Stories From A Life

Been there. Done that. Writing about it.

Sally Swift

Sally Swift
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
June 14
VP, Repartee
Swift Retorts
sally: a journey, a venture, an expression of feeling, an outburst, a quip, a wisecrack ... me


Editor’s Pick
MARCH 5, 2010 1:04PM


Rate: 70 Flag


The house is quiet and still in the midnight darkness, three girls asleep inside. They are alone, upstairs in their rooms, parents not yet home from another Saturday night party.

A peaceful scene. So fragile. So soon broken.

In one room the teenager turns in the restless sleep of late adolescence. In another, her younger sisters are unmoving small forms, deep in the slumber of childhood. The dog snores softly on the floor at the foot of the youngest one's bed.

An uneasy calm surrounds them. Little prickles of fear pervade their dreams.

Wait! What? The older of the two young girls is suddenly awake, first disoriented, then as the room's familiar shapes emerge from the darkness, fully alert, protective instincts humming. The dog has wakened too, head up, ears erect.

That noise. The signal. Fear is coming.

The youngest sister still sleeps, blissfully unaware, half buried under a pile of soft stuffed animals. The older girl is relieved to have another moment to herself. She lets her eyes rest longingly on the bookcase against the wall, next to the bed.

Her bookcase. Only hers. Painted the same cheery yellow as the room, lined with her protective soldiers, the treasured books into which she escapes from the fear and chaos. Not of her dreams. Of her childhood.

Her books won't help her tonight. They never do. Their job is to block the bad memories, cover the scars, provide safe haven. After the storm. Still, their presence comforts her.

She runs a finger over the scalloped edge along the top shelf of her bookcase. Calms herself with the smooth symmetry of each dip and swell. Takes a deep breath.

Please, she thinks. Please. No.

Outside the window next to the bookcase, from the driveway just underneath, the noise starts again. Louder this time. Angrier. The inchoate rage palpable in the revving of the car engine. Over and over and over.

Vrrrumm. Vrrrumm. VRRUMM.

The bookcase and its contents begin to vibrate. She pulls her hand back as if burned.

Vrrrumm. Vrrrumm. VRRUMM.

As bad as it is, it will be worse when it stops. Because then he'll come into the house.

Vrrrumm. Vrrrumm. VRRUMM.

The teenager appears in the bedroom doorway. The dog runs to her side, whimpering. She's whimpering too, very softly, trying to hide her own fear, her need for contact, the pretense of safety. Hand resting on the dog's head she enters the room. "Are you okay?" she whispers.

Vrrrumm. Vrrrumm. VRRUMM.

The girl nods. Pats the bed next to her in invitation. Only 9 years old and already the maternal one. The guardian. Protector of the others. Not herself. It's the only way.

The teenager slides under the light blanket, teeth chattering, though it's a warm summer night. The dog jumps up too. As always, that's when the youngest one wakes, connected somehow to the dog, and flies across the room into the bed.

Huddled together, arms entwined, they wait. For the second act. So well choreographed, they know it by heart.

BANG! Like a gunshot the kitchen door hits the wall as he slams it open. The car had gone silent, they were expecting this. Still, they jump. The tears start, spilling like summer rain down cheeks gone white under smooth tanned skin.

They never hear the mother come in. They guess, they know, she must escape the car when he starts revving the engine, but she enters the house so silently they never hear her come in. And she never comes to them.

Him, they hear. Cursing, coughing, shouting, the violent thunder of his voice rolls, roils, explodes through the house. Hers is a low distant murmur, trying to calm his fury. Why does she speak? When will she learn it only enrages him further? They wait, shivering, knowing. A nanosecond of silence.

Then the worst sound. Fist connecting with flesh.

They hear the mother's small scream of pain. Their eyes are squeezed shut now, arms closed fiercely around each other, pulling them into a tighter circle, heads touching, fingers clenching the cotton blanket up, up, over their faces.

The dog is pressed against them, ears flat, a low growl rumbling from its soft belly. It too knows fear.

