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Return to Book Page. Raped in the House of God: Author Jim Parker tells his story of soul murder and his ongoing journey of recovery. His story recounts not only the immediate catastrophic impact of a year-old boy being sexually abused, but how his parents' request "Raped in the House of God" is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to understand the lifetime effects sexual abuse by priests has on a person's life. His story recounts not only the immediate catastrophic impact of a year-old boy being sexually abused, but how his parents' request to keep the abuse a secret led to over forty years of frustration and self destructive behavior.

Parker gives the reader details of how his life has been altered, including: His loss of purpose Inability to achieve in school Distrust of men Failed relationships with family and others Inability to set clear boundaries Years of isolation Three failed marriages "Raped in the House of God" is a must read for other survivors of clergy sexual abuse, their families, concerned Catholics seeking to better understand the crisis facing their church today, and health care professionals charged with the challenge of helping survivors.

It premiered in North Carolina in The following year it had a critically acclaimed run Off-Broadway. A touring production just finished in Alaska. Its London premiere is on 13 July. I agreed to put my story on stage because doing so challenges the silence, the sickening silence, that has been the norm for so long around childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. They feed upon innocence, shame and fear, but they rely upon silence to keep doing what they do, and not just the silence of their individual victims, but also the silence of collective denial, the uneasiness of even discussing the topic.

In the United States there has been a slow-motion catastrophe of children being sexually assaulted at epidemic levels. This has emerged from the shadows at last after a spate of high- profile scandals forced acknowledgement and the rise of social media gave survivors a megaphone. It seems to me from afar that a similar raising of awareness is under way in the United Kingdom. I am gratified that my story is being used in both nations to help provoke difficult but necessary dialogues about childhood sexual assault and its psychological aftermath, which cascades through decades in different ways for every survivor.

For me it meant plotting a murder. I no longer believe either is true. There are more than 5, unsolved murders in the United States every year. Handguns are ubiquitous in my country, along with the myth of the vigilante folk hero, settling righteous scores beneath a cloud of gun smoke.


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Homicide investigators look for motive, and many survivors of childhood sexual assault never tell a soul. One email included a photo of a gravesite puddled with fresh urine. The emails were sent in such a way that I could not reply. That was fine with me. But I was not displeased to receive them. I liked thinking of these killers out there, justified and free. I liked thinking of them getting away with it. At the time, a decade ago, a strong part of me still regretted not carrying out the murder. Because I still feel the mattress and hear the sword.

I plan to disengage from advocacy work and future productions of Stalking the Bogeyman after London this summer. I intend for this piece to be the last I ever write on the subject of childhood sexual assault, or my story in particular. Two versions of myself are frozen in amber in Stalking the Bogeyman. One is a traumatised little boy. The other is a rootless young man, steeping himself in malice.

I have a lifetime of practice with emotional detachment where the boy is concerned. Long ago I made him a place, much like I did the bogeyman, except I made it with gauze instead of barbed wire, more comfortable, but separate all the same. The little boy occupies the stage only at the beginning of the play. The young man is different. The bulk of my story is told from his point of view. A year-old version of me, drunk on vengeance, defined and guided by his darkest experiences.

Survivors' Poetry | Vera House

There is no barbed wire or gauze between me and him. They were calling me the same names my father called me the ones he calls all women in his stand-up jokes. When the police came one of the faceless took me into the bathroom to wipe the blood from my forehead, though it had permanently splattered my shirt. The fingers around these stems felt innocent.

I saw myself from the point of view of passing cars: The lexicon of filthy names I would probably always be called, or so it seemed. Walking along the shoulder just a sixteen year old girl still good enough to pick flowers wise enough to keep walking the interstate only a few miles away the evening getting cooler. Take back the lives we naively gave to those who would use, and abuse ones they profess to love. Keep the promises we long ago made to ourselves. Take back the wombs, empty from birthing babies who now bear their own seed.

Fill the void with joy's glowing desires. Take back the arms that cradled cries, the hands that wiped tears. Fill them with supple earth. Pound the yielding clay into power's form. Take back our thoughts. Make them our own. Color them with simplicity's brilliance, let them soar like eagles on air swells. Take back the dawn, her golden light glowing on dream's wildflower fields, red, yellow and purple passion swirling softly on breezes caress. Take back the night, its blackness echoing ancient fear.

Shine wisdom's luminous light into its dark corners. As women, we were designed to wither beneath the mingled stench of them. As a woman, I was. Why else would i cage myself in glorious raiment of spandex and lace, paint my panting the hues of burn, twist my voice from madam to smoke? Why else, once he has left me, do I bury my face in the place his sex has pressed, inhale what he has left, and pray to die there? On the day I married, I was such porcelain, delicate and poised to shatter. I was unflinching, sure of my practiced vows, already addicted to the sanctity of bondage.

I was an unfurled ballad in a scoop-necked sheath carved of sugar. And him on my arm, grinning like a bear, all sinew and swagger. Dizzied by rote, I stared at the gold rope around my finger.

Survivors' Poetry

And that felt nice. When i'd die without you turned to i'll kill you if you ever leave me I bristled like a hound in heat, I didn't understand the not being aroused, when let's get away turned to you'll never get away such heat rippled my belly such crave in me screeching walk run run run. My first thought as he jammed the still smoking barrel into my breastbone her first thought as the blade mapped my chest, the hammer sliced the air toward my hair the bullet pushed me through a plate glass window my last thought you won't believe this my last thought you really won't believe this my last thought was he must really.

All day, I hung the wash out coat open, hat off, no mittens. It seemed like spring as I splashed the wet clothes on the line like paints. I painted you a picture of our lives our bodies, our arms and legs flapping useless and empty of each other. You say I shouldn't hang the wash out, but I hang my sorrows in the sun to thaw. It's so much warmer than yesterday and feels like spring: Yesterday was 20 below.

