Author Caroline Randall Williams, in her op-ed article in the New York Times (June 26, 2020), says, “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is A Confederate Monument. . . . The black people I came from were owned and raped by the white people I come from. Who dares to tell me to celebrate them? . . . I have rape-colored skin. . . . My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.”
“What is a monument but a standing memory?” she writes.
Children whose bodies have been subject to trauma, abuse, terror, and torture – these children are monuments to the truth of the past. How dare anyone tell them that they must endure with patience, humility, even gratitude? Above all, they are told they must deny the truth of their own experience, while internally they explode or die.
Here are some outstanding examples of monuments, from the horrors of my work:
A Victim Speaks
She advises others as an Advocate and recommends:
“Do not seek to rebel or you will experience further punishment. I’m sorry that you are going through a custody battle with your ex-husband. Let me introduce myself: In 2013 my ex husband claimed in an ex parte motion that there was an Amber Alert being processed on my son, when there was no Amber Alert, and he knew where I was on my parenting time. After his attorneys achieved a number of continuances of the return date, they amended their motion to use my emotional response against me. Of course I went through the usual shock, outrage, take down the system feelings and screams, which delayed restoration of my custodial rights for 11 months.”
“To regain custody, I learned to accept that Domestic Violence and Lies are tolerated by Fathers against Mothers and often used as a custody strategy to destabilize a mom. Moms are not respected in American culture. Dads can be marginal parents but a Mom has to be perfect. Discrimination against women in America is real. I studied Black Culture to learn how they survived discrimination to come out on top in the long haul…..They smile and tolerate and never behave like “that angry n” just like we cannot be that ‘crazy mom.’”
That which she does not articulate is the toll taken to her personality, to her relationship with her child, personal relationships, the bitterness engendered by a distorted worldview. Further, as she came to learn, this position of compliance with lies and larceny has short term “gains” and long-term consequences. Any sign of weakness/failure to address judicial/legal malfeasance is rapidly exploited. Vigilance and assertive demand for creating a record, compliance with Due Process is critical. Not asserting rights in the service of ‘showing good faith” is a mockery of what the term “good faith” means.
“I never react in public and always smile. I never ask for anything. I do not receive child-support or alimony. I give and do not get back.”
The demand to act as if a heinous crime has not been committed when a child is wrongfully and abruptly separated from a Protective Parent is to deny the horrific impact of that trauma to a parent and child. It belies the long-term consequences of ever evolving trauma that all parties to the trauma experience over a lifetime of developmental stages. The everlasting reiteration of the experience as suffered by each party is an internal recapitulation consciously or unconsciously acted out in multiple sequences through a lifetime.
The demand to inhibit the normal reaction of grief, as if “self control” in the face of such assault is a sign of “mental health” is an expression of something between the cruel, sadistic impulses that compelled actions that are antithetical to children’s well being and an acknowledgement that to express grief before the abusing party is an act of gratification for the abuser. Self control, the withholding of the wished for display of agony may in fact be the punishment served to the affect display hungry abuser. The emotional/psychoanalytic context of the courtroom is a component of the legal process rarely, if ever addressed.
The failure of lawyers and advocates to confront cruelty and malevolence in the court has allowed the practice of cruelty to grow exponentially and in fact be taken as a fact of life in the court setting to be accepted, seeking parenting with a predator, child abuser, pervert, as a norm.
In the words of a well known and respected attorney, Michael Lescher, at least you have your child part of the time, and you can repair the damages and work toward increased custody . . . as if that will ever happen under these alternate-reality mindsets, which tolerates torture and dissembling of children’s psyches, using the children’s bodies as a monument to their “success.”
A Predator Speaks
The evolution of the concept of “Parental Alienation” is now best represented by the most depraved among us, Nathan Larson, an accountant from Charlottesville, Virginia, who ran for Congress. Larson describes himself as a pedophile who raped his ex-wife repeatedly during their marriage, before her suicide. Larson describes his longing to have sex with his three-year-old daughter but is constrained from doing so because he “relinquished” his parental rights during a custody battle. Mr. Larson is a somewhat extreme member on the continuum of examples of the predator population, represented in the real-time, real-life videotapes of adult men detached from the agony of screaming babies as their adult genitals are pushed into baby parts. Each time a court and court actors act in a state of denial that child abuse is being committed because of wrangling over verbiage created to cover acts of depravity, instead of looking at the clinical behavior and statements of children they risk condemning the subjects to extraordinary damage. Psychobabble that pretends to accurately portray a family dynamic should not be allowed to take the place of real behavior and the real communications of children.
Voices of Children
This young woman offers a monument to the torment of her baby sister.
“I am 19 years old and permanently left the harmful and unsafe household of my father on or about May 29, 2013. Through this process of earning my Degree in Behavioral Science, I have gained further education and understanding regarding circumstances that have been surrounding my siblings and me from the time we were born.