The sound comes again. And again. Oh, why doesn't she run? The raging river of noise rises to fever pitch. "WHO IS HE? I KNOW YOU'RE FUCKING HIM!" Rolling over the soft, pleading murmurs, "There's nobody else. Don't hurt me, please. Oh! Oh, stop! If someone looked at me, I didn't see him. No, I didn't. Please! Stop, you're hurting me!"

Reason falls on deaf ears, his booze-soaked unquiet brain a helpless victim to rage.

CRASH! A lamp? CRASH! A mirror? More slamming, more crashing, more cursing. But at least no more of that gruesome flesh on flesh sound. Just her quiet sobbing. Then, the clink of ice in a glass. He's mumbling, angrily, to himself. Pacing the front hall. Climbing the stairs.

They hear his labored, drunken breathing. Their fear grows.

The metallic sound of his Zippo grates as he stops on the first landing to light a cigarette. They can smell the acrid odor, almost taste the smoke. It's now or never. They look at each other, pale faces streaked with tears. They know what's next. The third act.

The worst act. For one of them. Forced to be fearless. Helpless in the face of overwhelming fear.

"Go!" the 9-year-old whispers sibilantly. "Get out! Take the dog, lock your door." The teenager looks at her, humbly, pleading, grateful, perhaps she knows too well, then grabs the little one's hand and they're off the bed in a flash, rounding the open door, back toward her room, the only one with a lock.

The dog begins to follow, stops. Looks back at the girl still huddled on the bed. "Go. Go!" she whispers urgently. Flapping her hands in a shooing motion. And it too pads away to safety.

Please, she whispers to herself. Please. No. Her hands still moving, shooing fear away. Lost, lonely, helpless. Please. She knows if she goes too he will kick down the door. Break more than the lock.

This is better, safer, for everyone. Well, everyone but her.

She slides down, pulls the covers to her chin. Closes her eyes. Her left hand reaches out to touch the bookcase. Holds on. Continues to hold on when he enters the room, mumbling, stinking of Scotch and Camels, whispering her name.

Her fingers tighten until the wooden shelf might crack as she drifts away, floats away, far, far away.

Where? She can never remember. Just. Away. From the pain. From the fear.

When she comes back, he is always crying. His hand strokes her hair. She turns her head toward the bookcase, a pure womanly gesture of dismissal. Oddly, he obeys, the bed rocks as he stands unsteadily, leaves, still crying.

Why is he crying, her eyes are dry.

Her grip on the bookcase slowly loosens, her aching fingers stroke the silky wood, reverently brush across the precious books, taking comfort in their touch, aching for their words to scrub her mind clean, scrape away the shame, the fear.

Not now. Not yet. She won't open her eyes, even in the dark, she can't turn on the light. Too much ugliness there. Fear hovers with the lingering stench of the cigarette smoke. And the worst kind of betrayal.

She takes a small breath. Another, deeper. Okay, she thinks. Okay. I'm okay. Slowly, in her mind's eye, she opens a favorite book, sees the words on the page, then the people in the story. Happy. Loving. Kind. 

Safe. Normal.

Something, so young, yet old beyond her years, she fears she will never be. Exhaustion overtakes her, small tears like clear, perfect drops of morning dew slip from her eyes, washing his smell from her face. 

And then, only then, finally, she sleeps. One hand resting on the bookcase. Her bookcase. Once again, the house is quiet and still.

Wait! What? The woman is suddenly awake, first disoriented, then as the room's familiar shapes emerge from the darkness, fully alert, protective instincts humming.

Fear, huge and powerful, is crouching. Or is it?


She shakes her head, brushes her hair from her eyes. Makes a small rueful face. Takes a deep breath. Another. Oh, that's better. It was just a bad dream. They hardly come any more.

That old fear doesn't come at all.

Not since one summer evening of her 13th year. When her friends were gathered in her room for a sleepover. When he tried to come in, drunk, weaving, in rumpled, gaping pajamas.

