Monthly Archives: February 2016

I was raped as a child – an essay

Last night talking at the dinner table with our young teens we sought to explain how ‘in our day’ – as we were growing up in the 60’s and 70’s – raping a child was called ‘kiddie-fiddling’. With their jaws agape and a quizzical look in their clear eyes they both said ‘really?’ 

We explained that yes, ‘kiddie-fiddling’ was indeed a ‘thing’ (as it’s called these days).  When our children are innocent they can see the world and it’s frailties with ease.  Try to explain ‘war’ to a child – break it down into word-chunks they might understand.  Give it a shot!  In your attempt to translate the concept of war into simple sentences you will see how ridiculous it really is.  Such is the power of our human language.  You can start with something like this “Well, a long, long time in a land far away there were a group of humans who didn’t want to share, and who thought they should have more than everyone else…”  you get the idea.

As part of that conversation we explained that I had undertaken the next part in my journey to be free from my past – I had emailed my family – and shared with them the secret of my life.  I disclosed that I had been raped as a child and 40+ years on my life remains in tatters from those experiences.  They were shocked and said it’s not possible!  I explained in my email that I had no memory of whom, when or where – or how old I was.  My brain adapted to these experiences when I was a child as a coping mechanism to the pain and suffering I endured.  Why is that such a crazy idea? WIKIPEDIA Child sexual abuse

After we got over the ‘who’s to blame’ bit I had to explain to my family that there are so many more stories than they have read in the newspaper or had seen on TV – once you start looking for them. 

So many stories I’ve heard personally too, of our living generation, and the horrors of rape in their own childhoods, for those who have memories.  The Royal Commission (thank you Julia Gillard) has published many more stories – the transcripts of interviews with those whose lives were shattered in some of the most appalling treatment you could imagine – and then some!  One story I read with such gratitude for his courage to share his painful life.  Because you see fellow human beings – we are lingual creatures.  Our stories we pass from generation to generation seek to inform and guide, to speak truth and justice, a whispered wish for the future generations yet to be born.

He was an abandoned child and ended up at the church, as it was with ‘illegitimate children’.  The abuse started when he was 5 or 6, he says.  The nuns were in on it – they would taunt the children with their own horror story and then enable the priests to rape and torture – and indeed murder at times – the children in their “care”.  I’m sure the nuns had some weird pleasure in the pain and suffering afterwards – as the child would lay uncomforted in their cot and wish they were dead – bleeding and whimpering in pain.  And asking god if this is all that life would be for them.

Don’t think just because women don’t have cocks they are any less guilty.  Our partnerships – or our duty of care – for our children has been cast aside.  Women and men allow the abuse of our children.  End of story.

He is in his 40’s now – giving his testimony to the Royal Commission.  His life has been topsy turvy after enduring the next 7 years of abuse – imagine having to wake up to the prospect of that kind of suffering every day?  Why is it so hard for the naysayers to believe that you might end up a drug addict or suicide from this mistreatment all those years ago?  Why does the media give air to ideas like ‘money-grubbers’ when referencing victims seeking compensation?  I can never understand how readers of that type of language could think the children should just pull their socks up and get on with it.  Then, or now as adults.

I’m here to tell you – the effect of child rape is devastating.  I know.  I have lived with it every day of my life.  Some days I think I can’t live with it.  That I can only remove the pain by removing myself – or taking my own life – suicide, if you prefer.  Suicide is a funny thing when you’re staring down the barrel of it – ‘scuse the pun.  It seems such a logical way to make the full-soaking pain go away once and for all.  Unfortunately there’s no cure for my condition.  There’s a choice of medications – alcohol, anti-depressants, heroin, cocaine (if you can afford it), meth or ice (if you can’t afford it), over-eating, and other unhealthy addictions.  Then we’re on to funding nasty habits and the crime that goes along with that.  And jail.  Or homelessness.  If you were born into a poor family your outcome may be less favourable.  I feel I’m one of the lucky ones.  I could be dead.  I know that.  But the poverty of affected families is the real killer for healing our wounded. I once read something that went like this: the success of our society is measured by our treatment of our most vulnerable.

