This blog takes me deep into thought and I wonder about even publishing, but to heal I must see the reality of my world.
You all allowed this to happen!! What the hell did I ever to to you? Then you have the audacity to turn away and abandon not only me, but my children. My family actually damns them because of what our parents created in me. The town of Freeburg, Illinois watched for NINE LONG YEARS as I rotted in the hell of my world. Not a single one of those 1500 citizens ever questioned or urged someone to get involved.
‘Why would you just stand there and watch me die?’
‘My Justice’ is a cold hard look into what you all watched or took part in throughout those many years. Sure there are those who were only children, as I was; still many of those young men enjoyed the whore this man created and shared or encouraged others to play with; still everyone ignored her existence every day.
It is not possible for me to complete my healing until I have processed all the emotions I was forced to bury. The tears I was forced to swallow, the madness I’ve carried and the pain I felt. There was not a single day that I didn’t pray someone would help me. There was not a single night that I didn’t ask God for His mercy to take my out of my nightmare.
‘How am I supposed to deal with all of this now? Should I look back and say they didn’t know what to do? How can I blame them for what my parents did?
What would you do if it was you?’
Is it possible that you would see the reflection I see and feel no pain or sadness? My skin is covered with the scars of the rotting infected sores. You remember, the ones you saw on me and made sure your children didn’t associate with because of what they might catch or what they might be lured into doing? You blamed me and judged me, shunned me and saw a young girl as ‘his village whore’. I remember hearing those words. I remember the looks of disgust, the whispers, the ‘I’m glad I’m not her’ smurks. By the time I started trying to have boyfriends, your sons were not allowed to date me. One guy actually was beat up by his father and moved a hundred miles away when his father found out. I grew up in that town, attended the same school system everyday with your children, but from the time I was twelve those permitted to associate with me were few and it got even less as I got older and the parties got more intense.
You remember me now? How would you feel if it were you?
‘Why would you just stand there and watch me die?’
‘Do you understand what happened and just how serious, almost deadly, these grievous attacks became? Can you comprehend the servitude and silence of a child who has no choice but to protect their personal terrorist?’
To the school officials and teachers who I had contact with every day; those from Carl L. Barton Middle School during the years of 1974 ‘til 1977 and those of Freeburg Community High School. Although I started school and moved to your town when still a very young child, entering third grade with Ms. Boyer; it wasn’t until I was around 11 that things really started getting vicious in my home.
Was I really that transparent that you didn’t notice me at all? Seems a bit funny to me since the P. E. teachers and kids would not only avoid any and all physical contact with me, but you made sure to shame me in front of the others. You stared at my filthy unwashed uniform filled with the stench of my unwashed body. You glared at the scabs and flesh eating sores that covered my arms and legs. The girls who I changed clothes with in the gym locker room for six years stared and whispered about the rumors and bruises that often cover my young body. These are my memories of you and I cannot erase my reality.
To the law enforcement; you knew of his alcoholic rage and perverted behaviors. You knew, around 13 years old (1975 – 1980), that our home was constantly the party house. Almost once a month these parties consisted of one grown man, one young girl, and at least 5 young boys. You heard all the rumors about the pot that was smoked or the girl offered out like candy. You definitely knew from the kids wandering around inside and outside, each holding cups or cans of beer; the loud music and traffic that concerned the neighbors, but you did nothing.
In my eyes, none of you were brave enough to check on the children of this home. When you stopped me out on the street, to either talk or question me, you saw the rotting teeth and in our roasting hot summer days you saw my arms filled with filth and huge sores. You did nothing!!
You knew either by rumor or being told by the bar owners, that he was so dangerous when drinking my mother warned all of the tavern owners to ban him from whiskey completely. However, since they too were afraid of what he might do, they watched his fury grow, then sent him home; knowing there were young children. Remember the little girl who came in to get her mother a pack of cigarettes almost daily? Remember the man that charged his beverages and never paid you back? Remember what you thought of the man?
‘How could you just stand there and watch me die?’
For the adult men and family friends who came through my life; you supported my mother and felt pity because of her husband. You looked at her and said, ‘Poor thing, she’s got to put up with so much hell from that man.’ Do you know he would have crawled naked over fire for her, not once did he ever threaten or harm her, she had the power to stop him and chose to pretend there was nothing wrong with it at all; in fact she even took part in exploiting her daughter for a few shots of whiskey, then every day at home she taught that same child to answer the ring of his little brass bell.
The adult men who knew me, watched as he first began exploiting at just 11yrs old at JB’s Tavern. You all got a great thrill out of feeding me Vodka & Orange Juice, or Seven & Seven. You enjoyed watching me ‘shake my a**’ when he ordered me to play the jukebox; entice you all to buy him drinks. What about those who came to our home on those late Friday night’s smoking joints & groping a child as you passed her from lap to lap as you watched ‘Debbie Does Dallas’; have any of you ever thought about that child? Did you even pay attention to the filth, the broken teeth, the sores on her body? Your kids all shamed me about it in school almost daily. Did any of you ever wonder for a moment about that young girl?
‘How could you just stand there and watch me die?’’
I write this and feel the anger boiling in my soul. I know the mix of emotions racing about trying to figure out who to forgive and who to blame. What would you do if it was you? Was I not human? Was I not a child? Do you see the many torturing wrongs you allowed by your refusal to intervene? Do you see that when you chose to ignore the screaming, crying child you watched get beaten in the street or passed out like candy, how you abandoned her and deepened the belief she was his object instead of a living human being?
‘How could you stand there and watch me die?’
‘Why did you shun and abandon me?’
‘What am I supposed to do with these memories now?’
Comment about ‘My Justice’ from my therapist; ‘The entire town of Freeburg should be required to read your book so they can see what they allowed to happen to this beautiful little girl’.
My therapist tells me how wonderful I am, how the horrific childhood didn’t destroy the good loving soul within. She tells me to see the beautiful person she sees, but how do I do that? The pieces of me are torn apart and thrown around in the wind as if merely dust. My heart lies on the side of the road as if a pile of shit left by some creature! How do I grab these pieces and mold them back together? If only you could really see the wonderful, happy, resilient and incredibly strong child who carried it all and has come back to help others through it today!
I feel her strength in me. The child who held on through every night of his disgusting, horrifying, brutal crimes has finally come to the realization that she is a human being and more importantly that she matters. That little girl has found her voice in the midst of all those swirling particles of madness and she speaks to anyone who will listen.
‘Please look into the world of the children around you. Look deeply, through the many silent screams; is there darkness? What choice will you make today?’
There are millions of children who are still being harmed today; being sold, shared, left rotting alone in the hell that is their battles which you could not possibly comprehend! Do not judge them, shame them, abandon them, blame them;. Rescue them, help them, support them, encourage them, inspire them!
Are you going to stand there and watch them die?
Perhaps one day my voice will be heard. Perhaps one day it will matter. More importantly perhaps one day this story will empower you to save the life of a child today!!
~~~~~ Never to be silent again~~~~~
I AM HUMAN! I AM WORTHY! I AM ALIVE!!
©Patricia A. McKnight
Author: ‘My Justice’
Thank heaven Miss Carrie Underwood says it clearly; ‘Blown Away’ Official video