Friday, July 2, 2010

The Study, Part 1

(Warning: adult content)

When I was a little girl, my father's study was sacrosanct. The room was paneled in knotty pine. There were floor to ceiling bookcases, a fireplace and a huge desk that my grandfather had built. The supports for the desk top were bookcases, so that the desk top seemed to be floating on top of books. It was a wonderful desk to hide under. Natural light was provided by two corner windows butting up against each other in the midst of the floor to ceiling bookcases, and by a pair of French doors that looked out onto the patio. My mother had made fitted curtains for the doors from an early American print. The print was primarily red, gold and orange, so the room tended to have a muted golden glow to it.

My sister and I were allowed limited play time in the study. We were not allowed to touch the things on the desk or move the books around. There were things on the desk and bookcases that I strongly associate with my father -- an ebony carved letter opener, wooden carvings of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a bronze engraved bowl and matching candlesticks, and a marble pen holder with a fountain pen and a ballpoint pen. My father always used a fountain pen, so the ballpoint pen was rarely touched. Oddly, he also kept reminders of his father on or in the desk. My grandfather was a carpenter, so my dad had his extension ruler, flat pencil, and plumb line. When my sister and I played church (which we did often because my father was a preacher), we always used the study for the sanctuary.

When I was five, my parents had a party. My father was a college professor as well as a minister. He tended to bond with his students in a big way, especially the guys. He connected with them in a way he never connected with his own children. It was an early evening in late summer. I don't remember how many people were there. This was the mid to late 60's, so the guys were in khakis and oxford cloth button down shirts, and the girls were mostly in little dresses -- miniskirts, but not too mini, because they attended a private Christian college. People were coming and going in and out of the house. Mostly people were on the patio. Dinner was over and things were relaxed and conversational. Somehow I wound up in the house and somehow he did too. I've never figured it all out, but this much I do remember.

He is one of Dad's favorites. Pre-med; witty; clever with words; from a good family. He is engaged and will soon be heading off to med school. One of my dad's big success stories. His girlfriend and he take me into my dad's study. She stands with her back to me and keeps looking out of the French door curtains. He gets me on the floor. He is on top of me. There is fumbling around my panties. I feel the metal of his belt buckle and zipper. He has his left hand over my mouth. I don't understand what he is doing, but it hurts. This is bad -- secretive -- furtive. I don't know how or why this is happening. His hair is sandy brown and wavy. When he finishes, he licks the right side of my face and gets up. There is a half bath off the study, and he goes into it whistling. I hear water running. I hear him laughing. Then they leave.

I suppose I got up off the floor and went back to the party, but I have no memory of it. I suppose she was there as a look out, but I can't prove it. Several years ago I tried to contact her to see if she could help me understand things. She refused to communicate with me. There is a great deal of supposing that goes along with these memories.

I know these events still cause me emotional and physical pain today. I know that I would make it all be a lie if I could. I know that I can't. So instead, I tell myself that it wasn't my fault. That it all happened long ago. But I still wonder, why did it happen and why do I keep remembering.


  1. I sit here, brokenhearted and angry, and know that I have nothing meaningful with which to respond, except perhaps for this: I am truly grateful that God gave you a good man for a husband to show you that (a) men were not made in such a way as to behave like that, nor are they all, or even most of them, unmoved by the despicable actions of some; and (b) one cannot undo the consequences of evil, but God can provide the joy of love and family despite those consequences. Heal well, dear friend (or should I say "df?").

  2. Very well written. It takes strength and a determination to expose these things to the light and search for healing. God bless you- shaken down and running over.

    Love always- fer reals.

  3. My heart goes out to you and all the other victims who have not had the courage to remember and grapple with being a victim.

    Here is to all the strong and loving men that are out there. Who would fix things if they could.

  4. Oh my gosh how awful but how amazing that you have the courage to share. I am truly sorry for all you have been through and I hope you find some healing in sharing your story.

  5. I am so sorry this has happened to you. It just turns my stomach. Especially reading about the girlfriend who stood as a lookout and knowing he did it to the child of one of his professors. Absolutely awful and frightening.

    My name is Melanie too, and I also am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse with cloudy memories of the things that were done to me. There are so many of us out there who can relate to you and understand.

    You are so brave to share your story. Wishing you much healing.


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