Later, I asked Steve if he remembered me praying out loud and he said he couldn’t understand anything I was saying, haha.) Incidentally, when I focused my mind on God’s strength and faithfulness, I, in return, gained strength and reassurance.

I was in labor for at least 32 hours with our little Cohen. The exhaustion I had in the final hours is inexpressible. After around five hours of pushing in every position imaginable (in a few rooms), I began to voice my fear of my heart stopping from exhaustion. My husband and I discussed this with our midwife and she assured me that she would help me achieve what I wanted to be done. It took us around ten minutes to drive to the hospital. My memories of the car ride are of me banging my head into the seat because I was fighting the urge to push. Again, my doula is amazing! When we arrived at the hospital, is was complete chaos. I can’t express the judgment I felt from some of the nurses and OB. I had to put that out of my mind and just focus on what I needed to do. There were some God-sent nurse angels that helped me calm down and focus on my pushing. I was so surprised to find the relief that came with pushing! My doula was praying over me, and my husband had a minute to call my sister so she could be with us. Twenty minutes of getting things sorted in the labor and delivery room, all while my body was pushing, and Cohen finally made his way into this world, into our arms, and has continued to imbed his love in our hearts every day.

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Even though my transfer was non-emergent, it was very chaotic, and I recommend every mom to have a written hospital birth plan. If I would have had a plan for the hospital, it would have made the transfer so much easier, and I would have been able to avoid some of the interventions such as episiotomy and having my placenta kept from me.

Every now and then, I feel discouraged that I didn’t completely have the home birth that we planned for, that I didn’t just change my mind on the car ride and go back home, but I am so incredibly thankful that God gave me the strength to have a natural birth. I am thankful for my husband, who encouraged me and literally labored with me non-stop and has become an incredible father and an even more amazing husband; my midwife who cared for every need since the first day we met, and who mothered me through every hour and listened to my fears and my wants;  My sister, Leah, my strength, my prayer warrior, who has constantly been a tool in how I mother, and my encourager during labor and after birth; My doula, who not only tended to every need that I had before I went into labor, but she was an outstanding strength for everyone of us during my labor; My friends who were at my side for hours to support me, pray with me, and record parts of my labor; The nurses who helped me find the peace and strength to deliver Cohen how I wanted, and continued to help me during my stay at the hospital; My friends and family who have gone out of their way to help us and who have supported us and prayed for us.

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  I could not have even conceived, let alone labored for as long as I did, without God giving me the strength that I had prayed for. All Glory to Him for every moment of my life, and for my beautiful family.