He wrote it down.

Our intention was to dance on his grave.


My beautiful cousin, who I’d not seen in 35 years, and I set out to dance on our grandfather’s grave. Our first dilemma was, of course, song choice. You have to have the right song. We bandied a few song titles about, Alanis Morrisette was a front runner.


We drove to the town where he lived, and where he is buried. We drove to the town where we were abused. Driving down the picturesque New England roads, I felt a little faint. Mary felt a little barfy. We pulled into a store parking lot, and Mary spent some quality time behind a dumpster, hurling. It happens.

We weren’t entirely sure where the cemetery was, so we pulled into a police station to ask for directions. I said, jokingly, We should go in and file a police report. Mary said, What would happen if we went inside and filed a police report?

I said, Let’s do it.

We walked in, after Mary barfed again, and there was a darling older police officer behind the glass window. Mary told him we were looking for the cemetery- and I had a moment of, We’re probably not REALLY going to do this. Then my beautiful cousin, who is the bravest person I know, said- And we would like to report a crime.

That got his attention.

She said, Our grandfather sexually molested us 35 years ago, and we want to report him.

We were ushered into a conference room, where a young officer came in to talk to us. He handles all of their sexual assault and rape cases. He introduced himself, sat down and proceeded to ask us questions about what happened. Names, addresses, dates. I called my sister, and put her on speakerphone. We were all crying.

Sweetie, I said, He’s writing it down.

He wrote it down.

We said, This happened to us, and he listened. He WROTE IT DOWN.


I cannot begin to tell you how powerful that was.

He said several times, I don’t want to open any wounds, so if you don’t want to answer this, that’s okay. Finally I said, The wounds are all still open. Obviously. What do you want to know?

I found myself saying, to a police officer, I was raped. I never thought that would happen.

Then Mary asked a question I would not have thought to ask, but the answer to which I really needed. She said, What would have happened to him, if someone had reported it? The officer told us the procedural things, he said he would have interviewed us, he would have interviewed our grandfather, he would have corroborated what he could. And then, he said-

I would have driven down the street and arrested him.

That is what should have happened.

We know there is nothing to be done. We know there will be no consequences, and no justice. Life is staggeringly unfair, sometimes.

But there is a record. We walked into that police station holding the jagged shards of our story, of our childhood, and said, LOOK. THIS HAPPENED. And Officer Paul Smith bore witness. He wrote it down.

In few days, the police report will be available, and Mary will go get three copies. Or, if she makes good on her threat to send it out in lieu of a Christmas card next year, maybe many more. But, at least three. We will each have a copy.

We asked Officer Smith if anyone else ever comes forward about our grandfather- because we know with absolute certainty there are MANY more victims- to please give them our information. We want to meet them.

At that point we thought we were still going to go to the cemetery. Officer Paul offered us a police escort.

I think it is important to note, in the face of so much awfulness, that people really are mostly very good. He was so kind. He took it so seriously. He honored our loss.

Mary decided she’s not quite ready to dance on his grave. That’s okay. We’ve found each other again. We’ve got nothing but time.

That’s where this was supposed to end.

Then I got a call this morning, from Officer Paul. He said, Can you come in? I have something I want to tell you guys.


Mary and I just got back.  We were at the police station for hours.  Talking to a mama.  About her daughter.  She told us what happened. Officer Paul wrote it down.

Guys, I don’t quite know what to do with any of this.  It’s a LOT.  I have a crushing headache, and Mary and I have made an agreement that we will spend the rest of the night talking about Adam Levine’s abs.  That’s it.  That’s all we’ve got.  BUT- my world is lighter than it was yesterday.

1,055 Comments on “He wrote it down.

  1. It happened once. Lucky for me, it happened after I began to discover feminism. Else he would still teach, would still have sex with his recently graduated students. Because “they’re legal, they’re not [his] students anymore, there’s nothing wrong with it.” I am blessed to have the family who helped me do what I know was right.

    He will never teach again in Oregon. His source of naive and trusting girls is gone.

    Strength be to you, to us, to we who have suffered at their hands. May we always have love and support and law enforcement that believes us.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a beautiful story of healing, and the power of telling and being heard. You are an artist, and your poetry will bring relief to other’s pain. Like Richard Hoffman, and his poets. Thank you for writing your truth.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m a man. 54 years old. I was never sexually abused, but I was beaten 3 times a week from the age of 5 till 12, when my brand new step father grabbed my mothers arm and said “never again.” In my youth she kept a brown extension cord in the closet next to my room, that was fashioned into a sort of Cat of Nine Tails, and hung on the wall where she could easily grab it and “teach me a lesson that I won’t soon forget.” Apparently I had a bad memory as I soon forgot my lessons and new ones came every couple of days. I pretty much had constant scabbing welts on my legs, shaped like the looped end of the brown cord, and still bear the scars. My two older sisters also hit me whenever they felt like it, and it continued this way for years. My mom is 81 now and denies it ever happened, and my sisters downplay it as if I had it coming.To this day I can’t remember ever hugging my mother, and I generally don’t like women and it has effected my own marriage. Sexual and Physical abuse are problems on both sides of the fence, and I’m writing this down for myself because nobody gives a shit except me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I give a shit. You didn’t “have it coming” no matter if you were a handful of a little boy or not. That is not parenting.

