Tag Archives: abuse

Watch RWISA Write: Stephanie Collins

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Stephanie Collins!

Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

 

“I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

“You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

“Uh…no!”

“Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

Stephanie Collins, RWISA Author Page

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The SHATTERED DREAMS Blog Tour

Greetings, readers. I am honored to be hosting the incredibly talented indie author Nonnie Jules on her current blog tour. Take it away, Nonnie!

SHATTERED DREAMS Blog Tour!

Hi and welcome to the 2nd day of my SHATTERED DAYDREAMS Blog Tour!

Before I get started, let me give you a little background on me first.  My most important job is being a Mom!  It is the hardest and yet the most rewarding job one could ever hope to have.  (Men, so sorry you will never get to experience what I’m talking about).  After having produced two of the most special daughters in all the land, I knew that I would somehow become an advisor to other parents, so becoming an author of Parenting Guides, was almost a given.  That was my niche but I also wanted to tell another kind of story.  It was still going to be about children, but it would have a darker side to it, while still conveying a message that I wanted to bring attention to.

In November, 2013, I published my debut novel “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND.”  Now, I know most of the novels you probably read are romance and fantasy, light, airy tales, but this one was going to take you to a place that some of you had never been, and unfortunately, some of you have.  This story was going to pull you down before it brought you up.  It intentionally was meant to make you cry before it made you smile.

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We all have a purpose here on earth, even child molesters, murderers and the other monsters who offer nothing but horrid havoc to our society.  And although I don’t know for sure WHAT their purpose could possibly be, it is my belief  that GOD makes no mistakes, so in my mind, they are here to teach us lessons…to keep us on our toes, to remind us to be more mindful of our children and loved ones.

The mother in DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND, missed the mark on all of the above counts.  She was truly one sad excuse for a parent.  Actually, I count her among those monsters mentioned, and from this point on, you have my permission to refer to her as anything other than a MOTHER.

Below is an EXCERPT from the book which shows the signs of a mother who is jealous of her own daughter.  Typically, when a good child has been singled out for no apparent reason and is the target of the mother’s aggression, it is for this reason.  If you think this doesn’t happen in real life, you’ve been living under a rock.  Take a peek:

“Get the (expletive) up, you little (expletive)!”

Maiya, still lying on the grass in the front yard, opened her eyes to find her mom standing over her wielding a broom.  As she sat up, she was struck on the right side of her face by the straw part of the broom.

“Didn’t I tell you to sweep my damn floors? And here you are laying on your (expletive) on the grass reading another (expletive) book!”

Maiya could not respond because she was still in shock from having been struck in the face.  With her hands covering the bleeding spot, she tried to stand up before she spoke, lest she be struck again.

“Mom, you didn’t tell me to sweep!” she screamed.  “And what are you talking about?  You never have to tell me to clean the house!  It’s all I do.  I’m the only one who does.”

Maiya jumped back as her mom raised the broom high in the air to hit her again.

“Are you talking back to me, you little (expletive)?!  Get your (expletive) in the house before I beat you right here in front of the whole neighborhood!”

Maiya was so embarrassed.  Everyone had started to gather around once they heard the initial onslaught of foul language from her mom’s mouth.  This was nothing new to them, it was pure entertainment.  And although some of the moms looked on in astonishment that a mother could be speaking to a child this way, none of them dared report it.  They just shook their heads, went back inside their houses and whispered about it amongst each other while waiting in line at the corner market.  The other kids laughed and thought it was all funny, even Maiya’s own siblings.

By the time Maiya made it back into the house, her face was bleeding even more profusely.  She ran into the bathroom and locked the door, searching for a towel to cover her face.  As her mom hurled insults from the other side of the door, Maiya knew why this was happening…her mom was drunk again and that meant Maiya was about to catch hell.  Though there were other kids in the house, Maiya was always her only target.

Still cramping, she sat on the floor trying to stop the pain in her stomach and on the side of her face, and when she couldn’t, she just cried…

 

I thank you so much for allowing me to share with you today.  I ask that you follow each leg of my tour (click HERE for the line-up) as each day I will offer a bit more insight into the lives of children who are abused, as well as the mothers who sit back and allow it to happen, or are the culprits themselves.  I will also share excerpts from the book for your reading pleasure.  Ladies and Gents, this week, you’re invited to partake of SHATTERED DAYDREAMS, as shared through the eyes of my main character, Maiya James.

If the EXCERPT above peeked your curiosity for more, please pick up your very own copy of “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND.”  The content inside is enough to put you on the right track if you even remotely resemble (God forbid), this kind of mother.  But if you’re just in the mood for a really good read, I guarantee, you won’t go wrong with this one!

From this day forward, let’s do our best to ensure that all the Maiya’s of the world are taken care of, loved and protected.  Thanks so much for having me here with you today, Beem!  You and your guests are always so kind to me!  Please share your comments below.

 

BOOK TRAILER

AUTHOR BIO:

Nonnie Jules is the mother of two beautifully kind daughters, who along with the help of her husband, have turned out to be two of the greatest assets to this world.  THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS is her first published piece of work and two weeks after publication, it hit Amazon’s Top 100 list, where it reached the #7 mark.  With all the violence which is being exhibited by some children today, it is her vision and goal to get THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE…into the hands of everyone who breathes around a child.  She feels the only way we can make this happen, is if we are all working from a common blueprint.  Ms. Jules strongly believes that every opportunity we are given with a child, should be a teaching one for us and a learning one for them.

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So far, Nonnie has authored two other books:  a novel which she released in November of 2013, entitled “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” and “SUGARCOATIN’ IS FOR CANDY & PACIFYIN’ IS FOR KIDS!” where she shares her no-holds-barred style of teaching us all about support and social media.  Her second parenting guide {THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO BULLY-PROOF KIDS} is due for release the beginning of January, 2015 and the sequel to her debut novel, DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, shortly after.  (Both have been delayed due to her extensive workload withRave Reviews Book Club).

NJ Cover Design-1 (1)

She is a fan of the well-written word, and so along with 3 partners, she started 4WillsPublishing Co. in November, 2013 to assist other writers in putting out their best work ever.  By December, 2013, she had founded the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB where in less than a year, the membership has rapidly grown to well over 500.  If you’re not a member yet, this is your personal invitation to JOIN US!

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As you can see, she is an Author on the move and if you’re interested in keeping up with her, here is her contact info:

Twitter:  @nonniejules

Facebook:  Nonnie Jules, Author

Blogs/Websites:

4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com

BooksByNonnie.wordpress.com

NonnieWrites.wordpress.com

AskTheGoodMommy.wordpress.com