Phase IV con’t: The Result of Submission to Abuse; A cultural prerequisite for Inclusion

The problem with abuse is that when it has consumed your experience, you cannot identify it. There is nothing to compare it to. As a girl becomes a woman, society censors the honest discussions she needs to properly prepare herself for the inevitably imposed sexualization of her physical development of secondary sex characteristics. As a result, she is often left with little guidance. Her foundational socialization practices remain her only defense.

In most of the world cultures those formative years are set in black and white thinking, virtuousness that can only be achieved through chastity, or, promiscuity in the whore who wants sex all the time. There is no understanding of the sexual nature most women have, because we are all viewed and judged from a lens out of touch with the feminine experience.  Women who have accepted the imposed roles of chastity or promiscuity can be found fighting for the right to choose one of the two polar extremes as if they embody choice!

As long as we try to define our experience from within an imposed male structure, we will continue to ostracize some, if not most, of our sisters. The polar perspective that has been imposed on female sexuality will continue to limit the discussion and options offered for girls coming of age because those of us who have suffered continue to remain silent.

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ACT I: Making a name for oneself through victimizing girls coming of age

I attended an overcrowded high school where all the corridors teemed with more bodies than they could accommodate. Students were slammed into each other amid the blur of body parts… but inevitably they would find me.

“I hear that you get real juicy” one upperclassman breathed in my face as he slammed me into the wall and groped my chest, “will you sit on my face?”

Two guys joined him as I looked down at the floor. My stomach lurched forward as if I was going to throw up. My heart pounded as the two encouraged the first to continue his assault.

ACT II: Alienation of Female Victims through judgmental female peers

At swim team practice the girls would talk in corners of the dressing room, looking my way and laughing.

I dressed alone.

ACT III: Parental Neglect

Eric would come over and rape me in one room while my parents sat in the next.

At his home, his mother would come by the room as Eric was taking off my clothes, “Don’t take advantage.” One time. There was no other intervention.

ACT IV: Fear of pregnancy

ALONE in terror.

ACT V: The Inevitable

It had been almost 3 months since I had last bled. I was taken to the University of Pennsylvania to see why I had stopped bleeding. I prayed for some terrible life threatening disease.

My adoptive mother decided to call the family doctor, Dr. Feld. He called the house and I was put on the phone with him. “Did you have sex with this boy,” he asked me.

I was horrified.

“Did he put his fingers inside you? Did he cum?”

I was so ashamed. I got off the phone traumatized.

The word came the day of cheerleader try-outs. I was picked up by my adoptive mother…

“See you later Amy” the other girls called to me.

“They seem to like you, “my mother said to me in almost disbelief.

When we got home, my adoptive mother and father brought me upstairs, “You are pregnant,” my adoptive mother told me in disgust.

“YOU SLUT,” my adoptive father yelled at me as he paced the hall.

“Kneel and pray for forgiveness,” my adoptive mother told me.

I was told that I was to have an abortion. No discussion on the topic despite the fact that I distinctly remember having a conversation with my adoptive mother arguing my preference for an anti-abortion stance. This abortion was about her and keeping this revelation was to be the family secret.

“You should be grateful that Dr. Percell is going to do this,” she told me, “this is the kind of procedure that could make him lose his license.”

We drove to the hospital in silence. I was admitted and examined by an overly eager intern. “She doesn’t look much like 14,” he said to my adoptive mother who said nothing.

That afternoon I was discharged to see Dr. Letterman, a psychiatrist. I was entering psychoanalytic treatment that would last 6 years, for 5 days a week. During that time, she never asked me if I was raped, or discussed what would constitute sexual abuse, instead, she would tell me that I did not have the intelligence to become a physician, and that I was a slut.

After the abortion, Dr. Percell and my parents decided that I should be on the pill. There was NO discussion about the complications of hormonal treatment, the lack of medical history that we had of my biological family.  Stopping my fertility was just as forced as my sexual experience with Eric had been. Again, I complied.

Now it would be open season on my body. Anyone could do whatever they wanted without consequences.

After returning home I found out that the family friend who had spent time trying to watch me shower knew about the abortion.

PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS? I would have to spend the next 20 years unlearning the poison that was force fed me during the first 20.

 

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PHASE I: The Imposed Taboo of Illegitimacy… Selling babies to the Highest Bidder

I don’t mean to be a problem but….

I always felt it is interesting that our culture insists on imposing restraints on human behavior and function that seem to put us at odds  with our bodies. Our children are reaching sexual maturity earlier and earlier, yet, our society has become more and more complex, placing artificial value with currency as the means to acquire goods and services for everyday needs. Inflation and the devaluation of the dollar, along with the hording of wealth by the upper 1% has meant that it takes longer and longer to acquire the monetary stability to ensure the proper care of the next generation….

So, young girls go on the pill to limit their fertility so that they remain available for male sexual appetites without consequence. When they are caught pregnant before establishing legitimacy through marriage, both mothers and children are punished through poverty, their extended families often feeling the economic hardship and stigma along with them.

For some families, those with more assets and financial reserves, the hardship of “unwanted pregnancies” is forced squarely on the shoulders of the women who choose to carry their children to term. In my day, before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, that meant being sent away to birth alone in a “home for unwed mothers”. That is where my life began…

In December of 1960, my mother became pregnant.  My father was in his junior at West Point and my mother was a pre-med student at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. My maternal grandfather was Superintendent of Reading schools and had been appointed by the Kennedy administration to help in the implementation of Special Education services across the country. My mother’s condition was not welcomed. She was sent away in shame, as many young women were at that time, to give birth in secret at the Florence Crittenton home for unwed mothers in Wilmington, Delaware. There she was kept on a strict diet, her belly swelling with a white baby that ultimately would receive top dollar for the Lutheran Children’s Services.

Shortly after reuniting with her at the age of 20, my biological mother relayed to me this story… “The girls would often sneak out to the local convenience store to buy candy and treats.” She took a breath as if the very utterance sucked the air out of her lungs. “One day I was coming out of the store when two little boys glanced my way, laughed and then spit on me,” the tears began welling up in her eyes. As she continued her voice broke with the effort to hold back the rage of emotion trying to release from the back of her throat, “There I was, a pre-med student with a 150 IQ.” Again there was a long inhalation, as if breathing itself had become painful. “They spit on me… because I was pregnant.” The tears began to flow freely.

My birthmother breast fed me the first three days of my life and then handed me over to a social worker who placed me in my adoptive parents’ home two days later.

The panic attacks started when I was about a year and a half and were triggered by the story of my adoption. Somewhere in my body I knew I had suffered a significant loss; her voice, her smell, and the taste of breast milk. All of that knowledge had been imprinted on my body. There were no words at that time because the information was received in a pre-verbal state…. The violent temper tantrums I began having, writhing in agony, were met with beatings. The foundation needed to misunderstand and misjudge who I was and who I could be had already begun!!!