Back in May 2012, my abusers, Richard and Tracy, discovered this blog, then threatened and began to stalk me. You can read their e-mail below.
Especially note that whichever of them wrote the e-mail (it “sounded” like Tracy’s “voice”), accused me of making things up and accusing Tracy falsely, downplayed Richard’s criminal conviction of choking his daughter, warned me not to go to the priest/church, and threatened to sue.
And yet–Through our own local version of a “police beat,” Crime Reports, published for all to see on the Fond du Lac city website, I have discovered that a domestic dispute occurred in May.
The report points to Richard and Tracy’s last-known address, at least according to Google Earth, which is used by the website to locate each crime event. A follow-up occurred about a week later, so it appears that an investigation was begun into the incident, beyond the initial police report.
No charges have been filed as of yet, so I don’t know what happened, who was involved, or if charges ever will be filed.
But it–along with Richard’s conviction of choking his daughter–supports my statements that Richard and Tracy are abusive, and that I am not making up “false facts” out of a “not-all-there” brain.
And gives more strength to my mind to resist their attempts to gaslight me, and attempts to intimidate me into silence through constant surveillance of this blog. This discovery has even more emboldened me to not be silent–and to laugh at their attempts to scare me.
It gets easier all the time, when reading old posts or remembering things that my abusers said or did, to laugh it off.
Yes, laugh it off. I see how ridiculous it all is, and see right through it all.
Not only does it help pull me out of the pit and back where life is beautiful again, and I am no longer a “victim,” but it should help me identify such behavior in others, before I get pulled in again.
(Not that it is in any way a character failing to be a victim of someone abusing you. Victim-blaming and -shaming is a huge problem these days. The only one who should be ashamed of how the victim is affected by the abuse, is the abuser.)
Nowadays, when I remember what happened, it no longer affects me, just as it no longer affects me to remember what Phil, Peter or Shawn did back in college. It’s become a story I revise for the masses to read, which may inspire a brief burst of anger, but then I forget about it again.
I see right through the things my various abusers did, and no longer let it worry and oppress me the way it used to for years.
Yes, it took me years to get past what those guys did, just as it has taken years to deal with what Richard and Tracy did. But eventually I got through. As Trent Reznor titled a song, The way out is through.
Because of this, and the discovery above which provides even more evidence that my abusers were full of bullsh**, I am now ready to turn my abusers’ threatening e-mail to me in May of 2012, into a piece of high comedy, by running it through my own brand-new narc decoder.
Blogger Tina Swithin has popularized the idea of a “narc decoder,” through which you run messages from your abuser. This handy little “machine” translates those messages which fill you with fear, dread, anger, and the like, into what they really mean.
First, read the e-mail from Richard and Tracy:
We read this in amusement. It gave us a good laugh to find that almost 2 years later you are still fixated on something that we forgot about a long time ago. As for your threats, promises whatever to expose us you can take out a law book and read about defamation laws. Richards’s court case may be public access and you are free to speculate all you want without having all the information and facts. However the rest of your writings about how horrible a person Tracy is and abusive mentally deranged etc. have gone beyond statements of opinion. You have represented in your writings false facts, not just opinions, about Tracy that constitutes an actionable lawsuit. You are free to have your opinion and feelings however the minute you go public to the members of the church or community as you have threatened to do we will exercise our rights to sue you for defamation against Tracy’s character.
You talk about threats and bullies yet what are you doing? You are threating to falsely accuse and expose lies about an innocent person if they do not concede to your demands. We will not be threatened or intimidated. We are free to go to church to worship our Lord God without fear of retaliation from someone we see as not all there. You want closure here it is. We are not sorry. We did nothing wrong. You will never get what you want from us because we do not feel we owe you anything. We will continue to be active in our church our community and our town; if you cannot handle that then that us your problem not ours. We will not move or change our faith to make you happy and comfortable. As for the local parish being ‘your’ church. I think the archdiocese would have a thing to say about that. The church is for everyone. We have stayed away out of respect to give you time. We have gone to other churches in town outside of our faith when gas prices or work schedules prevented us from driving 40+ miles one way to church. However we miss going to a church of our faith, participating in the mysteries having that commune with our Lord, so we decided that when we can’t drive out of town we will go to the local parish. We will not be pushed out of the church by you, two years is enough time. So as fair warning for the perceivable future our work schedules make long distance an issue as the other parish is moving to summer hours and Divine Liturgy starts early. So we will be attending locally A LOT this summer, we will even show up on Saturday nights.
