Rape of Tamar

Patches of Absolution


This Blog Post was originally published September 10, 2011.  I felt it was important to post it on my Espiritu en Fuego blog to encourage and support women who have been sexually assaulted or victims of domestic violence.  Since 2011 I’ve had some progress in working through domestic violence and No Longer rely on any medications except my high blood pressure pills and Advil PM.  I feel I’m getting stronger, braver and better as time goes by. Letting you know in advance that this testimony is brutally honest, filled with painful memories and not something you can read lightly.  Much of it is heartbreaking but know this………  I’m still here.  I’m no longer a victim but a Victor in progress slowly attaining Victory day by day and moment by moment.  Not perfect. Just human.  This is the Rebirth of DeBorah.

It is time for me to speak up. Ladies know that you are not alone.

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

Patches of Absolution

This is a highly personal response to the article in the current issue of More magazine entitled Attitude written by Deborah Copaken Kogan.  Basically Ms. Kogan discusses American media’s fascination with judging women who have experienced some form of sexual violence.

My first reaction in reading this article was visceral.  I’m not a photojournalist as is my fellow Deborah but over the years I’ve experienced almost as many sexual attacks as she.  I don’t attribute Ms. Kogan’s attacks or mine to our respective jobs, but to society’s acquiescence to male violence on women.  As she goes on to point out rather painfully in her article women are often co-conspirators with men after another woman is sexually harassed by a man.  I won’t recount Deborah Kogan’s year by year and play by play sexual assaults since you can read the article on your own but as I read subconsciously I relived the many horrors inflicted on me over the years.  Until Deborah I don’t remember the years in which these things happened but in my mind I can still see those guys’ faces and feel their filthy grimy hands all over my body.

My sexual assaults and rapes started after I joined the Army.  I recall after coming home on leave my recruiter fixed me up with a fellow who lived in my neighborhood and was also home on leave.  Suffice to say he sodomized me in his parent’s downstairs den on their sofa.  I suppose this is what is now called Date Rape.  Several years later I met the same guy at a local church event.  He remembered me and invited me out.  Thank God I had the good sense not to take him up on his offer.

I kept quiet.  I didn’t tell my father but I should have.  I was young and afraid.

This recruiter also had sex with me in his office.

Daddy didn’t know.

Once I returned home my Dad and I regularly did the laundry in a local Laundromat.  The owner also had a fish store and another neighborhood business.  Sometimes my Dad would leave me to watch the clothes while he went to get the paper and coffee.  Once my Dad was out of sight this guy forced me to kiss him.  I can still feel his slimy tongue going down my throat.  I was attacked at his other businesses when my parents sent me to do errands.  I blamed myself. I was young and afraid.

I kept quiet and did not tell Daddy.

After I got out of the service in 1981 I went to work for the Reader’s Digest.  One of the guys in the mailroom would call my house to engage in what people today call phone sex.

I kept quiet and didn’t tell my Father.  I was young and afraid.

The rest of the 80s pass in a blur.  More happened but it’s forced under the surface so I can survive.

By the 90s both my parents died. A screamer intervened. He turned my life upside down with his unreasonable demands. But somehow I managed to escape.

In 2000 I met my smooth talker abuser whom I lived with for seven years.  I was yelled and screamed at, threatened, had my car and money taken from me, and raped repeatedly especially in the last year of our relationship.

Suddenly a bright orange seeped from pores of my every vein and artery.  My life essence had bleed out all over the song, the song all over my life.

Behind The Wall
by Tracy Chapman
Last night I heard the screaming
Loud voices behind the wall
Another sleepless night for me
It won’t do no good to call
The police
Always come late
If they come at all

And when they arrive
They say they can’t interfere
With domestic affairs
Between a man and his wife
And as they walk out the door
The tears well up in her eyes

Last night I heard the screaming
Then a silence that chilled my soul
I prayed that I was dreaming
When I saw the ambulance in the road

And the policeman said
’I’m here to keep the peace
Will the crowd disperse
I think we all could use some sleep’

Fear ruled my life.  I prayed.  He left me Thanksgiving Day November 2007.  One of my closest girlfriends, (at least I thought she was my friend), blamed me when I told her what happened.  She said I brought it on myself.  In other words the abuse was my fault.  So much for sisterly support.  By the way, she is no longer my friend.  I did get up enough courage to tell her off.

