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The headline is colorful, chilling, and woefully short sighted about the issues of incest, pregnancy, and consent. I think it goes without much emphasis how quickly it hit all the wrong buttons that put me back to my youth being molested by my father. It made me immediately reflect on the moment I said yes when he asked if he could pretend I was my mother. That headline made me stand up and pace the room for a good three minutes, reminding myself how often incest happens: voluntarily - but with limited understanding of what it all means until the damage is done. Virginian delegate, Bob Marshall (R), is well known for his blatantly reckless, and often abhorrent, public airing of his reasoning regarding issues ranging from disabled children being nature's vengeance on mothers who have had abortions before, to making cursing in an email a misdemeanor offense if he had his way. When reading his rationale that there should not be an exception to an abortion ban in cases of incest because sometimes incest is "voluntary", one cannot help but wonder how many victims of incest, let alone those who became pregnant, has he ever been socially involved with. To take the attitude that because some victims were complicit in the demands of their abuser should automatically disallow abortion, even for those who were forcefully abused and impregnated, demonstrates how little this candidate is familiar with the dynamics of sexual abuse to begin with. My own experience of being molested by my father underscores the need for legislators like Marshall to understand that it is not black and white when it comes to abuse. My father was a verbally, physically, and emotionally abusive man. He pretty much left me walking on egg shells, anxious when working on projects with him, and never sure if I would become too annoying and he would find a way to punish me and make me go away for awhile to my room, or worse, take the belt to me. When my father approached me to come to his bed while my mother was nearly dying in the hospital from severe pancreatitis, and he was being gentle, caring, even conversational and patient, how could I at such a young age say no? I was completely ignorant on what sex was, or that his desire was inappropriate. My church never spoke on such things to children so young. All I knew is that dad wasn't acting like the normally recognizable monster that kept our home a nightmare of bipolar highs and lows, and I wasn't going to pass up on a chance to have a father that was calm and loving for once. Of course, I didn't realize he was hurting me until later on, and this is where Marshall's public opinion on "voluntary" incest is woefully misguided and lacking any real depth of the situation. It leaves out the reality that a lot of "voluntary" instances of incest and other forms of sex abuse are situations of "uninformed consent" -- which is assault..... It's been two years since Marshall made these statements, and sadly, he is in his 11th term of office, and even more politicians are taking the same attitude, but with different rationale. George Faught (R) state representative of Oklahoma, made it clear that except for genetic anomalies and Down Syndrome, that there shouldn't be an exception to an abortion ban. His attitude, like that of Rick Santorum and many other conservative congressional leaders, is that the suffering of one will "bring beauty from the ashes" in the form of the child that is forced to be carried to term, despite how it was conceived or the lingering psychological damage that the mother must recover from. Rape and incest, no exception, but genetic anomalies, kill it. The attitude that ultimately beauty comes from sexual abuse tells me they watch way too many Lifetime movies, or this demonstrates how much cognitive dissonance is at play in the policy making minds of many conservative congressmen in this country. The romanticizing of suffering, and the more personal an assault the better for such a process, is undeniable in the Bible. There have been many stories shared not just in religious studies, but in everyday life and story telling, of how a person is sexually violated, and the resulting child brings about a metamorphosis of recovery and strength to defeat all the odds against the victim. But as Faught seems to point out, a genetic deformity is not the same as sexual abuse. There wasn't an an act against one's will involved. There wasn't trauma. There wasn't a good enough story of a human life being shattered behind it. Worst of all, this type of romanticizing of suffering and humiliation of an individual creates an obligatory martyrdom that is then demanded to be shared publicly for all to gain a lesson from, which is atrocious and dehumanizing in my opinion. It takes away the right to process your pain in a manner that best suits you, and even encourages a suppression of hurt as there is an expectation to perform for the general public an astounding feat of an "overcoming the odds" underdog story of encouragement. It's pure selfishness on the part of these congressmen and ideologues pushing this line of rationalization to the general public. They are saying to victims,"We want a feel good story from your tragedy that reaffirms our faith values, Suzy, so you have to have that rape baby your daddy put in your belly. Don't worry, it's a blessing you can pay for, sweetheart." This is exploitation of the vulnerable to benefit the masses, and it must stop. Some might argue that it isn't about any of what I've just said, but actually a focus on the beauty of someone trying to survive and recover, and that the baby in the mix makes it all the more beautiful. But to whom? This refusal to offer exception for incest is not about the rare cases of sister and brother, or uncle and niece, who are of age, informed of the risks, and willingly in a desired relationship together. This is about the 15 year old, or 22 year old, who finds themselves pregnant after sexual abuse. They are feeling depressed, used, overwhelmed, and are struggling to survive. And you think that this notion that being in this predicament is benefiting them by showing others the strength and resilience of their desire to get through that mess? That in the long run, everything will end up like Queen Simonida of Serbia, and these abused souls will take solace in being the example for everyone else? That this constant recognition of pain and anguish will be a pep rally for their psyche to continue on and look back on their lives with a grateful attitude?