And now I run the e-mail from Richard and Tracy through the narc decoder…..
Snap, crackle, pop….
And here it is, all decoded:
How dare you ever speak a word to anyone about how we bullied, abused and gaslit you for years? How dare you ever speak a word about Tracy’s abuses of Richard, the children, and others?
Tracy tried her hardest to shut you up so that only you knew what was happening, so we could keep you under our control and even your husband wouldn’t know the truth. We wanted even him to think you were crazy. We wanted you to think you imagined it all.
How dare you break out of our control and think for yourself? How dare you tell your husband and all your friends and family what we did? How dare you have a mind and will much stronger than we gave you credit for?
You were so nice and easily intimidated that we thought for sure we could twist you every which way we wanted to, and continue to use you and get money/stuff/living space out of you.
It scared us when you showed signs of wanting to kick us out of your house years ago for bullying you and being generally abusive, so we had to re-assert our control and make you think you were in the wrong. We had to make you think YOU were the one with the problem, so we could stay put till we were good and ready to leave.
Now, a few days ago, you actually stood up for yourself and told us to stay away from you. But we don’t want to leave you alone.
We’ve always hated your church, and barely stepped foot in it even while we still pretended to be friends with you. But we want to guilt you into thinking we’re pious Christians who long for the Mysteries, even though we have never lifted a finger to resolve this like Christians, have never behaved like Christians.
We have no interest in actually behaving like Christians, or in getting the Mysteries out of any sense of longing for Christ. No, this is only so we can harass you and pretend to be pious, by making big shows of making the sign of the Cross, just like Pharisees!
We want to shove up against you, breathe down your neck and snarl in the Communion line. We want to pretend to everyone at your church that we’re just innocent Christians, so that no one will believe you if you try to tell them what we really are.
We want free reign, so we can control you at church, too, by forcing you to keep quiet and telling everyone you’re a nutcase and not all there.
We know it’s a lie.
We still think you’re easily manipulated through threats. The truth is that we are afraid of anyone else knowing what kind of people we really are. We don’t want your priest to know, either, especially since you spoke of showing him Richard’s criminal records. This is why we repeatedly threaten you and tell you to shut up.
We don’t want you to get help from the church. We want you to be destroyed because you know what we really are.
We are well aware that you never made threats to retaliate against us.
But just as Tracy did with Todd, when she accused him falsely and smeared him all over the game forum years ago, we will try to make you think you made threats. We will tell others that you made threats you never actually made, to get them on our side and turn them against you, make them think you’re crazy, just as we successfully got all those people thinking that Todd was crazy.
We have already done that, by telling some person Tracy goes to school with, Chia, that you did these things you never did, that you lied when you told the truth. She never even met you before. Then she changed her profile to a passive-aggressive diatribe against you, and “friended” you on Facebook. But it was only so we can peruse your Facebook for posts about us.
Of course you never threatened to push us out of the church or Fond du Lac. We just suffer from poor reading comprehension, combined with our fear of somebody exposing our real selves to the whole world.
We have worked very hard to suppress our real selves around other people in Fond du Lac, so that we can make inroads in politics and other circles, but your very knowledge of our true selves–and Richard’s conviction–threatens our feeling of security.
It is all a lie. But you’re not supposed to recognize that. You’re supposed to doubt yourself and come under our control.
The true threat is that because you know the truth about us, your very existence is a threat. We are scared that because of you, that perfect image we want to present the community, will come crashing down as the facade that it is.
You have kept careful notes of our abuses, and that frightens us. We want you to think even those records are fake. Even though everything you wrote is the truth. Even though Richard sent you an e-mail years back which proved your assertions.
This is why, years ago, we tried to make you think you were a stalker for keeping such notes, so you would stop doing that. This is why we are now trying to gaslight you into thinking that Tracy has never abused anyone and that you’re just lying.
So we will ridicule you and make you think you’re the one with the problem (even though your reactions to being abused and seeing your abuser again are all perfectly normal), because we never matured past elementary school.