Then there was the incident with a member of the Christian clergy.  I went to this man for pastoral counseling.  Things started off well.  He seemed in the spirit of forgiveness because I had to tell him I was living in sin with my abuser.  He seemed to be rather open minded to this concept.  During the course of the conversation somehow my good looks got into the mix.  He speculated on how much I weighed…..the rest of what he said is buried now, much like my faith in Christian Leadership.  The church which should be a safe haven, a safe harbor, sanctuary is not.

I couldn’t tell Daddy.  Daddy was gone.  Only my Heavenly Father knew the extent of the damage this man inflicted on me.  Since that person left I’ve never again been in a sexual relationship with a man.

Since then I’ve been sexually harassed, verbally threatened and stalked in and outside my workplace by both women and men.  Don’t be fooled women can be sexual perpetrators also.  My sexual orientation was brought into question several times.  Only by the grace of God did I survive the rumors and innuendo.  I’ve also had to endure some pretty horrible commentary about my breasts and behind.  I stopped counting the insults coming from female co-workers.

Those sexual harassment laws or regulations do not work.  They are not enforceable because the victim must show proof.  In other words you need a witness.  As many of you know sexually predators obviously trap you where there can be no witnesses.  They get you alone or call you on the phone.  That’s their M.O.  The only thing that saved me on this job was supervisors and other men of character and integrity who intervened so these guys would not maim or kill me.

One other thing I have in common with Ms. Kogan besides our first names is that we are both small framed short women.  I’m five foot one.  I weigh between 110 and 115 pounds.  Thus like Ms. Kogan I’m a convenient seemingly helpless target for men with twisted sexual psyches.

Domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape of girls and women are condoned by the courts, many cultures, religion and society in general.  Women have been reduced to sex objects via the media and especially through the Internet.

Pills are my next weapon. Pills to go to sleep.  Pills for pain.  Pills that can help me obliterate these horrible scenes replaying in mind on an endless loop.  Pills now flushed down the toilet and thrown away in the trash. Facing the ugliness, guilt and shame of my life.

Update

Writing, photography and creating art are my salvation.  In my poetry I can express everything hidden inside my heart and buried within my soul.

Donations to support this writer, photographer & artist can be sent directly to Paypal using my email: deborah.palmer280@gmail.com.

Thank you and God Bless.

Gaslighting


Ingrid Berman in Gaslight (with Charles Boyer)
Ingrid Berman in Gaslight (with Charles Boyer)

If you’ve ever had this happen to you then you know what it is to live in abject fear & terror. Gaslight – verb (used with object): to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation.

Gaslight (1944)

http://youtu.be/0ToLfQU2xmg

The source is a George Cukor-directed thriller starring Ingrid Bergman as a woman whose husband tells her she’s imagining things that she claims to see in a musty old murder house, including the gaslights dimming by themselves.

Unless you’ve gone through this experience there is no understanding what it’s like to not know whether you’re crazy or the other person is playing you for a fool. I know how that feels. Cruelty in any form is a weapon that has the potential to destroy peoples lives. I’m just fortunate to have a Guardian Angel. This past weekend I survived an episode with a so-called professional member of the particular online business group I’d like to get into.  

A certain amount of trust is involved within our interactions with other human beings. School, the job, our House of Worships, entrepreneurial relationships all involved being able to trust the persons we hope to glean information from to build our business and who we trust to provide marketing and promotion information.  However some people in these online business groups are merely stalkers seeking to capitalize on the trusting natures and vulnerabilities of others.  Not just sad but depraved indifference to a fellow human beings feelings and emotions.  They are Social Media Vultures and/or Predators seeking unsuspecting prey.  Masters of Psychological Deception.  Tricks without the Treats. Vipers ready to strike without a moments notice.

Like anyone, I’m always looking to better myself. To this end I join groups on social media.  Having carefully researched the product you then join with like-minded individuals in order to gain strategies on how to succeed in your chosen field.  Skill building is important to ensure the success of any business venture.

So its scary stuff when even one person in the business group turns out to be a stalker who then libels and slanders you without cause all the while making you the victim think you’re at fault.  No compassion whatsoever. A total disregard for the victims emotional state.

It’s an especially cruel type of manipulation as the tormentor gains the innocent person’s trust only to betray them through psychological and emotional means. Once they gain your trust they either gradually or perhaps more aggressively twist their words so you feel like you’re losing your mind.  Ever so slightly they threaten you with police action, incarceration, jail, prison, legal actions, and many other types of evil tricks to make you believe that you’re at fault and deserve punishment. Despite their malevolent actions suddenly you become the criminal and then these sadists try you in their kangaroo court while acting as judge, jury and executioner.