      Liked by 2 people

    • thank YOU for sharing your story. I am so sorry. What you endured as a little one is beyond words. You should NEVER have gone through that, not ever. Not once.

      My husband was also “spanked”, as his mom and dad would say. He has few memories but his older sister tells of the welts the belt buckle would leave on her back and legs, having to miss school, change her clothing to cover the welts, the shame, the anger. My husband cannot remember, and I am thankful for that. His sister says he was not spared. He flees from anger around him, is a peacemaker at any cost, yet his own internal anger leeks out at times on the dog or sometimes on me. He’s working hard to overcome this. THANK YOU for sharing your story. Again, I am so sorry. You never deserved it. Not Ever.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t know you but I give a shit….for that little boy long ago and for the hurting man you are now. May you heal.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I also give a shit. I don’t know you but I send you LOVE. You are a gift to this earth and did not deserve any of that abuse.


    • @Ul approved I’m 36, I can relate to what you’re saying. I grew up in a house where I was a complete stranger at least that’s how I felt I still do:-( my dad, mom and siblings beat me up every chance they get, my mom will wake up @3am and blend pepper while I’m still sleeping mix it with water then my dad and siblings would all come to my room then my mom will undress me and kinda prep me with this mixture while my dad and sibling will beat me with sticks, cords, and punches. It lasted for more than 10 years until I was through from high school. My dad passed 6yrs ago didn’t own up to it, my mom never talks about it and my siblings act as though I deserved what I got. I was raped @ 17 in my neighborhood I was afraid tell my family because they will say it was my fault. I got a great job and worked for more than a decade all I did was take care of them thinking they will ask for apology but they never did. I’m married to a wonderful husband and I live here in America but I’ve nightmares, and I struggle to be a woman and wife. I don’t have any kids and I’ve resentments. Like most you I’m taking each day @a time.


    • Here’s the thing about being THAT kid, the one who was beaten, verbally abused, sexually abused, emotionally scared and scarred, THAT kid, who was bent and twisted until at times you really didn’t know which way was up, who rode the emotional roller-coaster until things which simply shouldn’t happen just… seem… normal. Yeah, here’s the thing about that.

      I give a shit. Done is done and we can’t go back and change what happened, and you’re mostly right about nobody giving a shit. Mostly, but not entirely.

      Because some of us went there too, and we know the pain. And I’m not trying to blow sunshine your way when I tell you I give a shit, I really do.

      My mother was the beater and the physical sexual abuser, an emotional manipulator. My father was the emotional tyrant who got some sick jolly from tormenting my waking moments proving to me that I was worthless, abusing me through “verbal sexuality” and sheer, brutal denigration, using me on the farm like a slave, speaking to others like they were human, speaking to me like I was dog shit he’d stepped in barefoot. Brothers and sisters went along, either kept in the dark and refuting my pleas for help and validation, or joining in.

      And it makes you feel like you’re crazy, because no one will corroborate what you’ve seen and been through, and you’re called “paranoid” and “a pathetic liar” when you tell. Eventually you just quit telling, because no one gives a shit.

      So I’ll be honest, most people DON’T give a shit, because they haven’t been there; but some of us have. We get it, and we give a shit, because we want you to understand — finally — that you’re not alone.

      Part of you hates yourself, knowing on some weird level that you must be somehow in the wrong. After all, being singled out that way just doesn’t make any kind of sense, none at all. And yet it really happened, again and again.

      And so another part of you hates and distrusts other people for so many reasons, from so desperately needing some form of affection and never quite getting it, to self-fulfilling prophecy when you’re so damned certain anything you dare to love will be taken away or leave or just be lost to you. Defense mechanism builds on defense mechanism and pretty soon you need love like you need air yet you don’t know anymore how to breathe.

      It affects relationships; it affects your work, your hobbies, your beliefs and goals, it affects your sleeping hours. You know precisely what is meant by that line in “In the Line of Fire” when the villain asks “What do you think about, late at night when the demons come?”.

      I’m telling you, I give a shit, and I give a shit enough to try to help you out some, because as long as you’re still breathing, the rest of your life can still belong to you, and not the people who brought you to this place.

