Saturday, August 25, 2012


Yesterday marked a milestone for me. It was simultaneously disturbing but very fulfilling. As a result of my previous day's blog post at , I was contacted by not one, but two men who were sexually abused as youngsters. This brings to 3 the number of men who have shared their story of abuse with me. I feel so honored to have their trust and support for what I am trying to do. Thank you gentlemen. You know who you are.

One of these men was incredibly brave. He wrote his story on my personal Facebook page in full detail. I cried as I read it. His sordid tale came straight from his heart. What had I unleashed? But it was good. He is now one of the members of my FACEBOOK community group, OUT FROM UNDER, and has kindly given me permission to copy/paste his story here. I have copied and pasted it just as he wrote it, full of emotion and heartache. I can sense his desperate need to be heard, to tell others what happened to him and his relatives too. It may be a little hard to follow, but you will get the gist of it ... and it's not pretty. But it is all real.

This gentleman is the first of the members of either sex of OUT FROM UNDER at FACEBOOK  to speak publicly. I applaud his courage and thank him so much for sharing his story. Here's what David wrote:

 "Viga,,please as I share,,forgive me,,thanks,where I was sent,,as a child,,it was later called " The Doherty Farm of Horrors,,"outside of Portage la Prairie Manitoba,,he was I guess a step father,,he never adopted me,,thank God,,he abused all of us,,me,,his daughters,,and 4 boys,,he beat mother,,into I guess getting his way,,she closed her eyes as he did it to us,,we did sex acts for him,,yes even us boys,,ok,,in the mouth,,etc,,he made older girl pregnant,she ,had daughter of incest,,Helen,,he did sex abuse,,he did beatings,,verbally he was bad,,for example as I was not his kid,,his name for me,,was,,The BASTARD,,ok,,,he did emmotional abuse,,to all,,mentally he had us,,we were wrecks,,his like puppets,,,,,,Viga,,later when many of us went to Child family Services for help,,we were told we made it up,,as some of us left,,I ran away 29 times,,what I and other kids told he did,,we were told kids should listen to the parents,,and not lie,,make stuff up,,in 1995 Aug there was a murder on that farm,,I testified against the bad man,,Earl Doherty.and Earls son,,Clarence Doherty,,a 8 year old boy was hiton head and killed on that farm,,.can you believe it ,,he got off,,,anyways,,many of us,,esp me,,charged him,Earl Doherty,,,RCMP said he was too old,,only get house arrest,,so no justice,,I am post traumatic stress dis orders leading to severe bouts of anxiety and depressions,,I am called,,Multiple personality dis orders,,I am called also by Doctors,,Bi polar,I am dis assocaiative,,??,,I drank,,drugged to forget all my life,,I gave up booze,,Drugs Jan 10 ,1996,after I cut my both arms to the bone,,close to the elbows,,deeps,,and I stabbed my leg,,I was sick an tired of the flash backs,,memmories,,and booze ,,drugs were no longer killing it in my head,,I was sick an tired,,wanted it to end,,as the murder had just happened,,more talk,,more publicity,,so,,,,Viga,,I read really fast,,I have many children in me,,little ones,,ok,,,I love your post,,I loved the videio that girl spoke on and did,,folks want to write about me,,I get scared,,the devil,,bad man,,Earl Doherty died,,my so called mother died,,we,,the brothers,,if thats what you call us,,Clarence,,charged with murder,aug,,1995,Gary,,on skid ,gary is lost,,hopeless,,i find him once a yr,,in Vancouver,,,alvin,,a loner,,divorced,,Brian,,he is totaly goofed up,,he did time in juvenile place,,one girl,,Faye,,went to a woman,,fell in love,,got married,Faye and I visit,,we do not much talk about it,,,Daughter of incest Helen,,hiding out sort of on a rez in Manitoba,,we all rarely communicate,,scared,,embarrased I guess,,???We,,yes all of us divorced ,,some a couple of times,,where was God,,where was my Mohter,,why did no one help us,,no one cared,,every one took us back there,,I am alright,,today,,got lots,,lots of help,,head shrinks,,doctors,,counsellors,,many peoples helped me,,mentally,,but,,,some times it just grabs me,,a living hell,,even today,,Thanks for listening,,I send you a jentle respectful hug,,Viga,,just because I am supposed to" 

 After reading David's story, I did some research on male victims of sexual abuse and found THIS ARTICLE  which I have added to my information site at VIGALAND. It is so in line with some of what David has shared above. Do have a read, and while you're over at VIGALAND'S INFORMATION ARTICLE SITE, check out some of the other articles I've posted there. All worthwhile reading for anyone interested in or affected by abuse of any kind.