That summer evening, when raw anger, pure self-preservation, a new, powerful sense of dignity trumped fear.

And she said, in a quiet voice, filled with ruthless intensity, ENOUGH! I hate you! You disgust me! Don't. Ever. Touch. Me. Again

He never did. He died two months later. Suicide. She cried. With grief. More, with relief.

And then fear took other forms. Ones she couldn't escape. Phobias, locked onto her battered psyche with jaws of molton steel. Threatened to crush her, defeat her, bury her under pure terror. Filled her with panic, self-loathing, anger, despair.

For years she fought, the fear, the guilt, the pain. Slowly, slowly she gained control. Blossomed, turning to full womanhood like a flower to the sun. Opening her tightly closed heart and soul. Gladly welcoming love, trust, self. Free. From all but a small, lingering, manageable... fear.

Now, 30 plus years later, she reaches out, touches her husband's sleeping form, listens to the comforting sound of his deep, even breathing as her thudding heartbeat slowly calms.

Her gaze wanders over their bedroom with its warm, mocha-colored walls and bright white moldings, stops, lingers on the old bookcase. Her bookcase. It stands against a different wall now, still sturdy and strong.

A survivor. As is she.

It holds some older books under the scalloped edges of the top shelf, mostly newer ones below. Holds some memories too. But no grim reminders, no secrets, no pain.

It stands proudly in silent testament to her fierce hard work, her determination to heal. It is painted bright white. To match the moldings.

And to signal the purity of her triumph. Over the past. More, over the fear.

She slides back under the covers, curves herself around her kind, gentle, loving husband. Breathes a sigh of happiness. And sleeps, without fear.


If you're curious about why, how, where was the mother, here it is:  Her Two Love Stories, from Dark Prince to Shining Knight.


Postscript: Though the words flowed on their own, this is probably the hardest piece I ever shared.  

This story and others like it need to be told, heeded, heard. If only to protect, comfort, help other victims. To take away the stigma and the woefully misplaced shame.

For this plea I have no shame: Help yourself. Please. Speak out.Get help.



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Be careful what you ask for, Judy. But, well, thank you.
Wow! You had me holding my breath as I read. I hope that wasn't too autobiographical. Well done.
"It stands proudly in silent testament to her fierce hard work, her determination to heal. It is painted bright white. To match the moldings.

And to signal the purity of her triumph. Over the past. More, over the fear."

Powerful, powerful, powerful. Damn, Sally. This was so hard to read, but so well done . . . the resolution is what we all hope for, as readers and as humans. Blessings, Sally.
eastinidaho, it's not fiction. The telling is important, but you can let your breath out now.

Owl, thank you, was surprisingly easy to write, another testament to full resolution.
Can I just tell you how incredible you are? As a writer, as a person ...... simply incredible.

I hope, one day, that I can have a measure of your strength, of your resolve.
this is a very powerful tell of trauma. rated.
Bill, thank you. Coming from you, such praise means so much. And you are already there, friend. We all have our battles to fight, and win.
I am speechless.
Sally, this was so powerful and terrifying. I am still holding my breath.
Caroline, trilogy, Eden, thank you. I realize this is a tough read, but really, if I weren't okay now, I couldn't write it. There are so many others for whom I am trying to speak.
Oh my....I had tears in my eyes and holding my breath...You are an amazing person, truly amazing! I am so glad you were able to triumph!Bless you!
Wow, Sally. I've heard many other stories like this (sadly enough) but yours is especially powerful - one of the most powerful I've ever read on this terrible topic. Your writing is so eloquent and spare - every word counts, every blow is felt, every sensation palpable - and so with its restraint conveys so much more. I feel those books under my hand. (what a comfort books have been to so many of us in pain and fear and confusion!)

I'm so very very glad that this girl has healed.
Please, you need help... get help soon.
Anne, thank you so much, your praise adds to my triumph.