      I once lamented to myself that it’s a crying shame the person who most influenced my life hated my guts. So what’s the answer?

      The answer is… forget ’em. Easier said than done, I admit; but like you said, your mother denies it, your sisters downplay it, others don’t believe you — so it’s up to YOU to offer yourself resolution, validation and resurrection.

      Focus on the NOW, and forget what’s done. There’s no changing it. Stop wearing your life backwards and looking at the past, start with small steps here, now, today, and start looking toward now and tomorrow and the future.

      When the past calls, cut the line. If your family is poisonous, stop drinking the Kool-Aid they’re going to keep offering you. Stop wasting what’s left of YOUR life on THEM, and start living for you and yours.

      You’re never gonna fully trust people, but THAT’s OKAY — find the select few you CAN trust, and rejoice in them, learn to accept them for who and what they are. Do yourself that favor, I mean it. And when you feel broken and lost, take a look at what you ARE, the good and the bad. Rejoice in the good, improve it if you can, and rather than wallowing in the bad, critically examine it, choose how you want to change it, and take those steps.

      Meaning to and wanting to… they’re not the same as doing.

      If that step-father is alive, seek him out and just ASK him — what am I changing in memory, and what really happened? It’s a way of learning about yourself. Learning that you’re not crazy is a powerful feeling that can change things.

      Walk away from your mother and sisters. Are they actually doing you any good? For some family is blood; but for others… we make our family as we go.

      I hereby give you something valuable: I give you permission to be who you are, and to live. Wake up tomorrow and DO something. If it’s go to work, then go in and HIT it. If it’s the weekend, pick out something you always wanted to do and never did — a hobby, a place, an event. End your day feeling like you LIVED.

      It’s too late to win all the toys, but it’s NEVER too late to start being alive and realizing just how wonderful breathing can be.


      • I don’t think you can forget what’s done. I think it’s actually a little dangerous to do that, in the long run. What I think you CAN do is walk that awfulness into the light. Get some help. Do the work. And then lay it down, honey. It’s not yours to carry- it never was.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing. With cheeks soaked in tears I care. I have sons of my own. I am sorry you never received the love from a mother’s touch. You needed that for so many reasons. She missed out on one of life’s greatest treasures.
      You were not to blame for ANY of it. You were a treasure missed. But not today.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am so very sorry. No one should endure what you did; none of us should endure the violence we endured. . . .May you be blessed with the capacity to heal and to find light.

      From my experiences, you NEVER forget, but you can find ways to thrive and tools to move forward.

      Namaste (the spirit in me honors the spirit in you)


    • I care. I’d like to give that little boy the hugs he deserved. Thank you for telling. That matters too. Your life matters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • count me in as giving a shit. child abuse pays little attention to gender: all children are vulnerable and anyone bigger than us had power over us.

      I’ll let you in on a secret: I give so much of a shit about this that I want to start a revolution around it. what happened to you, to me, to everyone writing here and elsewhere, as well as all those who have not yet found their voices or who have no access to keyboards, microphones, pens, canvas, tape…

      I have a hunch we are in greater company than many folks would even want to know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. oh my. my cousin found your blog. she knew it would resonate with me.
    my torment surface a little over a year ago through repressed memories. oh my gosh how strange it was…………..it IS!!! no one is alive that can validate what happened….
    you know i know it happened…………. i have journaled, had flash-back THE WORST! anyway I KNOW It happened but how i wish someone would say, ‘yes katrina, it did happen, and yes it was wrong, and yes, you were too little to do anything about it. you didn’t know what was happening. you didn’t want to upset anyone, you were trying to be good. 2 1/2 how in the world would someone do that to a little girl(or boy) that was WRONG! so so so wrong, it is not your fault, you matter and are worthy and are loved and are STRONG! you can speak up now. YOU, Katrina, have found your VOICE! no one will ever hurt you or anyone you can help ever again.. you are strong, strong to speak up and say STOP! THIS IS WRONG! I MATTER AND YOU WILL NOT HURT ME ANY MORE……..

    now if i could just go on………………….
    i thought i had……………
    but this week is the anniversary of when I was at my lowest……………….. so all that i gained from all that i have done to get past, glean tools…………it seems like i am starting over again…………..like i have laryngitis. it is almost like it hurts to think………….
    will it ever go away?
    i know it won’t.
    i know it is like pealing back layers……….it is in the a process that one begins to heal the scares but gosh it is like my scare has been ripped open a-n-d the skin had just covered/grown over it or so i thought. and now it is exposed yet one more time………

    thank you for sharing… i am so sorry what you and your sister and others here have experienced………….it’s not right… doesn’t make sense. I am sorry but am thankful for those like you who share their story.

    you know, I use to say Good comes from everything……….
    but somehow it makes it seem like ever situation must be good for good to come out of it…………….
    now i say from every situation God comes out of………………….or not all situations are good, but God comes out of every situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand. Much the same for me. For me, it was a journey, my counselor told me there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and walking through the pain rather than avoiding it is what brings healing. I remind myself that visiting a place of pain again in not the same as living there in it, even though it may feel like it. It’s temporary. YOU ARE SO STRONG! YOU DO MATTER, so very MUCH.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, you are real 😉
        Your response ‘visiting a place of pain again is not living there’. Powerful words. Strong words.
        well, I know my visit will be the length o f time my mind is prepared to handle…but luckily this type pain is not my home.

