The Victimization of Victims

Perrott Victim 1

If you are ripped open, some people will condemn you for bleeding. If you are beaten and battered, some will despise your scars. If you speak of your injuries in an attempt to heal, empower yourself, or inspire others, you will most likely be attacked all over again and then cast into the garbage dump.

Bottom line: If you admit to being a victim, you will be victimized for your victimization. And that is why those who suffer domestic abuse and/or any kind of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse often remain silent or don’t admit to their wounds for many years.

It’s been a rough week. The first eight days of every month are particularly hard because those are the days of the month (five and a half years ago) that I had to sit at the hospital with my unconscious son, hoping and praying he would survive and then accepting the horrifying truth that he would not.

Also, a poem I wrote five years ago (copied below), to explain the depths of my grief over the death of my son, suddenly came to the attention of my friends again this past week. In the poem I speak of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse that occurred during my childhood. I never expected the pain this new discussion would bring me. And while it distresses me greatly to speak of the reaction I received, I believe it’s important to share.

An older sister of mine attacked me for my words. She not only took offense that I accused my father of emotional abuse, and physical abuse toward my siblings and my mother, but she assumed I had also accused him of sexual mistreatment. I had not, but even if I had, her behavior was shocking to me.

My sister began to make excuses for my father: He was sick. We all do stupid things. Without him I would never have had life. He worked and fed us. We can’t blame our parents all our lives for our problems. Some people have it rougher than I do. God gave me four children–“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,” she said. (Some of these were written by her the next day.)

And, adding to my suffering, my sister stated that, while I have lost only one child, another sister has lost three. I suppose that means I’m to be grateful that I have lost only one child, and be ashamed of my grief.

A friend recently posted that her grown daughter has lived a long distance from her for eleven years. Another mother commented that it never gets any easier. We can all understand, and sympathize. But my son has been gone five and a half years and I can’t go visit him. I have no hope that he will ever “move” back home. And, yes, it never gets easier.

But people expect grievers to move on. Otherwise they are accused of being stuck in grief. That’s an unrealistic expectation.

And it’s unrealistic to expect a child or even an adult to hide injustices forever. I was sixty years old when I finally revealed the violence that stained my childhood, leaving me to suffer severe PTSD today.

Although my sister denied it twice, she read my painful words the day I wrote them five years ago. (I have our conversation in Messenger.) She was gentle and kind at that time. She asked whether she knew the perpetrator of the sexual abuse. I refused to answer, telling her I didn’t want to talk about it. She admitted that my younger sister’s confession of sexual molestation was probably true. (My younger sister told her story several years ago, but my sisters refused to believe her and she finally recanted.)

But I guess kindness and understanding of the anguish that springs from sorrow and abuse can last only so long. This time my sister’s reaction, as stated, was totally different. After ranting for a while on my poem’s thread, she deleted most of her cruel comments and went out to garner the support of my other two older sisters.

The next morning, along with deleting me from her Facebook friends list, my sister made a proclamation on her Facebook page, signed by her and my oldest sister, that “all of what [Tina] wrote is not true.” When my nephew told her he had heard the same stories from his mother (he and my niece had stated the same the previous day) and asked her which of my accusations weren’t true, my sister argued with him for a while, refusing to answer his question, and then deleted the entire thread. (I have it all.)

This second discussion was when I realized my sister thought I was accusing our father of sexual abuse. She totally misunderstood my poem and placed my father in places in the poem where I had not referred to him.

But, as I said, even if that’s what I had been saying, my sister’s reaction was hurtful. She declared that she had never read the poem until this past week, yet she didn’t come to me for an explanation. She didn’t offer compassion for my pain. Instead, she chose to gossip about me to our siblings and bring them in to cast upon me their own accusations. Her focus was to defend my father, who has been dead fifty years, rather than support her suffering sister.

My third older sister said that I had slept with her as a child so no sexual abuse happened to me. As if nighttime or a bed is required for sexual abuse to occur. The first sister stated that our mother never left us alone. As if it takes a lot of time for sexual violence to take place. Everybody has to go to the toilet. And when the toilet is outside, as it was at my house, it takes a while. Sexual exploitation can transpire in a fleeting moment.

