I can’t believe how fast 2014 flew by and I hardly posted anything. Truthfully, I’ve been dealing with a lot on the Homefront. One big change for me was tha I finally started therapy in December. It has been a long time coming and now I realized that I waited too long. I am on a low dose of Prozac, which is a life saver. That has helped tremendously! My therapist has revealed that I have codependency issues and ptsd. I’m not sure if that’s something that is diagnosed but it sure does explain a lot of my problems. I realize now that my parents really did a work on me. The abuse that I endured has seeped in to every part of my life and I didn’t even realize it. Bad habits became normal for me. I’m really happy to come to this realization because now I can move forward with self acceptance and not continue to let these things get in the way of my goals and dreams.
It’s been forever since I lasted posted. A lot has been going on but I think the most crucial thing to announce is the fact that I am finally starting therapy! Yay! I’ve been so nervous about getting help but thanks to the healthcare act, I have insurance so I can afford to get some counseling. There is soooo much that I have wanted to comment on from Bill Cosby to Ray Rice but right now I want to post this youtube clip from this week’s Dr. Phil episode. I felt that it was something worth talking about because of the reaction of the grandmother involved. Ashley came forward that her grandmother’s husband had molested her for at least 10 years before he was convicted and sent to jail. The grandmother not only refuses to believe Ashley but also blames her for ruining her life. WOW! Word has recently gotten back to me that a certain someone (ehem, my mother) has been complaining of how much I hurt her and ruined her life. Hmmm, well that is certainly interesting. Fuck the nightmares and shit I have to deal with on a regular basis! But I’m better than that shit and I’m getting help for it. She can rot in her own fucking self pity along with this shithead of a grandmother. And I’m out! trigger off…
So, it’s been just over a year now since I sent that fateful letter and started this blog. In that year I have learned so much about myself and have really been forced to take an honest look at everything in my life. Sometimes the answers that I’m looking for hurt to the core when I find them but sometimes they set me free. It’s also been a bit of an emotional roller coaster but I think I’m about ready to get off of it.
One of the things that I have had to take a hard look at is my relationships and why I have them. The main reason why I kept my parents in my life for such a long and unnecessary amount of time was that I wanted them to be happy despite the lack of my happiness. I know, I know… that’s so screwed up, right? Why on earth would or should I ever care about the happiness of people that continued to rob me of my own? I dunno… Stockholm syndrome? Who knows! I realized that I’ve been this way with a lot of people. I was a doormat. I didn’t think that I was because I thought I was blunt and spoke my mind but I really didn’t. I mean, I did when I knew it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
The biggest blow that made me take a step back and look at my relationships from another angle was the utter lack of support from people that I thought cared about me. Some family members, some friends. My coming out about being abused and writing this blog has opened my eyes to those who give a shit and those who don’t. It surprised me. It surprised me a lot! On a positive note, some people have come out of the woodwork, in my list of friends, that I now have a deeper connection with so it’s not all bad. In fact, I take this awakening as a blessing in disguise: I now know what people I should invest my heart and soul into and those who don’t deserve it.
It does make me sad that so many people just don’t care or don’t want to know about the abuse that could be going on right under their noses. I realize, though, that people generally don’t care about things until it affects them directly. It’s like people who have never been anywhere near poor but think nothing of it to cut welfare programs. People who have never been to third world countries in person aren’t as inclined to give a rat’s ass about the starving, sick children drinking shit infested water. Sure, they might throw money or bibles at a good cause, but do they really care. No. They aren’t emotionally invested in those people or situations. They lack empathy toward anything outside of their little bubbles. As long as the money keeps rolling in and grocery stores are open and gas stations fill their giant SUV’s and their kids never suffer…. why bother? It doesn’t affect them.
I realized that most of the support that I have garnered from my story comes from other survivors and people that have been directly affected by child abuse and/or sexual assault. This is a good thing! We need to stick together! We need to let the next person know that they aren’t alone. The process of facing a lifetime of sexual abuse is HARD. It will make you question everything. I have questioned it all, right down to my marriage. What are the lies and what aren’t? Who wants the best for me and who wants to sabotage me? Who is going to be there for me when I need to figure it all out and who is conveniently going to be busy and not there?
