The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

These are very triggering times, boys and girls. And they should be. They should be. Because Trump’s piss-poor attitude about Christine Blasey Ford is just a reflection of our general cultural ignorance regarding the subject of sexual assault and abuse.

One of the most outrageous things to come out of Trump’s pie-hole (and let’s admit that that bar is already set pretty freakin’ low) is, “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?”

Um… because the FBI doesn’t deal with the abuse of traumatized teenagers? Because 36 years ago, nobody gave a shit about girls being sexually assaulted? Because to this day, it’s an uphill battle to get justice in these situations?

Gee, I dunno. Why on earth didn’t she report Kavanaugh 36 years ago?

Let me jump on the bandwagon with the thousands of others out there who are attempting to patiently explain #WhyIDidntReport.

Forty-Three years ago, when I was 11 years old, my stepfather began sexually abusing me. This went on for two years, until, at age 13, I broke a board across his knee and told him that if he ever touched me again, I’d kill him. And he knew I meant it. I knew I meant it. I’ve never been so certain of anything in my entire life. He never touched me again.

That was the closest I ever came to justice. Other than that, he got off scot-free. And he didn’t do me the courtesy of dying until I was 27, so I could have reported. But I didn’t. Here are some of the millions of reasons why:

  • I was a good girl, taught to respect my elders. He was the adult in the situation, so even though what he was doing felt awful, to my young mind, it must be right. Right?

  • I was 21 years old before it occurred to me that what he did wasn’t my fault. No one ever told me that. (It’s not your fault, either, by the way.)

  • I was afraid that if I spoke up, I’d be taken away from my mother and thrown into foster care, where the abuse would continue, this time by strangers.

  • I didn’t want to bother anyone. It’s not polite to rock the boat.

  • I was afraid that if my stepfather went to jail, we would become even poorer than we already were, and we were living in a tent at the time.

  • I didn’t want my mother to get into trouble.

  • Because I was just a kid, ill equipped to take on the whole world.

  • I didn’t want the world to know my humiliation.

  • I didn’t understand how the law worked.

  • I saw on TV how women who went to court about these things where treated like whores and emotionally abused by the defense lawyers.

  • I was shy.

  • I had such low self-esteem I didn’t think I deserved justice.

  • I didn’t want to think about it.

  • I wanted it all to go away.

  • When I told my mother, she said I was “making too much of it.”

  • When I told his adult son, he didn’t do anything.

  • When I told a counselor at school, he didn’t do anything.

  • I was all alone in this.

  • Most of my female friends had been abused at some point, too. They didn’t report, either.

  • Because as time wore on, I knew I was less and less credible.

  • Because it would be my word against his, and he was a white male.

  • Because attitudes like Trumps are the rule, not the exception, and because of that, we get Supreme Court Judges like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.

I could go on and on. But if you are the kind of ignorant asshole who doesn’t feel that all of the above is enough, then there’s no convincing you. So I’m done.


Given the subject matter, I felt that only a self-portrait would do. But this was an extremely emotional photo to take.

A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book.


10 thoughts on “#WhyIDidntReport

  1. Somebody says:

    I’m sorry you know such pain; I’m grateful you’ve found such courage and strength. May you continue to be an example for those who are seeking the strength to say STOP and the courage to ask for help.

  2. Angiportus says:

    The tape made me think of Groucho’s mustache. Seriously though–some of us back then didn’t know fully how serious that was, and if we told a parent and that made that particular form of abuse stop, somehow that was enough, even if other kinds went on. Why Mom didn’t put herself and me on the next plane out of there, and make sure the world knew that no kid should come near that man, I am still wondering. I hope it was just for money/survival–I’d hate to think of her as cock-crazy enough to leave her kid in a dangerous situation just for her own gratification.
    It stank, all around. I hope something gets me before I ever get so helpless as to be in a situation that someone can do those bad things to me ever again–I will die first with my teeth in their throat.

    1. I suspect that the worst is behind us, Angi. At least I hope so. And your mom, and my mom are like a million moms out there–taught that they need a man to survive, and too horrified to believe the worst of them and remain sane. That’s my theory, anyway.

  3. Lynn says:

    Thank you for putting to words (beautifully by the way) so many of my own feelings of a similar experience (#metoo). I am so very proud to know you but so sad to hear of your pain. I was younger and it was a family member. I’ve never spoken of it before this moment, yet it haunts me until this day. I am humbled by your talent and your bravery. Be well.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I’m glad you’ve chosen to speak. The more of us that do, the less acceptable it will become. Peace.

  4. lyn sutton says:

    If we ever get rid of the statue of limitations for sexual assault and rape there are a few men I know that might want to flee the country. The rest are already gone.
    Having personal experience with your list on multiple occasions, I dared speak up once and many of those fears became reality for me. There was no justice, just more abuse… but today we all took a step forward when Mr. Cosby was taken to prison in handcuffs. We cannot let them push us back or down anymore. I hope what happens on Thursday takes us further forward because I fear what will happen if justice is denied.

    1. I think, now that this can of worms has been opened, there’s no way that men will be able to successfully herd those worms into minding their P’s and Q’s. And that feels good. Finally.

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