Yes, I am Bipolar. But as well I was sexually abused as a child from age 3 to age 6 or 7, and, at that time as well, emotionally abused. The sexual abuse was incest with my “upstanding and outstanding” grandfather. I adored him. I idolized him. Everyone in my family did. No one knew my secret. Along with everyone else I worshipped him all my life. I listened to Grandma say, after Grandpa died, how he had always been faithful to her. I bit my tongue because he had been unfaithful to her with me. Grandpa wanted me to tell his story. Not THIS story. A story about all the good things he did in his life. He worked as a lawyer for a VA hospital and helped many veterans. I have no doubt that he did. He carved the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial when he first came over from Sicily. He was written about in a psychology textbook as an example of motivation.
Grandpa didn’t rape me but he did sexual things with me. Things I knew were wrong. Things that damaged me for life. I tried to tell my grandmother but she didn’t understand what a child was talking about, asking her if she was jealous. She laughed. I realized to tell her would hurt her. I never told anyone until later, when a woman in a gay bar told me she was abused. Then I realized I had blocked it out of my memory for years. All my life I lived as a doormat, letting everyone hurt me and walk all over me and I said nothing. Just like with Grandpa.
With Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming forward I am struggling, like many women abused in all sorts of ways, with an anger coming out that I never felt I had. I loved Grandpa very much. I thought that love could forgive what he did. That is until now. Until I heard Christine Blasey Ford speak. Now I am furious. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband who worked as a therapist. with mentally ill medicaid clients. He totally supports me. I should be happy with that. I am. But I am struggling with people who do not understand. And the profound injustice of Ford’s case.
As things progress, anger is morphing into despair and the deepest disappointment with our country. My doctor, a male psychiatrist, was caring, went overtime with our recent session and said my anger was justifiable. But he tried to make excuses for my grandfather. This was, and is, devastating to me. As are glib, dismissive statements, like “we have all been abused.” I am sick at heart and in my gut. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I would venture to say that these two weeks have been traumatic for all sexual crime survivors, and, as I learned from a younger friend, for survivors of emotional abuse as well. It has taught me a lot. It has taught me to treasure my husband even more. I always did, but now it is profoundly visceral and flows through every vein in my body. My husband is the only one who “gets” the whole story.
I hope Christine Blasey Ford’s husband can help her. I feel SO badly for her. She was a hero and look at what it got her. A sham investigation. A probable Kavanaugh confirmation. A Trump parody of her answers, perhaps his most perverse remarks ever. That same friend of mine, who suffered emotional abuse, tells me there is a silver lining to this. That women will use their power and mobilize. That young people will see the horror of mistreatment of an innocent victim of a sexual predator, a sexual predator like our president. Not being the most optimistic of people, I only hope she is right.
And THANK YOU Christine Blasey Ford! Take pride in your moving bravery. You have helped countless women. You are a hero for all of us. My heart goes out to you.