Currently, I’m reading two books, My Justice by Patricia A. McKnight and Mummy Knew, by Lisa James. Just as Tricia warned me, her book is hard to read. So is Lisa’s. It is impossible to read books on incest abuse by a parent when one has themselves been sexually abused by a parent. With each word these brave women write, revealing intimate details of their own abuse, memories spring to mind. Visions pushed so far back and so far under over the years that you wonder if maybe you had just imagined them all, spring to life and affirm that yes, daddy really did abuse his little girl. The similarities between their stories and your own are jarring. You find yourself saying “Yes, that’s how he got to me too!” “That’s how he got me to keep quiet!” “That’s how dirty I felt!” “That’s how frightened I was!”
And yet, both Patricia’s and Lisa’s story have one big difference from mine: in both their cases, the writer’s mother had married low-life, foul-mouthed abusers whose brutality and abuse was exacerbated by their drinking. These creeps were their step-fathers, not a birth father, as was my case. I suppose it’s easier to understand (if any incest can be understood) why a non-birth father who is essentially a pedophile to start with, could be drawn to a child, who is, after all, not his own, especially when she conveniently lives in the same house and must obey him as her new parent. What a huge advantage he has over her! It’s interesting that both Patricia and Lisa felt some kind of instant revulsion and mistrust of these men when they were introduced into their lives by their mothers. They say puppies and dogs can sense evil in a human. These children did too but they were powerless to do anything about it.
My case, however, is different. With my mother, my father created me. His DNA runs through my blood. His advantage over me was huge but never would I have thought my birth father, someone I trusted with my life, whose job it was from word go to protect me from any harm, would take that kind of advantage of me. I didn’t sense evil in him despite the harsh punishments he meted out for infractions when I was a child. I just figured they were deserved. So great is the belief and trust we have in our birth parents.
I watched a woman pushing her 3-4 month old in a pram today. The little one’s eyes were glued, as best she could focus, on her mother’s face. She gurgled and smiled as her mother talked to her. The baby’s face glowed with delight and love. No doubt, or let’s hope so, she has that same glowing love in her little eyes when she sees her daddy. And all being well, as time goes on, the other thing in her eyes will be trust, complete trust, trust he will never misuse.
I was looking at some photos of myself as a 6-month old baby a week back. There I sit happily on daddy’s knee. Mommy is by his side. He looks proud and protective as he holds me. Where did that daddy go? Now as I sift through photos taken during my adolescence and even into my 20’s, I see a different man there, a man who was my father by birth only. Though I long ago came to grips with what happened in my life and have been happily blessed with a fine husband and 2 beautiful daughters since, I still cannot understand how the person who gave you life can destroy his own child’s trust for his own selfish needs. To me, this is beyond comprehension and always will be.