I was browsing the internet this morning and came across a blog talking about Banned Books Week and in particular, the novel SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here is the description of SPEAK:
Mary and I are playing in her room when her older brother, Guy, comes in.
“Come on, Mary, let’s go play Dark,” he says.
He grabs her arms, holding them above her head, and starts to drag her out of the room. She says ‘nooo’ in a way that’s drawn out but not a yell. Guy keeps repeating, “Come on,” as he pulls her along. I laugh, thinking it’s a game, and tickle Mary’s armpits as Guy pulls her into their parent’s room. He shuts the door, pushing me out, and locks it. I bang on it, demanding to be let in, but he doesn’t open it.
I go downstairs to their kitchen and start checking their drawers for a butter knife. My sisters and I lock each other out of our bedrooms all the time so I know how to get in, if the locks are the same as the ones in my house. Finally, I find a rounded-end knife and go upstairs. Very quietly, I slip the butter knife into the lock of Mary’s parents’ room, restraining my giggles at the thought of surprising them. It works just like at my house and I open the door triumphantly.
Mary is lying on her stomach on a blue loveseat. Her short tennis skirt is pushed up to her waist and her underwear dangles by one foot. Guy is crouched behind her, his pants down around his knees.
“How did you get in here?” he snaps.
I still have the butter knife in my hand, but now I’m sorry I broke into the room. Something feels wrong about what they’re doing. I start to edge out of the room.
“No,” Guy says, getting up and coming over to me. “You can’t leave now. You need to shut the door and count for me. Don’t stop counting until I tell you.”
I don’t want to stay, but I do what he says. Guy shuts the door, returns to Mary and starts doing something to her. He grunts a lot. Once Mary says, “Ouch, Guy, that hurts!” I think he says sorry, but I’m not sure because he’s mumbling. I watch without moving, not able to look away. After a while, Guy asks what number I’m on. I don’t know because I haven’t been counting, but I say “sixty” because it’s the first number that pops into my head. Guy gets up. He has on a light-colored tennis shirt, but his shorts are still by the loveseat. He comes toward me, waving his hands.
“Now it’s your turn.”
I back away until the door blocks me. “No.”
He comes closer. “Yes, it’s your turn.”
I try to open the door, but Guy slams it shut before I can slip out. He starts pulling me toward the loveseat. Mary says, “Come on, Jeaniene, just do it.” She sounds mad at me, but I don’t want to do that.
“You said it hurt,” I tell her, still fighting Guy. She denies it now, but I don’t care. I know what I heard. Mary comes up to me, tugging on my arms while Guy roughly tries to take off my shirt and shorts. I keep twisting away and I start to cry as his hands grab me everywhere. I don’t want to lie down where she was. I don’t want to take off my clothes. I don’t want Guy touching me. I want to go home.
I start to scream. Guy doesn’t like that. He lets me go. I run out of the room, down the stairs, and out the front door. Mary follows after me. She catches up with me and says she’s sorry, but begs me not to tell anyone. She says that “Dark” is a secret game her brother plays with her and her cousin, Violet. She tells me that sometimes when Guy plays Dark, he pees in her and Violet. She doesn’t want anyone to know that her brother pees in them. I promise not to tell anyone, and I go home.
Mary and Violet are both nicer to me after that, but I don’t go over to their house anymore when Guy is there. Weeks later, I tell my sister about the game I caught Guy playing with Mary. My sister tells my mom. Several months later, we move out of state. I never speak to Mary or Violet again.
recent testimony before the Senate from the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women on statistics and findings on rape in the United States: http://judiciary.senate.gov/pdf/09-14-10%20Carbon%20Testimony.pdf
Thank you for sharing this information and your story. I have to say your story brung tears to my eyes as many of those same stories will do.