It is scary to talk about horrible events of our childhood. I am reeling from that discovery. And I’m here to tell you that if you speak out, you will be further assaulted, and possibly shunned. I found that out the hard way.

And this was my family. People who were supposed to care for me no matter what. People who should always have my back. People whom I firmly believed truly loved me and had my best interests at heart.

Worst of all, this further pain was thrown at me on my page containing a heartfelt poem that I had written for my precious son. That is the deepest cut of all. If my own family could do this to me, imagine what strangers are capable of doing to the victims of abuse and loss.

But, please, if you can, speak up! When and how you can, tell your story. Broadcast it far and wide. It may help you heal and it might strengthen the heart of someone else who has suffered as you have.

So show your scars. Bleed on everybody’s carpet. Make a big enough mess that somebody will have to see it and help you deal with it. It’s time.

Tina Rae Collins

November 7, 2017

(Thanks to Joe Perrott for the cartoon!)

The Poem:

Broken

December 30, 2012 at 12:02pm 

I was sexually abused as a child,

At least twice that I can remember for sure.

 

I woke up one night to find my dad trying to smother my mom with a pillow,

And heard him say, “I’d have killed you if them young’uns hadn’t woke up.”

He turned over the kitchen table after Mommy filled it with food one Christmas.

He shot a bullet up through the ceiling one night while we were upstairs sleeping.

I saw him throw my baby sister against the wall.

I watched him pin down another sister, his knees resting on her thighs as he held her hands so she couldn’t fight back.

I was there when he put a cigarette out on my mom’s leg.

I came home from school at lunch to find her clothes torn off her.

And sometimes, as we would be going to bed, he would say,

“If y’all knew what I was going to do tonight, you wouldn’t go to sleep.”

 

My dad died when I was fifteen.

The one time I got up the nerve to go up to the casket, my left arm went completely numb.

I dreamt of him often–a wild-eyed man in a blue suit coming out of his coffin and chasing me to do me harm.

 

My mom was always sick with asthma.

When I was about thirteen I recall hearing her moaning as she tried to draw a breath,

“Young’uns, behave. I’m going to leave you.”

She finally died when I was twenty-eight, leaving me an orphan.

She saw only one of my four children.

I still miss her to this day.

 

The man I loved and married left me five days before Christmas,

With four children between the ages of four and twelve–

In the head of a holler,

In a two-bedroom trailer,

With no flushing toilet,

And no money,

On a dirt road that was dust in the summer and mud in the winter

(And me with no car anyway),

When I was sick with a rare form of pneumonia.

 

I’ve been cast aside and considered worthy of hell for my religious views–

Not for the way I live my life;

Not for anything I can fix;

For my beliefs that I can’t change.

 

But I have fought hard all my life,

And I have survived.

I’ve even thrived.

I was valedictorian of my grade school class,

Valedictorian of my high school class,

Salutatorian of my college class, winning the English award.

I have written books.

I have produced and starred in a cable TV show.

I homeschooled my four children.

I am, today, working toward a PhD in Biblical Studies.

 

I am strong;

I am a survivor.

I pick myself up and I move on and

I never let the bastards grind me down!

 

But this time–

Well, this time God gave me a mountain.

He took my baby boy.

And no fear,

No pain,

No sorrow,

No shame,

No castigation or condemnation or any other crap that anybody in this world can lay on me

Can touch this.

Or even come close.

I am finally broken.

 

Tina Rae Collins

 

 

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Every Green Herb

Marijuana Pic Real

Dear Christian,

If the state insisted that you cease and desist from sharing the spiritual healing that you believe you need to offer your friends and neighbors, would you stop? I know you at least say you wouldn’t.

You also declare that you would even encourage others to go against the demands of the state. Together you would probably still preach on the TV and radio and write books and articles and speak out on Facebook. You would denounce the state to honor your Lord, right?

What about physical healing? Would you deny the state and stand up for the healing of yourself and others who suffer from pain, depression, PTSD, asthma, glaucoma, epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses?

