Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"My Father's Love," a shocking memoir about incest so well written and personally inspiring I had to review it

I know I have loaded readers down with a multitude of entries on difficult subjects such as abortion funding in the health care plan, My Memoirs still causing family problems which I have decided to post, my conflict with organized religion, etc, but my sister Linda just sent me this book she acquired from the author, Sharon Doubiago, a poet she met in San Francisco. I knew I had to review it after I read it.
My policy when I write an entry I know might upset readers is just to post it and then move on to another as quickly as possible, so I can recover and so can my readers.
This was not an easy book to read, believe me. This beautiful little girl when she was just about this age in the picture was savagely raped when her mother had to go to a TB treatment center, and she, her sister 5, and her little brother were left with their father. There was evidence that both her and her sister suffered heart attacks at the age of 7 and 5 when this happened. She also acquired an extremely thick band of what the doctor thought was a very unusual hymen which he operated on and tried to stretch years later or otherwise she would never have been able to be penetrated. This was scar tissue caused by her father's sexual acts repeated throughout her childhood.
I don't even know how this woman survived such a battering. Her sexual abuse was far worse than mine and impacted her health accordingly. She held in bowel movements. She hiccuped constantly and stuttered. To say nothing of the psychological effects.
Remember the name of this book, "My Father's Love," and her name Sharon Doubiago. What courage it must have taken for her to put this story down on paper. She was told for years not to write it. She finally told her mother when she was in high school, and her father, of course, denied it. He had held her under water at the time it happened until she nearly quit breathing and told her he would kill her if she told. Her mother was still disabled by TB and was so dependent on the father to make a living she did not repudiate him until he confessed he had raped Sharon years later, after he had a heart attack and nearly died. He said that he saw his best friend who had passed away when they were young who told him he needed to go back and learn how to be a father. Of course he could not do anything else to his daughters who were grown women determined to defend themselves, but Sharon said that she regrets that she trusted him again, because he lived 15 more years, long enough to molest at least one granddaughter. That is practically the last bit of information in the book.
We find out that he came from a family of brothers who molested their children and there was also evidence he was a bisexual when he married his wife, he had casually told her that he wanted to get away from that life.
So many of the same issues that have impacted my life also impacted hers even more severely. This book is over 400 pages long as Sharon does a comprehensive study of both of her parents' families, trying to understand why her father was a molester and her mother a victim who was not able to protect her children, partly because she was so dependent on him for survival.
I went on my family site today and learned that my sister Margie is still adamantly against my claiming my father was a bisexual whose affairs with both molesters I thought figured in their getting even by grabbing me when they became angry at him. So I know now we are estranged and that I will need to stay away from Utah or I will be attacked. She is in Utah where such things have been kept secret for years. Such men have been ruthless when it comes to silencing anyone accusing them of such sexual splits when married. So I know she has been affected by the disapproval of powerful men. And thinks our family reputation will be ruined. And there is no need for it.
But I like Sharon am determined not to let the molesters win by never charging them in any way with their crimes. My father would never allow me to talk about what happened, even though I came home from the mental hospital never to be the same again. My health had gotten broken in there, but I was determined my spirit would not be.
Sharon's younger sister turned on her over her book and was not supportive enough but she believes she was also a victim of rape, too. Sharon was the one the father targeted the most during childhood, so Bridget may even have suppressed her own abuse at his hands, did not remember it, even though her health was very affected. Such crimes are very hard on the family's ability to stay unified when the price of exposure is so high.
Which is why I had to review this book quickly and then move on. I will be sending it on to Utah for my sisters to read and my nieces. Any women connected in any way to child sexual abuse should read this book. It will help them in spite of its horrors this woman is so courageous in how she deals with it and eventually writes about it. I admire her courage and honesty and determination so much.
I read a quote in here that says, "Once there is child molestation that child loses their family, too" meaning that many family members are unable to endure the fallout of such a crime. And may reject the victims, too. As society may, too.


Jeanie said...

This seems like a harrowing book Gerry.
How this poor lady was able to revisit those times without going mad I have no idea.
In a way she had to re-enact them in her mind and come out whole again at the other end. That was no mean feat.
I wonder what gives these perpetrators the right, in their minds, to act on their vile thoughts. How to stop like-minded people? Is that possible? I wonder...

Jeanie xx said...

There seems to be more and more child predators, more and more abused children on the net...more and more people have to tell their stories and get these people stopped! They are criminals preying on the young.

LaRena said...

This book must have been very hard for you to read and review. I don't thionk I would even be up to reading it and I was never sexually molested. Harassed some by a brother in law, but I was an adult and could put him in his place quickly. Even that was stressful. I can't even imagine how a child could cope. especially with something so brutal.

vooman's voice said...

I emailed Sharon about you blog. I hope she sees it. I will copy it and give it to her next time I see her just in case. I thought it was a beautiful review. Glad you liked it. I am reading her poetry book and she has some great poem as well.
Scott and I talked to Steve S. today and he is writing a movie script for his book.


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