I’ve come to the conclusion that our own personal history does indeed come back to bite us in the a**. And because it’s our own personal history it can hit us in many different & unique ways. To be honest, it’s not all bad, but it’s the bad that hits us between the eyes, knocks us down, and has us wishing we were never born!
Part of my own personal history is that I am a mother. A mother of four. Most women are mom’s so that part of it is not so special. I am the mother of three survivors of sexual abuse. I also am a survivor. What I have learned over the years is that it “runs in the family” so to speak. So, considering the history of my clan (which again is not unique), it was just our turn. I guess…
I was once given a statistic by a therapist. Really, it was a very sad statistic, and incredibly horrible thing that is a truth about women on a whole. The vast majority of mothers sweep the news of a child being sexually abused under the rug. They do not protect the child, they do not fight the perpetrator, in fact, some of them blame the child. I’m no where near the majority on that one– I fought.
I fought and I lost. And I’ll explain, because it’s all real debatable if I lost or not. But, from a legal standpoint, I lost– I lost for my child. I just lost.
Now before I go on, let me just explain, one of those three kids is adopted, and her abuse happened before I had any power to do anything for her. The perpetrator is a teacher in San Jose, California. If I had the name, I would STILL turn him in. But, she did not see it as a bad thing, and has never given me any information. Just the same, that teacher needs to walk on tip toe, and watch his back. One day she’ll realize she wasn’t as grown up as she thought she was.
And for my son– it’s all a big question mark. He’s made accusations, the perp denies. There is no proof except in behaviors, and if that were to settle a case, then the perp lies.
Mom acts accordingly. It is an ongoing situation.
And perps do lie. In my step-father’s confession to police, he claimed that he was given permission to molest my oldest child. Permission from myself and my husband (at the time, now an ex). He was given no such permission from me. I doubt if he was given permission from my ex, but then with him, who the hell knows… My ex actually asked me to sleep with his sister….
A sick situation every way you turn it ’round.
But, it’s been over 20 years now. The perpetrator, step-father is six feet under. And two days ago I ‘heard’ for the first time that my mother (a retired school district employee) actually announced herself before going upstairs where my step father was with my daughter, so as not to intrude, or maybe not to see, knowing her, so that when she said she didn’t know… she could rationalize it all in her mind. The bottom line is that she failed to protect her grand daughter.
You know, it’s hard to forget all the facts..the hurt is just so huge. My life was shattered in one day. I cried because I felt I’d lost something, a girlfriend suggest that I’d lost my daughters innocence. I don’t know, I think I just cried because it was such a big hurt.
That morning, after dropping my seven year old daughter off at school, I went over to my mothers house so we could take our daily walk. It was a time that I enjoyed, my mother and I actually talked… I thought we had a good relationship. I thought I had a mom.
The morning kind of started out normally. Except that mom had to say something. Very quietly so as to not wake my step-father who was at that time a hard working AC Transit bus driver. He worked late. The had a nice life together. A two story, three bedroom, 1 1/2 bath and two car garage. On the outside it looked comfortable, peaceful, maybe even upper middle class. She drove an Olds, and he drove the Cad.
So mom needed to talk. She started out by telling me that my daughter could not go on their trip with them that summer. Ok!! Not an issue, every couple is entitled to time alone. But I have to admit I was over 20 years younger then too. I had to ask why. The more that was said, the more I questioned sometimes aloud, and sometimes not. But, all in all, my mother sounded jealous of my daughter, and I flat out told her that she was making me think that my step father was molesting my child. Her response to that was to throw her arms up in the air and walk away from me up the stairs.
We took no walk, I left, I went on with my day on that cold, cloudy January day in 1991.
That afternoon, the fog lifted as it did most days in the San Fransisco Bay Area. And the phone rang. Mom was on the other end. She whispered because she did not want her husband to hear–
“there is an after school special on TV today. Have Pammy watch it.”
“Why are you whispering mom?”…
“So Jack won’t hear.”
“Why can’t Jack hear? What is so special about this show, mom?”
“Just have Pammy watch the show.”
So, I picked up my girl from school. We went to McDonald’s and picked up dinner so that I didn’t have to cook during the show. My husband, myself, and my daughter at down on the couch to watch the after school special with dinner right there. And I literally watched my daughter try to literally climb the walls to get away from the information coming through–the after school special was about a little girl being molested.
