I’d intended to write this piece three weeks ago but I put it off; chickened out really. I didn’t think I’d be able to make sense of the horror occurring daily in the confines of this space. Even more telling, I wasn’t ready to deal with the hornets nest sure to be stirred up by candid talk of the widespread sexual abuse of girls that reside in ‘the under’. Sexual abuse more often than not at the hands of “momma’s” new lover who moved into the house and made a move on the girl after her daddy had slunk off and tuned out.
Now that the sordid Sandusky saga alleging sexual atrocities perpetrated against young boys at Penn State University and the Second Mile Charity is receiving non-stop media play perhaps its time.
I teach Empowerment to individuals stuck in the muck of ‘the under’. I teach to illuminate the path up. For the past several years my students have included ex-offenders, high school dropouts, the chronically unemployed, the functionally illiterate, substance abusers, “at risk” youth and people labeled as “special needs”. Some come from families that have existed for generations under the poverty line; subsisting on a hustle and a hope with allegiance to nothing and no one.
I’ve been amazed by the damage done to many of my students, by their own hand sometimes but predominantly at the hands of a predator; someone who saw their vulnerability or weakness or deficiency and pounced.
Of all the wreckage I’ve walked through teaching in ‘the under’, it is the girls I think that have been wrecked the most. Low self-worth, inability to trust, promiscuous behavior in some, withered emotions in others. Mostly afraid - afraid that the rape won’t stop, afraid that people will know - some afraid because guiltily they crave the attention, still more because they want to kill the rapist or themselves.
Recently I asked a male group I teach to raise their hand if they had children. Every man in the room of about fifteen raised his hand. “How many of you live in the house with them” I asked. Every hand but one went down.
In my Blog dated 10-24-11 I asked if we could talk, seriously talk about curing our ills and fixing ourselves. Can we start here, with this?
What do we do about the girls whose anguish lies hidden and whose wounds run deep? What do we do about the daddies that don’t parent and have abdicated their responsibility to protect and nourish their offspring? What do we do about the mothers who turn a blind eye to the actions of their new man as he creeps Jody-like to destroy her child’s world?
What to do… whom to tell… what to say? I’m not sure so I’m asking you; can we solve this one if we start talking about it?