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I Am The Face That Nobody Wants to See

10 Aug

Now I See as I Am Seen ~ I Am The Face No one Wants to See

DeBorah ~ MMC 2002 Grad

DeBorah ~ Marymount Manhattan College 2002 Graduation

I am the face of Mental Illness in America. The face that nobody wants to see. The face that people wish would go away. For years I tried to deny my illness which is hereditary.  I’ve had it since I was a teenager. But I just want people to know that I’m the person sitting next to you on the subway, bus, in church, temple, at your job; next to you in the Shopping Mall, walking down the street, enjoying a day in the park, having fun at a club or concert, the Veteran who served her country, the Woman who graduated Cum Laude from College while fighting unseen demons.

I am the Face of Domestic Violence.  I am the Face of Sexual Abuse.

Yes I’m one of the Everyday People.  Sometimes I feel as though I’m living in a Dystopian Universe. My own personal Hunger Games, bodies falling all around me. Yet I the Damaged Battle Scarred Warrior fight on.  One of Jephthah’s Daughters, I Refuse to be stigmatized because of the Stigmata I bear.  The Bread of Heaven Sustains Me.

I’ve taken measures to remove Toxic people and Naysayers from my Life.  I’ve formed a New Family since the one I was born into abandoned me.  Yes this is my Thorn in the Flesh and I Own it. Some battles I win. Some I lose. But throughout my life I remain me. Not ashamed of who I am or how I go about living my life.  No excuses. No apologies. Just me. Only those going through the Fire truly understand.

I AM!  I AM!!   I AM!!!

 

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The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

10 Aug

 

Secret

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/secret/#like-244527

Would you have kept this secret for two generations? Maybe my Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept secret the fact that my grandfather Hugh Banks killed my Great Grandfather Daniel Finney (Hattie’s Dad) so that she could keep her sanity.  Guilt, embarrassment, shame, humiliation. I’m sure in the beginning after the murder it was all there deep within her soul, mind and spirit. But My Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept the secret so she could raise her three daughters (one of whom Mable was to become my mother) in relative peace, quiet and safety without passing this terrible haunting to future generations.  No judgment from me, only understanding.

 

The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney Banks

Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney was born Feb. 1905 in the poor coal mining hamlet of Davy, West Virginia.  A real looker in her youth blessed with a great sense of fashion and good taste Hattie though living in poverty was able to enhance her beauty through thrift and the ability to create something out of nothing.

With African and Sioux blood running through her veins her beauty soon caught the eye of the young men in the town. One named Hugh Banks seemed to have good prospects. Hugh like her Hattie’s dad Daniel R. Finney worked as a janitor. Not a high living job but one that could support a wife and future children. It also didn’t hurt that he was a strong strapping young man who was easy on the eyes.

They married sometime in the late 1920s when Hattie was in her early 20s looking forward to a bright future. Their first born child Mable Banks, (My Mom) was born May 2, 1930, and then came Helen on September 13, 1931 and finally Gladys on May 2, 1935. However as time progressed and the marriage wore on the initial first joys of wedded bliss gave way to drinking and horrible physical abuse from her husband Hugh. He regularly stayed out late getting drunk, spending the food and rent money on booze. A spirit of anger possessed him and he took out all the days slights on Hattie and their young children. Hattie always put herself between Hugh and the kids when he went on these violent tirades taking the brunt of the physical beatings and verbal abuse.

Finally on April 30, 1939 after a particularly horrible beating Hattie couldn’t take it anymore. In fear of her life she grabbed her three little girls and ran to the shelter of her parents’ house not far away. A very drunk Hugh Banks in hot pursuit of his wife followed her and demanded that Hattie and the girls return home with him. Hattie’s Dad, Daniel James Finney told Hattie to stay indoors while he went out to confront Hugh. Daniel Finney seeing Hugh in a violent drunken rage refused to allow his daughter and granddaughters to go with Hugh. An argument ensued and Hugh took out a pistol shooting Daniel Finney in the chest killing him instantly. Daniel’s brother Charlie Finney saw the murder, called the police and Hugh Banks was arrested.

Hattie and her mother Mary were devastated and in addition for many years Hattie carried the burden of guilt and shame that if she had not ran back to her parents’ house for protection perhaps her Dad, a strong healthy man would have lived even longer than his age of 75 years at the time of the shooting. Her choices haunted her for a long time but at least she found peace knowing that she had protected her three innocent young daughters and pride in the great love her Dad had for his family laying down his life for them.

Newspaper Clipping of the Murder

Daniel Finney Murder Newspaper Clipping

My Grandmother strong in her Baptist Faith eventually forgave her wayward husband supplying the information for my grandfather’s death certificate after his untimely death in prison from tuberculosis at age 30. No one from my grandfather’s family came to claim the body and he is buried  in the Potters Field attached to the prison.

Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Grandfather Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Daniel James Finney

Daniel James Finney Death Certificate

Shortly after the trial my Great Uncle Clarence came for Hattie and her daughters taking them to Dayton, Ohio where my mother grew up and later met and married my Dad Edward G. Palmer a union of 40 years that produced me and my brother Stephen.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when by then both my parents and my grandmother had gone onto glory. I met my common-law husband who like my grandmother’s relationship with her husband started off with great dreams and hope for the future but gradually deteriorated into an abusive relationship from which I too sought escape. For our final year together when the emotional, physical and psychological abuse was at its worst I prayed to God that this man would leave me and he did. He left me for a younger woman. A sigh of relief. A burden lifted from my shoulders. However though his physical presence was gone his psychological presence was rooted in my mind and soul. Though I had forgiven him it took years to dig up the roots and weeds of self-doubt and self-hate he had planted within me. Spirit never fails and after a brush with death from a minor stroke at age 49 and being Blessed to see 50 I began to experience a Change of Life. Not just from menopause which began physical changes within my body but spiritual and emotional changes. During all this upheaval my ancestors were with me, guiding me every step of the way. Each succeeding year as I progress through my 50s has brought me greater enlightenment and spiritual growth. Once I made the decision to answer my calling in this life doors open, thus here I am today to carry forward my Grandmother’s Legacy and be a blessing to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

But unbeknownst to my Grandmother and Great Grandmother a little girl cowering in front of a dusty little used attic window had peered out becoming an eyewitness to her Grandfather’s being shot to death by her Dad. Mable was always the quiet one of the three girls who took in many things but let out little.  As the Bible says  of conversations concerning Mary and Jesus, Mable Finney Banks was a small girl who took in and absorb all the things around her and pondered them in her heart……………….  From now on the events of that day would follow her all through childhood, young womanhood, and as a married woman with children and as she battled her own demons of schizophrenia. I shall take up Mable’s story in the next segment.

Thank you Sisters and be Blessed!

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Learning to Encourage Myself

18 Apr

How to Encourage Yourself

Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers

http://youtu.be/JbEaftzaFWA

Black Unicorn Rainbow

Black Unicorn moving towards the Rainbow

Extreme anger, panic attacks, uncontrollable crying and/or apathetic/zombie like fluctuations are defense mechanisms produced by our damaged psyches to protect ourselves emotionally. Just after I separated from my abuser in 2007 I went through a gamut of emotions. I was extremely high strung, angry and would lash out sometimes at total strangers. Now I do realize that a lot of that was a form of PTSD, stress and hormones since I had started to go through the Change of Life. Many times I felt like Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. Other than my estrogen going wild I believe the basis of my negative emotions was fear. Fear causes the fight or flight response and unfortunately I often got angry at the wrong people. However once I stood up to my inner demons and toxic family/co-worker bullies I began to feel better. I realized I had options. I did not have to feel this way. Another therapy for me was and is writing.

I wrote about all my emotions; the good, the bad and the ugly. There were times when I wanted to kill myself. I wrote an entire heart wrenching story on all the evil locked up inside my head. Words gave that insanity somewhere to go so it would not destroy me. I became stronger. Then this year more healing came, peace came through being a part of V-Day/1 Billion Women Rising and through joining groups that focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. Then I saw that my trials and tribulations were not in vain and not for my destruction but for the upliftment of not only me but all women who are going through and have gone through this horrible experience. I’m here to encourage and support. We Lean on and draw strength from each other. We Find Sanctuary among and within our tribe.  Love is a Helping Hand and a listening ear.

Bill Withers — Lean On Me

http://youtu.be/QPoTGyWT0Cg

Sometimes I still have panic attacks but they do not last as long nor are they as powerful or as strong as before because I’m able to defuse them. I tell myself that this fear I feel at the moment is only that, a temporary moment in time. I’m made of survivor and victory stock. Some of my ancestors settled the Americas, most came from Africa, and survived the middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow and all other types of bullshit. My ancestors lift me up above the fray. Then my genetic memory recalls that I am descended from the Queens of Mother Africa. I carry within me the DNA of women who sat on the thrones of Egypt, Ethiopia & Mozambique. They reigned and I reign. I’m stronger than my flaws, weakness and shortcomings. I’m an Overcomer. I’m stronger and more powerful than the words of deceit, anger and hate my ex- the abuser tried to sow into my soul. I will no longer allow his words of defeat to take root within my mind. Now I listen to, absorb and plant the words of my maternal ancestors within my soul, my psyche and my spirit. Courage, Boldness and Determination grows and manifests itself to and for my SisterFriends!

Judith Beheading Holofernes

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Not perfect but able to move through the pain. I do not deny the pain but I refuse to give pain, sorrow, sadness or depression any authority in my life. I walk in my authority as a Victor not a victim.  I will not allow my life to spiral out of control. I don’t have to live in defeat. I have choices. I have options. Living my life like it’s Golden!

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. Thank you and God Bless

Disposable People?

29 Sep

Disposable People?

James 4:3-5

Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Allegory of Avarice (Greed)

Allegory of Avarice
Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian, Verona 1547–1627 Florence)

Gimme, gimme gimme, my name is Jimmie is something we chanted as kids. Some adults still harbor these ill-advised wishes whether externally or internally.