Have a great weekend everyone. May the sun shine in on your day and chase the heartaches away ...

Friday, August 24, 2012


It's absolutely amazing how many people think that incest could never happen in their family. Yet, for every one who says that, there's one who can tell them otherwise. But the reality is none of us, mothers included, could handle or accept the idea that their husband, the men they married and committed themselves to for life, could actually sexually abuse the child whom they together created. The thought is so odious, so even if they suspect, they close their minds to the possibility. Avoidance is easier than acceptance.

I'm not sure if my own mother ever suspected anything. Could she have been that dumb, given my father hardly ever had sex with her over all the years he was abusing me ... 11 years. She knew he wasn't having affairs. He was only ever at work in a factory or at home, watching TV in the evenings and encouraging her to go take a nap so he could have his way with me. I mean, really, does it make any sense she never suspected what was going on? But here's the thing: even if she did, she too was one of his victims: she was scared to death of him. Since the early days of her pregnancy, he'd been abusive. At one point, as she told me years later, he kicked her repeatedly in her swollen belly while she lay in pain on the floor of their bedroom just because she had refused to kiss his little finger when he commanded her to. Megalomaniac! Yes, he was all about power and he powered over both of us so he could live with his own shortcomings and insecurities. It was his way of controlling his own life which somewhere along the way had gone out of control. At least that's how I see it today.

Still, as a mother myself,  I cannot quite grasp how a mother could let such a thing go on if she knew. I love my husband very much. We have a great relationship and two wonderful daughters. But I told him the other day as we discussed this very thing,  that if I ever saw him touching them in any way, he'd be toast. Of course, he never has, and never would, and he deplores what he knows of my past. It is he who encourages me, along with my girls, to speak out now. He hopes, as I do, by my doing so, I can encourage some other mother who suspects something is going on between her child and her spouse to confront him and rescue that child before she ends up like me: holding in her dirty secret, wearing her shame and guilt like armour and blaming herself for something that wasn't her fault ... ever!

I mentioned in my last post how doing this has put me in touch with some amazing women, victim/survivors who are taking all the negatives in their lives and turning it into a positive for themselves and others by speaking out and coming out from under. One of these ladies is Patricia A. McKnight of Survivor's Justice.  I came across Patricia a couple of days back after reading her hard hitting poem, "Where is God to attack this Devil?"  Patricia spares no-one's sensitivities in her poem. She tells it like it was and it's brutally honest. She shocks but it's all good. It's necessary, and those who have commented applaud her as I do. I then followed up on her, researched her and found her videos on YouTube. She too cannot get over the fact that her mother knew what was happening and did nothing to help her. I understand her pain and now, her mission, to help save other children by getting them to speak up. There must be someone who can help if their own mothers can't, for whatever reason.

Patricia has a radio show, runs various websites and is behind the very important site, Dreamcatchers for Abused Children. I hope you'll check it out and tell others about it too.

If you have time, and care, watch one of Patricia's videos which I have posted below. Listen to her message. She's also written a book that has received 5-star ratings. She has "come out from under". You can too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


To those of you who have kindly subscribed to this blog .. then wondered where I am ... I'm here and feeling awesome! I feel awesome because this is probably the best thing I've ever done for myself: speaking out about my own sexual abuse and in the process, discovering so many wonderful women (and men!) whose stories are similar to mine and who, like me, are trying to turn something so negative into a big positive. And they are succeeding!