        It’s a rainy gloomy day here at my home in Texas….but I don’t feel consumed.
        May sound silly but your quick response has put a smile on my face.
        thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Friday Snacks {1.23.15} | Kate Baer

  6. It has been so much to take in over this past week. Laura- I want you to know that I feel with you in what must be at times very overwhelming feelings when 90 comments pop up! I am so amazed at the generosity of kindness in which you continue to hold space for these stories….. and they just keep coming. I want everyone to know that I am reading what you write, I am drinking it in and I hear you. I am a therapist of 15 years now because I am well aware that I would be dead had I not found the right one to hold my horror in their hands as I leaned into this one messed up little life I have. This shame is like a cancer in us; it will grow until it kills us if we don’t get it out. I feel so grateful to be present with all of you in this funky global social media movement. And those few that have reached back and read my story have made me feel heard in those ways that we need over and over again. I think we will need them for the rest of our lives? Thank you for allowing me to share in your courageous moment.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed. I have 125 comments from this blog (and growing) saved in a separate file I created in my inbox, to remind me of just how powerful telling our story is…and how devastating this kind of loss is…and how there are so many out there who actually get this kind of pain, move through it, aren’t defined by it, yet always acknowledge it. Thanks amgregory2013 for dedicating your career/calling to something so compassionate and useful.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. my father was my abuser. it began when I was 5. but he disappeared for a while, and at 10 i felt safe to tell my mom. She called me a liar. Told me to keep quiet about such things, that we needed the child suppoort check he sent, even if i never saw him. then at 14 he decided he wanted visitation again. Mom made me go, every other weekend. Im 31 now, and a mom to two beautiful girls. I dont allow him to see them, and my whole family (his side) thinks it because Im just snooty. But its because when his younger sister, my aunt, came forward, they all labelled her a drug addict, a drunk, just trying to ruin someone else’s life. They say the same of my cousin, who is my age. No one stopped to ask them why they hurt so much they seek to numb the pain by any means possible. So i remain the bad guy, the one who is “hiding” her children from thier grandfather, but if it protects them, so be it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I wish you strength, Christina, as you continue to protect your children. It is so sad to me when families don’t honour what their daughters/nieces/sons/etc tell them. YOU know the truth. Find others to be your family. LOVE to you.


    • Hide those kids. You are doing the right thing. So brave. Often people cave to the manipulation of the family and continue to take their kids around those they know are abusers. Keep up the good work…and NEVER feel like you have to keep his secret. I’m sure there are others in the family with kids that need protected. The more that know who he really is, the more children saved from this kind of hell.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thanks for sharing your story. My adopted daughter has a similar story and she was amazed when I told her that if she had been here in America, I would have believed her and called the police and the man would have been arrested. Her birth mother and father knew what was happening by the town pedophile and did NOTHING!!! I shared the FB post on my FB for my daughters. Bless you for sharing and for the police response- such healing!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I can’t tell you how refreshing this is to hear, as odd as that may sound. The way you speak about it shows that you have not let it ruin your life, that you do not let it define you. But, you also know it is serious and you have been done wrong. I was raped two years ago and never got involved with the police. This almost makes me want to. Just because I can.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I was sexually abused from my earliest memories until the age of 11 or 12 . He is dead now and unfortunately , was cremated. I always said I would dance on his grave . Now I cant . Ive had some therapy but now , at the age of 44 , I have been agoraphobic for 19 years . There are no psychiatrists or psychologists in the area and I cant travel very far to go and see someone who can help me . It was determined that the sexual abuse is the root of my panic disorder and agoraphobia . Im missing out on life . That bastard is still ruining my life . Or rather , Im still allowing him to . He never had to answer for what he did and yet Im still suffering . I know how hard it is to talk about . But once you do , it gets easier and easier . I have no problem saying ” I was sexually abused as a child ” to anyone . But , it hasn’t freed me ., I want so much more out of life than the way I am living now . Im so glad you ladies got to tell your story and be heard . God bless you and stay strong .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa, I hope you are able to find a way to get some help and support so that you are free to live a life as big and as free as you want it to be. I will be praying for you.