Once again the poster children of the Quiverfull movement are in the spotlight, this time because of admitted molestation of minors. It should be noted, Josh Duggar molested fellow underage family members and possibly church members, while technically a minor himself. Granted, the victims were well under the age of consent. They were also sleeping. But, to make reparations for his crimes that repeatedly occurred over the course of at least 3 years, he helped build a house, received further guidance of sorts from a “role mode”, and promised he would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, do it again. In a statement, Josh Duggar said,”We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” the statement said. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.” He understands he was on the path to ruin his life. He’s sorry. The victims? “We’ll be praying for everyone involved,” according to patriarch Jim Bob and wife Michelle. After all, according to most Christian faiths, your body belongs to God. What you do with it is your choice, but if you are harmed, God absorbs the hit points and you can continue on being strengthened spiritually from your ordeal. Somebody needs to hold my bra. Seriously. Read more at my blog here... http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/23/josh-duggar-sex-abuse-scandal/
Right now, I am pounding these keys. Pounding them hard. Pounding them like my heart would pound in the wee hours of morning as a child. Pounding these lettered plastic keys like they are bones being turned to dust. And this pounding will not yield much relief or vengeful satisfaction because, as Chaucer put it so simply,"Forbid us something, and that thing we desire." Still, I am slamming away at my Logitech K260 Model keyboard with heated thought. Each slam of the space bar is my mind willing its force towards that which I despise so much for the turmoil and pain I will never get complete closure to. Every time I harshly tap the period key, it is one more moment of emotional wounding tearing through my physical form when all I want to do is banish these things from my daily contemplations of "where to go from here". One would think if relief were surely desired, I would "man up" and move on. Sweep the nasty little shards of broken years under the rug of my stubborn headed skull. Sadly, I am human, and we are known for our lack of follow through in almost anything, depending on our mood that day. Sometimes, I look at this mess I have been cleaning up for the last 35 years, and I wonder if it isn't almost like an addiction. You lock up all the hurt, unresolved conflict, and hopeless hopes, and every now and then, you just have to wallow in them. Boy, am I wallowing tonight. So where did all of this start? Well, I think what started my official filling of the sorrowful bathtub to lounge around in began with a posting by my father this afternoon, but we all know that is probably just what snapped my limits and caused me to unbolt the doors of my pain filled closets. And I say closets, because one couldn't hold all my skeletons. Really though, I think this has been working on me for a couple of weeks now. Earlier in this month, I had posted about my mother giving my eldest son a call after a nearly 3 month hiatus of communication with him altogether, on her part. Then, about a week and a half ago, my father called, inviting my eldest to an event for cleaning up a local waterway. Not too eventful a phonecall. Said he would call him back with the actual day and time, which I told my son shouldn't be a problem either way since his grandfather promised to not make a big deal about his bug phobia this time. Then, just last week, I fielded a call from my youngest boy's father, asking if I had plans for the weekend since my father had called asking to take our child out to a movie or something. I already had plans of course, so I advised to say not this weekend. Now, this was slightly irritating. They have my number, my email address, and my father tries to go around me, and get my ex to cut off my weekend time without me being asked first. Stil, I let it roll off. Today, I get a phonecall from my ex again. My parents called him asking to let me know they had been in a terrible accident, the truck was totalled, and they were on their way by ambulance to the hospital, though they are sure they will be fine. While it is true I could give a shit less their condition, it bothered me my ex was being used as a go between of sorts. I made it clear to my ex that they have not been forbidden to leave me a voicemail or email and that by no means should he feel obligated to be a third party to all of this. He didn't seem to mind since he is currently keeping a foot in their ass to see our son, but he promised he wouldn't try to negotiate any "peace talks". Relieved he understood the boundaries, I hung up. Fast forward to a few hours ago, and my oldest son logs on to FB. Mind you, he is friends with them on there, which I do not mind or care. None of my business is my attitude so long as they communicate to him, about him, and not weed out information about me. I've always told my son to advise nosey folks to go to the source, and if they don't get an answer, tough nuts, it isn't your problem. My kids and I like this arrangement