I think I’ve figured it out and I’m ready to get off the ride. I’m also ready to face life as an adult that is confident and not lacking in meaningful relationships because she knows she is worth it. I’m worth it. You are worth it. Don’t let people dick you around because they don’t “get” you. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that your mac and cheese is way too cheesy. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. 🙂
I don’t think I have ever watched a Woody Allen film. If I have I probably was unaware that it was his. It wasn’t because I was boycotting him. I just never found his ideas very interesting. Maybe there’s a reason for that and now I have very good reason to boycott his films all together. If you haven’t seen or heard yet, Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan, recently wrote an open letter to him and his fan’s in an op-ed in The New York Times. Her letter obviously struck a chord with me as a fellow survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I also sympathize with her because like her, I was afraid no one would believe me because everyone liked my step-father. She is fortunate that her mother and other family members have stood by her side. It is unfortunate, however, that the courts decided to drop anything against Allen because having a young girl testifying would have been traumatic for her. Would it? Maybe for the time being but growing up knowing that someone who is capable of such heinous acts has been free to continue those acts as well as prosper and gain notoriety as someone influential and talented can be more traumatizing. Having to live everyday with those nightmares and to have to be constantly reminded of that person can be worse. Woody Allen should have been charged and sent to jail. He should have never have the opportunity to become the person that he has become.
I’ll be honest. What really makes me angry about all of this is how the general public has reacted. I never knew anything about Dylan until the Golden Globes when I started seeing news reports about Mia and Ronan’s tweets regarding the perverted Allen. Since then, I have been sick over the celebrity reaction to her story. Why in the hell do so many people support him? I think a lot of it goes back to society’s general idea of what a pedophile or child molester looks and acts like. Allen has gained a lot of support from other celebrities because they have a hard time believing that he could do such a thing. This breaks my heart. When will people realize that child molesters don’t fit any certain mold? They don’t look any certain way. Most of the time, they are people that you know and trust.
It is very important to not doubt or blame the victims. This isn’t helping. Stories like Dylan’s are very important in our fight against sexual abuse and assault. Victims need to know that coming forward and talking about it will help prevent abuse and put these monsters behind bars. I really hope that Dylan knows she has support. I support her and truly hope that she has found peace and healing in her life.
You can find Dylan’s letter here.
Courtesy of ABC News
So what if Benedict “defrocked” these men? What is the Vatican doing to prevent these abuses or keeping these same 400 people from abusing now that they are just regular citizens. This is the equivalent of them getting fire from their jobs, not serving jail time. A pedophile is a pedophile is a pedophile. They cannot be rehabilitated and any rehabilitation cannot be trusted. This passive action isn’t protecting children whatsoever nor is it sending a message to the current clergy. Is there anything to suggest that the current pope will go about things differently and more ethically?
Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked 400 Priests in 2 Years
A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.
The statistics for 2011-12 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Prior to that, it had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.
The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of oftentimes pointed criticism and questioning from the U.N. human rights committee.
The statistics were compiled from the Vatican’s own annual reports about the activities of its various offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases. Although public, the annual reports are not readily available or sold outside Rome and are usually found in Vatican offices or Catholic university libraries.
An AP review of the reference books shows a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline pedophiles since 2001, when the Vatican ordered bishops to send cases of all credibly accused priests to Rome for review.
Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took action after determining that bishops around the world weren’t following church law to put accused clerics on trial in church tribunals. Bishops routinely moved problem priests from parish to parish rather than subject them to canonical trials — or turn them into police.
For centuries, the church has had its own in-house procedures to deal with priests who sexually abuse children. One of the chief accusations from victims is that bishops put the church’s own procedures ahead of civil law enforcement by often suggesting victims not go to police and keep accusations quiet while they are dealt with internally.
The maximum penalty for a priest convicted by a church tribunal is essentially losing his job: being defrocked, or removed from the clerical state. There are no jail terms and nothing to prevent an offender from raping again.
