March 2, 2009

Excerpt from essay-in-progress

(This is a very personal piece, something I'm working on probably as an essay, maybe as a zine. It's part of the first draft, towards the end.)

IV. Two Narratives

I wonder if the reason I never told my parents I was (being) molested, and why I didn't think about the actual event until years later, was because I knew even at age six that I could not trust my parents to believe me or protect me. I remember how my mom yelled at me the night I attempted suicide, how she claimed to be so terribly inconvenienced, how disingenuous she was during my treatment. How she would not allow me to have doctor-patient confidentiality with my therapist. How she never seemed to care about what my problems were or what caused them, only how she could fix them fast and cover them up so that her life would not be disrupted and she would not be the center of a scandal. I think that if I had gone to her when I was a child, either when I was being molested or a few years later, that she would have been angry at me for allowing the rape to happen, angry that she would have to put me in therapy and keep me safe, that she would have to pursue a criminal investigation and be involved in a lawsuit that would make her even more unpopular in the community. I do not believe she would have wanted to help me; I think she would have blamed me for allowing myself to become a victim. And perhaps this is the reason I hate thinking of myself as a victim, because I know victimhood would make my mother angry. I still want her approval, and approval rests on not being a victim.


Maybe I never went to my parents because I knew they would make me a victim. If I went them, they would force me into the center of the scandal. They would have forced me into therapy without taking the time to see if I liked the doctor I worked with, if it would actually help me. They would have refused to listen to me if I wanted a say in what was going on. They would have become even more overprotective, they would have restricted me even more than they already had or would. I would grow up coddled and soft and unable to survive or be independent or egalitarian. Telling my parents would have resulted in greater victimization than the actual rape. Perhaps this is why I never tried to call CPS and get out of my family; I knew I would become a victim of the system. I knew the best way to survive was to keep quiet and get out when I was able to be independent. Allowing CPS to take me away would have made me more of a victim than anything my parents did to me. I fear that self-identifying as a victim would lead to further victimization, and I just don't want any more. I am afraid to lose even more agency than has already been taken from me. I am afraid that admitting what has happened to me will somehow make me lose even more control.


There are two possible narratives for my past. It is impossible to know which version is true. Or perhaps they are both true to some degree. Or maybe neither are true and there is another explanation I have not found yet.

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