      • Thank you . Ive been trying to get help for years . There just doesn’t seem to be any .


      • I was looking into internet therapy this morning but they all cost more than I can afford . Ive been on disability since 2000 for the panic attacks so I only have medicare and Medicaid and so far , they don’t cover online therapy . Or I haven’t seen 1 doctor yet who accepts it . I haven’t looked into phone therapy but Im sure that too isn’t covered .


      • What about a university that trains counselors? Sometimes you can find a place like that that has a sliding fee scale, and will let you pay only what you can afford. You might try contacting some colleges near you and see if there are any possibiliites there.


  11. Thank you for sharing! I too am a survivor of abuse and my abuser is still alive and living a lie deceiving so many. I get sick to my stomach if I even think about having to be in the same town. Family always wanting to know why I won’t come to family functions,
    Keeping my distance is all I can do. I know I’m not his only victim and now that he is sick and soon to die I can only pray for my soul for feeling glad he is going to hell. I have written everything down to help deal with the emotional pain this man caused. And I share my story in confidence with others to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read and I’m a reader, writer, survivor and activist. Thank you for sharing this experience. It was healing for me. I’ve shared it on my personal and activist page. And I’m a follower of your writing now. Thank you. Christine Cissy White

    Liked by 2 people

  13. On thursday my son (adopted for from foster care) told his story to a case worker. This isn’t the story we all know, of his bio mom and all the families and the neglect and the bio dad who didn’t want him. This was the story of the foster family, the nice ones, the ones who had him for 3 years, the ones who were stable…. he told of spankings (on the shins and arm with a paint stick) handcuffs and spoons of vinegar. This was four years ago and now the family is being investigated for various things. My heart is broken again, partly because in all we have gone through, I didn’t even know to ask the questions, I didn’t know most of it. It seemed normal to him and better than the alternative. I saw how powerful it was for him to be heard by an authority and believed by us. For us to say we are so sorry this happened to you and we’re glad you told us and this shouldn’t have happened.

    I was four and it happened once, the sexual molestation. My dad’s best friend. We moved away. he died when I was nine. We went to his funeral– so much love for him and I was secretly glad he was dead, and guilty because maybe he did it to someone else. I minimized it. I didn’t want to hurt my dad, who carried his best friend’s Bible still. When I was 30 and the panic attacks were so bad and the depression form having to be perfect and holding it all in and I had my own babies to care for. I told my parents — they heard me, they threw out the man’s Bible, they didn’t minimize it like I had, they grieved with me.

    Being head is powerful. Being believed is healing and when someone will cry with you, it makes you matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I read things like this and it does little by little possibly give me the strength to do something…. My abuse is a blur and like so many has come back in spurts or flashbacks… I don’t remember a lot of my childhood and I finally realized why around the beginning of my marriage 15 years ago. I think for most of my life I blocked it all out until I was around 18 or 19 when my cousin reminded me what “he did to us”… She seemed shocked I did not remember much and pretty much clammed up from that day forward. She has almost been afraid to be alone with me ever since. I have wanted to get her alone a million times since that day but she avoids me. Mostly because the guy who sexually abused us was her first cousin on her mom’s side of the family (I am her cousin on her dad’s side). And in the middle of all this the guy kills himself. I went to his funeral with my parents (they do not know about this to this day) and thought I was going to throw up the whole time as I watched the sister he abused moan and whail like I have never heard anyone do before… It’s all so crazy… Sometimes I think I am going crazy! Why are we still protecting him?!?! He killed himself!!!! Probably because of some of the awful things he did to children!!!! I know a big reason why I stay silent is because of my family… Only my husband and a few friends know what happened to me… I think my family would fall apart and I am not sure if I could handle it… My mother thinks I had an amazing, perfect childhood and she loves to tell me how wonderful my childhood was and how awful hers was… Ha! If only she knew! And I am not sure my cousin would support me… It is all such a mess!!!! I could ramble for hours in this story but I am tired… Tired of this ick that consumes my life and tired of letting it but I just feel so helpless so much of the time… Where do I begin?! It would shatter my parents and my mom’s family and I am not sure I could pick up pieces… Or talk about it that much or so on and so on… Thank you for reminding me it NEVER should have happened to me… That statement alone makes me feel better and thank you for letting me share and ramble…

