Do cry out loud - a story of abuse and recovery

by Charlotte Fantelli

Having written about the lesbian teacher abuse case this week and opening up about the abusive 'relationship' I had with a thirty two-year-old woman when I was just turning fourteen (for seven months), I feel as though I now have the ability to write a little more about it. 

It is not meant to be a sad piece although the contents may be triggering to some. I hope that by giving a snapshot into the situation I lived in, it will help others open up and know they are not alone. My life now is wonderful, my relationship secure and happy, if you are going through something similar, know that you really can get over it and move on x

We Don't cry out loud...

This is the second time I have been able to listen to this song, I can do it now knowing the past cannot hurt me.

I was fourteen-years old as the Elkie Brooks song 'Don't Cry Out Loud' played on her CD player. Her daughter, my best friend was in the room but was unaware of what was breaking inside me as her mother looked me straight in the eye and mouthed the words along to the song :

'But baby can't be broken cause you see,

She had the finest teacher - that's me,

We don't cry out loud,

Keep it inside,

Learn how to hide your feelings'

And I did, I did hide my feelings. I hid them at home, although I knew my mum would stand by me I knew that my alcoholic step dad would hurt me with the information as much as the abuse itself did.

I hid it at school from my friends who were also friends with her daughter. But it was hiding it from my best friend, the one girl I told everything that was hardest. Silence seemed the brave and kindest option, so I painted on the smile.

Actually I painted on the 'hard bitch' face that I hid behind, pretending nothing could hurt me.

But it did hurt me.

Despite the guilt that kept me strong allowing me to believe I had control.

Despite the anger. 

Despite the emotional blackmail.

Despite the misplaced loyalty.

Despite feeling flattered and even 'special' in a weird sick way.

It did hurt me.

Seven months I did keep it inside. Fearing the day it came out as much as I feared every time she touched me. How the hell was I going to do anything but keep it inside me? As she has so often said 'It'd destroy her [my best friend] if she ever found out.' I was gagged, bound and over a barrel.

As she abused me the final time under the dark October sky, I sat looking up at the stars and asked 'God if you are there give me the strength to end this thing'.

But then it happened. I walked home from her house after it had happened again and I led on the train tracks that ran between our houses.

For the first time ever I contemplated suicide. I wanted it to be over, I wanted the pain to be gone.

I don't know what pulled me off the track that day but I know how it felt as the engine of that train went past my head and I breathed as if for the first time. I vowed then and there to speak out.

That Wednesday, having been in hospital with a fractured collar bone and other injuries from my step father, I found myself an opportunity. Sat alone with my mother and a social worker.

The flood gates opened and it started... 

It triggered a chain of events that I could not stop.

Guilt hit me, what have I done to her... It was my fault, it was my fault...

'It was not your fault' they all said,

But they didn't know about the way I tempted her, how cute I was, how special...

OK so she knew I was sick nearly every time she touched me, OK so I had said no, OK so I had asked her to stop it but it was MY fault.

Hell, it took me about three years to stop the guilt.

Next came anger - that kept me warm on many a long sleepless night. Plots of revenge.

The plots were shattered at the age of 18 when sat outside her house with a knife. I walked away knowing she'd taken enough of my life.

Next came grief.

Then came letting go.

The long, hard process of recovery started the night I didn't keep it inside any longer. It really was the best thing I did!

That night is what led to my being free now.

My ability to grieve and to move on. To form lasting relationships and even BEGIN to start having a loving relationship with myself.

If you are going through anything, if you are hiding a secret that is hurting you - Do cry out loud.

Charlotte x

Comments

Charlotte

The severe traumas of your past and the way you have recovered and, not only gone on to form a happy marriage with Gabriele but to be an ambassador and advocate for those who've suffered abuse and trauma, and even to write about sex in Uncovered Magazine - you are the most amazing person I have ever known.

You have reduced me to tears once again -- even though we discussed this on the phone earlier -- thank you so much for your extraordinary kindness in the way you look out for your friends and colleagues when opening up about such difficult issues.

I have said this, to you personally, and on blogs, so many times before, but I will never tire of saying it -- you are the most inspirational person I have ever known, and I feel deeply blessed to know you. Please, keep strong and brave, keep up the fight against evil, and cherish every single moment you and Gabriele spend together. You are such a fighter and such a strong person.

I am so proud of you Charlotte.