Kathryn Smith says
Jeaniene, what a wonderfully written and eloquent post. I’m not sure what upsets me more — the propose banning of a book/books or the oh-so wrong insinuation that rape is anywhere near the same situation as ‘soft porn.’ When I was a journalism student I interviewed several girls I knew who had suffered some kind of sexual assault for a story that was cathartic for me, as I think the above passage may have been for you. I was one of those girls who ‘didn’t say yes, but didn’t say no’ at a party when I was seventeen. I’d been drinking and a guy from my high school took advantage of that. I didn’t even know it was ‘date rape’ until years later. I thought it was just a lesson learned — and of course, my fault. Like you, it’s not something I’ve openly discussed, but the more of us who remain silent the more power someone like Scroggins has in keeping other girls ignorant, ashamed and worse — silent.
And now, I’m going to go buy a copy of ‘Speak.’
It’s stunned me to see so many women saying “that happened to me.” Just shows the statistics are only the tip of the iceberg.
I have not seen the movie or read the book. And I wish I could say I read the rest of this. Being raped at the age of 6 and 15 I can’t read books about it or watch movies about it without the pain of a flash back. I really hate when I have to miss a part in a movie or book because of this. I also hated that I HAD to read books in the 7th grade about rape. I see that people need to know about it but I do not think schools should force a student to read or watch something about rape so they can write a report or get a F. I don’t talk to anyone about what happen to me so I’m not sure why I’m saying all this. But I guess I just feel like something was wrong with me that’s why it happened twice to me. I’m not saying I agree with Wesley Scroggins. I’m just saying the student should have a choice in what they read or see in school.
Summer, I’m glad you commented. It’s important that you are talking about what happened, even if it’s just this comment so far. I hope you click on this site: http://www.aftersilence.org/ and look around. They even have online support groups and chat rooms where you can remain anonymous. But no matter what, please realize that what happened to you is absolutely NOT YOUR FAULT. I have friends who’ve been raped more than once, and in comments on this blog alone you’ll see other people say the same, not to mention blogs all around the internet that protested the banning of Speak. You are not alone, and there is help available where they won’t judge you or force you to do more than you can handle. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, either. Sometimes the single bravest thing a person can do is ask for help. You’re already brave for reaching out with your comment, and I thank you for that.
Xid Trebor says
Brava, Jeaniene, Brava!!! I applaud the bravery you & the other women have shown by sharing your stories. I’m glad that you got away.
jeaniene, thank you for publishing such a story about yourself. I am also in the “attempted but not completed” category. Unfortunately when I told I was told it was my fault. The person was my brother. Unfortunately, many in my family believe that he should be forgiven. I find that this is not uncommon for families to want forgiveness to be given when it is a relative doing the rape or attemped rape. Any book that makes a child understand that it is not their fault, is a good book in my view. Oh by the way, I am a teacher!
Nitkinn, I’m so sorry for what you went through, and for your family’s lack of understanding. I wholeheartedly second your comment that any book that helps a child/teen/woman understand that sexual assault is not their fault is a good book. Sometimes priceless, if it helps them take those first steps toward healing.
Heather Hann says
I agree even thought i was not raped i was molested when i was 12 into being 13 by a family friend who was an authority figure who carried a gun and didnt hesitate to threaten me with it.It is very scarey and does make u feel ashamed and i as well can not watch movies because of scene’s like this it makes me want to scream,cry and jst crawl into a ball because it reminds me of my helplessness i felt as a child .so i feel that id our young children can be educated on this then it will help them and teach them.
Heather, so many women have commented here and in other places about this happening to them. If nothing else, Scroggins’ article and the response lets women know they are not alone. Education and open dialogue are so important to help turn the tide on assault. Thank you for speaking up.
You are an amazing woman and an inspiration. Your story brought tears to my eyes and breaks my heart. I was a victim of molestation from my step-dad and when my mom found out nothing was done. It has taken me YEARS to discuss. So I commend you for finally coming forward and sharing your story. I hope it helps heal your wounds.
As for the book, thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’ve never heard of it, but I will definitely read it now – in hopes that this small move on my part will help make sure it’s not banned.
Thank you for sharing your story, Janet. It’s awful, but it’s one more reminder that survivors of abuse are not alone, and it’s also hope for others to realize that healing is possible.