Do you believe your god heals people of physical disease as well as spiritual disease? I know prayers go up on Facebook for even the tiniest problems–like toenail fungus or even a bloody hangnail. So how does your god respond? Does he say “Abracadabra” and your friend is healed? Does he send manna made of medicine down from heaven? Well, in a sense, I would say “yes” to that last question.

Whatever the creative source is, and you believe it is the god of the Bible, that source has provided healing for the body. The book you follow states that “every green herb” has been given for food. Therefore, if cannabis heals diseases, and we know it does, its purpose is to be consumed–not confiscated and burnt by the state, thus disallowing people their “god-given” right to healing.

Is it worse to keep quiet and obey the law of the land when it comes to restoration of the soul than it is to hide behind your fears and let the state deny people the right to restoration of the body and mind? Is it okay to take away curative measures, of any sort, that your god has provided?

Further, is it prudent to pray for healing and then refuse the cure? What if your neighbor or friend said, “I prayed and asked God to heal my soul, but he just has to do it himself. I’m not willing to work on myself or accept teaching from anyone”? Is it not the same thing when you pray for good health but reject the plant you believe was provided by the one to whom you pray?

Do you remember the story of the man on the roof who begged God to save him from a flood? His neighbor offered him a ride in his pickup truck and he refused it, saying “I know God will save me.” Later a boat came along, but again he said, “My God has promised to save me.” Finally a helicopter appeared, but once again the foolish man refused a ride. So he drowned. And when he questioned God about why God didn’t come through for him, what did God say? That’s right, he said, “I sent you a pickup truck, a boat, and a helicopter; but you refused them all. What else could I have done?”

Do you recognize yourself in that story if you reject what the creator has provided in order to heal your diseases? I suppose if you want to turn your nose up at the creator’s natural cures for yourself, that’s okay. But what about your family members, neighbors, and friends? They are being denied their right to life. They are being hunted down and persecuted for standing for truth. They are being dragged off to prison while you sit silent. Are you not supposed to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves? Will their blood be on your hands if you don’t?

Will you, too, be persecuted if you speak out? Maybe so. But you are called to be a peculiar people. Don’t fear what rulers might do to you! Be “unashamed”! Stand for the creator, not the state! Obey your god rather than man!

But maybe your faith isn’t strong enough to withstand the persecution. Okay then. But you can at least vote for leaders who will stop denying human beings the right to life and health. You can also cease from judging those who choose to use the free gift the earth supplies in abundance.

True wisdom is hidden from this world. At least that’s what you say. So which do you think is better, man-made medicine or natural plants provided by nature–or, as you would say, provided by your god? Are you wise enough and strong enough to make the correct choice?

Sincerely,

Tina Rae Collins

October 7, 2017

Christian Carnage

 Tina 2.7.16

Christians complain about the violence of Islam and the Quran, ignoring the brutality in Judaism and the Old Testament. And when Christian hostility is mentioned, it’s often attributed to a few “fake Christians.” But Christianity is beset with cruel warfare. Otherwise, why did Jesus say he came not to send peace on the earth but a sword (Matt. 10:34)? Just what does that sword do?

While Christians can be physically abusive (and certainly we see this throughout history), the sword of Christianity more often slashes at the heart. It cuts asunder the love of a father for his son, a sister for her brother, a grandmother for her grandchild (Matt. 10:36).

Christians cast aside their most sacred relationships, no longer providing emotional support and acceptance of their loved ones, in a bid to gain heaven from violent gods who (some Christians believe) plan to torture the Christians’ child, sibling, or grandchild. Rather than offering love that never fails (1 Cor.13:8), Christians oftentimes possess only conditional love that says, “Believe like I do, think like I do, talk like I do, act like I do–then we can be friends and get along. Otherwise I won’t even eat with you” (1 Cor. 5:11).

Yes, Christians fling away their own flesh and blood for three beings (Yahweh, Jesus, and Holy Spirit) they aren’t even sure exist–all so they themselves might possibly, if their gods turn out to be real, receive riches after they die. They throw their family under the bus in hopes of personal gain. Maybe they don’t expect seventy-two virgins, but the concept is the same.

That’s violence! And not just on the part of the gods but also on the part of the Christians who thrust the “sword” into their family members and slice off their familial bonds.