Silkstone, your praise and your understanding make me so proud. Books have been integral to all of us, one way or another. I think they may have saved my sanity, if not my life. I'm glad I'm healed too.

adpe, I think you have not understood. I got help. I got healed. I would not have been able to write this otherwise. But thank you for caring.
OS has been such an amazing forum to introduce me to writer's that can relate so much to my own fears and childhood memories, and this post was no exception. That's all I'll say about that. Brilliant job Sally. You're quickly becoming one of my favorite's to read.
denver, thank you most sincerely. I try to speak for all of us. Believe me, it's liberating.
Gripping and powerful with richly described emotions.

"She takes a small breath. Another, deeper. Okay, she thinks. Okay. I'm okay. Slowly, in her mind's eye, she opens a favorite book, sees the words on the page, then the people in the story. Happy. Loving. Kind."

You made me recall the washing away of fear by the act of touching familiar objects. Your writing is powerful enough to tighten all my muscles. A treat and a workout, a all-in-one. Thanks
This is a story of triumph over so many things... I really admire you as a writer -and as a woman.
so, so familiar: the terror that invades you. exceptional writing, sally, you brave, healed woman.
Powerful writing, Sally. And so sad. So many dark corners then, when people hid their shame. Now we can let it go and realize -- and let others realize -- that many of us shared shared similar pain. Thank you.
That was just amazing. Amazing amazing amazing. I couldn't breathe. I'm so sorry for what you had to go through. You came out the other side though, didn't you? That was beautiful and haunting. I wish you all the best. You deserve it.
I was so afraid, reading this--powerful, powerful writing, and then the triumph--you were so young, but you were able to speak for yourself. This is truly memorable, amazing. Thank you.
You are amazing and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your powerful story, for letting everyone know it is possible to triumph over this pain.
Gary, thank you, your writing is damn powerful too. "You made me recall the washing away of fear by the act of touching familiar objects. Your writing is powerful enough to tighten all my muscles." Wow. We should both take a breath now, k?

Marcela, admiration goes both ways. Many kisses back to you.

femme, thank you. Healed is good. I hope more realize that.

Lea, again, thank you. For understanding, for speaking my own thoughts. This isn't our grandmother's writing, is it?

asianshoebox, what a wonderful name! There must be a story there. Thank you for good wishes. I need them now for other things. I wish you the best too.

sophieh, don't be afraid, it's all in the past. And yes, I am proud I spoke up. Lots of hard work after, but still, anger is a powerful motivator. As is forgiveness.
Well done, well survived. But you shouldn't have had to.

What horrifies me is how many children are going through this all around us, every day (or night), and we as a culture...haven't stopped it. They're property, still.

Thank you for sharing this. I wish more would. I wish these stories were on every billboard. There has to be a better way to PREVENT it.
Petuunia, you're so right. I wish there were a better way to recognize and stop all kinds of abuse. It has to come out of the shadows and away from shame. Interesting that more rated here than commented. I wonder why...
Wow. What a horrible, tragic story, so well told.
Steve, thank you. There was a happy ending though. That counts for something.
It reads like a screenplay. Try writing it like that. It would make a good after-school 15 minute movie that would put all those smokin', drinkin', engine-revvin', wife-bashin', good-fer-nuthin' fathers (and step-fathers) on notice. Yeah!
Powerful Sally. Finally taking a stand, the girl forces the father to see the evil he has so long denied....and it was too much for him.
Unbreakable, you got lost in the shuffle! So sorry, and with such a perfect name for me in this post. Thank you for your kind words.

ozmoses, it reads like it was, sometimes life is like a screenplay. The engine revving was horrendously scary.

Gary, that was eventually part of the "why" and I do not feel guilty about it. Only regret for his illness (bi-polar, though not known at the time). He was also a sociopath, reaped what he sowed.
I couldn't stop reading. Every word held onto me!
My stomach is still in knots! This is so sad and powerful. There are not adequate words. Just incredible.
hard to read, need to breathe now. what a powerful, powerful story, be at peace now.
I just let out a huge sigh of relief! Heavy duty, Sally!
patricia, Karin, exactly the words a writer wants to hear. Thank you and I'm sorry if I upset you... but glad too, you know what I mean.