Melissa (Books and Things) says
I posted the poem “Listen” on my blog for my Speak piece. I think the voices of so many hurt kids paled to my outrage. I worked with a lot of abused kids. These things need a voice. These things need to be talked about. If you think about it, everyone has been affected by rape. Looking at the statistics we all know someone who was molested, raped, or viciously attacked in some way. Even if we do not know it. Even Scroggins would be surprised if everyone he knew came out to tell their tale. I will give him this… it has sparked a needed conversation. He sold a lot of books that will help people. So, he did do some good even if it was unintentional.
Melissa, you’re right – everyone is affected by this, even if it hasn’t happened to them. The more people talk about it, the more that fact is apparent. And yes, I think Scroggins’ article has inadvertently given a platform to a topic he would rather people just keep quiet on. Poetic irony.
I think it was brave and inspiring that you have now told your story to others. It makes all of us think more deeply about these things. I would agree that the book Speak should indeed be let back into school for these reasons alone. Thank you Jeaniene for sharing your story, you have definatly earned even more of my respect.
Shiloh Walker says
My God, Jeaniene… I’m so sorry. What a nightmare to have to live with, both you and the memories of your friend and her cousin. :O/
Melissa said: “I will give him this… it has sparked a needed conversation. He sold a lot of books that will help people.”
I agree. I saw the post on Katiebab’s blog, well… a whole slew of posts have gone up about this, from victims, from people who just tired of the mindset that ‘we don’t talk about ugly things.’
We don’t like to talk about them, but sometimes we have to. :O/
Teresa Kleeman says
I was a victim of child molestation. I was 5 and the young man was in high school. He took my innocense. Not once but many times. I never said anything for I was always told to listen to people older than me.
My mom found out when she found my little underwear in the garbage that I thrown out because I felt I had a boo boo. She then realize what happen. I’m 47 years old and my mom still can’t admit that it happened.
Maybe if we had books back than like SPEAK it would have educated us better. Like you Jeaniene I wasn’t taught about good touch bad touch. I commend you for telling your story. For the longest time I blamed myself for what happened. I suppressed the the event for the longest time. It resurfaced later when I was in my late 20’s it really screwed me up for awhile.
But now I can help others and talk about it to other young people. Even as careful as I was about my son, he too was a victim of molestation. However, I done something about it. He was three and he trusted me enough to tell me what happen. I did do something about it by involving the police and social services. Turned out the young man who assaulted my child was being a victim himself.
I’m a Christian and I feel this gentlemen and folks are sticking there heads in the sand. This needs to be brought to light, so the the dark can go away. Maybe if we stick together we all can do something about it. Cudo’s to you Jeaniene for speaking out.
Again, Teresa, so sorry for what happened to you but how amazing that you overcame it. Thank you for sharing your story so that others can see they are not alone and that healing is possible.
If I remember correctly, censorship was one of the things we discussed in Charleston. We both agreed it is a bad thing. It is every person’s right to determine what is right for them and their families.
No person, group or government has the right to tell us what we can or cannot read or view. It is impossible to satisfy every person’s morale code. Someone somewhere is going to be offended by something.
The solution to the problem is easy. If you find something offensive, don’t buy it, watch or support it in any way. No one is going to put a gun to your head and force you to read something or watch something offensive.
I personally find Bill Maher and Penn& Teller offensive. Do I protest them and demand they be banned from performing? NO. They are not breaking any laws and have ever right to do what they do. It’s my right to chose not to watch them.
People, protect your right of choice. Never support censorship in any form. If there is a program on TV you don’t like, change the channel. If there is a book you don’t like, don’t buy it. Remember we vote with our money. If a product isn’t bought, it will be discontinued..or exported to Mexico. 🙂
Words can’t express how much I respect you for having the courage to write about your own experiences. Not everyone is capable of doing that, and I’m sure it was difficult!
The professor in question is from my university (Missouri State). While I’ve never met the man, I was embarrassed that such a vehemently ignorant person could be associated with my place of study. I brought the article to class with me today and passed it around to my classmates and professors. ALL of them were just as outraged as I was. Several members of our community have chosen to speak out and take action. It’s been wonderful seeing everyone coming together on this issue!
Natalie, I’m so glad you showed the article to your class and that members of your community are speaking out. Hopefully Scroggins will realize that you can’t just sweep uncomfortable topics under the rug in the name of “protecting” the children.