A series of lies, rumors, innuendos, slander, falsehoods, cause you to doubt your ability to reason or make sense of a troubling situation.  The constant question of “What Just Happened Here?” goes through your mind until that Guardian Angel, Rescuer, Redeemer helps you gain perspective.

Then the demonic wickedness of these Master Manipulators is exposed and once again Salvation has been regained.  I was Blessed to have someone step in to help me and give me reassurance.  Also I was connected with a girlfriend who also went through domestic violence and sexual abuse scenarios like me who understand.  A calm, kind, gentle, loving voice who embraced me acceptance.  I was not alone. Somebody threw out the lifeline.  I grabbed hold and climbed out of this monstrous pit.

I am not deterred in my efforts to improve my finances.  One monkey don’t stop no show!  I see God’s Angels all around me.  I feel God’s Love. I now know that I am not at fault and I don’t have to be afraid.  Legions of Angels have been detached by God to protect me.  As for that spiteful, mean nasty person there will be both earthly and God’s Judgement now that he has been exposed.  Purgatory for this individual has only just begun.  Sanctuary for him will only be found in accepting the truth, repentance and restitution.

1 Chronicles 16:22 & Psalm 105:15

 New International Version (NIV)

22 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
    do my prophets no harm.”

Not Looking for Mr. Goodbar and Why I Refuse to Play the Relationship Game


Not Looking for Mr. Goodbar and Why I Refuse to Play the Relationship Game

Carnival Cruise 2004
2004 Carnival Cruise

Me, Myself and I

http://youtu.be/kw02oX3_uC8

Long ago and far away when I was in my 20’s and 30’s my Aunts on both my mother’s and father’s side were on my back about being married despite the fact that nearly all of them were either divorced or separated. I can still hear their voices, “Deborah you need to learn how to cook so you can get a husband.”  All my Aunts on both sides were good cooks yet none were with their husbands!  It got to the point that when my maternal grandmother Hattie Banks passed away in 1990 the aunt my grandmother had lived with introduced me to my grandmother’s Pastor as my 31 year old single niece from New York.  This caused my grandmother’s Pastor great concern and he asked to speak to me privately. He began to question me concerning my singleness. After a while I figured out he was trying to ascertain as to whether or not I was a lesbian!  I assured him that No I was not gay just had not met the right person. Now over twenty years later I realize his fears and opinions reflect a lot about people born and raised in the 1900’s within the confines of rigid Baptist teachings.

Fast forward to 2007 when my abuser finally left me and I finally felt free to confide in certain females whom I thought were my friends. I found that to be a big mistake.  Women often don’t support other women who have been through the wringer.  Too much Blame the Victim mentality out there. Then there is the other side of the coin with women pushing newly single women back into the shark infested waters of the dating game. Amazing how many insensitive and snarky comments I received about either not wanting to date or taking a break from dating.

I’ve had close friends yell and scream at me for my decision not to date. As a result I’ve had to ask these girlfriends not to bring up that topic. All the while I listen to them whine, moan, bitch and complain about what the latest boyfriend is doing to them. These women imagine there is a Mr. Right for everyone or that I’d want that person. They’ve bought into the mentality that a Woman is not complete without a man. They are brainwashed with that fantasy of John and Martha running to each other’s open arms on white sand beaches or in a meadow filled with fragrant flowers and four leaf clovers.

I do not lack male attention.  As one of my supervisors at work likes to say, Ms. Palmer you have many admirers.  Trust me when I say I wish many of them would find some other woman to admire.  Whether on the job or in my neighborhood I’m always polite and mannerly but I always keep things platonic and on the friends side of the relationship spectrum.

I do admit that since the break-up with my ex- and during the few times I’ve dated since then I’ve engaged in battles of self-hatred self-destruction.  I was participating in an online group for Domestic Violence Survivors. I was really saddened to see how emotionally bankrupt many of the women were.

Because so many years have passed since I was delivered from my Ex- I was able to be a source of encouragement to women still suffering. A few Friended me or Subscribe to my page and my goal is to offer strategies towards wholeness yet still revealing my struggles and vulnerabilities. Being an Overcomer or Victorious does not mean you’re not going to have bad times but you’d do not dwell within those bad episodes.

No matter how many compliments I receive about how much I have to offer a man and how beautiful and wonderful I am that does nothing for my inner healing. Sounds like I have nothing to offer outside of being with a guy.

