Archive for abuse
“I invited him into my home. I met him at the church and I thought that he must be all right. I mean, you don’t think that someone who goes to church and looks like he does would be weird. He looked all right. Not scruffy or any of the facial hair or anything. Tall, sharply dressed, thin. I remember his jersey. It had some animal patterns on it and it was brightly colored. Or-at least there was one bright color in it. Red-I think. I said to him – come on down to my place after the service – we are having some coffee, lemonade and cake. Just me and the kids. I should have known when he asked how old my kids were. Anyway he called around. He seemed nice enough. I said to him at one point – I remember the kids had just left and we were talking about families and bringing up kids – I said to him – come round any time you want. I’ll show you where the key is. Just let yourself in and make some coffee. Just make yourself at home. He seemed a really nice person. The sort of person I had wanted to get to know. Someone you could trust. Someone you could talk to. I should have known. He looked kind of queerly at me and then he started. At first, I didn’t know what to make of what he was saying. The way he talked about the little girls that he had done these things too. Then he started in on the guilt and all that stuff but I could see that he didn’t really feel guilty. He was more concerned that he had been caught but even that had a funny edge to it. Like he really wanted to be caught. That being caught was part of the process. Part of getting off. I started to feel creepy then and I thought back to my work and I used the technique that I used with difficult patients who were just raving on and on about themselves. I looked at my wristwatch and I made a big deal of pulling up my sleeve and sort of peering at it. I pointed to it and said – Right, you have five minutes to finish up and then I have to get going-. Well! He sort of stopped in his tracks and then he looked at me and asked if he could use my bathroom. I just wanted him out of there by that stage and I didn’t really think it through. Sure – I said. Down the hall and to your right. After about five minutes I started to get suspicious but then he appeared with a big grin on his face and he traipsed out of the house. I felt dirty and spoiled. I felt betrayed by the church. They must have known about him if the things he said he had done were true. Why hadn’t they told me? Then my eldest came in. Mummy- she said – there’s something funny ion the bathroom and it smells. I went in there and the bastard had masturbated and left his stuff all overt the vanity unit. He must have been getting off as he spoke to me and then he had to go and relieve himself. I had thought smugly that I had the situation under control – but all the time he was just mocking me. Mocking me and thinking how he could leave his mark on me and my house. Left me feeling ugly, dirty, and abused.
A culture of fear that is mined by politicians and exacerbated by a media hungry for sensation. To my mind we don’t give enough attention to the vigilante strain in our culture, which teems with scenarios of wives and children murdered and bloody vengeance enacted by angry individuals fed up with the inaction of a liberal government. What we do brilliantly is beat the cultural conservatives at their own game. I watched Michael Moore’s film ‘ Columbine”. Where William Bennett and his ilk will be quick to blame the counterculture or Marilyn Manson (who appears in the film), Moore will suggest that a more likely source of homicidal rage is the culture of achievement at Columbine, whereby anyone who’s a loser now is told they’ll be a loser forever-and die poor. Where the right will target broken homes, drugs, and violent TV shows, Moore will show how the 6-year-old’s mother couldn’t have seen him leave for elementary school with his grandfather’s gun: She was on an 80-mile round-trip journey to the mall where she was employed as part of Michigan’s welfare-to-work program.
The culture of NZ is seemingly similar. When Teresa Cormack’s ravaged body was discovered on a wild Napier beach the police (noting she had been sexually assaulted) interview the known sexual offenders in the area. Napier, with a population of 57,000, threw up 147 known sexual offenders. The police (and media) were horrified that small town NZ could harbour so many monsters. This is not atypical of the sort of numbers that occur throughout the country.
Tie this to the history of abuse and bullying at schools and in the teenage and young adult years and the inequities in society.
We are faced with the spouses of vicious, inhuman, monsters claiming compensation for the emotional trauma they have suffered by being attached to killers and some parts of society actually giving them some air-time. A family claims that their 8 year old is being victimized because local shop-owners (sickened by repeated shoplifting and vandalism) place warnings in the main street shops. The Commissioner for Children actually supports these ridiculous pleas. ‘
My therapist has this story he likes to tell. He leans back in his upholstery chair and glares at me, as he starts in. He glares at me because I refuse to lie on his ridiculous sofa and pour out my misery to him. He wants me in this vulnerable position and my refusal to do so has been a constant source of tension between us since I started with him a year and seven days ago. The story goes like this. He had arrived from foreign shores to our fair land with the m mantra of New Zealand being clean, green, and a safe place to bring up your kids, firmly embedded in his mind. His first job had been working in rural areas providing backup liaison psychiatry services. He became quickly embroiled in what he saw as the reality of life in New Zealand. Sexual abuse of fathers on daughters figured largely in his caseload. Incest, inbreeding, sodomy, filled the next in the list of stories unwoven on his couch. It was common practice in these locales for the eldest daughter to move into the parents. Ice the mother had departed to the maternity home for another in the long line of progeny. It seemed that rural men had voracious sexual appetites and if the spouse couldn’t do the job, then daughters, sons or farm animals were just as good. In fact, my therapist came to believe that the rural New Zealand male preferred a daughter just entering puberty to an older women, body wrecked by repeated pregnancies. My therapist quickly became a bitter and disillusioned man. He said that most people did not believe him when he told the story of how common this practice was. He told me that he had been ordered by his supervisor to get immediate help, as this could not be so. I didn’t believe him at first but I have come to see that his view of New Zealand was a much closer truth than the fairy tale I had been bought up with.