Over the past week, I've discovered Patricia Singleton, whose blog posts, like this one about learning to love yourself after abuse, offer comfort and inspiration. Patricia should know: like so many of us, she too has suffered at the hands of a sexual abuser. Then there's Lynn Tolson, whose books are helping so many others as she speaks out about her own abuse. I could go on listing one after another: I had no idea that many people are blogging about their abuse. You'll find links to some of these in my BLOGROLL on the right-hand side. I can't stress enough how important and helpful it is to read the posts by these victim/survivors. You might say you don't want to hear or read more: it brings up too many bad memories. To that, I can only offer the little poem I penned this afternoon while thinking about this very thing. You'll find it at the end of this blog.

It's also gratifying to see the membership on my Facebook page, OUT FROM UNDER, growing daily as I share relevant graphics posted by others or designed by myself. Folks love sharing these. Those who need them are comforted by them. Others are forced to think about them and face their own reality, painful as it might be. This IS necessary if we are to heal.

And best of all for me is that this voyage of self-discovery and disccovery of others has got my writing mind into gear after years of silence. So many times I've wanted to write, but I'm not a fiction writer. I can only write what I truly know ... and my own story is what I know best. Now that I've begun, I don't want to stop. I have other things that must be done but I'm finally making room and time for myself. Do you know how good that feels? I cannot encourage those of you who visit this page, my facebook page or simply lurk trying to get up the courage to tell your story, to just go and do it! It's truly amazing how good it can feel when you finally come out from under!

It's too easy when you're obsessed with a subject like incest, especially your own, to spend too much time on the negatives and to convey too many negative messages to your readers. I don't want to do that with every one of my blog posts, as much as I want to share my story with you. That you can read when I finally finish writing that book. So in the meantime, let me leave you now with that little poem I mentioned. Please share it, and this blog, with others whom you feel need to hear its message. And thanks for reading today's post.


Yes, you must face the pain
But reliving it again and again
Wallowing in despair gets you nowhere
except further under

You know you want to tell
You've tried to for many years
You start to speak, then shut your mouth
And your face dissolves in tears 
of fear and self-loathing

But this has to stop!
The abuser should feel the shame
The abuser should wear the guilt
The abuser is to blame 
for what you feel

Reach out to those who care
Love yourself that much! 
Let their open arms embrace you 
And heal you with their touch


                           ©Viga Boland 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


At least, that's the conclusion I came to when I was about 12 and my father began shattering my world as I believed it should be. Until then, despite the fact that he had been physically abusive since the first time he slapped my thumb out of my mouth because the sucking noise woke him up, I hadn't yet grasped that fathers can do far worse things than that to their daughters. Until then, I was a good Catholic girl who went to Mass almost every morning, thought receiving communion meant I was being filled with and protected by God's grace, went to Church every Sunday, sang out the Latin hymns with full voice, helped the nuns at school, and hung on every word our priest spoke in his sermons (though I must confess sometimes it was hard to stay awake!) My parents never stopped me from attending but they never accompanied me either. That was something I didn't quite understand but then, most kids don't get their parents, do they.

Now what I'm about to say is most likely going to ruffle thousands of believers and Christians (if I can be so vain as to believe that many might one day read this). But a very dear friend who is also writing a book on her own abuse, finds it very hard to understand why I don't believe in God and have no use for religion. For her, it is her salvation, her way of coping with the horror and heartache of her life and she prays and praises Jesus daily. I respect her belief. She has many who share it. But I'm not one of them. Nor do I believe that all that is, and was bad in my life is the work of the devil. For me, he (she?) doesn't exist either.

Both of them, God and the devil, vanished from my 12-year-old psyche when my Father began sexually abusing me. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I prayed night after night that he would stop. I beat myself over the head, telling myself that God must be really mad at me and this was punishment for my sins. And I prayed some more, begging for divine intervention. As for that devil, when I looked at my father's angry face as he belted me or heard his voice spewing venemous words at me, calling me filthy names just because I was resisting or opposing him, I knew I was looking at the devil. He wasn't some fiery fiend with a fork burning away in some place called hell. He was a human being taking advantage of an innocent and helpless child, his own flesh and blood, in his own home.

