Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Two Cents On Mark Foley

This is about as personal as it gets so please bear with me.

Before I was born my mother divorced my father because he was a gambler and an alcoholic. After he broke the piggy bank her father had given her she decided she could raise only one child.

My mother was a Roman Catholic and I was born in 1956. Single parenthood at that time was frowned upon. My mother told me as a child that my father died in “the war.” You do not need a calculator to figure out that it would have had to have been a secret war.

When I was still in diapers my mother fell in love with another man. I know this because he paid for my diaper service. I also know that he molested me when ever he came over to visit, which was often. We would play Lions and Tigers and wrestle around and it always ended up with his hands on my genitals.

The way he was able to keep doing this was to instill fear and guilt in me. This was actually worse than the fondling itself. He told me that if my mother found out she would be very mad at me so I should never tell her. He also told me that he had seen me touching myself so why not let him?

At the tender age of two I learned to be a liar. I learned guilt. Most importantly I became a victim. I had a hard time getting along with other children my age when I got older and this would get worse. When I was five my mother and I were watching a show on television that discussed child molestation and my mother turned to me and said, “If anyone ever does that to you I want you to tell me right away.” I do not recall the show but I remember my response, “Well, guess what?”

That was the beginning of the deterioration of my relationship between me and my mother. It was also the beginning of her slide into self destruction and loneliness. She broke off the relationship with this guy immediately. She decided that if she was going to raise me she was not going to risk another relationship while I was living in her house. This came at a high price for her and indirectly for me.

Because I had been trained to be a victim I was an easy target for bullies and sexual predators. Some of these predators were 10 and 12 and 14 years old. Sometimes I wonder what they had been through before I ran into them. The bullies were another problem. There was always one around and I spent much of my childhood being teased and humiliated and beaten up. I had a terrible temper and brought a lot of this on myself. Perhaps I was seeking punishment.

When I was eight the guy who had started all this called my mother on Mother’s Day and arranged to take me out to get me some flowers for her. Of course by now my mother had been alone for three years and was probably hoping things had changed. When we got in the car he asked me if I wanted to drive and being eight I sure did. So he told me I could steer. He pulled me over to him and let me steer and let go of the wheel and grabbed me. I was terrified. All the fear from the past came back but hit me much harder. I wanted to run the car into a parked car and run away but I was much too scared. All he kept saying was, “Be nice. Be nice.”

When we got home I went straight to my room and waited for a very long time for him to leave. Then I went down stairs and told my mother what happened. She called him and got me on the extension to repeat what I had told her. He said that if it were true I would have said it while he was there. I had to explain to my mother how afraid I was.

But he planted a seed of doubt in her mind. Over the following years it festered. Did I tell her this because I was jealous of this guy and did not want him in our life? Was I lying to her? I had lied to her many times before. This guy trained me how to lie when I was two so lying had become part of my makeup. I had all kinds of behavioral problems. I stole, I committed vandalism and I was constantly in fights and a social outcast.

My mother’s self destructive behavior increased in the form of drinking binges and she became so abusive toward me in my early teens I thought I would lose my mind.

To make a long story short I moved out of my mother’s house on my eighteenth birthday and did not see her for two years. I took control of my life in fits and starts, became a deep believer in non violence even as I still struggle with the violence within me. I stopped being a victim which is something everyone who goes through abuse must do if they are ever to get their lives back. This experience did give me empathy. I spent large chunks of twenty years (from the age of seventeen) working with homeless people in soup kitchens and later running shelters and getting arrested to force and or embarrass the Government of the District of Columbia to open shelters and then more shelters.

My mother and I reconciled. She came down from Baltimore to D.C. on her birthday to help prepare a meal for 600 homeless people while I went to the White House and was arrested for demonstrating against Ronald Reagan’s policies in El Salvador. She moved into my house in late 1993 to die, which she did on February 20, 1994. Those last few months were the best months of our lives.

Mark Foley is a sexual predator. There are many others out there. They seem to be oblivious of how their actions affect others. Maybe one of them will come across this and stop and think. I hope so.

Since Holoscan seems to be down on this site right now if you want to make a comment email me at xoites@gmail.com and indicate whether or not you want your comments posted later.

Thank you.

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