Parents are awkward and resistant about telling their children about child molestation, and even moreso about incest! They easily warn them about kidnapping, which is rare, but not about being molested. As David Finkelhor points out, if parents do warn their children about the possibility of sexual abuse, they often wait until too late. A third of sexually abused children are abused before the age of nine (Finkelhor, 1986, 229).
Linda Sanford, in her 1985 book The Silent Children: A Parent’s Guide to the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, warns about the possibility of sexual abuse at four different levels: stranger contacts, acquaintance contacts, child-care contacts, and contacts with people the child loves.
As Petra poionted out to me, “You (I) don’t mention that, according to research the world over, across all economic groups, a child is most likely to be molested by somebody known to the victim. A close friend of the family, an uncle or a member of the child’s immediate family.” Thanks for making that crystal clear, Petra!
According to Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, 86), Kafka wrote that “writing means revealing oneself to excess, that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being , when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself , and from which, therefore, he will always shrink so long as he is in his right mind….That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why night is not night enough.”
My main regret about having Mandy is that my other three children got short-changed. I don’t know where I would have gotten the energy from, but I wish somehow I could have done things differently. When Mandy was born one daughter was 8, my son was 4, and my younger daughter was 3. And I was working on my Ph.D. in psychology. Mandy was born with what at the time was a terminal heart defect, common to children with Down Syndrome, and I was a wreck. (Soon thereafter a procedure was developed and Mandy underwent a successful surgery). All the children were aware that I couldn’t talk about her physical condition without crying, which ushered a lot of anxiety into the household. My oldest daughter briefly decided she wanted to be a pediatric heart surgeon for this very reason. I let my oldest wait with me at the hospital through the surgery (they had given Mandy a 50-50 chance of surviving).
When the surgeon reported the operation a success [after which her heart stopped twice in recovery], I called my younger daughter at her elementary school to give her the good news. My daughter said the loudspeaker just said for her to come to the office, and all the way to the principal’s office she prepared herself to hear that Mandy had died.
We were very lucky the family survived the trauma, but the marriage did not. I had therapy and the support of friends, but in adjusting to the trauma of Mandy’s unexpected condition I rationalized that if she could have a happy life then her birth would be “all right.” If not, then it was unthinkable. That decision, (to assuage my feelings of guilt) led me overall to put her needs before my other children. At the moment I drive 2 hours every Sunday to visit Mandy in a wonderful developmental center and take her out to lunch. I let my relationship with my son dwindle to the point where he recently disowned me. I have regrets.
“As I survey the masses of beings I realize that I don’t believe any of what I’m seeing. Am I awake or asleep? I look up at the station clock to see if the second hand progresses logically around the face of the clock or not. It does. This is not a lucid dream.
“If I don’t believe in ghosts, goblins and guides, why am I seeing them? Am I walking or floating? It’s like the thought-voice blend…. The accident must have damaged my brain so that I now hallucinate. Obviously. If I’m not really here, then where am I? Did I just imagine my funeral;? How can I re-enter reality?
Here I am, waiting for the final proof of my book to be completed, and my process hasn’t stopped, but continues. This is going to sound crazier to the reader than anything to date, but it is bringing me a sense of peace. I realized that I can’t just leave my father all alone and unhappy in his small , shabby room while I blithely puiblish my first book without the dedication I promised him. And yet it can’t be the dedication he envisioned. In my mind’s eye I had to do something to definitively deal with him, and so to go on with my life I am putting him in a homey room with his mother Sary, his tennis loving cup, his bridge-playing partners from long ago, a tuned piano and a good cup of coffee.and even his Camel cigarettes. He no longer has sinus problems or Tourette’s, and he is not drinking alcohol or lusting. He is as content as it is possible for him to be. In my mind’s eye he is cracking a joke and feeling relaxed and valued. And his untapped writing talent has been unleashed. His old typewriter has many finished pages beside it, and he is in touch with the good man in him which has been burierd under childhood hurts. And now, knowing he is in a good place (although imaginary), in the sacred unfolding of love, I can truly let him be. I have backtracked and do dedicate this book to him, in good faith and love. Nothing in the book proper foretells this, as I have written from a different, concomitant truth.
(See Dedication, below).
This book is dedicated to my father, Alton Ellison B.
If you become aware of a movement in your state to close workshops for the mentally challenged, please oppose it. There is a movement afoot in Ohio, and I understand they’ve put some mentally challenged individuals on their board to mislead with the idea that the clients don’t want the workshops, where they can make a little money each week and partake of meaningful activity and socializing during the empty days that stretch out. Experiences with Down Syndrome by a mother–a page on NanMykel.com welcomes all personal experiences and pasttimes..