Gnarly: On Sexual Abuse

The physical pain may leave but the emotional injury never quite goes away.

She thought this was going to be fun.....!  

His long life had been disappointing;
Few successes, broken dreams.
A defensive wife, a self-centered son;
Life was falling apart at the seams.

He had settled for a dull routine
Of smoking a pipe and sittting.
No one expected much out of him
And the lifestyle seemed befitting.

Every once in awhile he'd argue
Just to liven things up a little.
In order to feel superior
He enjoyed finding ways to belittle.

As the years passed he grew frailer.
With this, his pride took its toll.
He searched for roads to pleasure
And as he did, he lost sight of his soul.

One night he reached out his gnarly old hands
To the breast of a ten year old.
He exuded authority and power
Which gave him a sense of foothold.

She was shy and quiet and despite her shame
Complied with his demands.
He abused his power over the child;
She was helpless in his hands.

He abused this power for many years
Only thinking of his needs.
No worry of repercussions or the
Results of his misdeeds.

He chose her, a lone scapegoat,
Knowing she'd never let on to the scam.
He made her his whore and his sweetheart;
His lover, his Madame.

His imagination was rampant,
Took no note of her passivity;
And after awhile, he took it in stride
As another routine activity.

The dog was her saving grace. 
Neither one at the time would ever have dreamed
The problems this routine would make
To a girl who'd never dated a boy
But who'd already had her share of heartbreak.

She went into the world only to find
She held men in reserve, at a distance.
These gentle young men who saw all her strengths
Took her hand and would meet her resistance.

The next twenty years were spent healing
The deep scars she received in her teens.
Running from those who loved her the most
Yet seeking the man of her dreams.

She still is in search of the one man
Who is gentle and safe and kind.
Not willing to settle, unafraid to commit,
She now seeks a love unconfined.

Loyal to a fault, whoever wins her
If they care and they never betray,
Will find her healed and ready to give
And receive love in every way.

The girls in the family. So much sadness there.
What you don't allow yourself to feel, you cannot heal. 

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, in the U.S. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. When I began dealing with my own abuse in 1989 it was "only" 1 in 7 women. The abuse began when I was 10. I didn't reveal it until I was almost 30. It is the human nature of victims not to tell anyone. 
When I wrote this poem, I shared it with my psychotherapist who was helping me to change my life and to live it as a human being, not as a wounded victim. He asked me if he could share it with his sexual predators group because "they need to know the results of their behavior. It's how they learn to accept responsibility for what they've done and how they begin to heal their own wounds." 

It's a hard un-doing but if we don't tell, if we try to forget, if we don't allow ourselves to feel, if we don't share with someone we trust, we remain with a stronghold of sexual trauma for the rest of our lives. This is the true price we pay for having been abused. What we don't feel we can't heal. 

If you're still reading this, here's the irony!
I was abused by him from age 10 until age 15. One day we received a call. He had had accident while working on the lawnmower. The blade took off his right middle finger. Do we laugh or do we cry? 

I again stand in amazement of the universe and how karma works. Meanwhile, I continue to work on my healing. I know with statistics that you may be one who has been hurt too. Prayers going out to you. This will be another book that I will write one day.  Life is the school, love is the lesson....

"Gnarly" From the obscure book by Kate McGahan, 
Available at

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