My Mother Aint No Mama
Your Next Door Neighbor
It was late at night when I woke up to my mother’s
words, “Que no quiero, que no quiero!” As I lay on my
bed, I kept quiet and I didn’t know what was going on
with my parents. My father kept telling my
mother, “Andale, andale.... solo un ratito.”
I was between four or five years of age when this
happened to my mother. It took a long time to
understand what my mother was going through.
Remembering back to my childhood, I was confused as to
why my mother began to sleep in my brother’s room. Now
that I am much older I understand that she was
sexually abused. Thinking back to this malicious act
my father did to my mother, it makes me feel angry and
sad at the same time. I was young so I couldn’t
understand and, regretfully, I couldn’t help my
mother. As I was growing up I didn’t think anything
wrong happened. I thought it was only an argument my
parents were going through.
My mother began acting a little different after that
night. She stopped being close, in a loving way, with
my father. The biggest thing that I noticed was that
she no longer slept in my father’s room but preferred
my brother’s room instead. She slept in my brother’s
room for a long time. I didn’t know what to do or who
I should talk to because I felt uncomfortable
discussing it. As time passed I finally realized what
had happened between my mother and father. Feelings of
hate and anger toward my father began to grow more and
more intense. I was not aware that husbands could
sexually abuse mothers until I saw it happen in my
family. My mother became part of an unfortunate
statistic: One in three adult females are physically
assaulted by their partner, according to Women’s
Crisis Center in Watsonville.
Approximately 200,000 women are raped each year by a
current or former intimate partner, according to
LACAAW-Los Angeles Commission on Assault Against
Women. The U.S. Department of Justice reported in 1999-
2000 that 89% of females and 11% of men get sexually
assaulted/raped and only 24% of them report the sexual
assault/rape to the police. Many of the victims feel
that sexual assault/rape is a personal matter and no
one needs to find out. The closer the relationship
between the victim and the offender, the greater the
likelihood that the police will not be told about the
rape or sexual assault,” according to the U.S. report.
In 80% of sexual assault/rape instances, the offender
is a husband, boyfriend, friend, or an acquaintance.
Only 20 % of the time the rape or sexual assault
occurs by a stranger. In our local area, Watsonville
had 23 forcible rapes reported in 2002. This number
only represents the victims that decided to report to
the police. There are hundreds of incidents that are
related to Intimate Partner Sexual Assault and go
unreported every year.
Why is it so hard for a victim to report being raped?
These victims—or as I prefer to call them, survivors—
find it difficult because they fear the persecution of
others. With my mother I saw fear of survival, love,
threats, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, fear of
being alone, guilt, denial, lack of support, and
damaged self-esteem. Overcoming these obstacles can be
a long and complicated process. A battered person
should be honored for their struggle rather than
blamed for continual abuse. It is always a triumph
when an abused person manages to leave an unhealthy
and/or violent relationship.
If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing
to do is to get professional help as soon as possible.
Call the Women’s Crisis Line at (831) 685-3737; they
are available 24 hours a day.
Now that I am a young adult I can understand what she
went through. If I had known at the time what was
going on I could have helped my mother by knowing some
of the symptoms of sexual abuse, like the following:
• You are frightened by yours partner’s temper.
• You find yourself being criticized for daily things,
such as your cooking, clothes, or appearance.
• You are humiliated or degraded by name-calling, put-
downs, and accusations.
• You have been discouraged from seeing family or
• Your partner makes frequent threats to withhold
money or resources, take away children or have an
• You feel isolated, alone, scared, and/or trapped.
• You have been kicked, hit, shoved, restrained, or
had things thrown at you.
• You have been forced or pressured into having sex,
or doing things sexually you do not want to do.
• Your possessions have been destroyed by your partner.
• Your telephone has been pulled out of the socket.