and takes the pressure off of them for the most part. I digress, sorry. So, Sean mentions that Grampy is posting on Granny's FB page, and he shows me a new picture of the cat, something mom baked recently, etc. No big deal until the almost journal like entries pop up. And it pains me to tears that I actually read this one: "As I awoke this morning I found a mess our aging dog had left in the family room. Needless to say it was not solid. I cleaned it up and then used the rug cleaner to take care of the rest of the matter quickly. It was very early at the time and Marquita was in bed and I knew she would awaken from the noise but it had to be done. Three hours later another 'accident' happened and Marquita found it and was not happy about it. While helping her we also talked about what we go through physically at our ages as each of us found bruises on our feet but were clearing up. I said we were very fortunate, that, at our age, we were more well off than others who could not walk or live a more active life in various ways. And I said we still had the joy of God in our hearts. As I went outside to attend to something the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded of how many people are living today without joy, instead prefering to live a life of complaining and hurt. They don't realize they actually 'nurse and nuture' those feelings simply by keeping them in their hearts and thinking about (meditating) and speaking about them daily. It was at that moment that the Lord brought to my attention that we can also give our joy nuturing as well by thinking on what blessings we have and not allowing hurt feelings to overtake our thinking, no matter how those feelings came about. It was something I had not realized before. I had already determined long ago that things like worry, guilt or condemnation from the past or present were not going to rob me of my joy. I was the one, and only I, who could decide what to think and not to think. If you're having trouble living a joyful life and your thoughts seem to center around things that make you feel badly about life then check out what your thoughts are. What you think has a big impact on the way you live. In Proverbs 23: 7 we find 'For as he (man) thinketh in his heart so is he." This passage really hurt me to the core, and elicited such a blinding anger - outrage even - it took everything for me to not call this bastard up. Just typing this has my throat feeling constricted, eyes tight, and shoulders frozen with such pain. I look at this particular part of the message and I just cry with hopeless angst because he will never see what he has done. He applies blind Christian faith tactics to his wrongdoings. I had already determined long ago that things like worry, guilt or condemnation from the past or present were not going to rob me of my joy. I was the one, and only I, who could decide what to think and not to think. How does one get joy by avoiding responsibility for transgression? I have had to look at every single one of my family members over the years, knowing they were well aware of my having stolen money, my impulsive lying, sneaking out of the house, and having the police at their home throughout my childhood and early adulthood. I know these family members have listened to my mother crying about how I nearly drove their marriage into the ground just to get out of that horrible home. And while I stand in front of these relatives who have my complete history of malfeasance, I don't say a word in my defense. I don't cry about what my father did to me, how my mother neglected my mental illness as a child, or how I have struggled and won the fight to control my anger. I realize I go on and on about how I want to clear my name. I want to show that while I am ultimately responsible for who I am, my parents neglected issues that could have resolved long before I reached adulthood and hurt my own family. I don't understand how he cannot understand emotional scars and trauma. He is the product of an abusive childhood, so I know he deals with irrational thoughts, memories that haunt his daily life, and probably nightmares/sleep disturbances. To this day, once or twice a week, I will wake up horrified that I might have wet the bed again. Absolutely horrified, and embarrassed upon waking only to find that it didn't happen. This is an occurrence I cannot seem to get rid of, but after spending the first 12 years of my life wetting the bed, I guess I might not ever get rid of the feelings associated with it. It would be nice if it would stop haunting my sleep though. There's my instant fear and dread when I hear men raise their voices in argument. I still get that queezy feeling in my stomach when in those situations and am shaken for at least half an hour after the incident is over. My job, with angry truck drivers and dispatchers was really starting to take a toll on my every day nerves. So much baggage to sort out in this life, and he gets to go nimbly pimbly along like nothing will bother him because he has decided he won't let his joy be robbed of him. I just cannot believe that because I have these issues, I am "nurturing" these feelings by acknowledging them and confronting them. If I didn't do so, I might still be physically violent. To think, even though he physically, verbally, emotionally, and sexually abused me, he shouldn't let those things bother him. He DESERVES joy, he says. The Lord told him so he said. Well, the "Lord" told me to NOT forgive his self-righteous, self-worshipping, self-serving ass. I don't want him asking me for forgiveness. I wanted him to see what harm he has wrought in my life, see the legacy of abuse he helped to spread through me, and maybe, just maybe, offer some support in getting control. All I have ever been told is that I am a free loader, a joke, a fake, a liar, a failure, a sinner. I realize now he is jealous. Everything he has ever thrown at me has been without