Those remarks may or may not be true but that type thinking is missing the point and counter-productive. No matter how well-meaning or well intentioned those remarks may be THE POINT IS, I’m Not Ready and it may be months or years before I am ready. Right now for me the relationship waltz is an emotionally crippling dance.  Also I want to concentrate on Me, Myself and I. I’m not to the point where I’m ready to make an investment in a relationship.  I Love being an Autonomous, Free and Independent Woman.

Oh yes for those wondering if I still have a sex drive the answer is Yes but menopause has put a damper on it and I no longer feel compelled to satisfy that urge. Truthfully most days I’m just not interested in sex and for the times I am I learned to control myself. Also I made the decision to remain celibate and there are few if any men who can make me change my mind.

My life is not the Black remake of Eat, Pray, Love but more like Having our Say by the Delaney Sisters.  The Joys of Singlehood. Can’t even tell you how many miserable married women I know. Constant refrain of, DeBorah I wish I was single like you!  Proof that marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be.

And yes I’ve read all the relationship books written by men on what women are doing wrong and how they can better please the men they want in their lives or who are currently in their lives.  While other women frantically put desperate profiles on various on-line dating services, engage in speed-dating at the local recreation center, join the singles ministry at church or buy tickets and expensive clothes for silly singles cruises, I’ll be at home comfortable chilling with a good book and drinking a Smirnoff Ice.

Soliloquy for Gia Allemand


Soliloquy to  Gia Allemand

Ladies, Should you find yourself hospital or bed rest sick; should you lose your job or your hours are reduced and that fool you call a man is offering no financial support and still wants you to cook, clean and have sex something is wrong with the whole picture. Get that male’s shoes out from under your bed.

Yesterday I overheard a conversation between two 20-somethings. One young lady was pouring out her heart to her girlfriend that she is working, getting ready to return to college for another semester, doing all the housework including ironing his shirts, more or less being this man’s personal servant and sex slave. As she was telling her story I could tell the young woman had reached her limit. She refused to iron his shirts anymore and wanted him to carry his weight otherwise she would leave. He responded that if she left the relationship was over. With the support of her understanding girlfriend she was drawing strength to leave this one-sided relationship.

Trauma Drama
Trauma Drama

In her words I saw myself in the last year with my abusive ex-boyfriend. At the time I was in my 40s but like these two young women I realized what these type men really want is a combination of their Mama and a hoe. The two ladies were white so Sisters take note, pretty much all men Black, white, brown, etc… eventually cause problems. Baby boys all. Breaking up is very emotional for women because you want the relationship to work but relationships only work if both parties are invested and respect one another.

Meantime, To the Left, to the Left, everything you own in a box to the Left.” – Beyonce. Git to steppin’ and don’t let the door hit you where the dog shoulda bit you! You and I ain’t got time for no foolishness!!

Dearest Gia,

Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me

http://youtu.be/7_SIfLzccbc

Gia Allemand, a sister in the struggle from Queens, like me. I was once in the dark. I stayed with him for seven years wanting the relationship to work, fear of being alone since I knew I was aging. There are many reasons women stay so I reserve judgment. Even when my ex was especially cruel and violent I still wanted to stay with him hoping things would work out but they never did. Only when stuff got really bad and I thought he might injure or kill me did I ask God to remove him. He left Thanksgiving Day 2007 and a weight was lifted off my shoulders physically but I still deal with problems of being unworthy or inadequate.

It is a never ending battle and the main reason why I finally gave up on men, dating and relationships last year. Domestic violence and emotional abuse have lingering problems that take years to fix. I’m still a work in progress trying to regain my self-confidence. Even after all these years I still have a lot of self-doubt. My heart goes out to all women of all ages and races in the battle to regain you.  Sweet Gia, I hope in your decision to leave this earthly plane that your burdened spirit is now at rest. Truly I wish you had lived but my prayer is that through your battle other women will get the help that they so desperately need.

Gia, like you I felt him not just saying but through his cruelty to me, repeatedly communicating over and over, “I Don’t Love you Anymore.”

As my Dad used to say, “Deborah, There are more fish in the ocean.”  Alas for you my poor girl this was it.  His words were you’re final breaking point.