We will pretend to be amused by your blog, when in truth it scares us to death–or we never would’ve threatened you. Especially your knowledge of Richard’s conviction. We read that page of your blog constantly.
Though your pain, your desperate suffering, caused by us and our actions and words, so much so that only blogging could get it out, does amuse us, because we are sociopaths.
Though we are so faulty with reading comprehension that we did not get that it’s not “closure” you need, but for us to recognize we have done wrong, and make it right, through apologies and changed behavior. This would make a Christian restoration of friendship possible.
But that won’t happen, because we are superior to all others and never do anything wrong. And because we were only pretending to be your friends to begin with.
We even laugh at the collapse of your faith, even though Richard claimed for years to want to be a priest. Which shows our own faith is actually an act put on to fool you and others, to give us an air of respectability.
We want you to think that even your perception of Richard’s conviction is wrong, even though you have official, public information saying otherwise. We want you to think Richard is innocent, even though he himself admitted to choking his daughter. All to further gaslight you into our control.
We easily got over the breakup because you were blameless, so we had nothing to be angry about. Well, other than the fact that you broke free of us before we could dump you first.
But you had been showing signs of breaking free from our control for years, which is why we let you go so easily. We knew you would be trouble, that you already saw Tracy’s true nature and were beginning to see Richard’s as well. We knew you may even report us to the police or Social Services–which you did eventually do. That scared us.
We would never admit to being to blame for the suffering you’ve gone through. It’s your fault, after all. It’s never the abuser’s fault. How dare you try to make us take responsibility for how we treat and hurt people, including our own children? We are perfect, can’t you tell? It’s never our fault when we abuse someone! It’s always the fault of the person we abuse!
It infuriates us that you are sticking up for yourself and telling about what happened! So we will make empty threats, hoping to shut you up, even though we know we could never have the legal basis to carry them through, and no lawyer would take us on because we have no case or money! We talk about Constitutional Rights, but that’s for US, not for you!
How dare you insist that we never contact you? Just by sending this e-mail we are violating your rights and request to be left alone! Because we don’t care about anybody but ourselves.
–Richard and Tracy Doe
Ah, that was therapeutic. This is a good way to turn the horrid e-mails/messages sent to you by your abuser, into a piece of see-through garbage that no longer bothers you.
Attempting to obtain closure with an abusive, narcissistic and/or borderline woman (i.e., Crazy) is almost always a maddening exercise in futility.
You’re not going to get closure with this kind of woman for several reasons. First, she doesn’t meet the three most important prerequisites for giving and receiving closure:
A reasonable degree of sanity
A foothold in reality
Being able to give an ex closure means you’re able to accept your share of responsibility for the demise of the relationship and when has your BPD and/or NPD ex ever taken responsibility for her behavior, especially when she was clearly in the wrong?
…I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for this to happen or, heaven forbid, an apology from this woman; IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If you try to get closure from your NPD and/or BPD ex by detailing the many ways she hurt and tortured you, she’s unlikely to acknowledge what she did. –Dr. Tara, Shrink4Men, There is No Closure with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman
God, help me God, be with me The whirlpool of depression and despair Has sucked me down.
I know with my head That You’ll bring me out– That You’re all-powerful, Almighty God Able to do miracles, Anything You please–
But my heart just Doesn’t believe it– Heart, don’t be so stubborn! Help me out here!
God, pull me out! Pull me out! Reach down with Your mighty hand And pull me from These murky, watery depths Up to the air of freedom
I need You More than I’ve ever needed anyone ‘Cause I’m drowning Under here
I wrote the following early in 1998: Ever since the whole problem with Peter and how it devastated me, I was determined never to go through that again. Of course, that meant a difference in how I dealt with the Phil-situation.
I tried not to dwell on it as much as I did on the Peter-situation, tried to get my mind on other things. I dealt with the situation so well that the counselor told me, “You’re dealing with this a lot better than most people do.”
I forced myself early on to face what Phil really was: an abusive, cruel jerk, not the wonderful, loving husband I’d thought he was.
With Peter, it took much longer to face that he was not the wonderful, loving boyfriend I thought he was. It took what, a year or less to get over Peter, but only a few months with Phil. Aside from one relapse during January (see below), I was over him by Winterim, and ready to meet Cugan and a few other guys.
