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Rape Of Maya's Singing Caged Bird
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Rape Of Maya's Singing Caged Bird
About nothing in particular; discussing an awful event that happened a really long time ago. Putting it all into perspective.
Samantha Carter, other titles
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A Constant Love (Poetry) - [229 words]
Rape Of Maya's Singing Caged Bird
Tonight I attended my first sexual abuse and assault survivors support group meeting. It was nerve-wracking, numbing, a shock to my system. How can I possibly begin to describe what may damn well be the hardest thing I will ever have to do?
In reality, the hardest part was over years ago. The hardest part was living through it, finding a way to keep going during the 4 years in which I was sexually abused and raped so often and so viciously that I can no longer carry a child. No one should ever be subjected to such pain and terror and violation, especially not when they are only 8 years old.
The people who did this (two men, father and son) will have to pay for their crime. I am in the process of filing a police report -- finally, 10 years after it all started -- and hopefully, eventually, I will be brave enough and strong enough to say their names, to put them down on paper. To commit them to ink and a big red stamp that hopefully will say "apprehended."
If I have learned anything, it is forgiveness -- of myself, and of them. I can never wish that sort of pain on anyone, not even on the perpetrators; then I would be just as bad as they are. Wanting revenge is in no way a bad thing. But there is a moral limit. Who are we to take a life? As much as it pains me to say so, I must tell: I do not want these people put to death. Jail, fine; pound-me-in-the-ass federal penitentiary, yes please. I hope they are ridiculed and slapped around and beaten and disliked for what they have done to me. But killed, no. How does institutionalizing murder make it okay?
Anyway. I am preaching. Back to my main topic: the meeting tonight. How can I possibly begin to describe the strength that eminates from that room at the end of one hour? Yes, the walls radiate pain and silence and a longing for the restoration of something sacred, something personal... but these women, these pained, tired, depressed, angry, beautiful women who unfortunately I have things in common with provide such strength and courage that I cannot help but be awestruck. They speak of such horrible, frightening experiences. Yes, my experiences were awful and painful and traumatizing -- but my heart goes out to these women until I can give no more. How can they survive each day in the face of such tragedy and horror? It baffles me.
Did you know? One in four women will be sexually assaulted during their lives; most of these assaults will occur between the ages of 18 and 25. College-bound women are at greatest risk for sexual assault and rape from the day they step on campus to the time they go home for Thanksgiving break during their freshman year. The majority of sexual assaults are committed by a "friend" or an acquaintance -- a date, a boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend, a friend, a person from class, the guy you're dancing with on the dance floor. And only 10 to 15% of sexual assaults are ever reported... that means, if you know 2 people who have been assaulted or rape, you probably actually know anywhere from 15-20.
I didn't say much at this meeting; mostly, I sat and picked at my fingernails until I had them down to the wick. They are short and jagged now... a fine improvement from when they were cracked and yellowing because of my eating problems. The aftermath in the years following what happened was perhaps just as bad as what happened: major depression marked by self-destructive tendencies such as cutting, attempted suicide via pills or scissors, running away on numerous occasions... I also developed severe anorexia with bulimic tendencies. At 5'4" I was 76 pounds, furry with lanugo (the fine body-hair you develop when your body goes into starvation mode), and hair that seemed to fall out clump by clump. I was a mess.
Of course, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I now eat normally -- I am back up around 95 pounds, and healthy and strong -- and I have no self-mutilated in anyway for over a year. Progress has been made. Yet the hardest part was not taking care of myself properly, it was making myself face what I hate the most: it.
I talked about it, read about it, wrote about it, and talked some more. I screamed, cried, went running until my chest was about to burst, then slept for 3 days non-stop. I ate beef stroganoff one day and then carefully flushed my dinner down the toilet so that I wouldn't have to eat anything. Finally, I talked. I said outloud one night on the phone with my friend who was trying to get me to speak in order to heal: "I was raped as a young child, and the pain was excruciating, and blood covered the sheets quite often." Of course, upon allowing those words to leave my mouth, I didn't speak for the next 6 days. Like Maya Angelou, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A fear of your own presence; if only I had just been small enough, not noticeable, it woulnd't have happened. If only I had said something.
It happened, and that I cannot change. But what I can impart on you is that there is always something positive to take from every experience, even this, if you only look for it. I know that I have grown as a person and can be more compassionate, more empathetic, more kind. I have come to appreciate my family and friends more, to be so thankful for just being alive, and to be so proud to be an adult. There were days when I didn't think I would make it to adulthood. But I am glad I did.
I will close with a quote from the book "Contact" by Carl Sagan: "For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." The truth behind this statement speaks for itself. And to quote another one: "In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist's signature."
God bless, stay safe, and please watch out for children. And always understand that there is something positive to take from EVERY situation, no matter how bad it is.
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"Sometimes the fault of a crime is not always the criminal who committed the crime. Sometimes entrapment occurs, when the term candicy is what it is. This essay is just another whining attention getter. If you are going to write, write something better than what you complain about constantly. No one cares, except yourself and your family. Welcome to the USA." -- Essa Durrancey, Olympia, WA, USA.
"I don't understand why it took you ten years to consider going to the police. I sympathize with your traumatic experience, however, this is not the best venue to share your auto-biography. " -- Richard.
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© 2002 Samantha Carter
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