And as the months slipped by and turned into years of mental, physical, spiritual and sexual abuse, all thoughts or belief in a god who would save me from the hell I was living in faded away. The prayers were falling on deaf ears. I didn't even believe the words I was saying in those prayers. I was praying to someone or something I didn't know, had never seen or met and as long as whoever he/she was kept allowing my prayers to go unanswered and the abuse to continue, how could I believe? After all, despite the shame and guilt I felt, I knew that under all that, I had done nothing to deserve this. NOTHING! What "sins" had I committed? And for that matter, why did I have to "atone for the sins of the world"? The worst thing I'd done by the age of 11 was wet the bed till I was 7 (wonder why?) or lose my temper when I didn't get my way at school. For those transgressions, I deserved THIS?! If Christ's figure on the crucifix brought me to tears, they were for myself, not him. Perhaps his figure was meant to symbolize me and all others subjected to undeserved suffering. As such, it served its purpose but it was nothing more than that to me. I concluded that no amount of praying, no amount of crying would help. The only help I could get had to begin with me.

Phew! That wasn't easy to write. I can just hear the outrage some of you who believe are feeling and I apologize if this offends you but I don't apologize for being honest about how I feel. So many of us cannot be honest, are afraid to say what they really think. No wonder there's so much misunderstanding, even between those who love each other. Because I love the friend I mentioned above, I'm being honest with her and the many others who suggest to victims of abuse that they pray etc. This blog post has also been prompted more by a post I read on a Facebook community page where someone asked "What do you say to someone who doesn't believe in God about how to handle their pain and shame?" The poster requested that those who reply not tell her to pray. That was of no use to her etc etc. How well I understood her feelings. But what advice could I give her instead? The only advice I can give is what this blog and my FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE is all about i.e. come out from under. Share your pain with those who do care and want to help. There are as many of us as there are those who believe prayer is the answer. Talking about it helps. You may not be able to say it all at once. It's overwhelming. Do it in small steps. Take it easy. Be easy on yourself. Bit by bit, let  your story unfold. And you do start to feel better very soon if you have a willing listener. I saw that happening first-hand with another very dear friend this past weekend as this friend opened up to me. Despite how difficult it was, the joy at doing so was very obvious.

For others, full therapy may be the answer. One of my fellow survivors posted an excellent note on my community page about this recently. She has given me permission to share it with you here. I support her advice. If this is what you need, and prayer or a willing listener, or lots of reading and encouraging sayings aren't doing it for you, then take her advice which I've pasted below. Thanks S.E. for sharing it with my readers.

And let me finish this by re-phrasing my opening headline. For those who do believe in God, believe also that "God helps those who helps themselves". Healing begins with YOU.


For all those who are still struggling to overcome your abusive past: I just want to say how important it is to reach out to your family doctor or mental health professional and speak to a qualified practitioner. There are many programs available to help you through this. Group therapies for incest survivors are particularly helpful. You will learn that, although it can be cathartic to share details about your past, it's not what happened to you, but rather how it made you feel that should be the topic of conversation. To pour over details and factual stories alone, will not help you heal. Time does not heal. It's what you do with that time to recollect, recover and reclaim your whole self. While posting inspirational messages and sharing thoughts and information is certainly a progressive step, it cannot take the place of professional therapy. Healing from such an extremely damaging abuse is a long process. It is not easy and you can expect feelings to get much more intense before it gets better. But, I promise you, things will get better and before you know it, you will no longer be haunted every day by those horrific memories and flashbacks. It will no longer monopolize your thoughts in everyday activities. There are very strong emotions that need to be set free; shame, guilt, anger, confusion, unworthiness are just a few that will chain you with insecurities. Take back your power. Put down your load. You CAN reclaim yourself and recover your life.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


This morning's post is short as I'm off for the day to enjoy some wonderful music by my daughter and her partner along with a good friend at an important fundraiser to help build homes for the homeless in Nicaragua. But before I go, I want to leave you with this little poem I wrote that captures what I believe can come to those who finally find the courage to face their fears, their shame, and all the other reasons they have held off sharing their stories of incest and sexual abuse with others. You MUST believe that when you finally come out from under, you will find a love of self that you've never known and so deserve, and with that will come the freedom you've been looking for all these years.