I made sure I could get on with life sooner. I cried sometimes, but not as much as I did with Peter, and tried to avoid sadness whenever I could.
Some may say I wasn’t dealing with the pain properly, not allowing myself to grieve, that I kept pushing the pain away. But I still remember how bad my grief over Peter made me feel, and how my friends got tired of hearing about it.
I remember moving on to a destructive relationship with Shawn instead of looking around for guys to go out and just have fun with. I could have asked out James, for example; I did have a crush on him. I did ask him to Pearl’s party junior year, but I could have actively pursued him sophomore year instead.
But I was too drawn to Shawn at the time to pursue James the way I should have. I look at all that, and think that my manner of dealing with the Phil-situation was the best I could have done at that time.
Or if not the best, then the best I knew how to do. It’s hard to say.
I decided not to date another actor, because they were used to pretending in front of an audience and could easily pretend in front of me. If a man was a good actor I wouldn’t know the difference.
Phil was so good an actor that I never could tell he wasn’t always sincere. He fooled me with his “subconscious,” and in late September he had fooled me into thinking he wanted to be with me. I didn’t want to go through this again with anyone else.
Pearl and I watched My So-Called Life every Thursday, but the network was now threatening cancellation because of low ratings. It hadn’t even had a chance to build up a following yet, but they were already cancelling it.
I liked that the actress for Angela (Claire Danes) was the same age as her character, fifteen. You don’t see that often.
I sent e-mail over Thanksgiving or Christmas Break to the TV Guide‘s “Save Our Show” campaign, and voted for this show. Pearl’s sister liked it too, and was proud of me for voting.
But the campaign failed, and the show still got canceled. Network execs keep canceling the good shows before they have a chance to build up a following, and keeping the mediocre shows!
Several years later, Freaks and Geeks got the knife, while Popular got renewed. (Typical: the popular kids beating the geeks.)
My roommies all loved ER, and watched it every Thursday night at 9. They said it “er,” not “E.R.,” just as Jay Leno did. I was so-so about it. It was gross, especially in the opening scene, and that was the same time I usually had my evening snack.
Some of it was interesting, though, like some of the relationships. Once I graduated, I never watched it again.
The library workers began processing new books for the library, along with books for RC-Japan, a branch of Roanoke. One of the RC-Japan books was Anne of Ingleside. (I thought it was the last book in the Anne of Green Gables series, though actually it’s only sixth out of eight.)
I borrowed it to read, since this was okay, and then talked about it with Sharon in one of our many library discussions that year. She’d also read it, and we both agreed that it was disappointing: too much of Anne’s kids and too little of Anne herself! It shows you that a series can go on for too long.
This is true, not exaggerated: Everywhere we went in the S– area, with few exceptions, Mike knew somebody, and waved and yelled “Hi!” to them. Was there anyone he did not know? Catherine said that everyone in the world was destined to meet him eventually.
I found a review for a new movie called PCU. PCU was a spoof, written by young people, of college campuses that are too politically correct, have too much activism, and are too unreal. I was glad I hadn’t gone to a college like that: I wasn’t into all that stuff.
Mike told us, probably in the first part of senior year, about his recent trip to Milwaukee. He was stopped at a stoplight when a man came up to his window and said,
“Do you want some drugs? Are you a college student? Here, you can sell this at your college.”
Mike kept saying no, he doesn’t want any drugs, yes he’s a college student but no he doesn’t want to sell any drugs, no, no, no! This shook him up. Finally, the light changed and he could drive on.
Each of us had small bottles of milk, rather than one big bottle in common. There was always at least one bottle of sour milk in the refrigerator. Once, one of us finally cleaned them all out, when many of them sat in there just taking up space.
We were told at the beginning of the year that we could get no stains on the carpet at all, or else the whole carpet would be pulled up and replaced, and everyone in the apartment would get charged for it.
That was to keep the apartments in good condition for years to come, but one little stain would not ruin the beauty of a whole apartment. Out in the real world, apartment complexes allow normal wear and tear, and don’t pull up the whole carpet just for one stain.
