What if I told you this beautiful girl you see here was a survivor from a small village in Moscow, Russia of being raped, being physically and mentally abused which later led to self-harm from what I remember from age 3 to until I was adopted at 9 Would you believe me? If you knew my steps and my story would that change what you thought about me, or greeted me or said your goodbye to me?
Yes, I am from an amazing country called...Russia. My mother and father both drank. I remember my mother having countless men come to our house and they had sex with me and my sister. I was 4 when it all started. Men that had sex with me happened so early in my life that I innocently thought it was completely normal. I was lifeless, numb to feelings. I drank Vodka that my father had left around the house he didn’t finish.
He was abusive when he drank, he would get angry and take it out on me and my sister. I have cigarette burns on my arms and many other scars. Later it was so bad that the state came and took us away and separated all of our siblings and placed us in a orphanage. When this happened I was only 6 years old. I became angry because I didn’t have anyone. In the orphanage it got worse! The older boys there raped me because they wanted to and they did whatever they wanted to and I just laid there because to me it was normal I had become used to it.
I didn’t know I was being raped until I was adopted by an American family. My parents were nice, but because I never had the love that they provided, I was mean and I shut down and would not open up to them.
Later my parents tried taking me to a therapist in hopes to making me normal, but that didn’t help at all, in fact it actually made matters far worse. Every therapist would ask me questions like Maria, what was your reaction when you were being raped or oh my favorite, can you draw me a picture, or how did being raped make you feel? Imagine how belittle I felt in those moments, how demoralizing those questions were, how intimidating those questions were? I felt less than a human being because they didn’t talk to me like you would talk to a person when you first met them, you could immediately tell you were different from everyone because they talked to me like I was still a baby.
I felt like I had issues now, that something was wrong with me. I remember being back in Russia in the orphanage they gave you labels and I remember they told my adopted parents I was different from the other children that I would have mental issues. I even started to believe these things were true about me. The worst part is that my parents and the therapist accused me of making all of this up. Imagine that? Now don’t get me wrong I do not believe in any way the therapist were bad people, I believe they truly wanted to help me, but honestly these therapist went to school and learned from a book to study psychology and how the brain works, and personally I believe there’s a time and place for science but it does not or can take the place of someone who has experienced being raped or mentally or physically abused.
There’s not a book that can help you imagine or know what really happens when you are going through this. It’s far beyond than just having consensual sex. No way could a therapist relate to my experience, that book they studied couldn’t teach them the pain you go through because they had never personally experienced being raped themselves.
How they approached me took me to an even darker place, I felt like no one really cared or listened to me I felt abandonment I just wanted someone to listen to me and allow me to express myself, not feel sorry for me or talk to me like I was a victim. So I stuffed my feelings and everything into a jar and shut myself off from everyone around me. It was so bad that I even began to rebel against my parents and I began drinking Vodka or whatever ever kind of liquor I could get my hands on.
I did everything to try to get attention because I wanted to fill the void I was missing.