We live in a throwaway society. Everything can be disposed of including wives, husbands, & children. Men trade in their wives and/or girlfriends for a newer, younger supposedly better model, aka the Trophy Wife, not realizing that she’s only with you for the money or power you have right now. When you lose the money that she’s gone. Men want the Playboy Bunny/Players magazine image of women; fake hair, fake nails, fake boobs, fake butts! They go for the Bimbos every time because they think with the little head.

Women go for “rich/wealthy” men instead of seeking a man of character & integrity. If a guy has tons of money yet no regular job, your antenna should go up. It may be hip to be with that thug, bad boy, hoodrat but there is a price to pay. Talk to the women incarcerated at Bedford Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Ladies you sink even lower when you think of your kids as meal tickets or possessions. That will back fire on you. Kids grow up or God will take those children from you and give them to someone else to raise. Or worse yet they will realize that they are being manipulated and disown you.

Ignorant music that regularly calls women bitches and ho’s and steadily devalues their worth in the eyes of this young generation is just one of the factors that contribute to the abuse of girls and women.

TV shows on the ID channel like Snapped, Who the Bleep did I Marry?; Scorned, Deadly Affairs, Behind Mansion Walls and others illustrate dysfunctional relationships taken to the ultimate extreme but it does show what can happen as a result of repeated bad judgments and selfish motives.

Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop, Mafia Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo Child and Bad Girls promote dysfunctional lifestyles. Has being Ghetto Fabulous become the new form of social climbing except the climbing is really descending? How ignorant can I act so I can get the bling bling, money, cars, big fancy houses, rich men, etc…

These television shows put male/female relationships that used to be frowned upon as the norm or the way to be in this world. What kind of society can we expect to have and what are the potential effects of these stereotypes on young people especially young women watching these derogatory TV shows. Instead of seeking a friend, a partner, a companion who will stick with us through the better and the worse of life we are now searching for status, power, authority, unnatural physical attributes that will fade with time and age. There is no substitute for faith, loyalty and commitment.

Everything that glitters is not gold or even cubic zirconium! If you dance to the music, you got to pay the piper. Beware the pathway the demon of unbridled lust leaves you.

Lust is the desire to benefit self at the expense of others. Lust desires to get.

Rev. A.R. Bernard

The only agenda we should have as humans is God’s agenda.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

Limits on Human Forgiveness

10 Sep

 

The Rape of Tamar by LeSueur
The Rape of Tamar by LeSueur (2 Samuel 13)

Limits on Human Forgiveness

Can a pedophile be Forgiven?

My cousin Michael was a child molester. There I said it and there is no easy way to say something like this but his actions cannot be sugarcoated or made palatable in any way, shape or form. Michael sexually molested his niece when she was a little girl. How long the sexual abuse went on I don’t know since I did not find out any of this information until a few years ago. Michael’s behavior towards his children and his mother had always disgusted me but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Once I found this out I no longer had any contact with him for any reason. Thank goodness he lived in another state so that made it easier to take him off my radar.

Just that piece of knowledge keep hidden within the victim for years, then suddenly coming to light served to reinforce my perceptions of my cousin and the discomfort I felt even as a child then young woman in his presence.

How do you forgive a sociopath? A man with all the characteristics of a Ted Bundy who has sown his seed with women of various races, so much so that at his death earlier this summer the niece whom he raped as a little girl, now charged with contacting said children, could not find them all.

A man so evil who in life created so much discord within the family that his grown children had abandoned him, as he did them; and no one outside of his immediate family saw cause to attend his funeral.

But what disturbed me more? The fact that his mother, my aunt praised him to the hills and constantly sent him money from her meager fixed income or that in recent years he had taken up with some addled white woman with whom he had two more children, one a little girl. Did he take up his sexual perversions with this girl child or as he used to tell us, was he so ill that sex was no longer an issue or a capability. One of Michael’s favorite lies he told his mother was that he had cancer or some other life threatening illness that had him knocking on deaths door. He told this lie for so long that he became like the boy who cried wolf so that when he did pass this year we were like well guess he really was sick after all.

Sickness. We all like to believe that illness does not come from God. God is merciful, kind, compassionate and loving. However God is also a God of wrath and justice. He exacts vengeance upon child abusers and child molesters. “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:2, Matthew 18:6 & Mark 9:42.

I would estimate that Michael became seriously ill not too long after his last daughter was born. Final justice. God said no, not this little girl. He gave Mephistopheles leave to lay claim to Michael’s evil soul. As in the story Faust, Mephistopheles made good on that claim with another sexual deviant consigned to the levels of Dante’s Inferno.

When informed of his death I felt nothing but a sense of relief and justice had been done. There was no mourning on my part. Yes I do admit my forgiveness is limited. I can forgive crimes against property, hurt feelings, money disagreements, break-ups etc… but I have to draw the line with crimes against children. Pedophiles don’t just harm these children physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A child’s soul has been stolen perhaps never to be returned. In my book those who commit assault against children will never be absolved.

Mark 10:14

New International Version (NIV)

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

 

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