Needless to say, we were paranoid about stains that year. We’d rush to clean up the tiniest spills with the bottle of Resolve Carpet Cleaner provided by the school.
One day, Pearl and I were alone in the apartment, me on the couch and her in the kitchen making lunch. Pearl tried to be independent as much as possible, so if she needed help, she’d ask for it.
I learned from her that the disabled don’t like to be seen as helpless, and are quite capable of figuring out how to do things.
Later on, I met a man with no eyes or hands, but he led me from his apartment to the parking garage. He appreciated that I did not assume he was helpless, but waited to be asked for help: It was a relief from what people often did.
There is a key movement in the disability community for the right to self-determination, which means that we have the power to freely choose how and when we act or are acted upon, without having the will of nondisabled people forced upon us.
Or, in the simplest possible terms: disabled DOES NOT mean helpless. I cannot stress this enough.
Being a good person is a great thing, but please don’t do it at the expense of allowing me to determine my own needs. It’s time for able-bodied people to differentiate between politeness and infringing upon my independence. –Emily Ladau, Thanks for the help, I guess, but I’m not helpless!
So Pearl, on her own, stuck Teddy-O’s (a kind of Spaghetti-O’s) in the microwave (I think the microwave belonged to one of us), and heated them up.
They were in a covered Tupperware bowl. She took them out again, got a good hold on the bowl and her crutches, and began to carry them out of the kitchen. She probably meant to take them to the table. Everything seemed normal, uneventful. And normally, nothing would happen.
Next thing I knew, she tripped and/or dropped the bowl, and the Teddy-O’s flew, spilling all over the kitchen floor and the carpet next to it.
We both laughed and joked about it, but of course, we had to clean it up, for fear we’d get charged for new carpeting. Pearl couldn’t do it herself, so I grabbed the Resolve and some paper towels and did it myself. I don’t remember if any stains were left behind, but we were not charged.
One evening, probably during Winterim, my friends and I went to the opening night of Wayne’s World II. The lines to the movie were so long they stretched outside the doors. I was used to a very short line, if any. Across the street, a digital bank clock showed how cold it was: below zero, I believe.
The group of middle-school kids right behind us didn’t get the commercial parodies at all. They scoffed at how much we laughed. They also kept talking–not whispering, talking–through the whole movie. Argh!
That semester, I worked on two writing projects in addition to my schoolwork: a novel based on Roanoke, and a novel about my seventh-grade dream about ancient Egypt.
I wrote many pages for the Roanoke novel before wondering just how long the thing would take. Those pages have become my memoir’s introduction to Roanoke, the chapters “Meet the Suite” through “Tales of the Campus.”
In 1996, when I resumed the writing of these memoirs, and wasn’t sure whether to make them into a novel or an autobiography (though I knew I had to at least write down the true story before making it into a novel), I incorporated these chapters.
Besides the interesting bits of my own life, I wanted to put my friends in the book because they were so much fun themselves. The whole group of us had been through many things together.
Pearl said one day that “Someone should write a book about us,” so I said I was already doing that. She and my other roommies got excited and told me what names I should give them. Yes, “Pearl” was one of those names.
By Friday, January 13, I had written about thirty pages of my Roanoke book, and made a note to include Penisman Christopher’s poems in the novel. Unfortunately, I later realized I couldn’t, since I had no idea how to contact him for permission.
I actually started making notes for such a book during junior year, and began to write it senior year. Of course, very little of it was fictionalized; I decided to write everything as it happened and then fictionalize it later. Its current form is all truth, no fiction.
I later decided to write my memoirs but not make them into fiction, because that, in a weird way, could set me up for libel–while if I wrote an autobiography I couldn’t be sued for libel because it would all be true.
Eventually I abandoned the idea of publication, since I was afraid my family would disapprove of certain things. Instead, I started using the memoirs as inspiration for novels, which I’ve read that most authors do.
Then in 2001, after friends requested to see the memoirs, I put them into e-mails, removing whatever seemed too boring or personal for other readers. Those e-mails have now been adapted into this current form.
Around mid-January, the senior class hosted a Hunk and Honey contest, which elected the best couple. You voted with pennies in a big, plastic jar set by the name and picture of your favorite couple.