Especially the scandalous recent discoveries of Christian priests molesting childs all over the world for ages should be prove enough that this topic has to be more involved in education and society.
Often it’s ignorance that brings the worst things to us. While Mr. Scroggins’ motives may be good he certainly has not done an apt research.
In Germany, there are more and more activities at schools to teach kids about abuse. Also, a growing amount of theater plays are embrassing that issue. Of course it’s still a niche product, but school’s society’s only instrument to educate kids. It should cover the uglyness of life, too.
I recommend “The Celebration”, a dogma movie that touched me very much: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154420/
But also books, such as SPEAK (though I never heard of it before) can of course be a proper instrument to prepare kids to survive in the real world, where not everything ist light. (No even at church)
Sara Horney says
As a Christian, people like Scroggins infuriate me to no end. The illiterate, stupid, uneducated Christian is a bane on Christianity, they are like reeds blowing in the winds of false doctrines of fear, superstitions, and their own lack of knowledge.
Although we should not strip away a child’s innocence by bombarding them with sexual material we should neither leave them with the inability to protect themselves. Scroggins is short sighted and feeds into the stereotype of the narrow minded, socially backward Christian.
I am also in the “attempted but not completed” category, but my parents (Christians) had raised me to believe I was of worth and that anything that made me feel ashamed or “funny” could be talked about because as they said, both they and Jesus loved me and wanted me to be happy. That’s why I exposed the perv next door (at the dinner table)and he was dealt with.
Children are our greatest gift and the Bible is very clear about the consequences of harming them is in Luke 17:2 Jesus says it would be better to hang a mill stone around you neck and cast yourself into the sea than to hurt/harm a child.
Sorry for preaching but ignorance keeps too many people in chains.
So glad you exposed your neighbor’s actions and that your parents supported you that way. Some awesome Christian takes on this situation are here: http://writingfinally.blogspot.com/2010/09/speak-loudly-in-defense-of-laurie-halse.html and here: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/2010/09/christian-take-on-banning-speak.html . Both ladies articulated exactly my dismay at Scroggins being considered a mouthpiece for how all Christians feel, because that couldn’t be further from the truth and what he’s advocating is pretty much the opposite of what the Bible teaches.
Jeaniene, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. You have no idea how much I admire your bravery for sharing your story with us. I fall into the same category as you, and there are just no words to describe how angry this man has made me to compare rape with soft porn. I can’t even fathom what was possibly going through his head to even say such a thing without having read the book. I’m just appalled beyond words.
Jo, I know just how you feel. I can’t understand his description of the book and can only assume that he never read it. The thought that he DID read it and still feels the same way is too upsetting to contemplate.
I got chills. As a mother of two girls this story hits hard. Luckily I have no problem talking to my girls about stuff like this and hope I have empowered them enough that they will know how to react in any situation. My husband insisted they learn Taekwondo and self-defense for the same reason.
As difficult as it was to share this experience, I really want to thank you for doing so. I’m in tears because I had a similar experience. My babysitter’s oldest son, who I had a crush on, once asked me to go on a bike ride with him. I remember feeling so happy that he wanted to go bike riding with me.
He lead me to an isolated area in a park, hidden by trees and asked me to pull down my pants, then he pulled down his. I was terrified.
Growing up, my parents where very strict with me, and they didn’t talk about sex. I knew what what my babysitter’s son did was wrong, but I never mentioned it to anyone. I was afraid I would get in trouble.
I’m sorry to say I had never heard of the book Speak before all the discussion on blogs and twitter started to appear, but I’m glad I know of it now. It is so important to educate youths on issues like sexual abuse. If not, they may experience a violation against them and remain silent about it.
Thank You once again for your powerful message.
Thank you, Missy, for sharing your experience. Feeling like no one understands is one of the reasons so many people can’t talk about what happened to them. With every new voice, more people realize that they are not alone.
I’m always struck by these types of posts…for one, it takes a lot of courage to post such a personal story (thank you Jeaniene) and then that courage spurs others on to share their story. Acquaintance rape, whether attempted or completed is one of the worst crimes, since the perpetrator is often someone trusted by the victim. It is so important to talk about this.
