A few years back, my sister Vicki sent me a draft copy of what was meant to be the beginnings of a book. She's spent a good number of years exorcising her demons, and she knew that the act of telling her story would be a valuable tool in the healing process.
In all honesty, the first time I read through her account of what happened to her as a child, I threw up. I cried. I raged. I HATED. Vicki and I have talked so much over the years, usually into the wee hours of the morning and well into several bottles of wine (mine) and whiskey (hers) about what she and my other birth siblings endured, the impact it has had on her life, her relationships, how to deal with it in ways that were useful. I've expressed to her the survivor's guilt that gnaws at the core of me, the guilt of having escaped what happened to the rest of my siblings. We've talked about these stories, about how to tell them. i know that one day she and I are going to sit down together and the entire story will be told. We'll write the book and we'll get it to a publisher. For now, its mostly in her head and partially on paper. Several months ago I reread some of what I had edited for her and decided to at least get the beginnings of it out there.
My sister has survived things the weight of which would crumple most people. Much of what she has endured is practically unspeakable. It is the kind of abuse you never want to imagine happens to children, the stuff of nightmare and denial. It is the kind of abuse that once exposed to the light causes you to never look at another human being in the same way again, because you realize that people who walk around looking like normal men and women very well could be, in the privacy of their own homes, horrible monsters.
The first step to publicising Vicki's story was published today at Violence Unsilenced.
It is graphic. It is true. It is one reason among many that I choose to have no relationship with my birthmother.
Please honor my sister. Read her story, leave a comment over at VU. Thank her for being a voice for other survivors, for being courageous enough to let her personal truth be public in hopes that it will encourage other victims of violence to speak up. To know that they do not suffer alone, that there are people out there who understand, who have been there or are there right now, people who want to help.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence or abuse, I encourage you to call your local domestic violence hotline or call the national hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.