"I will not be punished for it or be whipped or be threatened or not be loved or sent to hell to burn."
In 1946, a woman on her way to becoming a popular icon had signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox and she took on a brand new name for the screen. From then on, Norma Jeane Baker shed her old name and was known to the world as Marilyn Monroe. But what she could not shed or sign off was her difficult past. While the world only saw the pizzazz of Marilyn Monroe onscreen, they would be oblivious to the traumatic childhood that Norma Jeane Baker suffered.
Before she was even born, her father, Charles Stanley Gifford walked out on her mother, Gladys right after he found out that she was pregnant. The absence of her father was something Monroe didn't get over even as she entered the adult years of her life.
After her birth, her mother would often spend time in an asylum while Monroe was passed on between different foster homes. Apart from the 12 different sets of foster parents that she lived with, she also lived in an orphanage for a while, according to Britannica.
At the age of 8 is when she had her first experience of sexual abuse at one of the boarding houses that she spent time in. Using a fake name for the abuser, Monroe later gave the elderly man the fake name of Mr. Kimmel and spoke about how he told her to come to his room one night. "Now you can’t get out," the man told her, as reported by New York Post. Monroe never revealed the details of what really happened behind that door that night.
Along with being constantly uprooted, being sexually abused was also something that took place frequently in the actress's life. People who were meant to care for her or protect her have also abused her, including her cousin and the boyfriend of one of her close family friends when she was a child.
Even a foster parent had sexually abused her after taking her behind a barn when she was only 11 years old, as reported by the Daily Mail.
In the book, Fragments, Monroe's own writings about the early sexual abuse she suffered were included. "I will not be punished for it or be whipped or be threatened or not be loved or sent to hell to burn," she wrote, as quoted by Vanity Fair.
During her teenage years, Monroe was staying with a family friend who eventually got tired of taking care of her. And to wash the responsibility of raising her, the family friend got her married to Jim Dougherty, who lived next door. This was the first of three marriages that she would have in her life.
Once Monroe started gaining popularity, she would attend Hollywood parties and men would often make inappropriate advances. During one party, "Marilyn was surrounded by men and one reached out and tore off her top, revealing her breasts," revealed author, Charles Casillo, based on actor, Orson Welles's recollection of the party.
"Marilyn, Welles said, laughed with the others at this indignity. Laughter hid her fury," Charles Casillo wrote in Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, according to New York Post.
The experiences of sexual abuse were paired with a turbulent love life for Monroe. And some believe that her estranged father might have something to do with this. Ever since she set her eyes on a picture of her father as a child, she seemed out other men who she felt would be like her father. When she saw her father's picture for the first time as an 8-year-old, "Norma Jeane was enthralled by the handsome man staring from the photo with piercing eyes and a thin mustache," wrote Charles Casillo.
The disappointment she faced from the men in her life only worsened with the relationship she had with her absentee father. Monroe once tried to reconnect with her father in the early stages of her acting career. She did manage to find him and contact him but his reaction was absolutely cruel. She was devastated to hear her father say, "Look, I’m married and I have a family. I don’t have anything to say to you. Call my lawyer."
Never forgetting the abandonment she felt because of her father, she wanted both affection as well as revenge of the way he refused to reconnect with her. Charles Casillo wrote in his book, "At a Manhattan party, Marilyn confessed that she longed to 'put on a black wig, pick up her father in a bar and make love to him.' Afterward she would ask, 'How do you feel now that you have a daughter that you’ve made love to?'"
Throughout her life, she seeked some kind of protection from the men in her life just like her father would have given her. But she would experience cruelty instead. Charles Casillo said in his book, "She put all her hopes in the men she was with. It’s what she was always looking for — this is my father, this is my savior. She was a lady born into turmoil, and she spent the rest of her life looking to be saved."