any grounds. He says I am a failure. He never finished college, and retired from a shitty machinist job after 30 years with a whole whopping $216/month as a pension, having never earned more than $13/hr. I on the other hand have TWO degrees under my belt, along with multiple certifications and have put my education to use in jobs that I have mostly enjoyed and earned a hell of a lot more at. He says I am a joke. He abused his child on every level possible, and says God spoke to him and encouraged him to be have joy in life. THAT is a joke. I could go on and on. He has no merit, and I know this. It has to be jealousy. I have been in relationships with people I actually LIKE. I do things that make me happy, and despite what he thinks of it, I have a lot of support and appreciation for what I do. My kids can actually approach me now, and I am honest with them when given the chance. He could never say he has any of these things. He is downright psychopathic to think if God is real that he is forgiven and has entrance to Heaven. You cannot repent to this so called God without being genuine of heart and intention. I know this because he would preach this at me every time I screwed up. Same rules apply asshole.
**This is a reblog since I have some nosey relatives following me around on the net. Might as well just give it all out there, right?** I have been on a journey of disbelief in religion for my entire life. Over the last six or seven years, I finally reached that final destination of atheism and am confident in who I am and what this means in my life. Getting to that point, has been one hell of a fight of control over my life. Only child, born in the late 70s to a Pentecostal family, I was indoctrinated early on in life. My earliest memories are not without this church. This place of worship was a kind one, filled with a lot of love and enthusiasm. I do not remember a single sermon threatening fire and brimstone, but we only attended until I reached 9 years of age, so I never got anything more than learning right versus wrong and the evils of temptation from Gospel Bill shows. But I had been involved in the church long enough that the motivation to succeed at being a good follower of Christ was already burning within. I remember the day I asked Jesus into my heart. Pastor Jerry was knelt next to me at the pew and leaned over and asked me,”Amanda, do you want the Lord Jesus in your heart?” My mom was standing near by, tears streaming down her face with pride, and naturally, at age five I did not comprehend what it meant to let this guy name Jesus in my heart, but I liked the attention so naturally I said yes. I was baptized a week later. Several months after that a select number of us from Sunday School were gathered in one of the quieter classrooms, and we were taught about speaking in tongues. Then we were encouraged to pray, and feel what god was trying to tell us. Then we were encouraged to vocalize what we were being told. Thus began the recruitment competition for a gifted child in the class. I tried so hard to hear what the Lord was saying. He spoke through my mother all the time. My mother sung in the choir, fervently spoke in tongues when services reached a fevered pitch during the singing and prayer, and was generally an obedient wife. I wanted to be the same naturally. I prayed and prayed. I wanted my chance to be in the light and acknowledged by something positive in my life. I started praying, feeling that desire to know God, or know acceptance in general. I even kick started the process by mumbling under my breath Boom-shaka-laka. It sounded similar to what the adults would say when they prayed so maybe this would put my own tongue on the right track? Needless to say, after about 20 minutes the spotlight landed. But it was on the girl next to me. She actually was crying and speaking in tongues. She had me beat. And so did my father. Ironically, my father was active with the other "brothers", intensely studied the Bible, and believed that Christ would surely come back in 1988. With my mother, they seemingly modeled the picture perfect family. Naturally, the model didn't match the reality. My earliest memories of my father are angry ones. Shouting behind closed doors, hearing various items crash off the sides of the walls, and his general contempt for me and who I was. I ended up being angry and depressed early on. My mother often defended his abusive rages. Needless to say, I continued to wet the bed until a very late age (nearly 12), habitually lied, stole and destroyed items that were special to them out of anger (this started by the age of 5). I was one hot mess, and either received whippings, slaps, punches, threats, and even forced to pack my bags several times over by the age of 8. My parents did not seek true professional help for me though. They would speak with the pastor of the church, or their religious based marriage counselor who tried to explain to me (on only two occasions) that the lying, bed wetting and theft were symptoms of my flesh overruling my spirit. Not very helpful, but pretty much teaching me it was my fault these two adults couldn't maintain their marriage. All this under the pretense of religious duty. We dropped out of church for a year. I am unsure what the falling out with the church was all about, but when they banned my grandfather from seeing me anymore around that same period in time, I overheard the accusation that dad broke away from the church because they wouldn't help with childcare. Either way, we ended up at a new church called Trinity Fellowship. It was in its beginnings and we held services in an elementary school gymnasium on Sundays. Eventually, a new church was built. Good memories during those days. Life wasn't as angry at church. It was a fresh start. That year I was abused sexually by my father as well. Mom was ill and hospital ridden, and dad panicked. Not excusing it, just what it is. I