Penny drives like this popped up now and then to raise money for something (and to get rid of spare pennies). We had another one that year, in which the classes (junior, senior, etc.) competed to see who could put in the most pennies.
To my shock and dismay, someone nominated Phil and Persephone. One day in the week of the 16th, probably Tuesday or later between 11:30 and 12:30, I walked past James and my co-worker Megan as they sat at the Hunk & Honey contest voting table. It was on the south side of Bossard and near the bathrooms.
James said to me, “I nominated Phil and Persephone because they deserve each other.” He hated both of them. He said, “Persephone is the most negative person I’ve ever met.” Then he put a bunch of pennies in the big, plastic jar.
Megan agreed with him, and said she voted for them, too. They probably thought it would cheer me up and show they supported me, but it depressed me.
(By the way, I’ve reconnected with Persephone on Facebook. In a recent status update about those days, she said she eventually realized why she had so much trouble making real friends at Roanoke–and made changes in herself.)
I worked at the senior table with Sharon from 4:30 to 6:00 on Monday, June 16. I looked at Phil and Persephone’s container. It was filling up with pennies!
I probably thought, “Please tell me people are voting for them because they deserve each other, not because they make a great couple!–which they don’t.” I kept thinking, “It should say Phil and Nyssa, not Phil and Persephone!” Ugh, stupid residual pain.
Then Persephone came along and saw how full it was. She said, “Oh, wow, look at that.” She chuckled. “I think I know who nominated us. I’m going to have to get after him for that.”
This depressed me even more. I thought I was finally getting over Phil, especially after my wonderful Christmas Break–but this threw me into a relapse.
I told Helene all this as she drove me back to my apartment in her minivan on a cold day. There in the apartment parking lot, as usual, sat Phil’s minivan, close by my bedroom window.
I hated coming out of my apartment in the morning and finding it still there. Just like John Cusack’s character in the movie High Fidelity, all sorts of horrible images popped into my head of Phil having sex with Persephone all night long. I hoped he stayed in Dirk’s room, not hers.
(She later told me they never had sex, though he essentially lived with her and her roommate because his home life had grown intolerable.)
Anyway, I pointed out Phil’s Dodge Caravan to Helene. She charged at it with her minivan. She’d speed toward it, then slow down, turn around, and speed toward it again. We giggled.
I don’t remember who won Hunk and Honey, but I do know it wasn’t Phil and Persephone. I don’t think I even knew the couple.
Recently, the newspaper told me Tracy graduated college, and her major. I’ve also seen her back in town recently, right in the same parking lot I pulled into.
From various IPs linked conclusively to them, it looks like one of them has been in town this whole past year, even while she went to college on the other side of the state–even though her IP location came from a city near the college for much of the year.
Her main IP address is screwy, because the locations keep changing even though the IP does not. Sometimes she’s in Eau Claire, or Madison, or Rochester MN….
And now the same IP shows up as Fond du Lac, then Madison, then Fond du Lac, then Madison…. Other local IPs from that Internet Service Provider, including mine, always show as Fond du Lac.
She recently used one other IP that showed Missouri, but it was identified by my stat trackers as her cell phone–and she used that same phone on my blog a short time later, from Fond du Lac.
And sometimes I get hits from Texas, someone who has used Richard and Tracy’s unique search terms.
I have no clue what’s going on. All I know is that now she’s graduated and was in Fond du Lac again back in June.
I’ve heard of people leaving town to get away from their abusers, but that’s not possible here: We own this house, and were in this town long before they were.
The other day, I open up the newspaper and it tells me that Tracy got some kind of honor at her college. A couple of years ago, it said she was in an honor society of some kind.
I did not want to see that. She does not deserve honors after the way she has treated so many people over the years.
But unfortunately, academic-based honors often have little to do with the kind of person you are, and are based solely on grade point averages, so even sociopaths and various forms of abusers can get degrees and honors.
Abuse victims want justice. We don’t want our abusers getting accolades. Just ask the daughter of Woody Allen what that’s like:
After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime.
That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.
That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong.
Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines.
Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.
Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart.
For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away.
But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.