Anyways, our 40 something alter-boy from ‘the day’ has gone on to have a pretty awful life, as you can imagine.  After wading through 40 odd pages of the transcript with tears flowing down my face I got to the real clincher – his arsehole doesn’t close anymore.  Really.  He said that.  WIKIPEDIA Fecal incontinence  To this day – he wakes up in the morning and is reminded – as he does a shit – of the horrors of his life.  How real is that? Crikeys!

So, as you see, it can be a bit sad for us to call those people ‘money-grubbers’ when they’re so desperate to keep their lives on track – to survive.  It must make survivors so sad to hear words like that used when we know and understand they’re not liars trying to get a free-ride.

What about that nephew of Father Gerald Ridsdale?  Nice uncle he turned out to be.  He was raping our hero David until he was 15 or something like that. Really?  How the fuck does that look when you’re toddling off to school the next day after having lived a nightmare of rape – again?  Repeatedly.  And you’re a teenager.  And no one is doing anything about it – even if you do tell – and he did tell adults!  What does that do to your head?  Like you’re some kind of eternal liar?

These days as a grown woman with my life partner, two beautiful children, a supportive and loving extended family, work I believe in, and a community I adore it’s probably hard for anyone that knows me the depths of despair my life leads me to sometimes.  I took alcohol medicinally to ease the pain for most of my adult life.  I told my parents it could have been worse.  It could have been heroin and I might have ended up on the streets like so many of my counterparts.  Broken and poor.  The trappings of a middle-class life meant that my life can seem ‘normal’ to those I meet on the street.  But it’s not ‘normal’ I can assure you.  On my ‘bad days’ this is a living hell.

So who raped me as a child?  Who got to me?  How many were there?  How many people knew and never did anything to help me?  As I explained to my parents, I will explain here. 

As our generations start to speak up about this episode in human history and more stories become available we can start to see the extent of our cultural condoning of this behaviour.  From our legal system’s protections and our government’s complicity to keep ‘the dirty secret’, to our cultural ‘leaders’ like the church, our schools, our youth groups, our senior public servants, our judges, to our grandfathers, uncles, friends of the family, brothers, cousins and fathers – and let’s not forget the nuns, grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters and friends of the family whose private-secret-keeping has enabled this behaviour to go on – generation after generation.  I’d like to think it’s because we just don’t know what to say.  Because in the cold light of day it’s hard to believe this behaviour continues – that children around the world, in Australia, in our offshore detention centres are being raped today.  Right now as I write this there are children being devastated.  At what cost to our future? 

To those children who were raped today – I am so sorry that our society has allowed this to happen to you.  I’m sorry that your life, happiness and potential from now on will be compromised.  And I’m sorry for me too.  I’m sorry that my culture failed to protect me as a child all those years ago.

So, I don’t know what happened to me.  As a young child I didn’t think to take names or semen samples – or to note the witnesses of the crimes being committed against me.  I remember reading a story in the news last year about a 20 something year old man in a public library trying to ‘get at’ a 3 year old in the children’s section.  So if we’re talking about ‘access’ to our young people – gee whiz – is it such a leap to make that in the time when ‘kiddie-fiddling’ was a seeming-fun-thing to do for adults – that we weren’t ‘accessed’ on a not-out-of-the-question extraordinary level?  Doesn’t surprise me at all!  You?

Then there’s the Jimmy Saville story… wow.  If you haven’t read the depravity yet – and have a strong stomach – then go ahead and google it.  This ‘entertainer’ coined the termed ‘kiddie-fiddling’ – I’m sure!  Fun and games abounded!  He accessed children in the entertainment business, volunteered his time in children’s wards in hospitals… and even worked at the morgue.. eeeccccttt.  He was a ‘child racketeer’ and gave ‘access’ to his friends and associates.  Lovely man.  Enough said about the society he lived ‘in the day’.

I do feel free today.  I feel free that I’m not carrying my ‘dirty little secret’ anymore.  Sharing it does make me feel better and lighten my otherwise dark-emotional-load.  I have forgiven my parents for their failure to protect me – and I said hey – that was ‘the days’ right?  I’m not surprised.  And neither should they be.

