KEEPING INCEST A SECRET EATS AT YOU & TEARS YOU APART
“I believe when you are attacked, either as a child or as an adult, that you are put in a position of choice. You can either allow it to consume you and watch it destroy you or you can fight against it. Only you can make yourself develop the courage to overcome it and talk about it openly. When you carry it as a secret it will eat at you and continue to tear you apart.”
With these words, Patricia, one of the bravest women I know, brings the last few pages of her real life story of abuse and incest to a close. I have never met Patricia in person. We are friends on Facebook now, but my first encounter with her came when I was researching incest on YouTube and found her video that I shared in this earlier blog post here. As she gave a few details of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father for 12 years, I was shocked, but compelled to read her book, My Justice, available as an eBook at LULU.COM, or as a soft cover at Amazon and other online sites.
As someone who is now writing her own story of incest, I had to know how she wrote her story and how much detail she provided. As a fellow survivor, I had to know about the reactions of her family, friends and others had to her terrible disclosures and most importantly, what have been the long-term effects of the dreadful abuse she suffered, not just at the hands of her father but several other abusers who took over where her step-father left off.
My Justice wasn’t an easy read, for me, not so much for the violence Patricia suffered (which was often-times horrific) but for what it said about her own mother’s denial, ignorance, and lack of love and support for this poor child with the brilliant blue eyes. Throughout her 40 + years of abuse, Patricia tried time and again to win and hold onto her mother’s love. She desperately wanted a good relationship with her mother, some acknowledgement that “Trecia” was indeed a good person to whom bad things had happened at the hands of her own husband. And her mother never, to this day, gave her that vital pleasure. This mother, for me, is as loathsome as the step-father. In the criminal justice system, people are charged, tried and convicted for aiding and abetting a crime. I can think of Patricia’s mom in no other terms: she aided and abetted this ugly, abusive step-father who took her virginity by ramming a rifle up his step-daughter’s vagina! Patricia’s mother stood beside this monster till his death, but she never once stood up for or protected her daughter. For me, this is the saddest part of My Justice.
The last few pages also drove home another ugly fact about incest when the family doesn’t know the details, or when it does, turns a blind eye toward the truth. The accuser becomes the accused: the abuser is believed over the abused. What’s wrong with this picture! In my Facebook group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER, it’s heartbreaking to learn from other victims that this is the reaction in their families too. We rail against the honour killings in other cultures, but by insisting incest and child sexual abuse be covered up, hushed up, not talked about, how different are we? These children die too … just more slowly. It may not be a physical death, but unless they can open up and someone believes them, they die mentally and spiritually. Death by the long term incarceration of silence as opposed to hanging. Which is worse?
And then there’s the effects on the children of an abused parent. It’s heart-breaking to read how Patricia’s past has negatively affected her relationships with her daughters. Her past made Patricia ill-equipped to handle the ups and downs of motherhood, though it’s obvious she loved her children more than herself. Sadly, they don’t see it that way. They saw her constant searching for a kind, non-abusive male companion as whoring. At one point, her own children were now calling her what her abuser had called her: a dirty, ugly whore.
How Patricia has survived all this mental, physical, spiritual and sexual abuse is something only she knows. It’s something each of us who have gone through similar, easier or worse, knows. We all have different levels of strength and resolve. Some of us can take more, some less. Some of us can come out from under enough to talk about it privately, or as Patricia and I am now doing, publicly. But it’s never easy and even after it’s done, it’s still fraught with anxiety, worry and insecurity that we are doing the right thing by talking about it at all. But silence is deadly.
I thank Patricia for showing me the way with her book. While I had decided to write my own book before I’d ever heard of her, MY JUSTICE has given me the courage to continue writing. My conversations with Patricia via Facebook and private emails have shown me the beautiful, caring person she is and has always been. She is a classic example of what it’s like when bad things happen to good people but she has come out on top and is now devoting her life to helping others who are suffering as she did. I urge you to not just read Patricia’s book, but to join her newest site at PATRICIA MCKIGHT’S JUSTICE and to follow her blog at SURVIVOR’S JUSTICE.
Don’t let YOUR secret “eat at you and continue to tear you apart.” As Patricia says in the final line of her book:
“If your world is not what you want, then I hope that you can find the strength to survive and move forward away from the pain.”