The Mother That Never Was

Mama Cat

I don’t write about my mother often.  Of all my dysfunctional childhood relationships, my experience with my mother is the most painful.  I believe that small children have a disproportionate need for the feminine nurturing energy.  When it’s not available, I think the pain runs deeper.  I am not suggesting that fathers are not needed.  They are desperately needed.  And their interactions with their children are critical to shaping that child’s future belief systems and relationships.  But for me, the lack of nurturing maternal energy seemed to leave a deeper mark.

I think that some of my angst comes from my core belief that women should be protecting women.  If we can’t count on each other, if we can’t come together to fight this battle against gender oppression, do we have a hope of moving society toward equality for all genders?  Can we ask our male allies to do the work against gender oppression that we are not willing to do? Continue reading

Death Is Not The Only Choice

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Photograph by Nicholas Kevin Corey (1971-2012)

February is not my favorite month … for many reasons.  I don’t like the cold and snow unless I am skiing.  And since I am not yet independently wealthy, I don’t ski for the entire month of February.

I don’t love Valentine’s Day.  This is not because I am single.  I have two mini-Valentines.  I am just tired of love being defined by those who should not define it.  Love was always twisted and manipulated in my family.  And Valentine’s Day feels like another manipulation of what love is supposed to be.

February also happens to be the birthday month of many people from my past, most of whom I don’t want to remember.  It tends to bring up the ghosts of childhood.

But there is one anniversary with more significance than the others.  February is the month that my ex-husband committed suicide.  So while everyone is thinking about love, I am thinking about death.  I am thinking about the seemingly insurmountable pain that makes death seem less painful.  I am not thinking about this because I don’t understand it.  I am thinking about this because I do understand it.  I understand it a little too well.  I know that pain.  I think all abuse and trafficking survivors know that pain. Continue reading

In Defense of Children

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We underestimate children.  I have been reminded of this fact lately with so many seeking to discredit Dylan Farrow.  I am particularly bothered by the notion that at 7 years old, Dylan only said what her mother told her to say.  I find this incredibly hard to believe.  While I find it painful to watch others label Mia a liar and manipulator, I am going to focus on the child.  Even if mothers would do something this horrible to their children, parental alienation doesn’t work because children don’t work that way.

I know this for two reasons:

         1)      I am the mother of two 7-year-olds.  I watch them try to figure out life every single day.

         2)      I remember my own experiences of child sex abuse at 7 years old.

Here are my observations about how children actually approach life: Continue reading

An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody Allen

When I read the article by Dylan Farrow, I was shocked at her bravery, honesty and resiliency.  I was surprised at how she was willing to stand up against someone who is revered by our society as a talented artist.  However, I was more shocked by those who are willing to defend Woody Allen, a man who has been accused of child sexual abuse by one adopted daughter and married the other one.  The myriad of reasons for this defense show a complete lack of understanding for the complex trauma of a child sex abuse victim.  Let’s discuss some of those reasons:

1.  She is lying because she wants attention.  As a survivor of child sex abuse, sometimes I am asked if I want to be on television or in the newspapers.  In reality, I do want to be on television or in the newspapers.  But I don’t want to talk about my childhood story of pervasive sexual abuse and trafficking.  I want be on television because I have won the Nobel Peace Prize or cured cancer.  Nobody wants to talk about being victimized, but there is a longing deep inside of a sex abuse survivor to speak the truth.  In many cases, speaking the truth may be necessary to heal from the abuse.  In some cases, speaking the truth may bring about the justice that was evasive for so long.  It is not about attention. Continue reading