Friday, August 25, 2006

Promises, Promises—A Child’s View of Incest

I know I have been ranking on CPS a lot lately. It maybe a good sign, though. I felt a lot worse when I was angry with my parents. At least there is a progression to my feelings. Before I move on, though, I wanted to share the following. I first read this in a Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren, Universal Press Syndicate, 1987).

Promises, Promises—A Child’s View of Incest

I asked you for help and you told me you would if I told you the things my dad did to me. It was really hard for me to say all those things, but you told me to trust you—then you made me repeat them to 14 different strangers.

I asked you for privacy and you sent two policemen to my school in front of everyone, to “go downtown” for a talk in their black and white car—like I was the one being busted.

I asked for you to believe me, and you said that you did, then you connected me to a lie detector, and took me to court where lawyers put me on trial like I was a liar. I can’t help it I can’t remember times or dates or explain why I couldn’t tell my mom. Your questions got me confused—my confusion got you suspicious.

I asked you for help and you gave me a doctor with cold metal gadgets and cold hands… just like my father, who said it wouldn’t hurt, just like my father, who said not to cry. He said I look fine—good news for you. You said, bad news for my “case.”

I asked you for confidentiality and you let the newspaper get my story. What does it matter that they left out my name when they put in my father’s and our home address? Even my best friend’s mother won’t let her talk to me anymore.

I asked for protection and you gave me a social worker who patted my head and called me “Honey” (mostly because she could never remember my name). She sent me to live with strangers in another place, with a different school.

Do you know what it’s like to live where there’s a lock on the refrigerator, where you have to ask permission to use the shampoo, and where you can’t use the phone to call your friends? You get used to hearing, “Hi, I’m your new social worker, this is your new foster sister, dorm mother, group home.” You tiptoe around like a perpetual guest and don’t even get to see your own puppy grow up.

Do you know what it’s like to have more social workers than friends?

Do you know what it feels like to be the one that everyone blames for all the trouble? Even when they were speaking to me, all they talked about was lawyers, shrinks, fees and whether or not they’ll lose the mortgage. Do you know what it’s like when your sisters hate you, and your brother calls you a liar? It’s my word against my own father’s. I’m 12 years old and he’s the manager of a bank. You say you believe me—who cares, if nobody else does?

I asked you for help and you forced my mom to choose between us—she chose him, of course. She was scared and had a lot to lose. I had a lot to lose too—the difference was you never told me how much. I asked you to put an end to the abuse—you put an end to my whole family. You took away my nights of hell and gave me days of hell instead. You exchanged my private nightmare for a very public one.

Feelings by Cindy, age 12; put into words by Kee McFarlane

This breaks my heart. One of the things that struck me is that for an abused child there are no good options.

Speaking of the options for abused children, there was an article in the Seattle P-I last month that illustrates this. (The article was taken down, so I can no longer link to it.) After 10 years of allegations and reports of physical and sexual abuse, 2 amazing and brave young women went public and led police to their foster father’s stash of child porn depicting him molesting his foster daughters (3 total). Despite at least 25 referrals to the state about the girls, they disregarded the charges in large part because the girls would not corroborate the abuse allegations while still living with their abusive foster father! Do the people investigating these cases have a clue? How can they expect a child to testify against a violent and dangerous adult that they are still living with and dependent on? Jeez. It seems these days the pedophile idiot needs to be stupid enough to film the abuse to land in jail. If this is what it takes to get caught, imagine how many abusers are getting away with whatever they want. It's pretty easy, I imagine, to threaten a child not to tell and not capture your behavior on film.

Finally, here is a very disturbing article about the rationalizations and online activity of pedophiles.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Child abuse makes me angry.

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