remember him sitting on my bed one of the mornings afterward and apologizing for what he did, and not to tell mom since she was too ill to handle the news. He assured me he would talk to her about it. Naturally that never happened, but at the same time, in a way I wasn't angry at first because it was the first time I received attention from him that didn't involve being threatened, screamed at or hit. This was 1988. Mom eventually got well and came home after a month away. God didn't return, and I remember hearing the screaming and yelling behind closed doors again. Mom trying to pacify this monster of a man and items crashing against the walls again. I remember laying on the couch downstairs, pulling my grandmother's handmade afghan over my head and crying out of fear. Church members eventually showed up and counseled my father, but after that night we randomly attended church. The physical and verbal abuse escalated once again and I behaved even worse. Still no help. By the time I was thirteen and fourteen, I had begun sharing what had been happening to me with friends, but with all the habitual lying I had already been caught at, no one would believe me. You would think they would connect the dots with my behavior right? I had NEVER spoken of being mistreated. I had lied about simple things like attending a concert I hadn't really been too and such. That is when I realized that despite my dad's behavior behind closed doors, the man actually had a sparkling reputation in our town. I couldn't bring him down, or my mother, a first grade teacher of some nearly 20 years at that point. Needless to say, at 16, I ran away with my very first boyfriend and got married. We ended up having two children together in the 3 years we were together off and on. Sadly, the abuse cycle continued with me. During this time I found myself completely rejecting God in my heart, but would still call on Him to help me during times of stress. When I look further back on my life and the things that had an influence on my belief and lack there of, I think the two biggest factors that contributed to my waking up would be the family history of abuse I had to confront, and the fact that since I was 5, I was reading newspapers, keeping involved in world debates and in general educating myself in my free time. I just wish I could have applied it sooner and avoided all the heartache in my life. Needless to say, it all hit a crescendo about 8 years ago. My youngest daughter, at this point 8 years old, and much like myself, experienced abuse by her own father and uncle, add to that my frustration with her misbehavior (bed wetting, lying, theft, violent rages towards her siblings). I couldn't get help from her doctor, the schools wouldn't step up, and I was so poor I couldn't get her help. Add to that my own personal life drama. I was so blind and lost in my own problems that I ended up whipping her with a belt one night and turned her bottom black and blue. It is eery when you suddenly have an epiphany and look back at that moment. It only took 15 minutes after whipping her for my blind eyes to open to the reality of what I had done. I'd become my father. Needless to say, I immediately called my ex-sister inlaw (remarried and divorced again by this time) to come over, along with my newly ex-husband. We went to the hospital to document everything, had the kids go home with her for the night and contact the appropriate authorities. I called my mother, ashamed for what I had done and neglected to do for my daughter. I needed someone to talk to, and since my parents had alienated extended family, they were the only people I had to call. And I was dumbfounded at her reply when I told her what happened. She literally asked me why I would have bothered to get children services involved? That was it. I was finished with God. I realized what a delusion I had really been living under. I was dismayed at how I had neglected to step up and pay attention to what was happening in my home because I was so wrapped up in my own blind search for answers. The last 8 years has been a process of rebuilding my life. Confronting my demons and getting help, not trying to pray them away. I will not show the arrogance of my parents and take the attitude that if God forgives me, then that is enough. I want to make sure that this stops, and stops NOW. I was ordered to only 6 weeks anger management by the court, but I opted to extend that and attended intensive therapy for 3 years. I served time in jail, worked on a reunification program, but realized my life was so unstable I needed to protect my daughters, so they were lovingly adopted by a wonderful family near by. I still have contact with them whenever possible, and overall, their life is stable, safe, and they are getting the right structure they need to be sure that they know what normal is. I never would have accomplished any of this recovery if I had remained with a church. My own father is attending yet another church, but I highly doubt he has confronted what he has done with other church members. I know he has still never admitted the full truth to my mother about what he has done to me sexually, and she was there when he verbally and physically hurt me and did nothing. I hold no hope for her whatsoever. I still get reprimands about how I live in sin and need to find god in my life. And I look at the examples I have personally seen, I look at the transgressions against my own children that I had previously justified under biblical thought, and I refuse to submit to such blind behavior any longer. Sadly, I have been to several different therapy groups and have met many more in my shoes, and I realize I might receive some heavy handed criticism here for my transgressions against my family, but I want others out there who have been victims, and have created victims, to know that you have to take responsibility and step forward out of the haze you are living in.