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Monday, 1 October 2012

Who sees the abuser abuse?

Whos sees when the parent abuses the child? Does the sun or the moon or that creature cringed in the corner, in some darkened cave of a room? Whos sees in a state of impotence against the tide of guilt? Who was it saw the abuser abused, that time when the groundwork was laid, when a brand new abuser was made? Who saw its first public appearance, who saw it rolled off the line, the last nut tightened, each screw in its place, road-worthy and ready to go? Did the stars in the sky, their trajectories set or some creature up on the cornice spinning its web for a fix? Who hears the whispers, the secrets, lies, that God it is who wants us to... and who's the special girl of mine?? Is it the woolly elephant - the one with its ears ripped off? Or the victim - thumbs in hers? Is it the brother curled in his bed, or the matchbox pet smothered to make the nightmare pass? Who sees without understanding when the parent abuses the child, Who fails in the test of feeling suffering's secret degree? Is it the owl, so proud in his wisdom, the comet that's gone in a flash? Is it the window, washed by the rain? The mother, the father, the uncle, the aunt? The one who is close, but not close enough - or someone too close for a small child's comfort? And who will tell of these things? The Teddy, the doll on the pillow, the action man? The clown torn to bits in distress? The headless soldier, the wooden horse, or the frightened boy with a fork for defence - in thirty years time, as a man, of course.
Submitted to The Mag as a (somewhat off-piste) response to Tess Kincaid's thought provoking prompt.

23 comments:

Shadow said...

sadly, its mostly the teddy, the doll or the action man that sees it. others do too, but acknowledging it... and doing something about it... that's where things go a little grey...

kaykuala said...

I see your point Dave! It's a sad cycle of human failure. An abuser continues to inflict sufferings just as he had suffered before. An abused child is a victim of an earlier victim who suffred! Nicely!

Hank

anthonynorth said...

A vicious circle. Powerful words, indeed.

The Elephant's Child said...

Powerful and painful. If only some of those who do see it - the siblings, the other parent, the friends would or could speak out. Today I note that one of our media personalities (television, radio, stand-up comedy) has been jailed for the possession of child pornography in quantity. Sadly he was only a possessor not a producer, so the sick trade continues. Climbing down from the soap box now.

Brian Miller said...

ugh man....hard reality...who sees...sometimes it feels like no one because no one wants to do anything about it and it can feel so helpless...and the abuser learned the behavior somewhere, does not excuse it but...

Other Mary said...

It's a hard, disturbing question you ask...and when seeing, why the helplessness and silence? Who who was watching Cain...

Ginny Brannan said...

There are unimaginable horrors that take place in this world. Can't comprehend the pain of the child that lives through this, and the continuing cycle that this sometimes takes. Can only hope that education, that encouraging the abused to speak out, to find someone to listen will somehow help. Very heart-wrenching take on the prompt.

Mary said...

Painful words to read today, Dave. Reality is really hard for some children. I think there are usually a lot of people who fail to report (or pretends not to see) the abuser....but hopefully there is the ONE person who DOES.

Berowne said...

Off-piste but quite moving...

Helen said...

Dave, this was hard to read ... once upon a time I provided support to the victim of parental abuse ... she has managed to put the pieces of her life back together, but it took many years.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Powerful words to highlight a sad fact of life. Child Abuse is horrendous.

Dulcina said...

You have hit the nail on the head, Dave.
I think nobody sees the abuser abuse except the victim, but many people know what's happening and they say nothing...
If the moon, the doll, the owl could speak, they would.
You have dealt with a terrible subject in a delicate and poetic way.
Only God sees everything, but He also does nothing... for man is free.

Linda said...

Sad that many don't see the abuse...or some that do pretend they don't see it, as they are afraid to get involved.
Very powerful and moving, Dave.

Daydreamertoo said...

Heavy subject Dave and, sadly one that is all too often swept under the carpet of "Don't look now and it might all go away."
It's come into the daylight a lot more in this present day and yet, not a thing has improved, really.
Very touching.

Heaven said...

You have tackled and asked difficult and "taboo" questions Dave ~ I feel the weight and angst of your words...sadly it happens but most of us just keep silent or become a headless soldier...Very thought provoking post ~

Dave King said...

Shadow
You're right, of course... the others convince themselves there's another explanation, as often as not.

Hank
Yes, exactly. It's the norm, I'm afraid.

anthonynorth
A very vicious circle, yes.

The Elephant's Child
It does make you wnat to get up on the old soap box, though. I do know the feeling, having been involved in child protection in a variety of roles.

Brian
Sometimes nobody does see, directly at any rate, for abusers are very cunning and not easily caught out. The breakthrough can come from knowing the signs and giving credence to what the child says.

Other Mary
Pertinent questions you ask. Shame more people don't ask them.

Ginny
Hi Ginny. Thanks for visiting. Good to have your comments. You very clearly outline the way forward. Thank you.

Mary
Indeed. Usually that's all it takes - one. Thanks.

Berowne
Thanks for saying so.

Helen
Yes, it often does, and sometimes they never fit back exactly. Good work on your part, that's what they need more than anything, of course: support.

Rachna
To my mind, t's the ultimate crime - a sin against nature.

Dulcina
Your comment sums it up neatly, I think. There's seeing and "seeing". It is not often that anyone stumbles upon the smoking gun scene, but there are clues and one needs to believe them - or at least the possibility that it's happening.

Linda
Thanks Linda. Sad indeed!

Daydreamertoo
You're dead right in the first part. I'm not sure that nothing has improved. Nothing has improved for those to whom it's still happening, but I came across it several times in my youth. It was going on a lot, I am sure. Especially sexual abuse (as it would be called now) in the family. It seemed not to be known about then - between siblings, for example, it was the ostrich reaction or thought to be harmless - in some cases beneficial.



Harvee Lau said...

Yes, that photo does tell a sad story. I liked your response to it.

Raven said...

My mouth has dropped open in awe. This is so very well done. So complete in it's emotional history.

Linda said...

I love your poem and I think our world is long overdue for some major changes. We have a hot line in Ontario that children can call to chat about anything they want and we post the number in our classrooms, encouraging children to use it. It will take time, but it is working. Also, we are desperate for inroads into mental illnesses. There is so much work that needs done. Thanks so much for sharing.

Kutamun said...

Hmm, who " sees" . These are disturbing concepts indeed, like a vale of tears, this poem Dave, well done. Why do the abused so often become the abusers ? , is there some damaged child at the beginning of time that started a domino effect ? . Is it an expression of our collective atheism, materialism, loss of innocence ? . Ponder thus i will.

Kutamun said...

Hmm, who " sees" . These are disturbing concepts indeed, like a vale of tears, this poem Dave, well done. Why do the abused so often become the abusers ? , is there some damaged child at the beginning of time that started a domino effect ? . Is it an expression of our collective atheism, materialism, loss of innocence ? . Ponder thus i will.

Carrie Burtt said...

Wow Dave this is quite an intense and thought provoking piece....a powerful write for sure! :-)

Tess Kincaid said...

All too often no one sees...it's hard to forget...