Sunday Scribblings: #147 – Phantoms & Shadows

“Have you ever been sexually molested or raped,” the female nurse practitioner asked me.


Silence. And then I began to cry. Weep. Sob. Uncontrollably. Hysterically. It was as if a floodgate had opened, allowing a waterfall of emotions and words previously buried and forgotten to barge full-speed ahead.


Granny sat there bewildered and afraid, before the nurse practitioner asked her to leave the room. I had never told granny. The intern had a Damn, medical school didn’t cover this look on her face, before she too left the office. She returned with some Kleenex and a hug.


I’m here because of bronchitis. What does my past have to do with anything? Who asks such questions during a doctor’s visit anyway?


No one had ever asked me that before. I had certainly never discussed it with granny or strangers. Up to that day, I had only told an ex-boyfriend and friend about what had happened to me, over and over. But, never too many details. No need to complicate matters.


“Did he penetrate you?”


“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”


Repressed memories. I used to think they were a bunch of hocus pocus. Psychobabble. Until I began remembering. No matter how far away your memories are, you never escape them. You never truly forget. They sneak up on you at the most inopportune times, causing unexpected and uncontrollable reactions. Reminding you that you are vulnerable, fragile, and not as tough as you thought. Reminding you that evil does exist.  


Like the time I sat on the phone venting to a friend about a boyfriend. The memories and the pain came from nowhere. Or, so I thought. The memories came so hard that I put the phone down, rolled into a fetal position on my bed and cried. Gut-wrenching, snot-flying, headache-inducing, loud, unashamed sobs. When I picked the phone back up, my friend was still there. And then I went on with life. And I forgot. Until that day in the medical office almost six years ago.


I remembered again. I see my bedroom. It is dimly lit. I am lying on a bed. I don’t remember how old I am, but I am young enough to still need a baby sitter. He is on top of me. The baby sitter. The neighbor. The family friend. I am wearing a nightgown. It is white flannel with some design on it. His face is a blur of unrecognizable features. I know that he is tall, big, and dark. I remember darkness. Silence. Stillness. Like a snap shot. Frozen in time.


I know who he is. I know who they are. I won’t forget again. My memories finally caught up to me.


He is but one of several. I am but one of many. Of millions.




Why did he do it?


Why is my story all too common? Why are millions of little girls silently lying still and stunned beneath strangers, family friends, relatives and people who are supposed to protect them? Why are little girls unsafe in this world? Why are little girls searching for the memories that invade their dreams and psyches? Memories that will change and haunt them in ways they’ll never know.



21 thoughts

  1. Heart-wrenching and true…I’m so sorry you had to go through that but very glad you could tell your doctor. Some things are better dealt with in the light of day–not left in the closet to fester. Knowledge is Power. Thank-you for sharing your experience. May we, in knowing, keep our little girls safe.

  2. Hi Jboggie,
    I know who is he, too. Helluva way to learn you know this pain. Clicked your link at Sunday Scribbling.
    Holla at a sista soon.
    black-eyed susan

  3. Alisa,

    You are so right. When we know better, we do better – do a better job of protecting our children. Knowledge is Power. Words are Power. Thank you for reading.

  4. I’m sorry you went through that. Don’t give the bastard or your memories any power over your life and happiness. That’s the only way we can win against the past.

  5. Black Eyed Susan,

    Thanks for dropping by. I’m sorry that you’ve also met the boogey man. Thank you for the sharing the rhyme on your blog.

  6. you are brave beyond words to remember this. many of us aren’t able to do this yet. and for once, i’m actually speechless because your writing is amazing.

  7. Liberationtheory,

    Girl, thanks for dropping by. One day at a time, one memory at a time, one word at a time. That’s how we get by.

  8. As a nurse practitioner, I can tell you why we ask. Because too many of us have been abused as children and it affects us as adults in many ways. If someone had stopped to ask me about abuse, maybe it wouldn’t have carried on so long. I screen all of my peds patients in my family practice very closely for sexual and physical abuse. I have been there up close and too personal myself. If I can prevent or stop abuse, I am glad. Sorry you have to be one of our ranks too.

  9. oh my, this is so so tragic. I pray it is fiction, but if it isn’t you are an amazingly strong woman and I hope your creative writing is a powerful source of healing.
    It is just staggering to know How many young girls are abused like this. You really have me in chills.

  10. it is an all to common memory.. and knowing you have got to be one of millions with such a memory is so sad… how is it that we allow such a society to continue on with such crimes going unpunished… i believe a lot of it has to do with the child feeling as if they are responsible in some way for being abused… i wonder how we can raise a wiser generation by letting them know they cannot be responsible in any way…

    i am sorry you had to suffer thru this let alone remember it…..

  11. wow, this was very powerful and thanks for sharing. you write it so well.. i find sometimes that a memory comes back to me clearer as i start to write. things i have forgotten are remembered in the writing process. i hope it helped.

  12. J – I am so sorry that you suffered what no person should suffer. I thought it was fiction or an interpretation and my heart dropped when I realized it was true. You and so many others deserved better from those who were supposed to care and protect. But, I was immediately inspired by what I have always recognized as your fantastic ability to persevere and succeed. Your life is a wonderful reflection of your strength, talent and resilience. Your writing is an inspiration. T

  13. my heart broke as i read this. you are a strong woman j.

    i’ve never had the misfortune of meeting the boogey man, but my mom has. and because she was willing to share with me her ordeal, i have made it my task to try my damnedest to keep my nieces safe.

    i constantly ask questions.

  14. NPs Save Lives,

    I’m glad you and other NPs ask these questions and can intervene. I was about 24 years old when someone finally asked me. I wish someone had asked me a couple of decades and a few pedophiles sooner.

  15. Lucy,

    Unfortunately, it isn’t fiction. Within the last couple of years, I have discovered how therapeutic writing can be. There are times when I’m too consumed by drama to write. At other times, writing keeps me from having a friggin’ nervous break down or goin’ postal on a few folks! lol.

  16. Paisley,

    You’re absolutely right. We have to start talking to our children about these things, asking questions like BeautyLifeLove mentioned, and grow enough balls to actually do something when we find out that something has happened. Molestation and rape should not be a right of passage for children.

  17. Floreta,

    It sure did help. That writing prompt came at the right time; a time when I was finally ready. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Thank you for reading.

  18. Beauty~Life~Love,

    That’s what it’s all about. Sharing our experiences so that that cycle doesn’t continue. It prompts all of us to ask questions we never thought we’d have to nor need to ask.

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