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  • 1. Danielle Hannah NURS 160 March 23, 2010 Family Sexuality History In my family, sexuality is a topic that is not frequently discussed. We have always acted as though it doesn’t exist mainly because we are easily embarrassed if it comes up in conversation. Out of my whole family, I have been the most open child when it comes to conversing about sex. I like to think I am comfortable with the subject. When I was younger, maybe twelve or thirteen, I remember doing a project for my family history. I had to ask my parents questions about my family, and I was able to ask my grandparents about their family that I never knew. They always told me the basic things such as who my relatives were, where they lived, and what kind of family they came from. As I got older, I was more interested in knowing how my parents and grandparents met. I wanted to know more about their relationships and their parents’ relationship. However, I never expected I would hear the absolute truth about both sides of my family. The basis of my paper will be from the knowledge I’ve gained in the past eight years, with new information I recently obtained. Although some details will be graphic, it is important to recognizing and understanding my family’s sexuality history. The topic of sexuality has always been pretty taboo in my family, even as I got older. It started, for me, at a young age. I remember back in 4th grade, having a talk with my mom and sister about sex; it was very uncomfortable, but I knew I was going to hear the same information at school the following week. Since I have an older brother and
  • 2. sister, I think the sex talk came early for me because my parents wanted to take care of it all at once. I’m thankful they decided to do it that way because I felt knowledgeable when the topic was discussed at school. Although I didn’t understand completely how it worked, I got the general idea of it. Since I was a little girl, maybe 5 or 6, I always had a boyfriend. Of course not a serious boyfriend, but I always hung out with the same best friend, Matt. I considered him my boyfriend until about 5th grade. Our parents were best friends, and we lived on the same street together. I was best friends with his sister’s growing up, and still remain close to them today. Junior High came around and I started to have real boyfriends, but still nothing too serious. It wasn’t until 9th grade that I had a real boyfriend, a partner both emotionally and sexually. I’m still not exactly sure how my parents found out about me having sex, but I think my sister was the one who told them. They had a very long discussion with me about protection, and birth control methods. I knew they weren’t comfortable with the idea of me already needing birth control, but they didn’t want any unexpected accidents. With the talk of protection and such, came a talk of the importance of a relationship, and how to choose the right kind of person. It was far more detailed than just passion and feeling; it was more complex, almost as though they wanted me to choose this one person, and stay with them forever. Being young and naive, I thought I’d stay with my first partner forever, but that was not the case. Now that I’m looking back on my parents’ advice, all along they were trying to tell me to choose another partner, because they really didn’t feel comfortable with my boyfriend at the time. Sooner than I knew, the relationship started to experience jealousy and insecurity, which lead to emotional and physical abuse; to this day, my
  • 3. family does not know that. Now that I’m 21 and have a few more years of relationship experience under my belt, I realize that my family has a great modeling relationship. They know their roles as partners and as parents. They encourage me to find someone who has the same ethics as my father, which is something I never understood until now. My father has the biggest heart, the smartest advice and encouraging personality, although he was raised being abused by his father. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always known the simple information about my fathers’ parents. Phil and Donna, my grandparents, ran away at age eighteen and sixteen to get married. Since my grandma was underage, she had to lie about her age in order to get married to my grandpa. They’d known each other since they were young kids. They grew up on the same block together, and went all through high school dating each other. I remember thinking that I wanted a relationship like that; I wanted to be with one person my whole life and no one else. I learned as I got older that people don’t really think that way anymore. Love, for me, has turned out to be superficial. For my parents and grandparents, love was not instant. Their love took time to develop and demonstrate a nurture and comfort for each other. I hope to find that one day; so far, I’ve had nothing but heartache. I enjoyed knowing the basics of my grandparents’ relationship because I felt it was always a good story to tell. They were married at a young age, had three kids, and had a nice house and a great life. It wasn’t until I was fifteen that I learned the real story behind my grandparent’s relationship. They knew as little children that they wanted to be together their whole lives, but certain events rushed their decision to marry early. My grandpa found out that my grandma was being beaten and raped by her step-father, but it
  • 4. hadn’t been once. My grandma had been experiencing this abuse since she was eleven; she was just too afraid to tell anyone, even her own mother. Once my grandma felt she could no longer take the violence, she told my grandpa. My grandpa being the man he is, took matters into in own hands and ran away with her so she wouldn’t be hurt anymore, thus the reasoning for getting married so young. My grandma’s parents knew why she ran way, but they still called the cops and had them brought back to town. Together, they had to face my grandma’s mother and step-father. My grandpa wanted to expose the awful man who had been mistreating my grandma for years, and he did. My grandpa explained why they had got married and that it was too late for any apologies. Although my great- grandparents didn’t approve of their relationship, they had no other choice but to let them go and make their own life for themselves. All these years I’ve asked about how my grandparents met, I never thought I would listen to such a thing as this. In my eyes, I saw my family as perfect. My parents raised their kids to know only the best in life, including relationships. Rape was not a word we’d ever hear, and we would never have anyone in our family that had been raped. I soon came to find out my grandma was not the only one to experience abuse when she was young. Not only had my grandmother been raped as a teen, but my mother as well. My whole life, I grew up thinking I had two grandmas and two grandpas, which I did. I found out when I got older that the relationship was a little more complex than I knew. The grandpa I knew, my Popo, was not my biological grandpa. In the beginning, my mother’s mother, Mazie, had been married to a man, Gilbert. They had three children, my Uncle Gilbert, my Mother Kathy, and my Aunt Susan. My grandma had always been a stay at home mom while my grandpa was a pilot in the Air Force. They moved every
  • 5. two years, sometimes out of the state, and one time out of the country. When my mother was 9, her father died in a helicopter accident. It was then that my grandmother, Mazie, met my grandfather, Popo. They were married and had one daughter together, Barbara. Since my mom and her siblings lost their real dad, Popo adopted them and brought them all into his big Czech family. I’m not sure why my mother never told me she was adopted, but I’m glad I found out later in my life. It really showed how great of a man my Popo was to be the adopted-father. He had a duty, and he fulfilled it with great ease. Almost three years ago, I had an extremely personal talk with my mother, mostly about how she and my father grew up. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew that the talk would lead to something detailed and graphic. We covered information about how my parents met, and how much they hated each other at first. We discussed sex and how their families told them, which was at a young age also. We ended up sitting at a table for three hours. Listening to how your mother, aunt, and uncle were raped and abused as a child is not easy. It is a feeling of disbelief and frustration to know the man that created these wonderful people would ever do such a horrifying thing to them. To me, a father is supposed to keep his children away from hurt or abuse, as well as love them unconditionally. I am thankful though that he died in a helicopter accident; I would never want a person like that in my life, especially as a grandfather. The grandfather I knew, Popo, was the kindest and most big-hearted man; exactly like my father. Looking back on my family’s history helps me realize how they’ve taught me, without having to say it directly. In so many words, they’ve taught me how to be a woman, how to accept love unconditionally, and how to stand my ground against anyone causing me harm. I’ve learned how to be a better person by their actions, and that will
  • 6. help me to become a better mother and spouse one day. Although my family had to experience sexual abuse, they never let me experience that myself. Relationships that are abusive is not something anyone should ever experience. Based on my family’s modeling, partners are to be their spouses best friend, and supporter. To be passionate is to be careful, whether dealing with your own heart or someone else’s.