My Concerns

One of the things I am constantly concerned with, in the case of my father, is this:  have I made the right people aware of his depravity?

When I informed Ed’s step-son, Jeffrey, and his wife, Sally Anne – who are the parents of two young children, who Ed truly is, they were understandably taken aback – upset, angry and confused.  In the end, they informed Ed, according to his note to me, “they still love me.”

It isn’t a lot different from a situation I was in once upon a time – I learned that my childhood best friend had been arrested for sexually molesting young boys; I had two young boys of my own at the time, and my children adored him.  I did not condone what this man had done, but he was my friend, and he was suicidal at the time.  I did not shut him out of my life, but I did protect my children from him – I didn’t, not for a single second, close my eyes to what he had done, or what it meant.  He, very tragically, went on to commit suicide several years later, unable to cope the burden of being who he was.

Our sexual appetites do not change, they are what they are.  Men do not molest and rape an innocent young girl and then go on to lead healthy sexual lives.  They do not take sexual gratification from beating their children and then find satisfaction within the mainstream of accepted sexual norms. They do not leer at their young sisters-in-law in the bathtub and later drop all affinity for this deranged behavior.

In the case of my friend, his mother told him he had to tell me what he had done, or she would – this to protect my children.  I felt deeply for her and could not imagine how difficult it had to have been to accept what her son had done –  I am so thankful she took it upon herself to make sure I was informed.

I understand this issue from all sides, and children MUST be protected; people DO NOT change – especially their sexuality.

If Ed had done the things he has done today, he would be in prison and he would have to register as a sex offender.  That is fact, unalterable fact.

Sexual urges- what drives us sexually – cannot be mitigated,  cannot be explained away and cannot be changed.  We, of course, have control over where our sexuality leads in a moral and ethical sense toward others, but attraction is what it is …

and people who don’t assume that control leave victims in their wake.

Why in the world would anyone take that risk with their child?

A Conclusion:

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.

In conclusion:

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.

Out Loud Thoughts

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My childhood memories are dark, and they play in my head like a horror movie matinee on a grey, stormy day – they can leave me feeling haunted and unsettled.

Ed’s brief return to the fringes of my life has given me pause, and much to consider and reconcile with all I had previously processed and concluded.

To begin with, because I once again have a close relationship with my aunt Bev, I have information about Ed I didn’t have before, information that causes me to rethink much of my position on Ed’s ability to sexually abuse a child.  My aunt was very young (10ish) when she told Pat (her sister) and my grandmother (her mother) that Ed would watch (read, leer at) her take a bath when she was staying at our house; they didn’t believe her, so she didn’t tell my grandfather … so much would likely be different if she had; I suspect he would have believed her unequivocally.  Children DO NOT make up sexual impropriety on the part of an adult …

Ed would send my mother out of the house and then force Bev to take a bath; this happened several times.

As I have stated before, my mother did not accuse Ed of sexually abusing my sister until after they divorced, and then I never heard the end of it.  My view: it was crystal clear that she wanted me to hate him, and this allegation was a way to discredit him in my eyes.  I knew my mother so well, even then, that I was determined not to personally consider the possibility that Ed had molested Elizabeth, and/or Janet …

but what if, in my stubborn and youthful determination to disbelieve Pat – someone whose motivations I had long since stopped trusting to be benevolent, I closed my eyes to the truth?

Pat, just before I left her house for good and all, had a private and tearful conversation with Rhonda – a conversation in which she made Rhonda promise if we ever got married and had children she would never, ever leave them alone with Ed. She told Rhonda that Ed had sexually abused Janet and Elizabeth, but that I didn’t believe this …

And I hear the words of medical professionals echoing in my head:

“I strongly believe, in addition to the physical and emotional abuse you clearly recall, you were also sexually abused in childhood, Mr.  Shockley, and these memories you have repressed.”  — every therapist and psychiatrist I have ever seen.

And Ed went to prison for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor – she was fourteen.  This is a charge I call rape; any non-consensual sexual act is, to my way of thinking, rape.  Not only could she not legally consent at fourteen, she didn’t consent by his own admission.

My instincts tell me to be wary of him …

I feel gullible and naive, until I remember the film noir set my childhood was filmed on; I learned to block out as much as I could …

It kept me alive,

and sane.