The video also shown below is about spousal abuse and its other victims, the children. The song was written by AndrewVictoria, mentioned above. Please share it too, along with this poem and this blog. And we'd love you to join our Facebook group too. If you're reading this, you've been given another day to come out from under. DO IT!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Look over to the top right of this blog and you'll see a poll I'm conducting asking what's holding you back from opening up about your own incest story. I should have made that more general ie. "sexual abuse", because as much as this blog is based on my own history of father-daughter incest, it's really aimed toward all who have suffered or are still suffering from sexual abuse. While the specific details of the sexual abuse will differ, the long-term ramifications and affects on our lives are most likely very similar. So, if you're reading this now, have been or are a victim, please take the poll. It's anonymous and time-limited.

And so back to the topic of today: why are we so afraid to come out and share our stories? This post has been prompted by the reaction I'm getting from friends on Facebook as the word spreads about what I am trying to do here. I'm very grateful to all those friends who are sharing this blog and my FB page, COMING OUT FROM UNDER. But as they do so, it's becoming obvious that some of them, like me, have been silent about their own sexual abuse for most of their lives. It's also obvious they want to talk about it, but are still holding back. So they will lurk anonymously around this blog and read the posts on Facebook all the while still fighting the urge ... and the need ...  to tell their own stories. Why?!

I can only answer from my own experience. What things made me keep my mouth shut all through adolescence, marriage, motherhood even menopause (LOL)? The first answer that comes to mind is SHAME.  I know I wasn't to blame for what happened to me, but the shame grew year after year, even when I'd long left my maternal home. I would think people looking at me could see what was being done to me and conclude I was allowing it! Imagine what it was like heading off to primary school knowing that an hour earlier I had left my father's bed! (My book will supply the actual details). I was sure that as I greeted my playmates, they knew. I felt like I was covered in excrement and they could see it. I felt dirty, ashamed and I hated myself and him.

When my dear husband came into my life, to my horror, he was a photographer. His greatest pleasure was taking photos of me, very close up on my face at times. He didn't know, but I was cringing. All I could think was what was he really seeing through that macro lens he was so busy focussing on my eyes? Couldn't he see that under the smart teacher's clothes I was wearing and behind the professional smile I had for all my associates and students was someone so despicable and ugly? Shame!

And then, of course, there was the FEAR so deeply instilled in me by my father. Fear that he'd kill me if I told anyone; fear that my mother would be infinitely hurt; fear that no-one would believe me anyway. Dad had made sure of that last one: he reminded me of it constantly. Yes, he probably felt pretty safe knowing that even if I did tell, most people would think I'd just lost it. Who could believe that smiling, proud papa who everyone else liked was messing with his adolescent daughter that way? FEAR!

And as I moved into marriage and eventually motherhood, fear continued to hold me back. What would my handsome groom think if he knew the ugly truth about his bride? Would he ever want to touch such  horribly soiled goods again? Best to keep my mouth shut. So I did. Then there was the children, my two lovely girls. How could I let such a secret out? How would they take it? What would be the effect on their lives? One was aspiring to a career on the world stage as a singer. If she made it, would the dirt hunters come looking for something sensational to gossip about. An incestuous mother makes for juicy reading. No, keep it to myself. Tell no-one. What others don't know doesn't hurt them, right?

And then there was the RESIGNATION: he had won. If I told, what would it achieve? I didn't know at the time that there are things like Children's Aid Societies who could step in. But even if I had and they showed up at our door, dad would have thrown them out saying I was talking nonsense. With his temper, he would have sent them packing. Mom didn't know anything about any of it, so she would have backed him up. And when the door had closed, I would have been beaten to a pulp. Who needed that? I became resigned to my life. I was in my early 20's when I met my husband and by that time I was resigned to being daddy's concubine for the rest of my life. Thankfully, falling in love saved me.

Of course, one of the strongest reasons for not coming out from under that I'm sure most of us share is that fear of what everyone will think of us. Our society is so geared to "how would it look?" "what would people think?" "what would people say about me?" etc. etc. that we are held back daily from doing the many things we know we want and should do, let alone exposing our darkest secrets. Our need for approval supersedes our own need to even be honest with ourselves. We let it stifle us, strangle us, keep us from being who we really are and saying what we really feel. And no wonder after years of being unable to say "NO!" to my abuser that I still have the hardest time saying "NO!" to anyone. So great is the need for approval and above all, love.

