Secrets and Survival
“Adults can change their circumstances; children cannot. Children are powerless, and in difficult situations they are the victims of every sorrow and mischance and rage around them, for children feel all of these things but without any of the ability that adults have to change them. Whatever can take a child beyond such circumstances, therefore, is an alleviation and a blessing.”
Mary Oliver “On Being” interview
Women are scarred having grown up in homes with no generational sexual boundaries. The game board of life has no rules, no order. What is love? As one woman describes, “I testified against my dad in court. Statutory rape. I was pregnant with his child.” What is love?
Bad boyfriends, fathers and foster fathers, sugar daddies, teachers, ministers, escorts, and mystery dads populate these stories. Their own voices are missing here. These are men who often repeat the cycles of sexual abuse and violence they witnessed first-hand.
Their fathers did not protect them, teach them well, and keep them safe and their mothers saw the abuse and remained silent. Included are generations of women who used and neglected their own daughters, even profited off them. Many women believed that the abuse they experienced was actually their fault.
Other stories chronical the grief of losing sons, brothers, and fathers and grandfathers to violence. Some express the joy of reconnecting with adult sons, of teaching a handicapped son how to skateboard, and even the unexpected, fatherly care of a judge handing down a young woman’s prison sentence.