One Woman’s Story: Conquering Her Abuse

Categories: Misc, Other, Things We Like

Most of us excavate our secrets privately. And slowly. So did Kathryn Harrison — until, in 1997, she published “The Kiss,” an unsparing account of her predatory father and the sexual relationship he engineered with her when she was 20. “The Kiss” is an important book to many, and especially to Gretl Claggett (left, in photo), who was abused when she was a child. This year, when “The Kiss” was republished, Gretl thought it would be good to check in with Kathryn Harrison (right, in photo) and see how she feels now about her book, her father and her life. I’m honored to publish Gretl’s essay and her conversation with Kathryn Harrison.

Read on HERE at Head Butler.

2 responses to “One Woman’s Story: Conquering Her Abuse

  1. This is a wonderful story, and I am happy to have read it. You are an inspiration! I would like to make a difference in a child’s life, as many people have done with me.

  2. The saddest song

    She heard the young girl screaming get your hands off of me. The other girl ran off through the dark and the trees. Swung the screen door open mesmerized by it all. Then there was struggling and fighting down the long empty hall. Smoke filled the room. Her husband was lying over blood and his doom.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment one man’s family.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment one man.

    Police arrived but it was too late. In the spin of the red lights tears rolled down her face. The little boy was sleeping when the telephone rang. Cried out for his daddy but his daddy never came.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment one boy’s family.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment one boy.

    Rented them a motel. Threw her gun in the trash. Looked up in the darkness her memory fading fast. Two girls in the room trying to understand. Crying on the pillow they were holding hands.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment was their family.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment two girls.

    Alone in the backyard it was already June. The tree that Darsey planted had started to bloom. Wanted to hug and kiss her and brush her long hair. Needed to say she’s sorry but no one was there. No one was aware that she’d been:
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment was her family.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment was her sanity.

    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment one whole family.
    Lost in the moment of his disease.
    Lost in the moment.
    One Man.
    One Boy.
    Two girls.
    And Me.

    J.Plank

    Above are the lyrics I wrote as a wife trying to heal from the sudden unforeseen effects of my husband molesting a child. Before my experience I never realized or even thought about how this disease destroys entire families and affects each member differently. Lives are changed in an instant. No one prepares for this. It’s never expected and there are never any answers to the unending questions running through your mind as to “why?” or “how?” this happened that seem to justify any reasonable explanation that would possibly satisfy the confusion, bitterness and brokenness.
    I only hope my sharing this song shows another they are not alone. I felt so alone. I also want to shine awareness on the subject that might encourage someone to become more active in protecting our children. Come to find out this was not my husband’s first crime against a child and if I had known that previously my niece and entire family would have been spared this victimization. However for whatever reason it was kept a secret in his family and not brought to the light. I have learned this happens often. People are ashamed or embarrassed for anyone to know. In actuality the only shame or embarrassment would be in failing to protect other innocent children.
    I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was unable to even speak it out loud to people. I isolated myself, my thoughts and my feelings for several years. Believe me when I say I understand. Then I realized in doing that I was taking the responsibility and it was not my fault. It has taken so much hurt to come to a place where I can say that and honestly I still struggle with believing it. So in sharing part of my story I hope to continue to heal and to encourage people to stick up for what is good and right, do not just look the other way because it isn’t directly affecting you. Learn what you can do to help prevent child molestation. SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT.

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