Ian

Thanks so much Ian, it means a great deal to hear that. You are such a good, kind and inspirational advocate yourself. Keep fighting those demons yourself :-) C

Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read articles from other writers and practice something from their sites. my webpage g
Simply inspirational x

Thank you x

You are awesome Charlotte, you are my hero! I wanna be just like you when/if i grow up lol. but seriously i totally agree with the others you really are an inspiration to all of us! x x x

Wow, that was a wonderful way to start my day, to read a comment like that.

It was actually quite a hard decision to write that piece, but your comment (and the comments of the other readers) make me so very glad I did. 

Whatever you want to do/be in the future - do it! Don't let anyone or anything make you think you can't.

Charlotte x

Hello Charlotte, I am new to blogs and tweets. I have already sent something I hope to be a tweet but don't know if it got to you. I have had serious problems with an anxiety disorder for the past 34 years. I have just been reading about Stigma being Society's coping mechanism. I think that another coping mechanism is that Society believes that there are services for people like me which may or may not relieve any guilt they might feel if they choose not to bother. As I say, I am new to this and don't quite know how to work the technology. However, I am very keen to talk about the failures of various agencies in addition to the NHS who let the mentally ill down. As an example of the above, I would want to cite someone from a church who when she heard how agencies that are there to safeguard the vulnerable had let me down and the desperate plight I am in following an overdose of 200 valium agreed to help me. Until she discovered that I drink the occasional hot toddy (whisky mixed with hot water, lemon and honey) to relieve the symptoms of M.E. which has been brought on by an anxiety disorder. Much of what I want to write about is in written format which supports what I want to say. Would you be OK about guiding me round the site and how to set a blog up or join in with one? I really don't know what I am doing here and need a little guidance. I think i would want to start a blog about services but it may be that there is already one there to join in with. Could you advise how to start a blog on this site if this is possible? Thanks and I think you are doing a great job. John
So here I sit, as the topic of so much of your discussion - 3 years after being detained under the Mental Health Act, having committed this described crime, freed for a day, to set foot into society, stupidly choosing to become connected to the techno world where I find demonic thinking and assault is so instilled in those that form their criticisms on the words of sensationalised articles. I have lived every minute since being detained utterly ashamed,and not a day goes past that I don't regret the pain I have caused everyone. I was expecting to go to jail, I didn't choose to be detained, but those of you who are knowledgeable about Mental Health will be aware about the fine line between being a victim, and recycling the process. So I suggest the authors of such abusive and opinionated articles get the context and facts of their accusations accurate before firing bullets. Don't get me wrong....I live every minute of every day hating the person I have embodied. I hear those trains every day, I have stood in front of them and been pulled from them. I will never forgive myself for what I did and as this author so eloquently relayed to the naïve readers who perhaps have not experienced the daily torture of psychiatric care and being detained within four walls for making a catastrophic mistake by loving someone I shouldn't have. This column is about 'Mentally Healthy' - I have been for so many years and continue to live with Chronic Depressive Disorder, I am held under the Mental Health act for my own safety, and reading articles that are so dismissive of the facts, have done nothing in the 24 hrs I have experienced outside of detainment to take myself closer to that train that runs through my head every second of every day!! This is likely to be the last thing I ever write publically! Mental Health is far more than making mistakes, it is a complete overriding of the brain that leaves you emotionally unstable, vulnerable and exposed. Time for people to think before they scribe....and time for me to recognise the opinions of the outside world, which I have been protected from whilst in Psychiatric care!
I share your views. Society unfortunately Regard persons who do criminal acts or Out of trend behavoiurs / not the norm etc.. harshly. It doesnt support the person who feels left out/degraded by the larger group of norms. Mental health issues make you suffer The most lonely place. To be g65zedisliked by family, society and even professionals that work in this field is so impacting it is tragic. It hurts Blogger PAIN does make you grow and gives you mental paths to cope. It has come to my awareness so called normsl people are mentally disfuntional and lack the skill and courage to be who they want to be because of the need to be accepted by the larger group. Its a weakness and i have learnt this because of the they have treated me. Hard.lonely Degrading. But the warmth of understanding The fuller picture has made me realise im a cracking person. I am more knowing and i fulfilled and nurished by this. It doesnt change the facts that it is so very painful to be Treated less than you desperstely need. Be jopeful i say to myself my courage and understanding is connected to a natural force And i will be protected but i am still terrified of Of their power and set opiions that chains me. Be hopeful pain can bring a greatet wisdom to help you cope. Goodness and mercy wishes hope u get me for yr comfort and interest. Over and out matey. Xx
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