Thursday, June 07, 2007

Is this inappropriate?

Ok. So, I want to talk about something here, because I started to write a comment in the femiknit mafia's post, and it got waaaaay too long. So I'm going to post it here are link it. I was reluctant to do this, because, as Emily said, I like to curate my world on this blog, in internet land, etc, and I don't really feel like this has a place here. It doesn't really have much of a place in my everyday world, either, just because it's faded. But I think it's important. However, I don't want this to be preachy, because, you know, I'm talking about... dum dum dum... Abuse.

Only, I want there to be no capitals, because this is not a story of Abuse and Suffering, nor is it a story of Triumph over Hardship. It was just something that happened, that's over now.

The story goes like this. I was abused when I was a kid. I must have been about 8; certainly no more than 9. Nothing major, nothing too vile. It was once off, and it wasn't a relative, which I think would be much worse - how do you tell someone about that when you're a kid and they are someone who is supposed to be protecting you? Anyway, in my case it was someone who volunteered at the place where both my parents worked, and they had him over for a day because... well, I guess they felt sorry for him. He was disabled, you see, physically and I believe a little intellectually disabled as well. For that same reason, I wasn't allowed to dislike him, even though I did. I had to be polite and all that, which of course is as it should be.

Anyway, long story short, he felt me up a little. My dad was home, but busy running around doing house stuff and looking after my sister who would have been under one then. I won't pretend it was fun. I won't pretend I coped with it exceedingly well as it was happening.

However, that night, I told my mum. And as far as I was concerned, it was over, then. It was done. It was no longer my problem. We ended up prosecuting him, (I just wrote persecuting - is that bad?) but only, really, because it turned out that he had done this before. Always to girls younger than me, none of whom had wanted to testify. So I decided that I wanted to prosecute because people who do those things ought to be prosecuted. As it turned out, he made a deal and I didn't get to testify in court. I was disappointed. Go figure.

I hesitated to bring this up, because I really don't think of myself as part of the category of people who have been abused - whatever that means. Anyhow, it certainly isn't a part of my life now, nor has it shaped anything to do with me since the court case was over. It did for other people, though. I know my mum was worried about whether I would be scarred by it. Also, the place where they worked changed almost all of their staff, and he came back to volunteer. The single staff member who remembered the incident was outraged that he was there, and spoke up. She was trounced, because, you know, he was disabled, he must be pure and good.

{This is not a denouncement of disabled people, either (wandering off topic) it's just that, you know, people in minorities can be bad too, or annoying, or incompetant. They are all just people with individual traits, and treating people like they are only what their 'group' is is as discriminatory when it's good as when it's bad. Only, you know, not as bad.}


The point was, I was not a gregarious child. In fact, when I think about what I was like the word that comes to mind is 'anxious'. I was verbal, I suppose, which helped me articulate what had happened and get it out of my head, sort of. What I think helped the most, though, was that I knew what sex was. My parents weren't afraid to talk to me about it (well, maybe they were, but they did it anyway) or answer my questions, and I had books and stuff. I think I had a fair grasp on what the story was, as far as a kid can do. I knew what it was supposed to be. I knew that touching down there was related to sex, but that this was not meant to happen, that what he did to me was wrong, and that my parents would think so to. It meant I could tell them and I knew that they knew what to do (even if they didn't)

My message to Mafia is not to forget: kids are smart. And they are strong. As long as the frameworks of support and love are there for them to lean on, kids can bounce back from a lot of things. And they pick up more than you think they do. I'm not saying that they know what to do in every situation, but if they know that you are there to talk to about it, to help them, then they can deal with a lot. I think Little Man would be fine, God forbid anything like that happened, with you and Wifey there to support him. He might not be able to articulate how he knows, but I'm sure if anyone tried to pull anything inappropriate, he'd know.

In conclusion: congratulations on your Dale!

1 comment:

FemiKnitMafia said...

Whoah. My eyes are tearing up right now. Thank you so much for sharing that. It was very brave, and totally not inappropriate.

Thanks for the suggestion that openness is the key. It means a lot to me that you were willing to share this story to help one parent better understand the issue. Thank you.