Imagine the worst pain ever felt and multiply it by 18 years of life. Marie Hoskins has lived the pain, a life of sexual abuse, self-hatred and rage.
The rage began when 3-year old Marie lay on her grandparents' bed watching TV with her uncle.
“I remember feeling paralyzed, knowing whatever was happening to me was wrong but being helpless. He just slipped his hands in my underwear.”
She immediately ran and told her mother and aunts "he played with me.” They all laughed as she stood there crying wondering why no one seemed to believe her.
She now knows they understood and believed; they had all been involved in incestuous relationships. “My mother lost her virginity to her brother at 13," she says. “I always felt there were a lot of secrets in my family.”
At 5, the rage was again fueled. She and her cousin Jared found pornographic material. She says, “I remember us looking at a magazine trying to do what they were doing."
Marie and her cousins seemed to be turning into their parents.
“When my cousin Arlene would spend the night, we would touch each other." She says. “It was how we played."
Then, her mother married a cocaine dealer who beat her. She remembers "holding on to (the top bar of) a swing set while he beat me." She says, "I just hung there looking at a black bell disassociating myself."
Although unable to express her feelings, Marie was overcome with rage when she was first raped by her cousin. "Jared raped me at 10. We were at my grandmother's playing near a grapevine. She says another cousin, Marlon, held her down. I remember feeling confused."
Shortly after, her self-hatred turned into fury.
"I remember having temper tantrums, banging my head on the concrete floor. I hated myself. I wanted to die. I prayed to God I would sleep and never wake up."
"Marlon forced me to have oral sex with him when I was 14. He had my hair and was pushing me down on him. I thought I was going to choke. I had problems swallowing after that. I was sick with myself.”
Yearning to be loved Marie says at 14 she would have sex with men who were 20 years older. This sex was unable to fill her sense of emptiness and encouraged more negative feelings. “I would have nightmares about being raped while men were standing over me."
Marie then turned to drugs to fill the void in her life. She did marijuana, speed, downers and inhalants.
"Self mutilation came next. I would carve stuff on my body. I carved a guy's name in my hand and leg. I slashed my wrists two times,” she says. “I kept two curling irons plugged in. When I felt like shit, I would go hold them. I used the outer pain to push away the inner pain."
One night Marie says she panicked, realizing her life was out of control. She called a mental hospital. She talked with the counselor until she calmed down. Then the counselor called and told her mother, who forced her to go into treatment.
"I went to de-tox for a month. Then I went to a halfway house for kids." She says it kicked her out because she was going around threatening to kill kids."
A second treatment center in Louisiana helped Marie learn to release and understand her frustrations.
"I remember being so relieved to be there. I read about its sexual abuse treatment in a pamphlet. I was tired of feeling like parts of me had been ripped out. I never felt peace, love, happiness or serenity."
They used art therapy, music, writing and [graphic] art. I couldn't describe how I felt. It came from inside. Every time I hurt I knew the inside of me was healing. I learned how to find a higher power.”
Marie was out of counseling for five months but had to go back for treatment. Marie's parents found out she was doing drugs again and kicked her out.
That night, Marie says she walked 10 miles and was picked up by guys who took her to a party, where she drank a half a gallon of whiskey, a beer and smoked a joint.
“I woke up the next morning with a guy on top of me, inside me, passed out. I was scared and tried to move him, but I couldn't. I began screaming. Finally, another guy moved him off of me. He said, 'be ready for me when I get back.'" She panicked as she ran around the room naked unable to find her clothes.
She says she is not sure how many times he raped her only that she could barely walk the next day.
"I felt extra guilt and pain. I was ashamed to look at anyone, to look at myself in the mirror,” she says. “It was the first time I had wanted to die in a long time.”
“Someone helped me get into Recovery House in Columbus. I stayed there for a month.”
She was diagnosed as manic depressive with obsessive-compulsive behavior, attention deficit hyperactive disorder and mild psychosis.
“I had thoughts of killing people. I didn't want to hurt anyone else, so I began slashing my legs.
“I left before they finished treatment because I didn't want to be there."
Marie's rage surfaced again, this time in a suicide attempt. "I took 50 different pills and slashed my wrists. My mom found me in the bathroom. I stayed in the hospital two [or] three days."
While she was in the hospital, still sorting through disappointment and self-hatred, her mother and stepfather told her she could not come home.
She moved to Starkville. Then she got into a relationship with a guy. Although they were very serious, she was still emotionally unable to have sex with him. He then raped her. "He yelled, do you know what being fucked means? You damned bitch, I'll show you what fucking is,'” she said.
He was in the process of getting a divorce and made it clear he did not care about Marie. When she ended the relationship the next day, he told her she was stupid.
Since that relationship ended, Marie's life has improved. She enjoys her mother's company and talks to her often. She has gotten her GED.
She confronted her uncle on the telephone. He had forgotten about the incident that began years of pain for Marie. When he remembered, he cried and apologized. Marie says, “By confronting him, I got rid of that anger. I no longer felt the need to be angry.
“I am a survivor, not a victim. A victim is weak and can't do anything for herself. Survivors do things to keep themselves going."
Ed. Note: The names in this story were changed due to the sensitivity of the subject and at the source's request.