Shame on Scroggins for not seeing how this book, Speak, can help young people understand this important issue, and how it can help them talk about it, instead of letting it eat at their self esteem.
For everyone reading and posting with your own story, big hugs for you.
China Doll says
Thanks Jeaniene for being so open with your own personal story. Also, thank you for listing ways for us to give our opinion on this issue. I wrote a letter to the editor. I believe we should not let our embarrassment or fear of an issue like rape stop us from letting our children read a novel with the topic and its aftermath in it. Sadly, some children reading the novel may have been raped and need to talk about it and get help. Others may have been or are going to be in a situation where a rape can occur, so knowledge is power.
Jeaniene, thank you so much for sharing this post.
3 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. When I was 18 I was sharing a room with 3 friends while we were away performing a play. All 3 of them had been sexually assaulted. It absolutely blew my mind then and it still does now. I’d like to say that the number is still accurate, but I was the victim of a date rape when I was 25, and sexually assaulted when I was 22. I didn’t report either of them.
When my aunt’s husband started going out of his way to touch my breasts or rub up against me at 25, I found it difficult to mention it to my parents. I was ashamed. I knew I shouldn’t be, but I was. Especially when it started around the same time of the rape. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I didn’t tell my uncle to stop, but I made damn sure that I was never alone in a room with him again. When he died a few years ago, I can’t say that I was upset.
It’s so important to empower our young women to speak out against sexual violence. It’s important to tell them that they aren’t alone. That they are valued members of our communities and that they don’t ever deserve to be treated like that. We have a duty to protect these girls from sexual predators – and in order to do that, we have to give them the tools to do so. Hiding under a rock and pretending it doesn’t exist will only make help to perpetuate these crimes.
Shame on Mr. Scroggins.
Ditto on it being SO important for people to realize they’re not alone and more importantly, that what happened wasn’t their fault. Shame and guilt keep so many people silent even though they did nothing wrong. Opening up helps us let go of that shame and direct it at the person who deserves it – the perpetrator.
Juliana Stone says
wow Jeaniene…just reading this now. I cried actually, because for every little girl like you, who escaped there is a line of those like your friends that didn’t. I had a similar experince when I was about 10, involving my friends older brother. He convinced myself and another girl to come up to the hay loft to look at new kittens. of course we went, they were baby kittens…the kittens were there but so were a ton of play boys and when he started to take off his pants we knew things were very wrong. We started screaming right away and he pretended like it was a joke as we ran down the stairs. He was 17.
I told my father about this only recently and he was stunned. wondered why we didn’t tell back then.
thanks for sharing
Jules, the number of children who don’t tell their parents about things like that is staggering. Even more reason why I think it’s imperative that there’s education about the subject so kids/teens realize if it happens to them, it’s NOT something “they” did to bring it on. Those feelings of responsibility, guilt, and shame are the reason most instances go unreported.
Jody McGhee says
My sister and I love your books and read them within a week. We have passed them on to our friends. They also are enthralled with the stories.
Suggestion: Please make a book about Vlad or Ian, like you did Spade and Mencheres.
We really look forward to reading your new book coming out OCT 26th!! We can’t get enough of Kira and Mencheres or Cat and Bones!! You have made a difference in our lives!
Jody, I’m glad you like the books. I’d like to write about Vlad next. We’ll see how it goes.
Dana "DEW" says
Thank you for sharing your story, Jeaniene, and for helping to bring attention to this book and this topic. Having a mother for a librarian, I love books and pretty much hate censorship. So it is a given that I will now be checking out this book.
I find it offensive that someone would equate rape with soft core pornography. Having said that, I can understand a parent wanting to shield their children from certain images & subject matters. In the case of rape or molestation, I think it’s an enormous disservice to try to shield your children from this topic. More times than not it is not a stranger that is the perpetrator of such evil deeds, it’s a family member or friend.
I know too many people who were touched inappropriately as children by someone they trusted. I know far more people who were unlucky enough to add sexual assault/rape to their list of college experiences. I, myself, celebrated my 21st birthday in the normal fashion by going out at midnight and drinking with friends. My friend delivered me safely to my door as planned. Unfortunately, my roomate had a friend who stopped by. Waking up half naked next to a stranger is not how I imagined or planned on ringing in my birthday.. how I imagined my first kiss. Did we kiss?
