It was just after 7am when he broke in and raped my mother.
She was just newly separated after 22 years of marriage. Alone for the first time in the longest time.
She was still in her dressing gown.
I was fifteen years old at the time. Away at boarding school.
Otherwise I would have been home.
Fate has stepped in to protect me on more occasions than I can count.
And perhaps, over the course of her life, the same has been true for my mum. But not on this day. On this day, the God she still believes in was MIA.
I hated what happened to my mother. I especially hated that the most important part of her healing was in talking about what happened to her. Talking about how she was raped.
Even now, I find it hard to say the word. Hard even to type it.
This isn't so hard to understand. It is an horrific word related to an horrific act. It is chilling to any woman and reprehensible to any decent man.
Add that word to a sentence involving you own mother and you can understand why my teenaged soul was terrified and confused and so very ashamed.
But my mother, she was not ashamed. She was angry and she was ready to fight.
She worked with the police, with other victims, she bravely appeared on the award-winning documentary "Without Consent" which aired on the ABC and was watched across the country.
"Hey Angie," some school friends asked, "What was your mum's name again?"
"Tina," I answered, knowing full well they had seen her on television.
"Oh yeah, that's right," they replied, exchanging knowing glances.
I hated my mother in that moment. Hated that my complete silence, the vow to tell no-one, was being sabotaged by her refusal to shut up.
I held jealously to my secret, not knowing that it was a poison inside me and by default, a poison inside her.
But also, I was proud. I knew that she was amazing and brave. But I could not tell her that. At fourteen, a mother who blended in was desirable.
But Tina has never been one to blend in. Really, she never has.
My mother speaks out. She shares the most personal moments of her life's journey. I believe she knows that doing so could help others. But I also believe that doing so was integral to her survival.
And there is the small matter of her inability to remain quiet. Tina is, it must be said, a talker.
As I moved into womanhood, I came to see the wisdom of raising your voice, of honesty. Having nothing to hide is liberating. And it draws us closer to one another because so often our terrible secret is the same terrible secret that lives inside others. I have learned I must say something.
And then there is the small matter of my inability to remain quiet. I am, it must be said, a talker.
I am not of her womb but I am of her heart.
I am so very proudly my mother's daughter.
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Tina is awesome. I heart Tina, and she is not my Mumma.
And you are most definately, your Mothers daughter.
My heart breaks reading your latest entry. Your mum sounds like a strong and courageous woman and it seems that she has passed this on to you.
Your mumma is one brave and strong woman and so are you, I am a survivor too, not a victim a survivor! Just like your mum, and you too are a survivor (it effects family just as much) Lots of hugs
This brought tears to my eyes honey. Your Mum is indeed, an amazing woman, who has raised an equally as amazing daughter…
Oh my word Angie. I’m so sorry for your mum and you. The heartache is hard to imagine. Facing our selves and owning our own life story is the bravest thing that we can do in our life. Forget climbing bloody Mt Everest, facing our past, healing our hearts and moving on to a brighter future? THAT is the real adventure and takes the most guts. I love that you speak your mind and share your struggles. You and your mum are both amazing and strong! xxoo
Thank you, sweet Ladybird.
Tina really is awesome. Anyone who rocks the liquid eyeliner like her IN THEIR SIXTIES is cool in my book.
Sarah, thank you for your comment.
It breaks my heart, too. After all these years, it still hurts so much to think of this happening to my mum. I don’t think it will ever stop hurting. How could it?
But you are right. She is a very strong woman and I do believe she has passed this on to me in some small measure.
Thank you for sharing this, Jodie.
I am sorry that you can personally identify, I wish that were not so but it seems that, just like my beautiful mum, you have turned the unthinkable into an opportunity to empower yourself.
Women like you humble me.
Thank you, sweet friend.
She is amazing and I am amazed by her…whenever she isn’t driving me mad. 😉
Thank you my darling. I knew at the time that my speaking up publicly was hurting your little heart and it almost broke mine to know this. But I knew no other way to recover what had been taken from me. My hope that one day you would understand and be proud of me has come true and I am very grateful for the beautiful relationship we now share. I’m sure the family tradition of being a talker and speaking up for women will pass on to our beautiful Harlow by our example. Just one thing – could you not have found a better photo???!!!!
It’s a heartache that will never completely heal because I can’t erase what happened and while ever the thought of what my mum endured hovers at the edge of my mind (and only ever at the edge because thinking about it head on is unbearable), somewhere inside me, I am heartsick.
But yes, she has taught me that not only go we go on living but we can make our lives better than they were before. The road is very rocky but so worth taking.
Thank you. xxx
Oh my god, you kill me! I swear, I searched but what can I say? You pull silly faces in photos. But hang on, I love it. Your eyes look AMAZING. We’re adorable.
I love you. I am so glad you spoke up. And so fucking proud.
With a mother like Tina, how could you not be the wonderful woman you are today?
I love hearing about the relationship the two of you have – what wonderful inspiration you’ll both be for Harlow.
Lovely piece Angie and your Mum has much reason to be as proud of you as you are of her.
Horrified for you and for her. But so immensely proud of you both. This speaks volumes about who you both are. Incredible, strong women. xx
Thank you so very much. xxx
Thank you, Mel. Thank you so much. xxx
Thank you, Mad. What a lovely thing to say.
And I sure hope so. This little girl will know strong women.