Wanting to Date, Being Told to Wait: Adah’s Story, Part One

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HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Pearl” is a pseudonym. Other names have been changed to obscure identities.

Content Warning: Descriptions of emotional, physical, sexual, and religious abuse.

Part One: Background

I am the youngest daughter of a homeschooling family.

Somewhere around my tenth birthday, my parents joined ATI. Up until that point, we were a pretty typical evangelical family. However, in the last few years, my parents had seen their older children rebel and walk away, and they didn’t want that to happen to the younger ones. They wanted guaranteed success stories, and they fell hook, line and sinker for the polished picture of bright-eyed obedient children becoming perfect adults. What my parents didn’t realize was that none of us would ever turn out like they wanted. Their dream family has fallen apart.

I’m not blaming them for how things turned out, but at the same time, they do bear responsibility for what happened under their roof.

I had a special relationship with one of my brothers. We were pretty young, so everything that happened was pretty innocent. I loved my brother and wanted to marry him and do what married people do. I found comfort hugging him for long periods of time. I liked to hid in the pantry or the attic and fondle his private parts. One day my mom found us hugging in the laundry room and, after much prying, convinced us to tell her everything we had done together. She put all the responsibility on my brother and wouldn’t let us near each other. She made me feel ashamed of what I had done and afraid of my brother. Not once in all this time did I realize that it was impossible for either of us to feel any sort of sexual pleasure because we were both prepubescent.

I simply wanted love and was desperate to feel close to someone.

My mom stayed at home and homeschooled us, but much of the time we were left by ourselves. My dad was a workaholic, and my mom, still undiagnosed, suffers from major depressive disorder and is possibly bipolar. She was emotionally manipulative, and would proclaim her love, feign sadness, or even disappear for hours or days in order to get what she wanted. In our house, it was always about making mom happy.

Another one of my brothers would act out so severely that even as a teenager my dad would whip him with a belt. I don’t know how severe it was because I usually managed to avoid whippings, although the wooden spoon still got used with frequency until I was thirteen. So, my brother, who was constantly angry, would often be left in charge whenever my mom went out. Then the brother I loved and I would be the subject of his abuse. My brother and I still have scars from what he did to us. We never said exactly what happened to us when my parents were gone, but we did tell them that we didn’t want him in charge because we were afraid of him.

I always wonder why they never pursued finding out what he had done, but I suppose it’s just their way.

And so, my abusive upbringing continued. I got a purity ring when I was sixteen, but never received sex education. I read all the “right” books: I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Passion and Purity, The Bride Wore White, Before You Meet Prince Charming, Captivating, etc. I was told to “stay pure,” whatever the hell that meant.

I would soon find out.

Part Two >


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