I bend over coughing and cannot stop. The cough sinks a taproot in my lungs. You say I shouldn't hang the wash out; want me perhaps, to scrub it on a washboard in the basement. Coughing and wheezing, I hang out your private shorts all in a row. If you can say or do it, I can tell it. I read that asthma is another way of crying, another way of screaming. You say I'm allergic to you and I am. I take the frozen laundry from the line: My fingers crack and fall off too. They are my ten tongues, punished for their honesty.

We have fallen too far down — we cannot see the world above we went too fast to stop ourselves from going down. We are now broken in six pieces - too far apart and there is no way anyone can put us together again. Maybe we never were together - but a least we tried we are too lost to be found and too far down to come back up anytime soon. All we have is a picture in a frame of people we used to be and never will again because those people knew how to be a family and the people that we are now have no idea where to start anymore.

So say goodbye to the family and people we used to be - and say hello to the broken family we are the people we are now. So look at that picture one last time and tell those people goodbye because in my mind those people are gone for good this time. The end is no longer near - it's here too bad we had to end, broken just know I did not want it to end like this or this soon. I want you to know I am done I am really moving on for good. Today there might be tears, but no matter what, I will not regret saying goodbye to you. We have both made our beds and I am sleeping in mine.

I hope you are doing the same. I may be over you, but you will never forget your past, I will always be in your head. But to me you are nothing but the tide that left and never came back. Today I will let you go without looking back. Today I will forgive you so I can just forget you. Is the scent of sex I remember wondering what that meant Was it a compliment Or were they trying to say Something else. Cause in my heart it didn't matter if they were Cause I felt the same Its like from the beginning I was marked. Then grandma moved in It started again Now I'm nine Just got over the chicken pox.

I'm 13 far from home The boy downstairs his eyes start to roam It's okay my aunts at home Day, weeks, month and years past Life goes on I live Thoughts of the things that have been done Thoughts of the words that have been said Thoughts of the looks I've been given. Wondering if it was all because of something I did Could that be it or was it something else Could it be that I really have The scent of sex.

Rape lasts longer than a moment, Rape burns an imprint into the self. Rape strips more than the outside It thieves the words from your frightened mouth. It cripples up the body It freezes up the skin. Should you ever meet a person, Who has survived this evil act. Found blessing in attack. Rape can last a lifetime, even if just a moment it may last, Yet the power, with own permission- Can be restored, the pain, the silence, the past.

Hogan Return to Top Ms. Laura Peer Return to Top The Sands of Time the sands of time are slipping through the cracks these moments flying by so damn fast I'm trying to hold on be strong before it unravels and fades away because how long will serenity, the happiness last today? Our little girl walks in so forgiving and her eyes usually so bright but not this time her heart is burdened watching her parents fight and I don't know what to say watching the tears stream down her face then i realize the serenity the happiness never lasts.

The only difference now lies in how I choose to view it in the future. The puzzle is finally finished. It took 30 long years in the making. The difference now lies in how I view myself and my future. You made me shatter.


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Return to Top Prisoner A captive, hostage of his vicious anger. I beg, like a bloody wounded doe. Return to Top Blind Date Big, brown, bottomless eyes in the mirror. Return to Top The Kindness of Strangers Bloodied and broken she rises Hands clenched, her face pointed up toward the sky; Tears sting her eyes but she wills them away, Resolving once more he will not see her cry.

Leslie Root who found freedom with a little help from her friends Return to Top Unseen Trying to be their shining daughter I polished and lifted saddles Shoveled out stalls, carried water and feed Sponged and wrapped bruised flesh Brushed my bay gelding to a sheen Handsomely costumed and schooled, my brothers Bridled massive steeds through their paces Presenting the judges sleek performances That masked the boys who taunted Disrupting my sleep like cobbles in the bed Shelves of silver cups Belie cold black hours spent Stowed under the eaves of our farmhouse attic Bound by brothers who Threatened worse if I revealed my terror Ignoring walls covered with prize ribbons Mother mended breeches Father just raised the bar as I Rode through fields of indifference with a Wound which has not bled Sally Gould Return to Top Do You?

Do you think of us at Easter? Do you think of us at Christmas? Are you mad at yourself for going away, or happy that you have moved on without us? Do you think of the pain you left us with? Do you care about what you did?

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Do you feel guilty for how you left things? I hope you are good because I am great - we are great.

Does it hurt you to know that you had nothing to do with our happiness? Farah Return to Top Garden Elegy I touch the broad leaves of the blue hosta, inviting her to come with me, explaining that she needs to escape. Sometimes the safest gardens are the ones we tend in our dreams. I know these ferns have heard her cry. Gillingham, England Return to Top The Perfect Child A cheerful cherub, observer of life from a heavenly perch, the only safe place to be in our household!

I conversed with angels and danced on the stars. I, though I was pure and untouched. The perfect child who conversed with angels and danced on the stars. An Emergency Call, Before they changed the law They stood, hands on their Billy clubs, watching, while he kicked her in the face and stomach, kicked until her teeth broke and her lips bled. What else could she say but the truth, hard as it was? Mary Stebbins Taitt Two: She Remembers Alleys the crazy way they tilted, the way they threatened to tip and spill her under his feet.

Mary Stebbins Taitt Three: Red Flags She was afraid to come home from work. And it was her fault If the basketball team lost or if his boss wanted him to go in early or if his dog messed the floor. Marking this Valentine's Day, as a moment in time. The thin white scar, this one defiant line where pain once raged, will not recede.

No scowl, No harsh words, No hard hand can wipe it from my soul. It is a badge worn proudly, spoken boldly in words unwilling to compromise.