    Liked by 2 people

    • So, I get the not wanting your family to fall apart, and the being not ready, and the being terrified. The one thing I will say is, families with this sort of cancer growing inside them are already fractured. You speaking your truth, when and if you are ready, will not break it more than it is already broken. Thank you for sharing your story here- I am so sorry you went through that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing. . …bleeding on the page…. I don’t think is rambling. It’s processing. Which sometimes I hate that word, process, I just want to be DONE!
      I don’t remember alot of my childhood either. I never thought it was a big deal. I really thought everyone remembered the same as me. My repressed memories hit just a little over a year ago.
      It is the strangest thing to have these events that happened and me have NO idea they happened. ..and to ME! I have never talked to anyone with repressed memories. It’s crazy isn’t it!! And icky!! For me it became this deafening silence. I have had a lot hapoen in this pass15 months. I would like to encourage you to find a couselor. One has really helped me.
      Listen to me….you matter, you are a precious person that did not deserve what happened to you. You did nothing to cause it…it was not your fault! Someone should have kept you safe!
      It sounds like you are in a happy safe place now dealing with the ‘new’ slime. I’m sorry we and so many many others were not kept safe. But WE are survivors!
      Much of time I have learned to make my own white noise to drowned out the deafening silence.
      I must stop bleeding /processing now. Take care of yourself


  15. I am still unable to say anything to my family because my step father is still alive, but I’ve got a pair of tap shoes I’m saving to use on his grave! But for now I’ve moved across the country and can only feel comfortable telling people who don’t know him! I wish I had someone strong enough to help me confront him like your cousin helped you! God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My little sister was abused when she was quite young (she’s 11 now) by one of my brothers. Twice. She told me about a year ago and I confronted him and told my parents. He was extremely remorseful and guilty (tears and all), but only apologized months later when my mum made him. He didn’t have the courage to talk to her about it. He still lives at home and it seems like all is forgiven and good between them… although I’m torn between knowing whether him being home is a safe thing or not, since it happened probably 4-6 years ago. Also, it makes it difficult because she loves him and would feel guilty if he had been thrown out of the house. Not my decision. I don’t know what I’d have done.

    My question is: is there anything else I can do to help my little sister besides believing her and making sure she knows it was not her fault? Should my brother have been reported, even though it had been a few years since it happened and he was a minor at the time? She seems to have healed, but I have no clue how much it really affected her or not. I don’t like bringing it up because I don’t want to bring up bad memories for her (but maybe I should more often?) I don’t want her to grow up and still have to work through things if me and my parents are not doing enough to help her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think letting her know that if and when she needs to talk about it you are there and willing to listen is the biggest thing. I’ll be honest, I am concerned about them living under the same roof. I don’t know if either of them ever received any professional help, but I would strongly recommend it. I’ll be praying for her. For your whole family.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really hard.

      I don’t know where you are, and I don’t know what mandatory reporting laws are like in your area, but your parents might be between a bit of a rock and a hard place. In the US, at least, in some cases the treatment of minor perpetrators is sometimes pretty extreme and the science backing some of it is shaky at best. (I hope this has gotten better, but the most recent information I’ve seen indicates otherwise.) What your comment indicates to me about the age difference leaves me feeling pretty uncomfortable… but at the same time, there have been cases where pretty young kids have been branded as sexual offenders for not much more than playing doctor, so I really don’t think there are necessarily easy answers. (And my own experiences with CPS, as a teenager trying to deal with both early and ongoing abuse – though we never discussed the ongoing abuse, partly because it didn’t occur to me that there was anything actionable about it – were pretty awful.)

      I don’t know what your sister needs. Maybe she’s gotten what she needs – she was heard, she was believed, there were consequences. Maybe not.

      I would let her know that if she ever wants to talk you’re there for her. I was going to write a bit about not pushing her – and I still feel that, because darn it, you can’t help people deal with this shit if you don’t respect people’s autonomy and their ability to make their own decisions – but… darn she’s young.

      One word of caution – if you have your own painful and complicated feelings about this (and how could you not) you might want to try to find other places to talk about it, so you don’t bring that confusion to your interactions with your sister. Often for kids part of the trauma is in how other people react. If she’s found her peace – let her find it. If she needs help, then do what you can to be that help or get her that help. But it would be so easy to feed her your own doubts, and that kind of thing is so very contagious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, both of you. It helps. We’re in BC, Canada. I don’t know about laws pertaining to sexual abuse here… but I know that most of the time, minors get their records clean as soon as they turn 18 (or it might be 19). Except that it was never reported so it might be different if it was reported now.