Through my University classes I have been taught that I have the obligation to report abuse, regardless of any persons who would seek to hide and cover up the truth, or even fight against it. The following experiences are examples of what I have personally experienced and what my siblings have reported to me:
– As small children he would violently shake, shove, slap, throw, wrench our skin, pull our hair, jamb his elbow into our abdomen, and knock our heads with knuckles or thumb and forefinger, etc.
– He is often emotionally violent, constantly exercises angry and obsessive amounts of control over us. Throughout our whole lives we have often been afraid of what he is doing or is capable of doing, and from the time he moved out of state we have been feeling that he has become a huge time bomb about to explode.
– We don’t think, we clearly know that he pretends and puts on a false show to everyone else about how he cares about us. If he does have some slight kind of love for us, it is an abnormal kind of love.
– We’ve had fears from the time our step-sister was a baby that she would innocently die. She is three now, and over the years he has very frequently taken her screaming into another room while locking the door to prevent her mother or others from going into the room with him.
We have constantly watched her being very harshly punished by him. She is almost always punished if she starts crying or punished if she does anything he does not think is right, such as accidentally spilling something, and her punishments have become more frequent.
He often picks her up in a very unusual way by gripping his hands around her upper thighs, and carrying her by her upper thighs into her room. We have seen him physically hurt and have seen many bruises on her upper thighs. We have been too afraid to take pictures because he always checks our phone and obsessively controls us in order to find out about every single thing we do or say.
When he takes her screaming into the room, locks the door and prevents her mother and everyone else from entering, we have overheard a pattern of her going from 5 to 10 minutes of intense screaming again, to about 15 seconds or more of abrupt silence, screaming again then silence, which is followed by a long period of crying. We have often wondered if it is possible for her to be dead during her sudden total silence after screaming, only because we can’t think of anything that would cause her sudden silence. This has happened approximately 2 to 3 times a week beginning from around the time she was 1½ years old, which would make it over 200 times.
We are uncomfortable that nearly every single time he punishes her that he remains in the rooms with her, as most adults do not remain in the room with the child crying the whole time, and will more often than not leave the child in the room.
During the times this happens we always start shaking, our hearts begin to race, and we feel frozen and very scared for her. We wonder if we might also be shaking because it brings up some feelings that we do not remember from when we were little and afraid. This prolonged situation has been harmful to the point that we have all experienced physical damage through various illnesses and symptoms of prolonged enormous distress through: varying degrees of shock, nausea, severe headaches, bed-wetting, nightmares, Celiac Disease symptoms, flashbacks, overwhelming desire for our lives to end at times with an imminent threat of complete emotional breakdown and failure to effectively cope with life again among other symptoms.
Where have my siblings and I been given any kind of support or motivation to mention any of my father’s actions under the constant threat of being punished by angry adults if we ever do so? Adults who have and will continue to punish us for seeking the right to leave our extremely harmful situation and seek protection from imminent threat to serious physical or emotional harm against us and/or others in our presence?
Now that we have said more, and because he is getting worse, we know that we will not survive what he will do to us after talking about this. We will not be safe living with him, and might not even be safe visiting him. Please, please, if there is anyone at all listening, please hear our final pleadings for safety and protection and do everything in your power to prevent us from experiencing permanent, irretrievable harm.”
One Woman’s Grave Became a Monument to Her Siblings’ Freedom
“Tamara paid the price for our secrecy. I am going to tell my sister’s story.”
Forty-nine-year-old Tamara Fabre was murdered by her father, eighty-one-year-old Milton Cleatus Fabre on New Year’s Eve, ending 2015, beginning 2016.
Tamara’s ending was her sister Tracy’s beginning. Tracy presented a five-page victim-impact statement. She was the only one to describe the abuse she and her six siblings suffered through the years of their interment with their father. At the sentencing of Milton Cleatus Fabre, Judge Larkin stated, I think everyone in this courtroom today has been shocked by what they heard.” He said he never heard anything like the adult children’s testimony in his decades as a judge. And that “I believe every word they said.”
Tracy Fabre stated that the judge’s words were the first affirmation of her experience and the horror suffered by all of them. She stated that she felt freed as a result of the experience of disclosing the deeds of her father and decided to go to school to become a drug counselor and advocate for children who came from families like hers. She decided to become a voice for those who could not speak, an impenetrable force to break the silence against those who refuse to hear or listen, a light in the darkness for those who do not or simply refuse to see.
It remains for law enforcement to become empowered to enforce laws against those who profit from the suffering of others, those who are stimulated by the suffering of others and the morally depraved and self serving cowards who turn a detached blind eye to the suffering.
May Our Children Be Resurrected
The survivors must speak of a reckoning
The survivors of abuse must own their truth and come to terms with the incomprehensible changes and alterations that have been enacted upon them. They must recognize the struggles with the loss of innocence, the experience of harm visited on them and for no fault of their own. They must be willing to own what this has done to them: the monument that their bodies have become.
There must be a reckoning and a retribution in order to repair the narcissistic wounds of being. This is one way to make peace with your body that has become a silent monument to abuse.