Can you relate to all this? Even if you've not been victimized by sexual abuse, I bet you can from other aspects of your life. But it's just so much harder to speak up and come out when you've spent 20, 30, 40 or more years holding it back because of shame, fear, resignation and the need for approval.

Well I've got news for you: now that I am finally talking about it, what I'm getting the most is support and approval! How wonderful is that? With that support, love and approval, years of fear, shame and resignation are melting away with every word I write here and in my book. And it feels SO GOOD!

Join me. Subscribe to my blog here. Take the poll on the top right. Face your fears. Face yourself. Join my Facebook group, OUT FROM UNDER. The more I research and read online, the more I realize I am not alone. You will too. It helps to read about people like us and there are so many like us. Why should we be ashamed? Why should we be silent? Come out from under with me.  I need your courage to help me finish what I've started here.

Thanks for reading. Please share this blog and my Facebook group page link.

Graphic from Peggy Loretta Hornbake

Thursday, August 9, 2012


is tantamount to living out our lives wondering, feeling soiled, dirty, unworthy ... unworthy of that very necessary love of self and unworthy of the love of others ... and so much of the time, if we haven't addressed the memories for what they are, not knowing why we  even feel that way.

Even before the major sexual abuse by my father started, I felt a bit like that about myself, but didn't really know why. Then today, I happened across THIS POST in another blog. The writer states that we CAN and MUST stop the sexual abuse of our children and believes it can be done, if we are forever on the alert for the signs and encourage children to talk about it. Perhaps if someone had cared enough about me when I was still prepubescent and got me to open up, I might have told them about the older girl, still in elementary school, who lured me to her flat with the promise of milk and cookies, and then pinned me in the washroom and using the inner tube of a toilet roll, simulated sex with me. I had no idea what she was doing, but I remember fleeing, crying, scared and being utterly confused. No-one, not my guardian at the time, nor my parents knew anything of this incident. Later in the week, a nun at the Catholic primary school I attended approached me. She asked me about the girl. Had she ever done anything to me, asked me to go home with her etc etc. Obviously the nun knew something about her, but I remember my shame as I answered her questions. And yet, I had no idea why I felt ashamed.

Of course, in retrospect, it's entirely possible, and even probable, that this girl too was being sexually abused by a parent or relative. But again, the post I mentioned above triggered my memory of this incident and others. There was a Catholic "brother" who liked me to visit his room at the local church. He would give me candies and soft drinks AFTER he sat me on his lap and ran his fingers up and down  my little legs. And he always sent me home reminding me not to tell anyone if I wanted more candies.

Then there was my playmate's father. He was all smiles and had 3 little girls I loved to play with. One day, I arrived to play but the 3 girls were out with their mom. He invited me to stay and wait for them, saying they wouldn't be long. He gave me some cake and suggested I sit beside him on the couch to read a book. Then he coaxed me onto his lap so we could cuddle while he read the book. Next thing I knew he'd stopped reading and his hand had wandered into that most private spot. Instinctively, I knew this wasn't right but I didn't want to offend him as he was my playmates' dad. When he was done, he too told me to not tell anyone and gave me a dime ... hush money I guess ... and promised there'd be more dimes if I visited again. I never went back there. My playmates never asked why. But I wonder if eventually they too found out daddy wasn't as nice as we all thought.

How did the POST ABOVE unleash all these memories? Here's what that writer said:

"the statistics of child sexual abuse (CSA) are beyond the pale – 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 girls are sexually assaulted by the age of 18. As I have also written, "stranger danger is a myth". It's not the unknown that our children have to be leery, it's the ones we know best; our clergy, teachers, caregivers and yes, even family members – they are the ones that are ALMOST ALWAYS guilty of stealing the innocence of our children. The statistics vary, but not by much, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90-95% of all CSA transgressions are by those we KNOW and TRUST. That's right, the ones that molest, rape, sodomize and abuse our children are NOT strangers…they are our pastors, our 5th grade teachers, our fathers and aunts, and even sometimes they are the child down the street that plays with our kids. I recently read an article about an 8 yr. old molesting a 7 yr. old that lived just two doors down – a trusted neighborhood child.