        Counseling is good advice. I’ll suggest it to my parents. Again, thank you. Even just for listening, although the advice is awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have read this post. I am a healing victim of sexual abuse and recovering daily. I would love to dance on the creeps grave… If I knew it existed. It happened during my childhood and caused me to block so much (even all the best parts out.) To me- I “ignored” it for so long and at the same time punished myself my entire life for it …I struggled with anorexia, bulimia, and self mutulation and tried my absolute best to hide it from everyone. I just wanted to feel “normal.” Finally I’ve figured out that even though they were terrible, awful things that happened they made me who I am today.. a much kinder, compassionate person who tries every day to see and care for the heart of people. I’m thankful for everything that made me.. All the things that made me feel out of the group, lonely, isolated and unworthy because it made me feel even more connected with everyone else who felt out of the group, the ones who felt different from all the seemingly happy people, and the ones I think God really would have LoVeD hanging out with… Finally I figured out that God adores me and now I like me… Heck I LOVE ME and that feels really freakin’ good to say.) thanks for loving yourself so you could love others and help them learn to love themselves too … or as in my case thanks for loving others, so you could learn to love yourself and share this awesome story.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. For Melissa…you might try looking up this group on the Internet..Together We Heal,they offer counciling to sexually abused or can direct you to other information. Also check if there is a Mending the Soul Group in your area…excellent group therapy. Alot of thereapist offer sliding scale…look on Good Therapy and Psycology Today. you want someone with atleast a Masters Degree…Also there are interns that work under a group and are very cheap.
    Good luck to you…I know how it is to find help on a budget.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I am not sure how I got here only that I looked at my browser over coffee and here was a tab open right here. From yesterday before I succumbed to what is called sleep.

    I am not sure I should leave a comment at all other than to say yes these things happened to me too only not exactly the same things because it is different for everyone only the inability to abide with oneself seems quite similar across all of the way too many stories I have heard from others and the way too many stories I have to tell and have been telling and telling and sometimes I think I am going to run out of breath and fall right back into the earth and that will be that.

    I was a girl when my brother raped me, when my church taught me I was going to burn in the Lake of Fire, when my family let me believe they were going to disappear in the rapture and I would be left behind, when some young man I had never seen before and would never see again tackled me on the beach and led me off behind the dunes and told me to take my clothes off and I remember staring into the sun and then I have my clothes back on and am looking for my grandmother who had left me playing in the sand and she finds me and says there you are and I say here I am and then nothing else.

    I tell people I fell silent at 15 and did not learn to talk again for 15 more years which is sort of true although talking even now often feels like not talking at all. There are no words for it or that is no words that will cover it all take care of it all clean it up put clothes on it and take it home somewhere safe except home was not that so somewhere else I have to guess but I have not found it yet.

    I am not a girl now perhaps obviously but what gender I am I cannot say or that is I haven’t found a name for it but I look like a middle-aged, balding, bearded, somewhat shall we say bohemian man. I have no idea what it is like to be a male survivor of sexual abuse; what I hear does not resonate with me. For me gender was violently enforced until it wasn’t anymore and I could be who I was except that over the course of one’s lifetime the possibility to be any particular of the ones you thought you would be narrow until maybe you are just you because none of the recognized options fit. It was not clear to me until relatively recently that being a nonbinary-gendered survivor of sexual abuse would be akin to being not a unicorn but more like a.. will there is no word for that either it turns out.

    no man’s land. no woman’s land.
    land? do you see a place to land?
    the map says land here. why do I not see any.

    Everyone on my mom’s side of the family has experienced some form of abuse or another–the majority of it sexual. For at least five generations that I know of. Everyone knows but nobody has a clue what to do that won’t upset any of the adults which is apparently the greatest sin there is. The children will be ok. They have to be. We all are ok aren’t we. Didn’t we turn out alright.

    Speaking up is a little like talking to earless creatures who stare at you there disrupting the peace so discourteously. It’s not like you are telling us anything new. Can’t we just put it all behind us. We are tired. We did our best. Let it go.

    It won’t let me go. Everything you forget I have to remember. The panic you swallow swallows me.
    Every drop of denial you squeeze out of your life explodes behind my eyes at the temples the headache almost older than I am now.

    I am 53. I was not planning on living this long. My body is starting to need attention in the way bodies will when they spend half a century resisting gravity and friction and oxidation and all the other agents of entropy that will soon catch up with us. I wish I knew what to do. I mean I have a doctor but I am disabled by what is called by some Complex PTSD and the number of symptoms has become bewildering and more than I can even keep up with trying to make appointments for.

    And the stories. I dream them, I sing them, I write them, I eat them and drink them for breakfast and lunch by dinner I cannot get any more down so I dream some more and start over.

    I am just going to leave this here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all- Erik, is it? You are a beautiful writer, Erik. I think it does matter when you tell your story. Every time. You only need read the comments on this thread to know that is true. There are some aspects of your story that really resonated with me. I will be thinking about it all day. Thank you for entrusting me with your story. I read every word. I am writing your name down.


      • thank you for letting me know you read it. I will keep writing it–and all the others–as long as I can type or dictate or manage whatever other medium might shake out of the digital revolution. writing with a pen is painful now. physically I mean.

