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#29631 - 12/20/02 11:21 PM from conversations with a preying mantis, asylums & hope
andrew-almost52 Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Hi fellow survivors, I wrote the following about 10 years ago.

The setting is 1958, just outside Toronto. I had just started grade 3. I had run away from school, and I continued to run and hide. And I continued to be sexually assaulted by one of the teachers whenever I was dragged back there. By the time I was in grade 6, he had raped me, and I thought in some perverse way that he loved me. But by then I didn't care, because I was just as afraid of what was at home. I couldn't let the pain and fear overwhelm me, so, I didn't feel. I learned to go into my own world, my own secret world.

"In those days of truancy, I was befriended by a praying mantis, he being the insect who mates and then is eaten by the female object of his pursuit.
But of course in l958, when I first became acquainted with this little creature, I was only seven years old and had little understanding of the sexual habits of insects and only a budding curiosity about the proclivities of my own species.
My little friend lived on a piece of corrugated tin which served as a roof for an abandoned chicken coup,the coup being plunked incongruously in the back end of a huge orchard that bordered onto the forest where the gypsies lived.
This was a piece of my world that was mine alone. The orchards,the sweet pungent smell of golden rod and tall grasses filled with rag weed and
butterflies. I could hide in these orchards and fields with the sharp grasses and thistles whipping my bare legs and jump carefree with the grasshoppers.
But it was to the praying mantis alone that I bared my young and childish soul, and for at least one full summer he made regular appearances
and sagely nodded his acceptance of my being and withstood my anguished cries, as I tried to make sense of the world outside and the grown-ups in it.
My stomach grumbled. I reached for an apple on one of the nearby branches overhanging the coup. Examining it for worm holes and determining there were none, I shined it on my pant leg and took a crunching bite. I was reminded of the story drilled into me at Sunday school. The story of creation and the apple that Adam bit into at Eveís urging. Thoughts about the Book of Genesis and my motherís religious fervor somehow made the apple less appealing, I checked it again for worm holes."

Looking back, I was the perfect 'mark' (victim) for the sick teacher at my public school. Firstly, I had a predisposition to not make a big fuss about his touching me. My grandfather had been molesting me and my slightly older female cousin from the time I was about 3 yo till just about when I was of school age. (My cousin and I never discussed this until recent years. Fortunately, she is now recovering also, and has been in counselling for years, mostly for sexual disfunction) Secondly, it was well known within the neighborhood and school that my mother was a very strict, domineering and violent woman. It was also known that I was on the receiving end of her tantrums. So needless to say I was terrified of her, and I was afraid she would kill me, and afraid of what might happen to her if she did, because despite what she did to me, I loved her. So I would never even consider telling on a teacher, especially to her. Teachers were gods. Adults were the bosses. I did what I was told. And I was told that I was a good little boy if I kept quiet and didn't cause problems. So I kept quiet. I became painfully shy and started to stutter. Despite my mother's annoyance at having her routine interupted, on several occasions I was taken to the doctor's office for lower bowel and colon spasms. The doctor never did discover the causation. And I would never tell.
By grade 8 I was moved to another school for junior high school. The sexual assaults were over, but I was a mess, a disassociative mess. At the age of 16, my highschool guidance counsellor and the Children's Aid Society intervened and forced me to move from home. They said, "find somewhere to live with relatives, or we'll 'place' you in care." I found friends to live with. But my life was fragile. Less than 18 months later I tried to committ suicide. I was hospitalized for 9 weeks in a provincial mental asylum with adults. I was 17 yo. I met another child there, he was in worse shape than me. I promised myself that when I grew up I would try and make sure this never happened to another child. (hospitalization in an adult insane asylum) As some of you know, as an adult I became a social worker and helped dismantle many of the institutions that housed children here in Canada and Holland. But that's another story. And this post is too long now.
Thanks for being out there.

#29632 - 12/20/02 11:39 PM Re: from conversations with a preying mantis, asylums & hope
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
whoever said schooldays were the best days of our lives was a liar, our stories have so much in common.

I did my best to blank out my school memories, but as I know - and you know, it dont work !

After school I just hid it all away for over 30 years, denied it to myself but at the same time revelled in the sexual aspect of it - very mixed up and confused. It's better late than never though to deal with it in my late 40's.

I admire your courage to have dealt with it, or at least acknowledged it, sooner; and gone on to help reform the antiquated way society deals with 'misfits'

Sometime, when your ready, I would love to hear what you have achieved.

Thanks for sharing your story, the similarities touched me deeply.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#29633 - 12/21/02 12:03 AM Re: from conversations with a preying mantis, asylums & hope
andrew-almost52 Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Thanks Dave. Funny thing. For so many years, I spoke of this history in an almost robotic like monotone. I didn't feel. It was just like reading a grocery list. Now, and I'm not sure this is good, because it sure isn't easier, I am tearing up just thinking about it and my chest is filled with emotion. Amazing what years of therapy can accomplish. I was in psychoanalysis for 5 years.

I would also be curious to know if there is a connection between sexual abuse & being adopted (which I was). Over the years, I have noticed a very high proportion of children who were in care also happened to have been adopted ....and were coincidentally abused as well. I don't think it's by accident. I have a theory that when one feels, deep down, he/she wasn't good enough to keep, that maybe he/she doesn't want to rock the boat and is more compliant to manipulation and coersion.


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