Monday, June 16, 2014


Sabrina is in her 40's now and still lives at home with her mother and step-father. She works in their shop but receives no salary. Her step-father thinks she's insane and wants to have her committed. Her mother is abusive and narcissistic. The rest of her relatives think Sabrina is crackers too. Everyone tells her to stop talking rubbish and tarnishing the family name with her ridiculous allegations of incest by an uncle who is today a very prominent member of society. He also wields lots of power. Sabrina is scared of what he could do to her and her family if she ever goes public. So she stays silent. 

She's told her mother the story time and again. One minute her mother says she's making it all up; the next she tells her to get over it: it happens to lots of girls, so just get over it. But Sabrina can't. 

She was only 7 when 'it' happened. Her parents had left her in her uncle's care. She trusted him when he said she was being taken to have a needed medical procedure. There were 4 "doctors" in the room. She was put under. When she awoke, one of the doctors was on top of her. No, correct that: he was inside her and she hurt. Then the other doctors took turns. And they took photographs too. And they laughed. 

They took turns. 

When they finished with me, I was told the procedure went wonderfully. 
I was sore. 
I was tired. 
I was confused. 
I wanted to throw up. 
I didn't want to be near him anymore. 
I sensed something had changed my relationship with him forever. 
I sensed something had changed me forever. 
I just wanted to go home. 

I was 7-years-old

Sabrina never forgot and never got over it. She did what all incest victims do: she went quiet because she was fearful of what would happen to her if she told. 

Sabrina has been quiet for 40 years now. She's gained weight, on purpose. She doesn't want men to get interested in her. That doesn't mean she wouldn't love to have a good husband and children and all the rest, but she's too scared and she can't trust any man. The same relative abused her again at a later date under different circumstances and not to the same degree. But his abuse just cemented her fear and buried her silence even deeper.  She's written about it in her blog, LIGHT DANCING IN THE SHADOWS. Click the link to read her side of the story. Right now, her only support is readers like you and writers like me. 

Sabrina wants to leave home but has no money to head out on her own. She's a prisoner of her past and her present. She's trying to fight back using the only weapon she has now: words. She is speaking out from under incest. She's committed to writing a book about it and has already started. And every day, her parents keep her chained, convincing themselves and everyone around her that she is nuts. 

We other victims of incest know better. Sabrina is not nuts. She needs support and ears willing to believe her side of the story. I have promised to help her publish her book when it's done. As much as I wish she'd find the courage to get out of the prison she's been in for 40 years, that is ultimately up to her. Only she can change her life. But writing her story is a beginning. Don't back down Sabrina. Fight for your life and your freedom. Fight for your chance to be the beautiful woman you can be and are, away from your persecutors. Others have done it. You can too. Courage and love my friend. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014


You have to go out to pick up some groceries and don't feel like getting your youngster all dressed up to take him or her with you. Grandpa's watching TV and having a cuppa. You wonder if he'd mind looking after the little one for an hour. You promise not to be long and you tell your child to be good and do whatever grandpa tells him or her to do. And you're out the door.

When you get back, your little one runs into your arms and starts crying? Did he or she miss you that much in such a short time? Why does he/she looked scared? Oh it's probably nothing. Your little one's just a bit tired ...

Meet Angela: she's in her 20's now and a member of my secret incest group on Facebook. She wasn't that little when "it" happened. She had just graduated from Grade 8, but she waited another 3 years to tell on Grandpa. As she wrote to me recently:

"As I was still too young to stay alone over night, I went to my grandparents' house. The night started off as any other, watching some boring shows that my grandparents just loved. My nana decided to have a shower while my papa and I just continued to watch the television. I heard the shower turn on and that's when the night took a turn for the worse. My papa got up out of his usual seat in the rocking chair and came over and just looked at me. He then proceeded to lift up my blue nightgown and touched me; he fondled my lack of a chest, and kissed me,  trying to stick his tongue in my mouth. He must have gotten spooked because he suddenly went back to his chair and sat down. But not even five minutes later,  while I was still trying to process what had happened, he was in front of me again. He held his finger up to indicate "one more time" and repeated what he'd just done 5 minutes earlier.  When I heard the shower water turn off, I'd never been so thankful in my life! I ran into the bathroom with cramps (which I later learned happens when ever I'm nervous) and begged my nana to call my parents. She called and called and finally my dad came and picked me up at 3 in the morning. He asked what was a matter.  I told him I had cramps he said it must be my period coming on. I agreed, unable to tell him the truth. When we got home I went right to my room and cried and cried and cried."