        I am feeling especially ‘unread’ this week. it will pass but my god I thought I had endured most of the pain already.

        thanks again. I do appreciate your response and I also am.. glad? glad doesn’t seem quite the right word but I feel vindicated for myself and for them whenever anyone else gets to tell their story. we will be heard.

        eventually. I mean eventually we will be heard as critical enough of a mass that something in this culture will change.


        Liked by 2 people

  20. I sobbed when I read this and I’m sending it on. You are wonderful strong women. Brave women. Thank you for sharing. And to the officer thank you for listening.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I was so alone for so many years; perhaps I still am. And somehow it never feels ‘right’ to share my story. I survived, I thrived, and I moved forward. . . .but I will never forget.

    I am so happy for you that someone wrote it down; the officer’s soul is so precious.

    My perpetrator was my best friend’s father; the family had wanted to take me in as a foster child, but somehow I found my voice and said no. The funny thing is that almost no one asked why. . . except for his wife, but she didn’t really want to know the answer and I didn’t have the words at the time.

    I do now and I have chosen to work with young people in order to make sure that their voices are heard.

    Thank you for sharing.

    With blessings and light,

    Liked by 2 people

  22. 506 comments. On a blog that from what I can tell with just a quick look usually has <50. Something is happening here. Something beautiful. The courage of one woman to share an intimate and beautifully healing story has unlocked so many others… given others the courage to write it down… step out into the light… and given us the space to be heard. 506 comments. I've read them all. Every. Single. One. And I will keep reading. Because these stories matter. They need to be heard. And, contrary to what I would believe if I weren't living it, it hasn't been depressing. Oh yes, my heart has broken at your stories. But it's also stood back in amazement at what's happening here. All those stories… finding a place to be heard and cared for. Because of one woman sharing hers. It urges me forward… into territory I didn't think I would ever venture into.

    It's been fairly easy to tell people "I was molested." I've even used it to help and encourage others. But to admit what led to it? And what it led me to? No…. you don't get to hear that…. because that's where I struggle with my part. I've fought hard over the past two years of therapy to believe with my heart, not just my head, that just because a 6-7 year old girl crushes on someone she adores with a childlike innocence and unwavering trust doesn't mean she was wrong… that the world won't look at me and think *I* was twisted for crushing on an older relative. And I've sat in horror with the thought that someone might find out about some of the things I did later… because of his abuse. My husband knows. My psychologist knows. But now… now reading these stories… I'm beginning to believe that a lot more people need to know. Because if my story can bring one more story out into the light… then I need to proclaim it — loudly. There's some ground work to do first… there are people who can not and should not find out from a public proclamation. But I can't help but believe the time is coming — soon — for me to step out into the light with ALL of my story. Not just the bits I've wanted to be seen.

    Thank you for that, Laura — for the push… for the courage… where even just a few days ago the thought of someone finding out parts of my story would have been mortifying… now it seems freeing… because I want to be that light that you have been… I want to be the safe place for other stories to find their voice. I want to… WRITE IT DOWN. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • YES, Jennifer. YES. I just finished working my way through all the comments here and on Momastery and Jen Hatmaker- and there are a few other sites I need to check out where I have heard the response was pretty strong. It was been a LOT to process- but I have read every single story. I think my job is twofold here. I am supposed to bear witness, and then I am supposed to DO something with this. I am not 100% sure what that will look like, but it is slowly coming into focus. I haven’t been able to write since I first put the post up- but I’ve been able to read. Today was the first day I felt like I wanted to say something, so I’m going to start a new post when I finish this comment. Up on Friday. Thank you for helping me to bear witness. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  23. It was beautiful to read how these two women banded together like this. I hope that one day you guys can dance on his grave.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: she wrote it down so I thought ok I will do this one more time | blog@ eriktrips

  25. I almost found myself crying while reading your story. What happened to you should never have happened. You and your family have my best wishes and I hope the future is full of brightness for all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. My mom’s dad did this to her. I wish she would report him as he is still alive. Sometimes I want to do it for her but I think it would upset her very much. I’d rather respect her feelings about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Reblogged this on where we are and commented:
    Love is giving someone your full attention and really listening to what is being said. And we all could use more love.

    This story is beautiful and represents the greatest strength and the greatest love (from a stranger).

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I have a three year old grandson. We do ice cream once a week. No matter what the flavour (last week it was lemon) he will look anxiously at me and remind me that I need to add the sprinkles. My dear, that should be the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. I’m really sorry for you and your cousin. Hope that you will be healed soon. 🙂 🙂 lots of smiley faces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so incredibly fortunate to say that I absolutely know that. My maternal grandmother was one of the great loves of my life- she loved me deeply and unconditionally. I am so glad your grandson has that in you. What a lucky boy. xo


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