“Mommy, I have something to tell you”
That is how our journey started. And everyone defending my mother listens to her denials, and assersions that she knew nothing, when in fact, she knew it all, and even made a deal with the devil so that she could continue to live her nice life in suburbia.
I called the police immediately. Later, I went to my mothers job to talk to her. Don’t tell Jack what is going on, I’ve called the police. My mother looked me straight in the eye and wanted to know why I had called the police.
My mother’s job at that time was as an attendance aide for Newark Unified School District. An underpaid person to keep track of student attendance and to threaten them back to school if that what was needed. Part of her job was to go into homes and talk to parents about student attendance. She was by law a mandated reporter. If she saw abuse it was her job to report it to the authorities. I’m sure she failed at that more than once.
It took months to get the full story from my daughter, though I’m sure I never got the full story. She was seven at the time. No one could blame her for not remembering, not wanting to talk about it although once she opened up, she seemed very open. It took months for it to hit me full force and realize what ALL had happened. Though the truth is, that I’ll never know what ALL happened, because the perpetrator and his wife, I’m sure are taking plenty to their grave with them.
It was a holiday weekend, and I had to wait for the detectives to interview us, to do their work, and to apprehend my step-father. They finally got him on Tuesday that next week. He called me and asked me if he could pick my daughter up from school. I said yes, and I called the detective. I did not want to tip off my step-father so I had acted naturally. I got off the phone with the police and went and pulled my daughter out of school, took her home, and locked the front door. The police found him on campus, and played good cop/bad cop with him; basically playing with his mind and letting him leave, following him. He headed towards our house, it turns out he wanted to know where my daughter was. They stopped him, and searched his car and the home. The car was packed up for a trip.
I’ve lived my life wondering, if my daughter would have lived through that trip. The house was clean except for video’s that the police found. My daughter at her dance recitals. The detective told me that my step-father watched them to “get off.” I found it all just unbelievable.
My step-confessed. He was charged with four mistomeaner accounts, although the detective later told me that there was enough evidence to charge him with over a dozen felony counts. He was sent to Alameda County Jail to wait his arraignment. That night we asked my mother to spend the night with us, so she felt safe, so we felt safe.
As she and I talked about what happened. One remark came from her mouth that caught me utterly by surprise. Keeping in mind that my mother was in her early 50’s at the time, and my step-father was 57 years of age. My mother said, “I was afraid that Jack would divorce me and marry her, so I had to protect myself.” The other ‘woman’ was all of seven years old on that day!
I got up and walked out to the front porch of our home to get some air…and I took deep breaths. My husband followed me and I asked him if I had really heard what I had just heard. He affirmed it. How does a woman who doesn’t know anything know to protect herself? How??
The reader may wish to believe as do many of my mothers friends do, that I made this all up. That is what my mother told them. I made it all up, and I put the ideas in my daughters head. She quietly supported my actions as a mother until I called her on these facts, and then I became a liar, a bad mother, a bad person…somehow, I became the bad guy.
“Mom, where is the gun? I want the gun.”
“How do you know about the gun? What are you going to do with it?”
“Pammy told me about it, and I’m taking it to the police.” That monster threatened my child with a gun.
“Mom, where is the vibrator… I want the vibrator.”
“How do you know about the vibrator, and what are you going to do with it?”
“Pammy told me, mom, and I’m taking it to the police.” The monster used a vibrator on my child.
My mother did not know?
My mother once told me, about how she and Jack had fought over my daughters school photograph. He would sit at the table in the mornings eating his oatmeal and stare at the photo the whole time. She made it sound as if he were totally addicted to my child. She would hide the photograph. He would find it, put it back, and go on back to his staring. This “fight” apparently went on for weeks…
She did not know?
She still knows… she is still waiting for me to apologize. It is she who needs to apologize. My daughter was never meant to be blood money for her to use as her own. My daughter was and is a gift from the universe to be treasured, and taught, and loved, and protected.
Patricia Lorine Coop Rowe Doyal of Newark, California: You owe my daughter an apology!
You don’t protect yourself from a seven year old. You protect the seven year old from the monster!!!!!!