A non-linear background: Close to four years ago, in the midst of recovery but already emotionally stable, I reached out to the woman Ed raped when she was a child. I had no idea if she would return my call, and I certainly didn’t want to cause her emotional pain or distress, but I needed answers only she could provide.
And provide them she did.
By this point, I had had three psychiatrists and three therapists – including those who treated me during a brief out-patient hospitalization – all share with me their belief that I was sexually abused as a child …
To this day I don’t remember being sexually abused … but I do recognize that beatings given in the way my parents, particularly Ed, gave them are a form of ritualized sexual abuse, and that only a sadist could actually do what Ed did to me time and time again; the beatings were perverse and I’ve come to believe, in large part due to admissions he made in our email correspondence, they were sexually gratifying for him to give.
Diagnostically, my medical team also took into consideration Ed’s conviction of Lewd and Lascivious Acts With a Minor, and my sister and mother’s allegations that Ed had molested both Elizabeth and Janet when suggesting I had endured sexual abuse …
and they stated there were probably more I didn’t know about; sexual abusers do not usually have a single victim – (Bill Cosby, anyone?) which I learned was true when I began speaking to my aunt Bev again. Secrets in abusive families are dark, deep, tangled and common.
And I could not ignore the fact that my illness is consistent with sexual abuse in childhood …
So I reached out to the woman Ed raped when she was a child. She is pretty amazing. She was honest and forthright as she shared with me the details of what was the worst moment of her life. Speaking to me was difficult for her on many levels, but she was gentle, and as kind as she could be, in telling me what a monster my father is. She believed she had to speak to me – had to answer my questions because I had to know what Ed was capable of doing to a child just in case there were children in his life currently. She asked how Elizabeth was, and wished her well, and she was very glad to learn Ed had no contact with his grandchildren. She spoke with complete emotional candor that reduced us both to tears …
When Ed and I began speaking (emailing) he was reluctant to share with me the details of his depraved act against this innocent young girl, claiming this incident had no impact on my life – my growing up or my childhood. (yes, he really said this) When I finally insisted he speak to me about it, he told the story from a very cold and sterile perspective, a perspective that considered ONLY his feelings — what she must have felt wasn’t even a mention in his narrative. His facts were similar to hers, but only to a point; he raped her; he took something from her that was not his to take. She was victimized and sexually violated, and she has lived with the consequences of his actions every day since then.
I believe in fact, evidence and science. The case against Ed is pretty damning, and there has been no redemption, no change in heart or soul that I have witnessed.
I remain fearful for the young children now in his life, but I am thankful Elizabeth and I weren’t foolish enough to allow him a place in the lives of our own children.
I understand now that Pat’s motivation – making me hate my father – does not mean that what she said about Ed isn’t true.
I will never know all of what happened to me, or my sisters, when we were children; I’m strangely OK with that, for now; however, I would still welcome the answers to questions no child should ever have to ask.
There will likely never be a complete conclusion.