Gia, the Bible speaks of renewing our minds. That renewal takes more than prayer. It is prayer, meditation, therapy, family and friends.  However I know when I was in my 20s the slap in the face, the betrayal of the end of a relationship feels like the end of the world. I suppose for me being in my 40s and living through a disastrous love affair I had a better perspective on life.  After months and years of verbal and physical abuse I just wanted the relationship to end. Finally I removed my rose colored glasses. Dawn ever slowly was breaking. This year light has come and deliverance is nigh.  We are all Wounded Healers.

The Judds – Love Can Build a Bridge

http://youtu.be/_pqGOf_V2T4

I’m the type of woman who is loyal, faithful, and who will love to the bitter end, however these days I determine the end not the man. I will no longer be the sacrificial lamb. Gia Allemand your story and many other stories will serve as the first step toward wholeness.

John 5:1-8

New King James Version (NKJV)

A Man Healed at the Pool of Bethesda

5 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,[a] having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.[b]5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water Studio Version

http://youtu.be/H_a46WJ1viA

Today The Water is being troubled, I promise to be that Bridge Over Troubled Water. Take my hand and let us journey together.

Rest in Peace.  

Gina Marie Allemand (December 20, 1983 – August 14, 2013)

Freedom from the Drone/Hive Mentality


Freedom from Drone/Hive Mentality

Spiritual Spring Cleaning: “Purge items and photos that remind you of destructive people or forces, which perpetuate negative life-story patterns. Spring is a great season to begin a new chapter, but you’ll need a blank page to get started.” — Bajay Pitter

Strategies for Deliverance

I love seeing formerly battered and abused women go from victims to Victory. Being a survivor of domestic & sexual violence I can relate to the pain and sufferings of women trying to escape abusive relationships. Even after being delivered from my abuser physically it still took a long time to be delivered mentally and emotionally. I’m still on the road to complete deliverance but at least I’m further down the road than 6 years ago.

The pain is there. It’s real. I’ve learned I must speak my pain but not to dwell within the pain. I must not make a home inside the pain. One of the ways to move past that pain is to destroy any reminders from that time period. I kind of had a waiting to exhale moment. No, I didn’t burn up his clothing but whatever he left inside my house went into the garbage that included clothing, computer junk, his old business cards, anything related to his pigeon hobby, and any photographs of him.

I especially found destroying the pictures to be a type of Cleansing Ritual. It was therapeutic because I was symbolically as well as physically removing my abuser from my life. It was the first step towards healing.  I can remember during the time I was with my abuser I went to a Women’s Retreat with my church. One of the things our Pastor’s Wife had us do was to write our fears or challenges down on little strips of paper and throw them into a fireplace. Fire represents a form of purging and casting photos of the abuser along with the bitter memories into the flames is cathartic. Think of it as conducting our own personal “Burning Man” ritual. Of course depending on where you live and if you live in a house or an apartment it may not be practical to build a bonfire in the backyard or sacrifice our kitchen stoves at the risk of violating our city’s ordinances or creating pyrotechnics worthy of Mrs. O’Leary’s bovine arsonist.

A safer and less risky ceremony would be to take every picture of your abuser and run them through the shredder.  This would accomplish the same fulfillment which is to banish this person as much as possible from your life. Now for me it was easier because we only had a common-in-law marriage and did not have children together. For those ladies who have property and children in common with the abuser this might become more difficult but still doable. If there are children involved I’d save two or three photos for the children to have once they become adults but I’d place those pictures in a safe deposit box or a strong box located in the basement, attic or a close family member or friend’s home to give the kids an opportunity to decide what they feel and make their own personal decisions upon reaching adulthood.

The objective is to begin the process of purification. Wash away the slime, filth and dirt off our bodies and out of our lives. To arise from the ashes like the Phoenix reborn, renewed, and ready to rebuild our lives. Today take up the shattered pieces of your life and build something brand new. A new beginning. A new identity created and defined by you not your abuser or outside detractors and naysayers.

Phoenix arising from the Ashes
Phoenix Arising from the Ashes

Graduate from the School of Hard Knocks don’t take up residence there. Resistance is not futile. Do not be assimilated into the Hive. Our identities and self-worth do not reside within another person but within us. The power to become free resides within us.

There is a Reset button to life. Not to move us back to before our relationship with the abuser but now knowing the signs, how not to be so needy to return to those destructive relationships. How can I Love myself and build up myself so I can attract healthy romantic relationships. Of course none of this freedom is won overnight.

There will still be days of doubt, fear, and frustration but those are the days when we reach out to our support group, our inner circles for help and reassurance that in time everything will work out.

Today I release myself from the Island of Lost Souls back into the solace of self and community.