Had such a thing happened to anyone else, I’d be the first to tell that person that it wasn’t his/her fault. But it happened to me and I put it in the hard lesson to learn category. I, alone, allowed myself to get so drunk that I couldn’t have told you where I was or what was happening. I’ve had many years to deal with the fall out of that night and some days (like now as I write this) I still find my eyes fill up with tears for that young girl who just didn’t think, who just didn’t know, who just didn’t deserve to have a part of her stolen away. I mourn for the girl who wasted years after trying to fill that missing hole with drugs, alcohol, pain, self-destructive behavior.
As a society, I feel strongly that we shouldn’t force our children to hug or kiss Grandma or Grandpa or Aunt or Uncle so-and-so. It sends the message to our kids that if the adult wants a kiss or hug (you see where I am going with this) then they must/should comply. I also think it is EXTREMELY important to teach our young men and women that it is NOT okay to have sex with someone who is drunk. If someone is not clear-headed enought to make a decision than this is not hooking up while drunk, this is rape. These are just my opinions and ones that I feel strongly about due to my own personal experiences or those of friends and loved ones. Lessons we learned the hard way.
If a book or movie helps a parent to engage their children in an otherwise uncomfortable conversation, I say “great.” If it can help a boy or girl fill the hole they feel inside of them after something “unspeakable” has happened to him/her… good.
Believe me when I say it would be so much easier to learn such lessons from a book or a conversation than from first hand knowledge. Perhaps the more people SPEAK out about such things, the more we talk about it, the more awareness there is — less of our friends, family, children will have stories of their own like the ones you and many of us have shared today.
I agree that it is so much easier to see who the real guilty party is when the situation doesn’t involve you. It’s amazing in a tragic way how easy it is to assign blame to ourselves when an assault happens. I think education is critical in reversing this self-blaming tendency. When assault survivors realize who the REAL culprit is, healing can start to begin. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.
Wow, I’m really glad I read your post! I barely found out about banned book week last week from my sister, Missie. She strongly urged me to read the article by Dr. Wesley Scorggins. Once I did I ran to Barnes and Noble, bought Speak, and read it in one sitting.
I was sad that it had not been on my required reading list in High School and feel that it is a valuable resource for anyone at any age. I felt connected to Melinda and related to many of the issues presented in Speak. I have been trying to write my review of Speak for the past four days and have been struggling. I wanted to incorporate the points in Dr. Scorggins’ article that I also felt he took out of context.
You hit it exactly. I don’t have a problem with parents getting involved in what their children are reading, and I feel that is part of being a parent. I do have a problem with people imposing their ideals on others, especially when they falsely present the information as in the case of Dr. Scorggins.
You are incredibly brave. It makes me ashamed because I have never admited what happened to me as a teen. I feel like throwing up just posting on this subject but I had to tell you. I have admired you for your wonderful stories and now I admire you for sharing this.
Jeaniene Frost says
Evening, if you read the other comments on this blog, you’ll see that most people who’ve had this happen weren’t able to talk about it. But with every new person who breaks their silence, someone else knows that they’re not alone, and hopefully that knowledge will help others move toward healing.
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Jennifer Prescott says
I am coming into this much later to this conversation, obviously, but I COMPLETELY agree that UNFORTUNATELY there IS no “Innocence” in children anymore…this world is just too ugly! I agree that just as we teach our children that “Drugs are Bad”…we MUST alert them to all the dangers they could face while they are in what is GENERALLY considered a “SAFE PLACE”.
I live in Colorado, where we just went through the HORROR of Jessica Ridgeway and the SHOCK that the criminal in the murder was ONLY 7 YEARS OLDER THAN HER, AND lived less than a mile from Jessica’s home. They ~believe~ that Sigg had been watching Jessica for some time, but nothing is being confirmed right now, as he is still considered a “Juvenile”, though they HAVE said he WILL be sentenced as an adult….but will NOT be eligible for the Death Penalty…which ~I~ think is a SLAP IN THE FACE TO JESSICA’S MEMORY AND HER PARENTS, family and friends!!