In the transcript of our courageous hero altar boy he talked of the nun’s behaviour towards the children and the heavy load of emotional, verbal, physical and spiritual abuse.  When I finished the document I couldn’t help but wonder where the pictures of the nuns were in the news stories covering the Royal Commission?  How do we forgive them more easily than the kiddie fucking priests?  Because they are women?  They were there.  They knew what was going on.  They enabled the raping of children in their “care”.  Why aren’t they being summoned to the Royal Commission to have their day in court and to be found guilty of failing to protect the children in their care?  Just because they have breasts and a vagina instead of a penis they are less guilty?  Really? 

A child is raped or not raped.  Those who participate in that behaviour – be it the dick or the enabler – guilty.  There are no excuses.  Let’s expand our opportunity for the truth in this Royal Commission and not have to wait for some other round in the future which will take years to plan as this one has – not to mention more expense to our already underwhelming government spending.

I saw in the news yesterday that the Catholic Church is trying to wriggle out of their obligation to pay compensation to those ‘money-grubbing’ child bandits.  They are poising themselves, using and modifying our legal system, to avoid paying for the generations of damage that has been inflicted on our communities in the name of their so-called-god.  I don’t know what kind of god would allow this type of treatment of the most vulnerable people in our societies – our young.  I’m not sure if they’ll even need to do much to avoid paying up as our weak government will no doubt step in and make us, the taxpayer, foot the Human Suffering Bill that is upon us in the present time.  How many suicides?  How much addiction?  How much abstract porn?  How much sexualising of our children through the cultural media?  How much detachment from our food and environment?  How much war, death and destruction? How much more can we take?

Daily I am afraid for my future.  I am afraid for our young teen’s future.  As we try to explain to them the ‘way the world works’ it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the faults of our current cultural narrative.  Like this ongoing child raping thing.  I feel like our societies have lost touch with what’s important for life and living.  Our children are the future.  If we don’t look after them when they’re young – they aint going to want to look after us when we’re old.  Simple as that. 

And for those people who think that children are a ‘lifestyle choice’ – I say to you – raising children is fucking hard work.  Being a conscience parent and raising good people is a tough job… this is no choice… this is a labour of love.  If you’re not interested in raising kids – fine – but don’t knock those who see it as their life’s work.  Those who choose to raise children in our societies today need to be supported. They are bringing into being the people who will one day have to wipe your arse when you’re old and incontinent – don’t knock the task we take on as parents.  It is a lifelong commitment to our young – the next generations – to honour and protect, to serve and love.  Maybe it’s time to get back on track?  The period of history we are leaving now wasn’t called ‘The Dark Ages’ for nuttin’.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We also grew up in a time where domestic violence – men pitted against women – and women pitted against men – in the home – with children bearing witness to this abhorrent treatment of human beings.  The ‘Behind Closed Doors’ violence that I had to endure in my childhood was enough to make me constantly anxious when un-sedated by medication – all my life.  Both my parent’s verbal, emotional, physical and spiritual abuses that took place in our home have affected me to this day – in my own life, and the abuses, I in turn, inflict on my own young family in the current day – as was handed down to me.  The story about love and care and kindness is lost on children who experience domestic violence.  Children should never be exposed to explosive violence… I’m not talking about general disagreements here… let's not be silly about deflecting this. 

For those who were sheltered in homes where love has become violence – and for those who are still living in those conditions – I am very sorry our culture has failed to protect your innocence in the present time.  That your future has been sold down the river by those who continue to fail to protect you.

Please join me to be sorry for those lives that have already been lost to Domestic Violence and Child Sexual Abuse through suicide, high risk behaviour that leads to ‘accidents’ and dis-ease.  And for those children in the present day who are still suffering in silence – we are sorry this is your life so far and we hope to help you soon by changing our cultural narrative to:

RAPING CHILDREN (or anyone for that matter) IS NEVER, EVER OK.

Currently:

RAPING CHILDREN IS FINE SO LONG AS YOU KEEP IT A SECRET, THE KIDS DON’T TALK AND NOONE LISTENS IF THEY DO.

What are you going to do about it today?  How do we change our cultural narrative for real in 2016?