My name is Laryne Gamble. I am 25 years-old, a wife of 3 years, an education student in the Indian Teacher Education Program, and an outreach worker for at-risk youth.
I am a sexual abuse survivor.
I never thought I would define myself as a sexual abuse survivor and at times, I feel as if I am more so a victim, but this is my story that I now have the courage to share.
My mother refused to allow my biological father in my life (I did not even know what his name was), but I met him at my high school graduation at age 17. During all of those years, my mother was married to my stepfather and he was someone I knew since I was 4. He is the father of 4 of my siblings and they all had me call him “Dad.”
But he wasn’t. He wasn’t even close to being a “dad.” He was mentally and physically abusive towards us and my mother. And to me, starting at the age of 8, he was my rapist, my molester, my sexual abuser.
It continued until I was 14.
When my mother walked into the room, months after he had me take a pregnancy test and he was rubbing my stomach, she questioned him. Of course, he lied. After promises of leaving when I told her the truth, she stayed.
I lashed out, and was suspended from school for possession of weed. Before leaving school grounds, I told the counsellor that I wasn’t scared of what my parents would say, as I have consequences that are far worse than anyone would know. And after discussing in depth, I finally told someone that wasn’t my mother.
From there, I brought to the police to give a statement with my mother in tow. My stepdad had to move out of our house. My mother was angry, and it seemed to be more of my problem than anyone else’s.
I tried over and over again to commit suicide, but there was a pivotal moment… a letter to my sisters that saved my life. I realized I couldn’t leave her behind. So I didn’t.
Things got bad in my home. My mother used to scream at me about the incident and I would then lash out at my sister, who were younger and had no idea what was going on. My grandmother (stepdad’s mother) now had her son living with her and would tell the village folk that my parent’s split p because I was too bad… even though she knew what he had done to me.
My mother decided it was in my sibling’s best interest to have their father in their lives, so she sent me to Vancouver to live with my uncle. He had no children, and never had the experience raising a teenager. But that’s where I lived so my family could be together.
I was 15 when I moved back to where I was born. I had years of counselling and anger management. I experienced drugs and alcohol. I went to university at the University of Northern BC but dropped out in the second year. I was a “gypsy” according to my mother, who had no idea how lost I actually was.
But I was searching, high and low to find who I was.
In my early 20’s I found me. I worked so hard, and I really struggled. But once I found “Laryne” there was no going back. I knew I had 2 choices; 1. be a victim 2. be happy. And happy was what I was.
Doing the best years of my life, I found my husband. And at times, I don’t know how I deserve such a wonderful man. We had many ups and downs, including a miscarriage, and family issues. But he has been the strongest support I’ve ever had in my life.
Flash forward to July 12th, 2016. My husband’s 28th birthday. It was approximately 3 am and I decided afterwards to go “home” to see my siblings. My siblings and I have not been all together for quite some time, and the only one missing was my mother, she was away on a business trip. It was 3 am when I woke up in my youngest brother’s bedroom because I felt something caressing my backside. And when I realized what it was, I just couldn’t believe it…
Twelve years later.
After a night of drinking at his brother’s house, he realized I was sleeping alone. I pushed my brother’s computer chair towards the door and called my husband through Wi-Fi on Facebook as he was back at our home for work. I told him what just happened. He told me to leave, but at that time it was 4 am and I was on the reserve and had nowhere else to go.
So, I woke my sister to tell her what her dad had done…I rubbed her side to say he touched me like this, but on my behind. She held me while I cried and said, “Tomorrow we’re leaving.”
The next day, my stepdad pulled up, crying, and apologizing as my other sister just told him what he had done. During the confrontation, he told me reasons why he did it to me as a youth and it was because he “was abused” and that he “fell in love with me.” He even told me why he made my mom leave my “wedding celebration” a year earlier after showing up for dinner and my mom’s speech, and it was because he realized he still had feelings for me. But he said he didn’t remember the night before and asked if he hurt me.
That was the first time I had a confrontation with my abuser.
My sister, my nephew and I left the reserve and I spent a couple days with her before flying back to my house. The night before leaving, I told my mother, who was still away. She made the same promises of leaving, but she has yet to do so. She told me his bogus lies about why my sister and I left, and to this day I can’t comprehend why it didn’t raise any red flags to her.
The morning before my flight, 3 days after the incident, I contacted the RCMP. I talked to the receptionist, I tried to submit a statement but because the RCMP member wasn’t on duty until after my flight I would have to wait for someone to call me back. When I got in touch with a member, I was asked immediately if I was drinking. When I answered 2 drinks in a 5 hour period, she cut me off while I was talking and she said she will call me back in a couple days as she had a lot of paper work to do.
I waited nearly a week.
So, I went to the police department and submitted a written statement. A day later, I had a constable call me back to do a video statement. At the video statement, the constable made a comment about how my stepdad doesn’t have a criminal record. So that thought lingered for quite some time. I was brought back to mid-teens when he had to go to court but my mom said I didn’t have to be there so she went without me. I never questioned what had happened there. I just wanted to move on. I found out later that he only got 3 years of probation for sexually abusing me as a child.
During weeks of trying to correspond with the authorities to get a charge going, my sisters and mother had not contacted me. And one day, I saw a picture of my family having an outing, as if everything was normal. It broke my heart and I lost my mind.
I posted a video on Facebook stating news that wasn’t common knowledge–I was and am a sexual abuse victim (that day a victim is what I felt like) and I needed extra support as my abuser re-offended. After that, my sisters made contact-in the worst ways. They were deleting and blocking their access to me, and my mother would tell me how much she loved and missed me but won’t call. And if she did, it wasn’t about what happened.
I was a wreck.
But, I have never been the one to play a victim. My post about being a sexual abuse victim was the first time I found my voice to speak to others about my experiences. Charging him is the first time I had the power to do so on my own.
It’s been nearly 3 months and I am still in the process of pressing charges, and I have attended my first counselling session in many, many years.
I am reaching out to share my story, because I know there are many people like me who have felt just like how I did, who are struggling, who are lost, and who have been alienated by their families for speaking out. And I want to be their voice, and I want to help others become survivors.
Sharing my story, I can raise my voice, help others, and become an advocate for sexual abuse survivors.
My name is Laryne Gamble and I will not be a victim.