And with child rape/incest…the horror is so much more. My “middle” sister was sexually molested by our Maternal Grandfather for roughly 6 years….and didn’t know who or HOW to tell anyone! I DO remember being “aware” that SOMETHING was wrong with “grandpa”, but I was only 3 years older than my sister, so quite young. I DID begin to “guard” the bathroom when either of my sisters or my cousin were in there, as that seemed to be the place that “grandpa” caught them.
It wasn’t until she and I stayed with our parents friends for an “extended” vacation that the truth came out…and ONLY because the Grandfather of the lady we were staying with molested my sister, and this time it was “more”. She has NEVER shared ~exactly~ what happened, but I will ALWAYS remember her coming back from swimming with this man, and being PALE AS DEATH and SHAKING like you wouldn’t believe! (And it was July in Colorado, which means HOT, typically, and it was that day!) I finally cornered her and MADE her tell me what was going on, and when she indicated that the man had “touched her” and “wanted to help her put on and take off her bathing suit”, and since HE was the ADULT, and we were raised to RESPECT ADULTS, she didn’t think she could do anything. THANK GODS I was an AVID V.C. Andrews fan, and so many of her stories revolve around this type of thing, I KNEW we needed to ESCAPE, PRONTO! The only problem…we were in Parachute, CO. (close the the Utah border) and we lived in LITTLETON, roughly 211 miles from home, and neither of our parents were free to come get us, and my sister had begged me to not tell the REAL reason we wanted home like LAST WEEK, so our parents did not think it was an issue, as we were due to be driven home (by this VERY SAME MAN!) in 3 days….And 3 days was UNACCEPTABLE to my sister and I. We finally made such a fuss that our Mother had a friend who was coming home from the West Coast that same time “swing by” and get us.
Later in life, my “baby” sister was “date/acquaintance Raped” 3 separate times! Each time was someone different, and they had slipped her SOMETHING, but instead of making her pass out or become “oblivious”, her body reacted by causing her to totally FREEZE every muscle in her body, unable to even BLINK, all the while knowing EXACTLY what was going on. But again, that “stupid” (in my opinion) fear of repercussions led her to hide the incidents. Finally, at one point, she DID confide in a friend of hers that told her to talk to ME at least, if not parents or whomever. I tried to get her to go to the police, especially as in 2 of the instances, she had EYE WITNESSES willing to “SPEAK UP”, but she balked (and ran away to Italy with the first guy she found that could “take her away”…HA (He was NOT a nice man either!) Unfortunately, she became pregnant while over in Italy (whose Health system SUCKS…even on the AFB her (now) husband was assigned to)! She was just past the first trimester and she had a miscarriage. She underwent a D&C and at that time, the found that she had Gonorrhea, which had led to Cervical Cancer. They were successful at removing the Cancer, but the STD will “Pop up” when least expected. THANK THE GODS she now has two BEAUTIFUL children and is now as strong an ADVOCATE as ~I~ AM about ANY crimes to the body, though I am a bit more LOUD!
I have had several other friends, including one MALE GAY friend who were raped or molested, and each time I have to REALLY focus on staying “on the side of the light”, as my “true soul” is INCREDIBLY VINDICTIVE! (I have been called “blood-thirsty” for my views on how criminals of this ilk should be “disciplined”…I subscribe quite happily to the “Eye for an Eye” form of punishment. IN MODERATION, and ONCE OUR COURTS HAVE FOUND THE INDIVIDUAL GUILTY…and I would only allow ONE re-trial/appeal, then literally “OFF WITH THEIR HEAD(S)” (the upper for most, but both upper and lower for ANY sexual criminal….MALE OR FEMALE!)