Just ask any girl who’s been raped in college, but her abuser went on to get a degree. Even a degree seems too good for our abusers. This does actually happen, as a victim’s concerns are minimized and the rapist is allowed to graduate:
A graduating senior at Central College who was found responsible for “non-consensual sex” with a fellow student was given a choice: be expelled a month before graduation or stay in school with the conditions that he not walk in the ceremony and allow the college to notify a future employer and other schools that he’d violated the code of conduct….
A year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that students deemed “responsible” for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. –Lee Rood, Central College lets rape suspect select punishment
Scott is a graduating senior, so some people may wonder why I care anymore. He’ll be gone soon enough, so what if the school didn’t do anything?
When he was first found responsible, I was told that the purpose of these sanctions was to help him learn from this. It is clear to me he hasn’t learned anything, and that scares me.
When he gets his diploma, he will officially be a representative of what Macalester stands for, and I fear that he will represent my school as a place that protects rapists at the expense of the people they victimize.
If I return to Macalester for my senior year in the fall and get my diploma next year, I will also be representative of Macalester.
For better or worse, I will be tied to Scott forever. I will also be tied to what I see as a pattern of survivors of sexual assault who are forced to watch their school choose to protect the future of criminals over their own safety.
My fear is that if I stay, I will become a silent accomplice to rape. Not just to my own rape, but to the future people I believe Scott will victimize. –Anna Binkovitz, Sharing a degree with your rapist
Just finding out that my ex Phil is a math teacher or professor, makes me cringe. Him, molding young minds? The guy who psychologically abused me and even tried to sexually assault me several times? And of course, to be a math teacher, he had to get a couple of degrees.
Years ago, I told people I hoped he would become a monk, so he could not hurt more women or, as a priest, advise married couples. Instead, he went on to marry, have two kids, and get divorced, making me wonder how that woman and her children have been abused.
And that’s despite the fact–or maybe because–Richard had been convicted of choking one of his kids, proving I wrote the truth. I kept my blog up despite all the hell they put me through, because the truth needed to be told. I told my friends and family about it, too.
The Forum we all used to belong to, was convinced of my credibility when they saw the facts of Richard’s case on the state’s and newspaper’s websites.
Yet still Richard and Tracy imagined they could somehow threaten and scare me into believing I was a liar. Apparently they were the only ones who did not see Richard’s conviction as proof I was telling the truth about domestic violence in their household.
Yet I opened up the paper yesterday and read that Tracy had received some sort of honor at college this past school year.
I previously learned that Richard, while convicted, plea-bargained and got merely a fine and year’s probation.
So he’s out walking free despite nearly killing a 9-year-old girl, and I still see the kids with them both despite Tracy’s verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, despite my detailed report describing how Tracy had been tormenting the children and exposing them to her domestic violence against Richard.
I want these people in jail for abusing their kids and terrorizing me.
I want Richard to have gotten the sentence he deserved: many years in prison, which he would’ve received if he hadn’t plea-bargained.
I want Tracy put in jail for punching Richard.
I want them to either shape up or get their kids put with better parents.
I want them to apologize to me on their knees.
I do NOT want them moving on with life, getting honors, manipulating and abusing other people, being told how wonderful they are, continuing to physically abuse and psychologically torture and scar their children. (They have hurt a lot of other people besides me.)
One consolation is, while Richard wanted to become an Orthodox priest, my priest tells me that’s impossible because of the child abuse conviction. And a friend who sometimes has to help hire people, was directed to screen out anyone with domestic abuse on their record, because of the nature of the job.
It boggles my mind (and my husband’s) that Tracy got a degree in business management. HER, a MANAGER? She can’t even manage her own household or temper! I fear for anyone who, in the future, is put under her supervision–just as I fear for her children under her supervision. I pray for her children’s safety nearly every day.
And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this. I see the same frustrations, anger at the injustice of it all, permeating other abuse blogs. For example, this one, because this woman, a PTSD sufferer, was spiritually abused by a predatory pastor, then reported him–yet now he’s been made senior pastor at a new church:
Allison also occasionally checks up on her LinkedIn profile, which is creepy. Yes, those of us who have been abused know how creepy it is to be “checked up on” by our abusers! I get “checked up on” every week or so by mine! Keeping my blog up has required a lot of courage, and has earned me a strength I did not have before.
This kind of thing happens in our churches, and it should not. It’s not just a Catholic problem.