Original short literary fiction, including satire, remains one of the writing genres in my literary toolkit. I do enjoy creating characters!
A Foreword from the Graveyard Whistler
Remember the #MeToo Movement? During the time when it was being splashed daily across news stories, I began looking for personal accounts from real people who had experienced the devastation of sexual abuse. I found many. The one I am presenting here offers a unique perspective: she only recently realized that she had been assaulted several times her life—and that was many years after the events actually occurred.
The writer of piece composes personal blogposts for a social website; she gave permission to use her story, after making a few adjustments, but she prefers not to reveal her name or where she lives.
A Personal #MeToo Experience
The experience of s*x abuse is personal, whether a woman or a man is attacked. Citizens must not allow the #MeToo Movement to be usurped by power-grabbing demagogues, using the abused against opponents. Both men and women must remain allies, fighting against harassment and brutal attacks including physical and s*xual abuse.
Women are taking stock of their past, and no doubt becoming aware for the first time of how they have been violated and, as in my case, at the time did not even know they had been violated.
In my own life, there are several events from the renowned poet kissing me on the mouth without my consent to my first husband actually raping me. The poet thing I just passed off as an odd quirk of his odd quirky personality, but now I realize that it was, in fact, an assault. But I was 32 years old at the time, and I did not allow it to upend my life. I was meeting with the poet to get some feedback on a poem, so what the man said about my poem made a more lasting impression on me than his taking the liberty to slap on me an unwanted kiss. (I prefer not to divulge the complete name of that poet in a public forum, but I would gladly reveal it privately.)
Experiencing the Abuse
Of more consequence is the experience I describe in the following vignette from my unpublished manuscript, "A Life of Vignettes":
When I was 13, my mom said I couldn't date. But when I turned 17, I said—yes, I can. And so my first date went like this: A guy, who had come down to the ponds to fish, asked me for a date. Actually, he kissed me first then asked to take me to the movies. We went to see "The Longest Day." All through the movie, he kept trying to pull me closer to him, and the arm of the seat kept gouging into my ribs—ouch, that hurt!
On the drive back, he said he was going to park off the country road where I lived at the bend where a tractor trail veered off in the opposite direction (I remember my parents calling that place "Lovers' Lane") and take my clothes off. Wait a minute!—I thought. And then I talked him into letting me drive—I had only a beginner's permit and I needed the practice—I promise I'll park in the tractor trail, oh please! So he let me drive. And rounding that bend, I poured on some extra speed. After we had passed Casanova's love nest, he looked back and realized that my clothes would stay on.
I wrote this vignette many years ago (I think in the early 90s), and at the time I thought this little scenario was cute and funny. Now after #MeToo, I have come to realize the bullet I actually dodged. That lunatic was intending to rape me! Afterwards, he kept calling me on the telephone, and I would be cussing him out on the phone. During one of these calls, my dad happened to hear me and suggested I not talk like that on the phone. Now, I can only wonder what my dad would have thought and done had I told him about that oaf's intention to disrobe me down there in "Lovers' Lane." I would not have had the foggiest notion of how to tell my dad about that experience when I was seventeen, and I can't remember if I ever told anyone else until I wrote about it in my manuscript of memoir vignettes.
My first marriage became a nightmare about which I have not written very much in my memoir of vignettes. Thus far my only entry is the following:
Three days after I graduated from Tulane University (June 19, 1964), I married. Big mistake. Luckily, I corrected the error nearly five years later.
I suffered much psychological abuse from this man, but I also became a victim of his physical abuse. He would pretend to be playing and hit me hard in the side of head, causing headaches. He would push me, again pretending to be acting playfully; one time we were running on a paved area in Wayside Memorial Park just outside the town we were living in, and he reached out and shoved me, pretending to try to speed me up, and I fell sustaining two bloody injuries, one on my left elbow and one on my left knee. After a night of excruciating pain, I went to the hospital to have these injuries looked after.
I also remember the time when he shoved me and I fell down between the toilet bowl and the wall in the bathroom. But he always pretended he was playing, just giving me little "love" taps.
I had always thought that our s*x life was a good part of our relationship, and during the almost five years we had been married, we engaged often. But then one night, after we had been arguing, he actually raped me. I kept telling him to stop and trying to stop him, but he kept it up and afterwards, I cried and asked him why he did that. He said, "I was trying to create something beautiful." That struck me as one of the oddest, most disingenuous things this man had ever sad, and in the nearly five years we were together, he had come out with some truly bizarre statements. He once blurted out in front of his large family of mother, father, and ten siblings that his oldest sister, who mercifully was not there, could only be satisfied s*xually by him. And he claimed that he would introduce our daughter to s*x when she turned seventeen. In my s*xual naïvetè, I let those idiotic remarks go by like water off a duck's back.
Until now it never occurred to me to think of that physical attack as rape; I did not know that rape could exist between marriage partners. But I was quite aware that that one encounter was not consensual. And now I know that rape can exist in marriage.
A Valuable Movement
We've heard it said that hindsight is 20/20, but that is true only after you have learned certain lessons in the present from which you do that looking back.
While the #MeToo Movement was reportedly founded by Tarana Burke in 2006 in order to assist young black woman damaged by s*xual abuse, the laudable original intent has unfortunately drifted into the political arena in which the purpose has now shifted from assisting true victims to concocting victims in order to take down political rivals. This kind of perfidy cannot continue for if it is does, if we allow the accused to be found guilty without proper evidence, our society is in trouble. Guilty until proven innocent is not part of the American justice system; that kind of injustice is practiced in a "Banana Republic."
Women who have truly suffered because of s*xual abuse of any stripe need to examine their experience to determine the exact effects such abuse has had on their bodies, minds, and souls. And the guilty must be held accountable for their actions in a court of law. Allowing this important revelatory movement to fall into the hands of power-grabbing demagogues will damage our society and victimize those original victims all over again.
Afterword from the Graveyard Whistler
So there you have it, an interesting view of a person who looks back at her life and relates certain past events to current realities. Whether that movement can be considered a success or not remains open. It rose rapidly and now seems to have sunk. But one can hope that its message will have a beneficial effect on the culture. Lord knows the culture needs it!
Thank you for visiting! Until next time . . . I remain
aka Graveyard Whistler
Some good whistlin' goin' on!! Enjoy!
© 2021 Linda Sue Grimes