According to the 2001 norms Ratzinger pushed through, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reviews each case sent to Rome and then instructs bishops how to proceed, either by launching an administrative process against the priest if the evidence is overwhelming or a church trial. At every step of the way the priest is allowed to defend himself.
The Congregation started reporting numbers only in 2005, which is where Tomasi’s spreadsheet starts off. U.N. officials said Friday that the committee has not received the document.
Heilprin reported from Geneva.
I think that it’s very important for people from all corners understand how to approach others when they reveal that they have been abused. Some people are well meaning but don’t understand how their comments can be very insensitive and sometimes also justify the actions of those that abused us.
- You need to forgive that person and move on with your life. The problem with this thinking is it’s not that easy and the “forgive and forget” mentality lets the perpetrator off the hook. Not all of our abusers have faced punishment and in my case, probably never will thanks to ridiculous laws. I don’t equate forgiveness to the idea of letting it go. Forgiveness gets rid of any punishment and life continues on as normal. Letting it go is something that happens after the victim is satisfied with the amount of therapy and release of mental tormenting caused by the abuse. They are able to not allow the abuse control who they are as a person and don’t use it as an excuse to hurt others.
- Let it go (aka. Get over it). No. No. No. Don’t ever say this to someone that has been assaulted, abused, molested, raped, etc. This sort of thing doesn’t just happen on command and can take years and years for a victim to recover from. How about you just get over your grandma’s death? Oh, you’re still sad about that? Get the picture? Sexual abuse can seriously paralyze some people emotionally and sexually. They don’t just “get over it.”
- Why didn’t/don’t you call the police and turn that person in?
The problem with sexual abuse and assault is that it’s not talked about enough. Most victims are terrified to say anything. In my case, I was plagued by guilt on so many levels. I also didn’t know that the clock was running out of me. The statute of limitations ran out in my state over 4 years ago. Back then, I was still trying to convince myself that everything was ok, but it was definitely not. In other cases, the victim feels like no one will believe him/her or perhaps they feel threatened. I recently found out that my stepfather molested and raped another family member for years. He had threatened her that he would kill the entire family if she told anyone. Given that a rapist or molester will only serve a relatively small sentence, any victim would be terrified of what could happen once that prison sentence is over or they are out on parole. In my case, I was told that my mother would be the one to kill everyone and herself. He played on her mental instability and knew exactly what he was doing. I still have that irrational fear. Others may lose their entire family in the process or even to greater lengths, their entire town could turn against them depending on who the abuser is. Just look at the Stubenville case.
- Gross. That was too much information! I got this once after revealing that I had been molested to a close friend. I was shocked. I expected a little more sympathy than that. Seriously, though, if child sexual abuse grosses you out consider the fact that one out of every seven kids you know is probably being abused. This statistic is only based on what is reported. It could be higher than that. So consider that there are victims that sit next to you at work or church and run the register at the grocery store. There are a lot of us. It’s too common. If you are going to be grossed out about it, then stand up and help do something to stop it. Apathy isn’t what we need and making you comfortable shouldn’t be our top priority.
- That person doesn’t LOOK like a child molester/rapist. News Flash: just because a guy has a tan wind breaker and weird mustache does not make them an automatic candidate for sexual violence! There are people leading churches, schools, colleges, military, organized sports, etc. that have been convicted of sexually abusing children. These are people that the community looked up to and respected. Most of the time they have good taste in clothes and are very charismatic. If they aren’t leading, they are infiltrating organizations that have weaknesses so they have easy access to their victims. There have been attractive, young female teachers that sexually abused male students. This is just as wrong as a male teacher having sex with a 12 year old female student. They are still predators and manipulators. Looks can be deceiving. Don’t let yourself be fooled! Other predators are right under your nose. In my case it was my step-father. Most kids are abused by someone that has access to the living quarters like close friends or family members.