Bernadine, please breathe, I do have peace now. And appreciate it so much more.

Kathy, relief is the word. Sometimes we need heavy, if only to remember how many more out there have no relief.
Wow. Just wow. (And rated.)
I was not sexually abused, but I heard the sounds of my mother being beaten.....and the fear came back to me as I read your powerful words.

As I read I wanted to stop made me relive the horror. The fear.

Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop talking about it........

TALK about it. Talk about it and maybe you can make it stop.
A stunning, wrenching, shaking, sobbing, and TRIUMPHANT piece of work, Sally. The writing, the events, the life cause awe.
Very well done.
I appreciate you sharing something so difficult. You did beautiful job writing about it. I was scared too.
Glad that is in the past you have moved forward. I imagine that took a lot of time and love.
Skanktimonious, love the name. And, thank you.

Ginny, I'm sorry for your pain, and you're right... talking about it is the only way to make it stop.

Pilgrim, thank you so much, you found, you saw, you recognized the grace note of my story and of the telling... triumph.

ladyfarmer, yes, it took a lot of time and hard work. The last piece fit into place was love, first of self, then The One.
This is riveting. What an amazing, strong, beautiful woman you are. And this writing is fantastic.
You ask why so many more rated than commented. Maybe, like me, they had no idea what else to say. You're amazing brave and strong of course. I'm wondering how you knew to find that comfort touch and how you remember so much detail.
sweetfeet, thank you so much. Especially for liking the writing. Maybe hard to believe, but this just about wrote itself.

nerd cred, I did realize some weren't commenting because for many, what can you say? I feared some who've shared this nightmare might not want to admit that and hoped they'd see it's easier than they think to shine light on it. Abuse is never the victim's fault, no matter what age or gender.

Books have always been my refuge, since I taught myself to read, "Little Women" at age 4, because my mother was only reading us 1 chapter a night, not fast enough for me. I really do still have that bookcase, might add a picture of what it looks like now.

Even with a truly happy life and the end of fear, there is not one detail I could ever forget. I think other trauma victims would agree that much of the horror becomes hardwired into your brain, dormant and nonthreatening, unless you call it up.
Thank you for telling your story, and for sharing it with all of us here.

Nerd Cred is probably correct - many people reading this know how the feel, but have no idea how to express that, or are afraid about what to say. Take the ratings as you would simple statements of appreciation. That is what they mean.

Be Well
For Sally:

Darkness twirls around my mind
I look for light
None I find
Then you whisper in my ear
I am here, I am here
Darkness no more
Lightness instead
No longer alone in my dread
Focused and shining the light
Shines bright
No more fears in my night

All the best, Rated
Sally, I have heard too many stories of abuse. But I, maybe, never fully understood what it's like until your words, just beautiful. After so much tension, what a great scene when you were 13. And then suicide? Whoa, this is just full of darkness but eclipsed by the light you created. Your husband kind and next to you. You and the bookcase survivors. Brave, brilliantly rendered, and what a great ending.
arun, thank you, I do understand now, as I told nerd cred, I only wish those with similar stories would feel strong enough to speak here, where it's safe, even just a little.

Sheila, what an amazing, perfect gem of a poem, already printed to be read again and again. I can not thank you enough.

ame i, you're very right, victimhood never goes well, survivors who fought hard to heal have better lives by far.

wendyo, again I'm humbled by praise from such as you. Thank you. Not enough, but still, Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your steps on this journey. As a fellow survivor, I hear the complex emotions you struggled with. Such incredible writing-storytelling, tension, love, all shine.

As for incest and molestation, it seems nothing ever stops it - not films, or books, or poetry, or blogs. Can't we evolve from this stage we're in? When my father died, I breathed easier than I had for decades. Goddamn him. Rated.
oh. my. heart. breaks. then you put it back together. Sorry you went through this and no wonder you have a lion of a man. The ones who are untameable, wild and free are often the most protective and the most gentle to their own.
dragonlady, I am so sorry for your pain and you are right, nothing seems to stop it. Still, more support is needed for victims, who can stop it, if only they knew that. I understand so well the sense of relief brought by the death of devils.

