The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Victorious

Thanks for sharing your story, Sherry. I hope the orange juice memory is just a glitch or connected to something strong, but benign. Like food poisoning.

This line sticks out for me: “…consistently downplaying the impact it had and insisting that my abuse simply didn’t measure up to what happened to other children. Lots of other children.”

Sexual abuse stories like this are getting more airing here in Canada. This follows a news item of a popular radio host who was fired for his admitted sexual preferences (BDSM). In the wake, nine women have come forward to say, um, no, that wasn’t consensual, that was an attack. But they kept it to themselves for years. Until one actress came forward.

Now on social media, girls, women, and men are finding their voices to answer the question, “But why didn’t you say anything when it happened?” There are many reasons, including the fact that each victim downplayed the attack.

When I was a young girl, I was “attacked.” See the quotes? Yup, downplay. Picture it: a public park, we kids are seated in the shade around the wading pool. There are dozens of kids and their minders. A grubby, grizzly old guy comes up to me. Makes small chat about “what a cutie” and then he reaches out and pokes me in the crotch with his dirty finger. I recoiled and looked at him, confused. And that was it. He was gone.

On the scheme of things, it was minor. It barely registers on the sexual abuse meter. But the fact remains, he crossed a line. That is all it takes to qualify as abuse, in my books.

Oh for the love of...me

Karen at Mended Musings wrote a beautiful and brave post yesterday that I was honored to reblog at her request.  As part of that reblog, I promised to write my own story of sexual abuse in a effort to shine even more light into the dark places that many, many MANY of us have and uncover those secrets that keep us sick and wondering what’s wrong with us.

There’s nothing wrong with us.  In fact, when we’re brave and tell our stories, we move from victims to victors.

My maternal grandmother was my salvation as a child.  I would go and visit her in the mountains of Western Maryland in the summers of my childhood.  There, with her, I felt that I was loved.  I was accepted.  I could exhale.  She was my biggest hero, my confidant, my true north. 

She was also my pimp.

When I was…

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19 replies

  1. Thank you, Maggie, for sharing Sherry’s post and yours on this difficult subject. My first thought was, there are no words to express the enormity of these events. But, of course there have to be words, lots of them spoken out loud. Thanks for yours.

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  2. Thanks Maggie. You’ve cracked open the window and let a little sun shine on a topic we tend to sweep away out of sight. I love your closing … he crossed a line. That is all it takes to qualify as abuse.

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  3. You know how I can tell it wasn’t trivial? You still remember it. Anyway, the law doesn’t see it as trivial. What he did is an offence. People are currently using the buzz word ‘rape culture’ a lot these days because it makes so much sense. Otherwise, how else could he have felt entitled to do that to you or anyone else — as you say in a public space with witnesses. He was teaching you and everyone else what the role of a female is. And because in those times nobody talked about this kind of thing there wasn’t anyone around to help you parse it all out. That is how rape culture comes to be endemic.

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  4. I am sorry, Maggie. As you say, that clear line should never, ever be crossed. I will never understand how adults who are supposed to protect children often look the other way or ignore a child’s statements when it is so obvious something is wrong. That exponentially increases the horror and damage.

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    • Thanks Sammy. It’s the second betrayal, isn’t it, in the abusive event.

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      • Absolutely. Adult on adult, adult on child, child on child, passive bystander – they all perpetuate the cycles of emotional, physical and sexual abuse through subsequent generations. I hesitate to blame perpetrator, victim or bystander because these relationships and their origins (other than the true sickos) are very complex. It does begin with STOP to the perpetrator, but it’s never that simple.

        If only we could protect each child by teaching parents protective, healthy parenting skills. Unfortunately there is no mandatory training, qualifying tests or monitoring for becoming a parent. And we, as a society, would not embrace that.

        Fortunately, humans are resilient, and many damaged induviduals are able to recover through their own perseverence and possibly therapy. Bringing attention to the realities, as you brave bloggers are doing is one way we can reach those who feel lost, betrayed and alone.

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        • Complex. Underscore that, print it in bold.

          I agree with you, Sammy, that all children need to be taught defense and empathy and have superb role models. You can see right away that THAT ain’t happening on a widespread scale. So it is a good thing that we are resilient, because I think that’s all some of us can count on. And those that don’t? … sigh, you know the answer to that.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I bet you were afraid to tell anyone because you thought that somehow it was your fault and you would be punished, or worse, scorned like a leper. You were likely ashamed. To say this is an emotional subject would be a vast understatement. By the time I reached my teens I had heard so many such histories from others that I came to believe that abuse and its variations were the norm rather than the exception, and that the status quo was complicit in the perpetuation of not only ignoring it but blaming the victims or accusing them of lying when it did come to light. Debra is right, it’s endemic. The third betrayal is our culture and how it affects our perception of our place in the world, especially at at time when we are most vulnerable. Hopefully that’s changing now. It’s about time.

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    • You know, my recollection of my emotions is very vague. As I say, I do recall feeling confused, unsettled and that very well may have been a variation of shame.

      I agree, our culture is the third betrayal. From listening to the policewoman in charge of the Ghomeshi thing, she said that her office reviewed many of the postings that were on social media. Can you imagine? Here she and her colleagues stand, obliged to protect and serve the community and thousands of people suddenly come forward to say that they have been attacked, not by the CBC guy, but each by their own abuser. It is mind boggling to consider the scale of the situation. Of course, since no one is naming names and no one is pressing charges… it’s no wonder that the protectors have become hardened and insensitive to it.

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  6. This is one of those posts one where it is offensive that WP offers only a Like button.

    Thank you for the post, Maggie, and I’m sorry that small Maggie had to have that disgusting man treat her like another piece of candy and he the greedy boy with the world of girls his shop.

    Horrible piggy things, they are, using their filthy snouts and trotters to root up little girls, and managing to trample many in the process.

    I’d be happy sending them all to a resource-poor island where they’d have nothing to bugger but holes dug in the sand, each other, or their preferred five.

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  7. The terrible thing about the ‘rape culture’ we currently live in, is that so many small assaults are considered a part of life and we can’t say anything about it without being ridiculed or dismissed for being over dramatic. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been grabbed or groped by strange men whether on the subway or when I’ve been out in the evening. It took me years to have the confidence to confront the guys in question, and even then more often than not I get laughed at, or told to calm down and stop being a prude. It makes my blood boil because damnit it’s my body and it’s not public property, but everyone, even friends of mine will just say ‘let it go, it’s not worth the hassle’ and so the cycle continues.

    Thank you for sharing your story, the more stories get out there, the more hopefully the mindset will shift.

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