Yes, all of the Abrahamic religions are violent. They always have been. Even Christianity, as stated, has a history of bloodshed. But the emotional carnage of Christianity is no less harmful. And it continues to this day, even in the homes of esteemed Christians.

Tina Rae Collins

August 13, 2016

You Don’t Look Like Jesus

Evil in His Nature

You live in a three-bedroom house and use one of the bedrooms while the other two remain empty. You have another house in the country where you can go relax.

You drive one car while a second sits in your garage just in case you need it. Several big-screen televisions decorate your home. Your closet is full, and you own enough shoes for you and all your friends.

You buy organic food and bottled water and go out to eat at least once a week. You take a vacation once or twice a year. You spend a fortune on Christmas presents for your loved ones.

A couple of times a week you dress up and make your way to a million-dollar building with a steeple and praise the Jesus who told you that if you have two coats you should give one away, who told you it’s important to love your neighbor as yourself, who said that if you love Jesus you should deny yourself and be like him (Luke 3:11, Luke 10:27, Matt.16:24).

But you fight to keep the poor from having healthcare and food to eat (Matt. 5:42). If someone with an EBT card buys a steak, which you sometimes enjoy, you resent that he or she can also purchase one. You mock the poor for owning cell phones that you also possess. You proclaim boldly (quoting a man, not Jesus), “If a man will not work, neither should he eat!” (2 Thess. 3:10). All while you know nothing about the people who are receiving more government benefits than you happen to be receiving (yes, you like socialism when it benefits YOU; after all, you don’t want to pay for private schools and a bodyguard).

And you claim to follow the Jesus who told you to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and take care of the sick and the stranger (Matt. 25:35-36). Do you do what you believe he said? Do you really?

I’m not saying you should actually follow the words of Jesus and sell all you have and give the money to the poor (Matt. 19:21). Then you’d be poor and someone else would need to sell all to help you. But you could at least stop and think before you make your lame claims to superior morality and goodness as you look down your nose at those less fortunate than you.

I can hear your brain churning. I know what you’re thinking.

It’s not the government’s place to help the poor, you say. Individual Christians and churches are supposed to do that. Well, if individual Christians and churches did what they admit they should be doing, you can be sure the government wouldn’t have taken on the upkeep of the poor.

You’re also thinking that many defraud the system. A few might, yes. But I’d rather feed a few who could feed themselves than to know even one child might go hungry. And I think your Jesus would say the same thing to you.

Finally, you want me to know that Jesus didn’t actually tell YOU to sell everything. No, I guess not. So you go fix your supper; recline on your soft chair; watch Fox News; shake your head in disgust while you tell yourself the poor are just lazy and, anyway, the government shouldn’t be picking up the slack for you and your church; and thank Jesus for all the many blessings he gives to you because you truly love and follow him.

You don’t look like Jesus. You don’t talk like he did. You don’t walk like he did. And I think you know this to be true. At least be honest and admit it. Don’t add lying to all your other failures to follow your Lord.

Yes, I know: I’ve taken the words of Jesus all out of context, right? Or maybe I’m just one of those lazy people wanting free stuff. Perhaps I’m angry at God and striking out at his people. You’ll find some way to salve your conscience and go on feeling good about yourself while you condemn others. Oh look, Duck Dynasty is on.

Tina Rae Collins

Grateful Heart

11.17.13
Moonbeam aka Tina Rae Collins

As I have struggled through life I’ve had more than my share of handouts–mainly from the government and many individuals, but some from the church too. And I appreciate everything I have received.

 

My family stood in line for commodity cheese and whatever else the government provided before the Food Stamp program existed, and then we lived on food stamps. My hunger was satiated by free lunches in grade school. When I was graduated from eighth grade, Betsy Layne Grade School had a dance and charged ten cents for the students to attend–that money bought my dress and shoes for the graduation (I was the valedictorian and had to give a speech).

 

I was on the work program in high school, cleaning bubble gum off the bottoms of chairs and doing some secretarial work in the principal’s office. At Pikeville College I worked on the Work-Study program for Dr. Leonard Roberts (teacher and author) and, later, in the college library. I paid for college with a scholarship (because I was valedictorian in high school too), my work (through the government program), and financial aid (and during my senior year I also received help from the Rehabilitation Center because of my asthma).