Kim, amazing that you see my husband as a lion, I gave so little info. He's a bit more domesticated after 28 years but you're right, there's still that untameable if nonthreatening side that keeps me on my toes and safe at the same time.
I read this yesterday but didn't know what to comment.
Now I'll just say how wonderful it is that you can voice your story so well and speak for all the others who still cannot.
I really have no words except to say that this kind of survival amazes me - where do children find the resilience to keep on getting back up? And that image of caressing the bookshelf, so vivid. I'm glad you're a survivor Sally.
Sally, this is a horrible story beautifully told. I admire how far you've come. And yes, keep telling it. There's release and triumph in the telling. Thank you.
Sally I rarely use this term,but magnificent. It conveys the terror, the loathing, the palpable hate for the events that you know will come and are powerless to escape. Vivid and spellbinding. I had a cold sweat as the tension built. Horrifying. An altogether amazing work.
foundation shaking write. read this with fear & pain clawing in my chest.

speak on!
caroline marie, many feel uncomfortable, not knowing what to say, that's one of the reasons I shone light on this. Thank you for your kind words.

mamoore, children are remarkable, aren't they? Though some become abusers too, of themselves, substances or others, more (I hope) fight to become whole and strong.

charlie, thank you, release and triumph is exactly right. And, well, pride too.

Bob, praise from one who puts such depth and emotion from your own personal experiences and tragedies into so much amazing written imagery is greatly appreciated.

Renatta, thank you. I'm sorry but I'm not. You know what I mean.
Sally...this is such a courageous, humbling, amazing, cleansing, healing piece. Thank you for taking those deep breaths (which I have no doubt were painful) and letting it out. The beauty of this is that in writing it down, you've released it to the Universe, where the pain dissipates, and the healing is spread to the rest of us.
Thank you for not letting the bad guys win.
Oh (((Sally)))...there are no words.
Wow. My heart was pounding and I had a lump in my throat the whole time I read it. Amazing writing. So sorry that you went through that, but wow. So awed that you had the guts to write about it. Glad it's in the past and that you made it through. Amazing.
this has left me shattered, as it should. it rang too true to not be autobiographical.

bravo to that little girl who finally was able to say NO MORE! and to the woman who worked hard afterwards to become so much more than he tried to make her into.

i am blinded by tears and admiration for you. (r)
Sissy, thank you so much for such an accolade. I really like this a lot: "The beauty of this is that in writing it down, you've released it to the Universe, where the pain dissipates, and the healing is spread to the rest of us." I hope that's true for all in pain.

Lisa, my friend, I don't need your words, I know I have your caring thoughts.

Lisa Kuebler, it does take guts to write about this stuff, but it's so worth it. The best revenge is living not only well, but healthy.

MissingK8, your strength and courage inspire me and make our admiration mutual. Keep going, please, just keep going.
My God! Somehow that seems the only real appropriate thing to say. A lady of my family and her daughter experienced much the same. The daughter told me one time that she prayed "God, if you are up there, please get him out of my life!" He was her step-father, she was about 10 at the time. Eventually her mother left him and he died drunk, head on about 90 mph into a concrete bridge abutment. I can't think of a better end for him.

Yes, you are right. These stories need told. God bless you for having the courage.
Henry, thank you. There are many stories. Others do not have to tell them (unless they want to), my hope is that any victim still feeling responsible might read this and start to understand that's impossible.
Wow. I don't know what else to say, except I'm in awe of your resiliency and of course your writing. This is amazing.
Sally, I'm so sorry you felt as your piece was overlooked at first. God, that must have felt crappy. Especially when its such a powerful piece. It was mesmerizing. I hung on every word.

