20 March 2007

Why Am I Afraid

i was talking with my mom on the phone last night about the shanley trial, which we've both been watching on courttv. we were both pretty angry at the defense attorney's badgering the victim on the stand for a full 9 hours. i commented that one of the things that made me the most angry was when the attorney asked the victim just how far the priest had inserted his finger into the boy's rectum. my mom was angry about it, too, but for different reasons than mine.

i was angry because the attorney was implying that just because the victim couldn't come up with the number, it must not have happened. i know from personal experience that that is exactly the kind of thing to which a victim will not have access. the actual abuse can be very fragmented in memory because the victim has generally gone somewhere else in his/her head to escape from the things that are being done to him or her. i remember staring at the ceiling. what magnificent concentration i maintained. i do not know specifically what was done to me, but i do know that it was unbearable.

my mom, of course, doesn't know these things. i found myself thinking about explaining to her, but then i stopped. i couldn't bring myself to talk about it with her. why. i'm not sure whether it's protection for me or for her. i think there's some belief hidden under the layers of consciousness that it's my fault. it's always been my fault...didn't my abuser tell me so? didn't i believe it? a similar thing happened when i was talking to my daughter in law this past week. i started to explain the concept of post traumatic stress disorder, but then it dawned on me that i'd probably have to explain how i came to have that problem. i couldn't bring myself to share any of the reasons. why. why. i don't know. it's so painful for me to even contemplate the reasons behind those decisions. the thought of sharing these memories--any part of them--fills me with anxiety. i can feel my hands go icy cold.

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