Maybe to the reader of this post, that doesn't sound so horrific. Perhaps readers have experienced what they consider much worse happen to them at the hands of a grandparent. But all children are different in how they react to violation of their bodies. Some take it much harder than others. But none of them ever walks away and forgets about it.

And the bottom line is NO GRANDFATHER has the right to do what Angela's grandfather did! To this day, though Angela's come a long way thanks to some therapy for this and other abuse she later suffered at the hands of others, she still has a lot of "self" issues.

Before writing this post, I did a quick Google search on "grandfathers, sexual abuse". Pages and pages of articles, forums, blogs came up, like this one:

and this one:

Read the articles. Feel the pain. Now tell me this isn't happening again and again with those, whom next to our parents, we should be able to trust most: our grandparents!

And then there's this information I found at this link:

"Using a sample of 95 case records of sexual abuse substantiated through child protection investigation, this study confirmed several findings from earlier studies of sexually abusive grandparents: (a) virtually all perpetrators are male, (b) the vast majority of victims are female, (c) a disproportionately large share of abusive grandfathers appear to also be sexually abusive fathers, and (d) stepgrandchildren appear to experience greater risk. Additionally, it was noted that stepgrandparent perpetrators were more threatening and physically violent. However, contrary to some earlier studies, evidence was provided that this form of abuse is inappropriately described as "gentle." Explicit threats and overt physical assault were noted in 14 cases. Moreover, the other tactics used to gain children's compliance, such as overpowering them, suddenly grabbing their genitals, and attacking them in their sleep, appeared to seriously compromise children's autonomy and personal integrity."

 I was intrigued by that sentence above that said these forms of abuse were considered "gentle". I guess they were like Angela's case. That statement makes such abuse sound less significant, something moms leaving their children with grandpa needn't worry about even if the old man does decide to lift the child's nightie and cop a feel or stick his tongue in her mouth.  After all, it's only grandpa. Right Angela?

Sunday, June 1, 2014


After writing and publishing my own true story of #incest, "No Tears for my Father", I began mentoring memoir writing groups for my local library. This most rewarding volunteer position brought me, and the participants, a few surprises, the biggest being what many of the members were experiencing as they completed various writing exercises I assigned: they found what they were doing ... writing ... was therapeutic!

Of course, I'd known writing was therapeutic since I was a teen: in my unhappiness,  I'd begun penning poems and writing songs that captured my angst and heartache, and in doing so, I often found release for my pain and bottled up rage. I had no-one to talk to about the incest. But putting what I was feeling down on paper somehow helped.

And now, the members of my memoir group, even those who hadn't necessary come into the group to write about trauma or personal tragedy, found that as they recalled their past, remembered things about their childhood, even incidences like feeling awkward at puberty, or their first crush, were finding that writing about these things was "freeing". They realized that even now as adults, some of their present insecurities and hangups harked back to those earlier days. Writing about them now brought them face to face with some issues they still have trouble dealing with day to day in their personal lives and careers. And hence came the realization for them all that writing is utterly therapeutic, because, as Adair Lara once stated:

“When you pin your misfortune to a page, you rob it of its power. You begin to get distance from an event the moment you write it down. Even the most intimate and horrendous details of your life become transformed into material”

That misfortune could be something as current as losing a job you've worked years to get, or saving money for a trip only to have to use it to fix a leaking roof. It doesn't have to be something as horrendous as incest or rape, but when it is, then the therapeutic nature of writing becomes incredibly healing.

One of the members of my memoir writing group had always been a writer, but she only wrote fiction. Suddenly, in the memoir class,  with every exercise, her past surfaced so strongly she couldn't stop writing about it.  It was she who first said to us all, "I'm finding these sessions, the writing, the exercises are therapeutic," and everyone agreed. This same discovery was made by the authors of that famous book, which I highly recommend for those wanting and needing to heal, THE COURAGE TO HEAL.  They point out again and again how therapeutic it is to write your pain onto the page. 

Have you tried writing your pain on a page yet? Try it! Try it the next time you have a flashback that knocks the wind out of you. Or the next time you hear your abuser's words mocking you, frightening you, reducing you to a blubbering mass of tears. Wipe away the tears by writing down everything that is on your mind, all the tortuous thoughts. You don't have to share it with anyone. This is just for you.

And as my memoir member recently wrote on our writers group page at Facebook:

"Vomit flows freely from my past, cleansing the depth of my soul at last."

Let this happen to you. Heal yourself through writing and/or journalling.

Did you know you can read excerpts from "No Tears for my Father" for FREE? Just click on the book title to read some sample chapters now!

Purchase your signed, printed version of NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER directly from the author, Viga Boland.