Found a blog that not only talks about the “elephant” in the room…they paint it a bright, beautiful color of purple!
Here in the U.S. we give a lot of lip service to looking out and caring for children but the reality is different. Actions speak louder than words. Cut backs and under funding of federally mandated child related programs, like Head Start and No Child Left Behind for example, and cut backs in student money for college . But worse are the number of children that are coming out of households where rape, incest and child abuse has been a living reality. Millions of children have become adults to lead families that are directly or indirectly affected by this scourge. Throughout my life I’ve met and talked with kids and adults who had these mental, physical, and emotional battle scars to overcome.
What makes my story intriguing is that I had no idea that my family had a direct connection to this abuse and an indirect one as well until about 8 years ago. While growing up there were things that seemed odd at times leaving me with open ended questions in mind. Mom is loving, has a youthful approach to life, is a talented seamstress, church going, and meticulous about a clean house. She was a worrier, always thought the worse of a situation, and would rather tell you what you thought than to ask you what you were thinking. If things were going well for too long, she would wonder what `bad’ thing was coming up next. Sometimes the obsession with worrying and fear caused arguments between she and Dad, and made me a nervous wreck throughout my childhood (stomach ailments & eczema). I was shy, outgoing, and followed my father’s personality in being a leader. It affected my brother in the sense that he had difficulty in speaking up for himself (extremely shy), although he overcame that in college.
My wife and I dated while we were teenagers. When I came on the scene her parents were divorced. She lived with her mom, who was an alcoholic with the problems that brings: inconsistencies, embarrassment, confusion, little structure, etc. My attempts were to be there with the shoulder and to give support as much as I could. But there was this secret that made it difficult to get a handle on what was happening. When my wife (girlfriend) got frustrated living with her Mom she moved in with her father. That’s when her mother let on surreptitiously that there was something more going on with the father. It turned out, the relationship she had with her father is what broke up her parents. Being a teenager the full impact of this didn’t hit me until much later. I was more concerned with being the loving, caring boyfriend. She kept going back and forth between her mother’s home and her father’s with no peace of mind. A couple of years later while we’re still together she tells me about what was happening with her dad. If I knew then what I know today, I would have been a gentleman and assisted her, but I never would have married. She never received counseling for the alcoholic mom nor for the deviant father.
My marriage was consumed with unexplained anger directed at me, times when I could ask questions and not get an answer – just stares, and an attitude toward sex that made her father a hero and her husband the sexual deviant. And even that was contradictory because we both enjoyed love making. Although my son did well in school, we did get called into the school counselor’s office for some behavioral problems he started to have. The counselor picked up on something right away, saying that there was something going unsaid. I wasn’t conscious of the fact incest upsets the basic foundation of security that a mother and father provide for the child. When the sexual predator breaks that basic trust, the child’s view of the world is changed forever. The view the child has of the gender of the perpetrator, is skewed with conflicting and invalid beliefs that affect future relationships.
She rejected counseling saying she didn’t need it. Three years later we parted company. 8 years ago I’m driving through mid-town Manhattan with my mother talking about politics and how I thought Al Sharpton couldn’t get political support from all races because of Tawana Brawley ( someone who claimed to have been raped but never brought charges against her perpetrators). Mom goes on to say that she believed Tawana. I insisted that if it were true, she should have moved forward with criminal charges against the perpetrators. In a little voice Mom said, `No body believed me!’ I said, `What did you say?’ She repeated it and began to relay a story to me of how her father had told her and all 6 of her brothers and sisters to go to bed. And then called her down to be with him. While he abused her, her oldest brother came down and knocked the father off of her. While the father pummeled her brother she ran away to another relatives house and never went back. She said some of her siblings didn’t believe she was raped. This also included her mother and her favorite aunt at that time.
Throughout my childhood I wondered why her mother and aunt treated her so bad, when she and my father would buy things her mother needed and would send money too. But this was never good enough. Two sisters and a brother would be very off and on in a strange way. With my mother telling me about this travesty, I now understood why the family would act in ways I didn’t understand. I now understood why my mother had her quirks that affected the whole family. She’s a loving person who needed counseling and didn’t get it. Her self esteem was low, so she didn’t stand up for her own personal growth within the family. Although she had some say, she did more of what my father wanted. He had his insecurities too and demonstrated them in how he limited my mother’s behavior. Neither my brother nor I followed his behavior with our wives, but I couldn’t get over how subconsciously I chose a woman to marry that had the same problem as my Mom and I didn’t know my Mom had the problem. Truth is stranger than fiction.
The blogosphere is filled with equally strange cases of child abuse and incest. There is a sickness out there in America. And it’s in our homes, directly and indirectly. We say `SAVE THE CHILDREN’ and then send them off to schools that need metal detectors to protect them from guns. We say we love children and have them learning in inferior schools, with textbooks a generation old, little supplies and very few computers. Then we say we want to prepare them for the good paying jobs of the future while offering a curriculum that won’t keep their future job from going overseas.
Even with these additional problems in the treatment of children, the first place children need to be saved is in the home and at school. Parents must scrutinize each other’s behavior with children. Be vigil of your child’s relationships in school and at church. Don’t be blind to abuse because of someone’s status: teacher, coach, priest, neighbor. Listen to what your children are saying to you. Child abuse and incest must come to an end. We all can use some analysis. But children who have been sexually abused need counseling most definitely. And those who are indirectly effected, can use a little help too. The predators need a jail cell and counseling.