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5 - Loopholes



My whole life there has been a safety net underneath me put there by mostly well-intentioned people. The thing is that my whole life the safety net has had some major flaws in it. Holes big enough for me to fall through.

One of the tenants of good touch/bad touch education is to empower kids to not keep the secret of csa to themselves. A major problem with this is that some "bad touch" was ok. How do you explain in a clear way that an exam by a doctor is different than the "tickling secret" you have with your creepy uncle? Again, we are back to spanking-yes, Rubbing-no. How do you empower a kid to break the silence when they have every reason to stay quiet? When their parent(s) have made it crystal clear to them that "telling" will change everything. Not just the one bad thing but EVERYTHING. That telling will ruin the family.


When Ls was little she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She was a fighter and very strong. My mom took her for treatments 2 or 3 times a week for a long time to the big city with the children's hospital in it. This left a lot of times when it was just me, my dad, and Lb. Ls missed a lot of school.

Whenwe were older (in our 30s) we were talking about how this led to some pretty major fears for Ls about doctors/hospitals/needles/blood tests. She told me a story about mom flat refusing a nurse and doctor to do a swab on her to confirm a yeast infection/UTI. She said it was "too invasive." She was "just a little girl." My mom wouldn't let them swab her, just give her the medicine for it.

For me, this was triggering. I started sobbing. Ls was confused. She didn't understand. I said she (mom) was never that concerned about me. Never cared if I was going through anything "invasive." She used me like a prop.

She asked "what do you mean?" So I told her.


When I was between the ages of 4-8 we lived with my Gram. One day I got home and my mom was in a panic. She was yelling and screaming and crying and packing all our stuff in the truck. Muttering about how it wasn't safe here and we'd have to leave to be safe because Gram was a liar. My Gram had gone for a few days to visit my uncle and auntie and my cousins. Mom and dad were going to leave before she got back. There already was plans to move eventually, before this happened. We had a shell of a house on my mom's land. The frame was done. The roof was on. The outside under-siding stuff was on.

But Gram told mom that she was going to report my dad's abuse and my mom wasn't having that so we left. The five of us we're basically fugitives for the summer. We slept on the floor of cramped trailer houses, in a barn for a while, in different "cousins" places. These were not cousins I knew before this. There was one nice place. It had a big green yard and a tire swing that went out over the water. I liked it there.

One day we were at another cousin's trailer and I was sleeping on the floor between the couch and coffee table with my sister. My mom came and woke me up. She shushed me firmly. I was not to wake up Ls. I ate a bowl of fruit loops at the kitchen table. The lady/cousin who lived here was scrawny and as tall as my mom and smelled like cigarettes. She had a quick temper with her kids and cracked her knuckles a lot against the table. She did give me a "woody woodpecker and friends" coloring book, but I didn't trust her.

She was trying to console my mom. "I know, I know, but you have to prove she's lying."

What the heck were they talking about? I knew better than to ask.

So we go and get in the truck. My mom says we have to take me to the doctor. "But I'm not sick." 

"I know, you are just fine."

"Then do I have to get a shot? To make me not be sick?" I didn't like shots.

"Umm, I dunno...Just be good ok." It wasn't a question.

So my mom takes me to the doctor building. There's a lot of waiting. Finally a nurse comes and does the weight and height and all that. She says "you're really tall for your age." I know that already. I'm almost the tallest kid in the school. We go to the little room. I look out the window. It's the second floor. It seems kinda high. My school, my Gram's house, our framed up shell of a house, all of them were only one floor. The apartment when Lb was a baby, that was four floors, and lots of stairs. But it's been a long time since we lived there. Now, two floors seems really high up.

I sit on the crinkly paper on the bench table thing. The nurse gives my mom a folded bedsheet. She says "have her change into this." Then she leaves.

My mom tells me to put on the bedsheet thing, which turns out to be an adult shirt hospital pajama thing. It is huge and I put it on backwards. My mom tells me to quit "fuckin around." I don't know what she expects, but I have a weird feeling about this. She's nervous and taking it out on me.

The doctor comes in and I don't recognize him, but my mom knows him. He says I look just like her when she was that age. He pinches my cheek. I hate that. So he says "I was your mom's doctor when you were born." The only thing my mom told me about that was that I was a very hairy baby when I was born I had red hair all over and the doctor didn't like it when my mom had said that I looked like a monkey. Also, she said my freckles made me look like I had more hair than I really did.

Ok...so you were my doctor way way long ago. And you didn't like that my mom insulted me....

Then he says "I was also your grandma's doctor when your mom was born too, did you know that? I delivered your mom."

How would I know that? But my ears perk up at the mention of Gram. I know that my mom was my Gram's youngest baby. I miss my Gram. But mom is mad at her now, so I know better than to bring that up.

Then he turns to my mom. "How is she?" My mom bursts into tears. She says that Gram is crazy and trying to ruin our family. She says she needs him to look at me. So she has proof that Gram is a liar. At one point she cry's her crocodile tears and calls Gram a "lying bit*h." The doctor shushes her and says "not in front of her, ok?" He's trying to shelter me from the bad words.

Finally he says, "ok, let's have a little look, ok?" Again, it wasn't a question. It was a direction. My mom tells me to "lay down." I know what they are trying to do now. They are trying to prove my dad never touched me. They are looking for fingerprints or handprints or smudges or something. The doctors rubber gloved hand is cold. My mom tells me to "lay still." I don't like him looking down there, but he says he needs a better view and turns on a light like they have to look in your mouth at the dentist. "So far it looks alright." He says. I hope it is done soon.

He picks up a silver shiney thing. I think it might be a light or something, because he says "now...let's get a better look." HE PUSHES IT INSIDE ME! I freak out. The crinkly paper crinkles under me as I try to squirm away. My mom yells at me to "hold still so he can see." The silver thing is cold. Very cold. What?!? Why did he do that?!? The doctor pulls it out. He looks towards my mom and says that I am fine. "Her circuits look fine. No scarring." My insides still feel cold from the silver thing. I am so confused. Why did the doctor have have to do that? Couldn't he see the fingerprints? Not once did he ask me if my dad touched me down there. Nope. No one. Not the doctor. Not the nurse. Nobody.

My mom is crying tears of relief. I feel cold inside. I feel like I did it wrong. I feel like my bladder is made of ice. My mom is weeping with a smile on her face. I am her prop and she doesn't care if my circuits are fine or not. She just cares what the doctor said. What the doctor thinks. We get into the truck and she says "I knew she was a lying bit*h!" The doctor is not here to shush her now.





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