WARNING: Graphic Images
My father helped uncounted strangers. He gave directions, fixed tires, delivered groceries, shared tools, shoveled driveways. He lent money that went unreturned. He cleared debris, cut down unwanted tree limbs, and cleaned the home of one elderly man for years.
My father, also, molested me. I have struggled with the scars of that incest my entire life…
People who have just learned of the incest will – after a distressed pause – often ask how it first began…I cannot recall the first time. I simply do not remember a period when the incest was not a part of my reality…
Certainly I was acting out sexually by the second grade, a sure sign I was being molested. I knew the basics of sexual intercourse by that point. My father had conveyed that information in the interest of furthering my education. So he repeatedly said…
I have no words to convey the horror my father’s assaults produced in me.
Imagine a cool summer’s day. It is early morning. You open the screen door and stop out onto the porch, kissed by a soft breeze. The world is green and new…After a few moments, you turn reluctantly; go back indoors to chores and the real world.
It is only than that you see. A hoard of flies somehow entered the apartment while the screen door was ajar. You are at first stunned by their number. There must be eight or ten. How can this have happened so quickly? Then disgust sets in. Your gorge rises, but there is no relief at hand. Somehow you have to deal with the situation.
Frantically, fruitlessly, you beat at the flies with a towel, hoping to chase them back outside. Effortlessly, they dart beyond your reach – hovering in the air, polluting it by their very presence. Your mind races. You try and think of a logical solution. Instead, images of rancid meat come to the fore, dead bodies afloat on turgid water. You cry out silently for God’s help.
You make an assessment that drastic measures are called for. You leave for the nearest hardware location, in search of a remedy At the store, you purchase pest strips, flypaper, in hopes these will solve the problem.
You force yourself to return to the apartment. The flies circle, in full possession. You wrestle disgustedly with the flypaper; struggle to maintain control, now bathed in sweat. The flypaper clings to your clothing. Your nausea increases. One packet is particularly difficult to maneuver. It finally pops open, the loosened top unexpectedly striking your right breast. You shriek.
You hang the pest strips, the flypaper, and pray these will work. The flies continue to circle. Meanwhile, you attempt to resume your day, to go about your business. As if nothing had happened.
Only, the situation is repeated. Day after day. Without prior warning. Again and again and again…
–Excerpt from The Rose Garden, Copyright © 2008 Anna Waldherr. All rights reserved.
6 former employees (now ages 51-79) are alleged to have sexually assaulted teens at New Hampshire’s Sununu Youth Services Center for an 11-year period from 1994 to 2005.
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