What does all of this amount to? When someone confides in you that they have been abused, the best thing you can do for that person is to believe them. If they are a minor and you feel that the abuse is ongoing, you have an obligation to report it. The other thing is to be genuinely there for that person. When I finally came out about my abuse earlier this year, I talked many ears off on top of writing this blog. It was the best thing for me. Knowing that others cared enough to listen and understand me and be a sounding board for my thoughts was such a gift!
Hello world! I had to vanish for a while because this semester of school about did me in but I passed and all is well! After September I really didn’t have time to do any writing because my astronomy and algebra professors thought my time should be spent doing otherwise. Right before finals I had a bit of a panic attack and shut down my blog but I knew it would be only temporary. If you aren’t already aware, all names on this site have been changed in order to provide myself and my family anonymity. One of the big reasons was that I didn’t want my mother to find it. Well, I failed at that!
I also have a LinkedIn profile and am part of a memoir writer’s society there. I had a link to this blog there to promote my writing but didn’t think twice to set it to private. Call me a dumbass! So, one day I received an email from WordPress that my views were “through the roof!” I had to check and see what was going on because it had been a few months since I had posted anything. I checked my stats and it looked like the viewer came from LinkedIn, which was a first for me so I went over to my LinkedIn account to check it out. I went to my notifications and there it was: my mother’s name under “who has viewed your profile.” My heart sank and I was mad and sad and a whole myriad of emotions. This blog wasn’t ever for her to read. I tried to keep it that way.
The purpose of this blog was to get all of the negativity out of my head and heart and rid myself of the shame and nightmares that I had been carrying around with me all my life. It is my therapy. She won’t see it that way. I honestly can’t believe that she read all of it. There is so much dirty laundry about my family here and there are some really heavy posts about some of my emotions through the healing process. I can’t imagine that would have been easy to read for her. I felt guilty. I changed my privacy settings on LinkedIn and privatized my blog until I could figure out what my next move was.
I contemplated for a few days many different things. At first I figured I could just change the name to “Goodbye Yesterday” instead, fix a few things and call it good. My mother’s not an idiot. She’d still find it if she wanted to. Before that, I almost shut the whole damn thing down and stopped writing all together but I realized that wasn’t the answer either. Why should I keep hiding? Why do I need to keep running? If she wants to stalk me then so be it. I am doing what is right for me. I needed to get my story out there and connect with other survivors so that I could muddle through all the weird emotions that were coursing through my mind and body. I needed to find myself apart from her.
I’m sure that after reading every damn single post, she probably thinks that I hate her. I don’t. I’m over that. I needed to get that out of me too. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still angry as hell. The woman is still married to a child molester and chooses to wallow in her own self pity rather than doing something about it. Things weren’t always terrible and there are things that I miss terribly. She’s my mother for crying out loud! Who doesn’t want a healthy relationship with their mother? Healthy is the key, though and safety is of utmost importance for my own children.
Just in case she comes back, here are my last words for her. This will be the last and only time that I will ever direct a post to her.
I miss your cooking. The chicken paprikash and sharing recipes. I’m still not nearly as good of a cook as you. I know that you would have bent over backwards (in your own mind) to do anything for me or my family. I have no doubt in my mind that you love me, even though your idea of love is skewed. I imagine the pain that you must feel of never having contact with the two babies that you birthed and raised. That pains me in my heart. But, you made choices. Your husband should have been locked up for life. Not only is he a child molester (not just me) but he is a rapist. I know that you think that he is harmless now but you don’t know that for sure. Do you know where he is at all hours of the day? He may not be prowling the streets or playgrounds but he is unsafe for my children to be around and I absolutely cannot stand to be in his presence without the overwhelming feeling of crying and/or throwing up taking over me. I gave you over a decade to get away from him. I would have been there for you but you lied and never had any intention of leaving him. For that, I blame you. There is still hope, though. I can be a part of your life if you leave him, leave the state and get professional mental help and therapy. Don’t wait until he croaks from his diabetes or whatever will end up taking him because it will be too late then. At that point, you have already made your choice. I have conditions but you have to follow them 100%. No only will there be hope for us but there will be hope for healing for you and possibly a happy ending in your life. The ball is in your court.