Having held quite a few hands at places like Planned Parenthood, waiting for the “procedure”, and seeing how SHATTERED these people were (and I only got 1 out of 5 to even CONSIDER reporting the attacks, I have kept “tabs” on these people, and though most finally came around to the idea of THERAPY, not all did. And I think the hardest one for me was my Gay friend. He had JUST “come out” to his friends, but due to being a SMALL school, before long (the end of the day!) EVERYONE knew….and to make things worse? He was one of the “stars” on our Football team! I will FOREVER thank ANY AND ALL DIVINE ENTITIES that a group of friends and I were outside that fateful day, and we heard the BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS coming from an “open space” just behind where we lived, and being the “self-appointed deputy sheriffs”, we took off enmasse. EVERY ONE OF US (around 10)STOPPED —-DEAD COLD—- when we saw what was happening. Several of the “team-mates” of our friend had decided it was “RAPE A FAG DAY” (their words, not mine!) And they managed to subdue my friend for a time, keeping their crime a secret, but my friend was FAR MORE resiliant than they were ready for! HE got that incredible scream out and things “fell into place, by the Grace of the Gods and Goddesses”. When we got there, we got several of the attackers pinned down (good thing I had mostly male LARGE friends!)and get our friend up and back to my house. Initally, he did NOT want to make a police report, but by then I had become a HUGE fan of TORI AMOS, and knew about the R.A.I.N.N. Hotline. I called and through speaker, we were able to help our friend choose to go to the police (I had known enough to not allow him to wash up more than “superficially”, as they would need the evidence….ESPECIALLY since this was in 1997, and the GLBT Movement had not gotten the “Steam”, so “homosexual rapes” were rarely seen as “TRUE” Rape! I was so happy that we called R.A.I.N.N.-they not only talked on speaker to the victim and 10-12 “rescuers”, but the also sent a Gay man and a woman to my home to take him to the hospital (something else he did not want to do, but was DAMNED lucky he DID, the F**kers had torn the HELL out of his rectum, and Dr.s weren’t even sure if they could fix it at all! *Thank goodness he had a good family with some $$, they sent him to one of the leading specialists in the U.S. at the time to repair the damage!!*
I have stayed in close contact with him since then, and he is happily “committed” and hoping to MARRY his love when Colorado finally gets it’s act together about Marriage Equality. (“SQUICK” ALERT:He assures me that “all his loving parts are in “tip-top shape”! TMI! :)~)
Having seen the “fallout” in more scenarios that I EVER wanted to be involved in regarding Rape, Child Abuse, Molestation and just about ANY type of “nasty”, I am almost physically/psychologically unable to NOT respond to comments and such as I come across them. I feel the need to share my stories with other people, and HOPEFULLY continue to be “in the right place at the right time”, and to know WHERE and HOW to GET HELP (I myself did “Victim’s Counseling” even though ~I~ was never the “true” victim, but my therapists felt it would do a lot of good for me to “work through the incidents with other people who have actually been the victim.” And it did, and for a time (before I became Medically Disabled) that I volunteered as often as I could at many different places that “speak” to these crimes. I have worked booths at “Pride Festivals”, donated money and goods as I could, and just about anything I could do to help.
It breaks my heart that some people have the resiliency to “pop back up” and some never bother to try. My “middle” sister has NEVER sought help for her experiences, while my ‘baby” sister always found the strength to “RISE ABOVE”. (But then, she also was one of only a handful of babies that were born in the USA the year she was born with EXTREME Cleft Lip and Palate…she was born without her ENTIRE roof (hard and Soft), NO front teeth (top or bottom), no upper lip, no Septum (the part that “holds your nose up and separates the nostrils, and she suffered FAR TOO MANY TO COUNT Sinus and Ear Infections….including having Eustachian tubes replaced 4 times by age 8! The kid underwent over 70 surgeries in her life. THIS, I believe is where she learned her “Personal Strength”.
I often wish that the “STRONG” people could “distill” a tiny bit of their bravery and strength, and somehow transfer it to those in need of strength….But I guess that is what STRONG COMMUNITY is for (not JUST family…as we know, family is NOT always the “safe” place we want it to be!) And I will ALWAYS STRIVE to be STRONG for those that have need of an infusion of strength and POWER in their lives!
Thank you for “listening” to me….and to all the people who have shared their story, as well as you, Ms. Frost! My arms are always open, my ears always to HEAR you, my heart to keep you! Blessings to all the AMAZING people who have found the courage to SPEAK UP! MANY MANY BLESSINGS!