I've encountered two very different reactions to the article in the paper on Sunday. I have encountered friends in public that I haven't seen in years that simply come up and give me a hug. (FYI: You might want to ask first...) Then, of course, there are the people commenting on the News Tribune site that state I have no business airing my dirty laundry in public as that should be the job of social scientists.
I sincerely can't stress what a difficult time I (and others reading this blog) have had in finding someone in similar circumstances. There is a decided disconnect when reading a sociological treatise on pedophilia in modern culture. I know, I've been there. I've read disserations so dry and filled with statistics that totally take the heart and soul out of everything that normal human beings go through in a situation such as this.
Can you quote me the statistics on how many mothers have flashbacks to what they have read in police reports?
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who get off the phone with the prosecuting attorney, the victim advocate, the therapist, the lawyer, the teacher, the neighbor, the friend and quietly hang up the phone and sink to their knees and sob uncontrollably for an hour?
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who look back on their own marriages and see the warning signs like flashing neon but were too trusting? Too blind?
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who stand at their windows at 2 a.m, looking out on a rain washed street, feeling so hollow that they can hear their insides rattle at the slightest breeze?
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who tried to protect their children from harm only to find harm under their own roof?
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who endured verbal abuse and physical assult by telling themselves that "as long as he doesn't lay a hand on the kids...as long as I can hide it...as long as I don't call forced sex within the marriage rape...as long as I just pretend...everything will be ok.
Can you quote me on the statistics of the mothers who stayed up late at night, looking at a line of perscription meds on their counter and wondering what the magic concoction would be to make the pain go away? Permanetly?
Can you measure the decibel level of the screams in the middle of the woods? The cathartic wailing once a mother finds herself alone and unable to move one more foot along the path.
Can you quantify the fleeting looks in your child's eyes that betray the words coming out of her mouth? Can you inform me how many minutes, hours, days, and years I can wrap my arms around her and tell her that I'm sorry. That she didn't deserve it. That she is a beautiful, valuable human being that never deserves to be used by another human being.
Can you quantify the anger? The dispair?
Give me your statistics. I will break their structures and rend their pages and show you that they have nothing to do with my heart.
We are not numbers to be studied. We are not statistics. We are flesh and bones and pain and anger and hope.
My hope for anyone reading this that KNOWS what I'm talking about would be the ability to look in the mirror and see what your experieces have done to you and for you. I would hope that you can come to terms with your ability to trust people. Your ability to protect yourself. Your ability to learn about healthy relationships. Your realization that strength comes in many forms. Some days, it's just getting out of bed. Other days, it's facing your bitterest fear in the court room.
I'm by no means an expert. I do, however, strongly recommend that people seek out experts.
If you live in Duluth, there are agencies out there to help. Our personal experience was with PAVSA, the Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assult. We had trained people helping us every step of the way, sitting with us through police statements, court dates, meetings with probation offices, group therapy, and individual therapy. I can't sing their praises high enough. They also have a crisis line and have advocates that can help women during rape exams at hospitals.
Here is a listing of their mission and services.
There are also organizations that assist women in situations of domestic violence and native women facing these same issues within their own cultural framework.
You've lived through the nightmare. Maybe this morning, maybe fifty years ago. Realize what you need for your own well being and seek it out.
You are worth it.