I have written about the Code of Silence as it relates to PSU, and in Tuesday’s guest post, my friend and fellow blogger, Dawn Sticklen, has written about how it has affected her community. What I have not written about is how it has affected (and still affects) me.
I don’t like my own story. So I create ones in which I do not feel weak and disempowered. In Ripple, I create a fairy tale: a father rapes his 15-year old daughter, Phoebe. Phoebe’s mother, though failing to prevent the abuse, protects Phoebe from FUTURE harm as soon as she finds out about the abuse. And in helping Phoebe heal, Helen, a workaholic lawyer, finds redemption for failing to protect Phoebe. No one is perfect in Ripple, but action and disclosure breaks the silence.
This isn’t about me. It’s about what’s been done to so many others by so many. I know it’s done. But they can’t let go of it. They churn it over again and again in therapy. They like to think they’ve healed, but time is an uncertain companion, just as the abuse we suffer. Some of us get over it quickly. Others bury it until it haunts them. Some thrive. Some suffer.
The worst thing is it’s ugly. Either an abuse victim is telling lies, or their abusers committed great harm. sins. No one who wasn’t abused, and even some people who were abused, wants to believe that there is evil in our world.
I told a friend the logline from Ripple, and she asked me if the story was realistic. “Do fathers really rape their daughters?” Yes, my friend, they do. Parents abuse their children all the time, in more ways than one. It’s ugly, and messy and confusing to hear someone’s story, but it’s even uglier and messier and confusing to tell your own story. The only thing worse than telling your story is to face the disbelief of others.
That’s what abuse victims face, readers, when they try to break the Code of Silence.
P.S. I couldn’t leave this on a sad note, not after watching some good news on NBC. Earlier today, Kayla Harrison became the first American to win a gold medal in Judo. Kayla was sexually abused when she was a 13 year old girl by an ex Judo coach. And yet, she triumphs. She is, my friends, a Rebel Thriver.