As a survivor of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, I know all too well how this trust is built up and then destroyed. It's called "grooming" but the bottom line, it's how these trusted ones get inside the psyche of a child and use their authority over them to sexually and psychologically control them, as my youth minister did me."

How true is that! Isn't that what happened to me ... or maybe to you who are reading this? The molesters are indeed all around us and sadly, around our own children. We can help them and ourselves, but first of all, we need to face our own memories, our own demons. If we haven't yet shared our troubled past with someone who cares, if we haven't fully accepted that yes, this did indeed happen to us and was most likely not our fault, then how can we help others who may be going through the same thing? We might recognize it but close our eyes and our minds to it, telling ourselves it couldn't be what we suspect. None of us wants to believe that someone close to us, someone we trust, could molest or abuse a child, especially their own child. Well, if it happened to you then you know it can, and does happen. Just check those stats again:

1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 girls are sexually assaulted by the age of 18.

Stop running away. Stop burying the memories. Stop pretending it didn't happen. Spit out your horror, your disgust. Tell it like it is or was. Just let it all out so you can come out from under.

Please share the link to this blog with others who might need encouragement to do the same. And please  LIKE our page at Facebook: COMING OUT FROM UNDER

Wednesday, August 8, 2012



This morning, the photo above was posted on Facebook by a contact of mine. I blinked twice, enlarged the picture, and my stomach turned. What the heck is this? Where was it taking place? And most of all, why were all the people, including children, standing around and ... smiling? Yes, smiling! What is pleasant about looking at a young boy being goaded on to do what this child is doing? And just who is that woman and that man? His parents? I couldn't believe my eyes. 

The poster's purpose was not, thank heaven, to titillate but to suggest that  the only thing children who are exposed to this kind of thing will learn is sexual misconduct, along with developing a very poor appreciation of a woman's role in society (what else is new!) and a confusing concept of their own purpose in life. I couldn't agree more. But then, after a barrage of responses from others as shocked as I was, came a response that suggested this was part of that culture and that they did not see it as something wrong. That commentator suggested this is not so much "sexual abuse" as "sexual misconduct". Be that as it may, is it okay? I think not!

Sadly, that same commentator, who incidentally did not condone what was happening in the photo but was trying to explain why it happens, indicated there was nothing anyone could do about it. This was a "culture thing". She said it's just like girls being stoned for bringing dishonour to the family in the middle east: it's a culture thing. Therefore, we can do nothing about it. Really?!

Saying we can do nothing about abuse of any kind is, for me,  condoning the abuse. Despite there being "nothing we can do", how gratifying it is to those of us outside those cultures to read that that Shafilea's parents were convicted for her death. (She had brought dishonour to the family... groan!) Would they have gotten their just desserts if her sister hadn't finally found the courage to speak up and tell the court what really happened? No, they would have gotten away with murder, just as those of us who suffered incest and sexual abuse for years allowed our violators, many of whom were parents and relatives, to get away with what they were doing. Remember, silence is consent.

As long as we adhere to the view that "there's nothing we can do about it" or are too afraid to face the horrid memories or too ashamed to tell others about it, we live under a rock of silence that buries us deeper year after year. We cannot and must not do that to ourselves. We must come OUT FROM UNDER and speak up, share our stories with the world. There are so many like us! Perhaps all they need is a nudge ... a nudge that comes from blogs like this one, or El's blog HERE to begin to open up and get that 10-ton rock off their chests. 

I'm doing it. You can too. Help others do for themselves what must be done if they are to move on and become whole again. On the upper right hand side of this blog I have posted a poll that asks the question: "What is holding you back from talking about your own incest story?" Multiple answers are allowed. This is not a contest. It's merely a poll. Your identity remains a secret. Tell us why you aren't COMING OUT FROM UNDER. Thanks for participating.

I'd also love to hear your comments on the photo above. Do you think "culture" justifies what you see there?