As a survivor myself, I'm in the white bookcase phase of my life as well, thank God. It wasn't too hard for me to read it. The only feeling that can become uncontrollable still is that of deep anger toward the parents. I find no excuse in the abusive one but equally none in the silent, abused one. They both make me sick, frankly. To think a parent could be in the same house while such horror occurred is beyond me. Fear is no excuse. None.

I'm sorry for the delayed responses, Sally. Frankly, I've been desperately working to deal with some major bills that had come my way. And since I work solely on my computer, when I'm done, I can barely look at another word on a screen. My wrists, my eyes...hit hard from overwork.
mginmn, thank you for your kind and very welcome words.

Beth, no, please, not overlooked, that's clearly not the case. I was more concerned that this might have hit too close to home for some of my friends and if so, was sorry to pile my pain onto theirs. I hear you, and I have forgiven my mother, who apologizes on a regular basis (cannot forgive herself) and I'm very glad my father's gone, but the anger at both of them, especially her for her weakness is hard-coded and will never completely go away.

I'm sorry too you've been working so hard. Please forgive me for adding to your load with my childish whining. Go, walk in the rain, rest your weary eyes and wrists.
Sally, you must have written this on a day when I was buried in work. I missed it. There is much in this story that is similar to my own life, though it wasn't my father, it was two of my uncles and a babysitter my mother left me with in first grade.

Like you, I have long since worked it out and feel a great deal of freedom to appreciate the wonderful life I now have. Thanks for letting me know about this. I always thought there was something about your background that was familiar. I am sorry it is such a sad part, but I do feel I know something about what makes you so strong and so expressive in your celebration of life.
Oh Sally. You took my breath away. It just furthers what I am finding now as I speak of my own childhood horrors, there are many just like us who never say a word. I hope to God that someone, anyone, experiencing this pain reads this and decides to stand up for herself. If I could rate this a thousand times over, I would. I am sorry you had to write this.
Suzanne, we always know each other, even if we don't exactly know why.. the connection is strong. Glad you are too.

luck o, I wrote it when I was ready. As did you. My goals are the same as all who write these... catharsis, sure, but that's already been achieved or we couldn't write it. Most important, outreach. Let others know they're not alone and if necessary, to get help.
jesus. I'm so sorry. for you. for your sisters.

I can't do it. I can talk around it but to go into it like that. no. no. jesus. thank you. thank you.
And that's why you're a writer, though you should have more prestigious places to publish than this one.
FM, it's okay. I can speak for anyone and everyone who can't bring themselves to relive or reveal. I can tell you this: it's incredibly liberating.

ks, thank you. I think most writers, people in all creative fields have had backgrounds of intense reality and pain. I've been on other stages, gotten my share of accolades and awards. Right now, this one suits me just fine.
I never read anything harder to read. You are a remarkable woman Sally. And a brilliant writer. _r
I'm in the mirror so to speak. At least the opposite situation. I spent most of my single digit years alone with my mother and an absent father. She would take my body and use me to gratify her excessive sexual needs. But it had the opposite effect on me -- though just as destructive in its own way. I equated sex with love all my life. The better the sex the greater the love. Of course in seventy years I've never had a healthy relationship with a woman. Or a man. But in its place I've grown to enjoy the solitary life. I don't think I'm too twisted though some (mostly doctors) have labeled me a sociopath. Others have told me I'm the sanest person they've ever met.
You know Sally, this is how people heal. Through writing and even through reading about those dark things that no one dares speak about in polite company. It's not like you can go around and announce your pain publicly without people looking at you strangely. But writing is healing.

I want to jump in and save you as a little girl. To hold you from harm and slay the monster that could do this to an innocent child. I can't, but I still really want to.

You are right about us writers/artists. Most of us have really survived a lot and felt a lot. That is why we are given the gift of writing. It's like a needle and thread to stitch our wounds.
Sally you are simply slendiferous! Your writing is beyond excellent. I'm glad I read fast because I couldn't breathe as I read this powerful post. I wish I could rate you twice!