 

I’ve been on WIC, and I’ve received help to pay my heating bills and medical bills. When my husband left me, the church my sister attended sent me a check for $500, with which I bought a car and licensed and tagged it (I lived in the head of a hollow with my children and had no means of transportation).

 

Today, I live on Social Security and whatever I can earn by editing manuscripts and selling the books I write. Being helped by others has in no way stopped me from trying to excel on my own or reaching for the moon.

 

I can’t be thankful for what I have received (that has kept me alive and made that life worth living) and then turn my back on disadvantaged people who are coming behind me. I can’t! I was given to freely, and I want the same for others who need it–whether it benefits me at the moment or not.

 

Take away government schools; take away free lunches; take away financial aid for college; take away free prenatal care, WIC, and food stamps. Take away HUD and anything else you want to take away. Do whatever you feel you have to do. But don’t expect me to support you. My grateful heart won’t let me.

 

Tina Rae Collins, PhD
March 12, 2016

Only One Consciousness

Did you ever wonder why others are famous, rich, or respected but you aren’t? Do you think it’s unfair that you can’t be president or king, a princess or a rock star, or the recipient of a Nobel prize? Well, you are. There is only one consciousness in the world and it is you. It is also I and everyone else in the world.

In physical terms we can easily see this by thinking of the earth on which we live. Just as my cells depend on my vital organs for their maintenance, I am a parasite (in a sense) on the earth. I cannot remove myself from the earth. If I jump, I come back to the dirt because I am connected to it–I am it. It feeds me and prolongs my life just as I offer life and health to the millions of mites that feast on my skin and just as my brain, heart, lungs, and other organs give life to me. I began my own personal experience as parts of two other people and grew into a human being as a parasite inside my mother’s own body. And when I end my present experience, I will return to the earth as dust.

We are all a part of one another, and we make up that one big consciousness that some call God and others refer to as the Universe. There is only one “being” in the world. The “divine being” is through all and in all, even as the Bible says (Eph. 4:4-6). We are all that one consciousness, so whatever our neighbor experiences is happening to us. Just as each cell in my body is Tina Rae Collins, so each person in the world is the one true god or consciousness.

How do I know that I am not, right at this minute, enjoying receiving my Nobel prize? How do I know whether the thoughts of the wisest woman, the most brilliant man, or the most celebrated hero are not really my thoughts? And how do I know the homeless person I drive by is not living my life? How do I know my neighbor is not I? I think he/she is. We need to treat others as we want to be treated because, in truth, what we do to others we are doing to ourselves.

Tina

10.19.15

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ―Albert Einstein

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.” ― Eckhart Tolle

“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us. ” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~ Native American proverb, Chief Seattle, 1854

“No man is an island, Entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. . . Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” ~ John Donne

 

The womb of darkness covered me; chaotic darkness prevailed.
The earthquake shook me violently; on rivers red I set my sail–
Tossed to and fro among the swell,
Tossed to and fro.

The light was blinding so I hid, alone and naked in the fray;
Among the many shadows slid, not knowing night from day.
And there bereft and scared I lay–
Oh where to go.

From up above the misty skies grew dark, and then the rain did pour.
It cleansed my weepy, matted eyes; and there at last in violent swirl
I first took notice of the world–
But little did I know.

The land or sea, what would be found? And what would I be taught?
The sea it tossed me to the ground, and I was safe–or so I thought;
I did not know I had been caught,
Nor knew the foe.

The sun and moon and stars above I guessed must be my source.
They bathed me in their cosmic love–and gave me life, of course.
And now I suffered no remorse–
Oh bless my soul!

And down below both great and small were many creatures low and high.
I so adored them one and all, and learned the who and how and why–
And longed to keep them ever nigh,
So we could grow.

Then I took notice of my hands, my feet, my heart, my eyes.
I made and mastered marvelous plans–but oh the time did fly!
And what was born must die.
Oh must it die?

But wait! ’tis just a passing through another realm of glorious light.
Beyond the veil I now can view the final end of hideous night–
The blessed land of pure delight,
Where all is right.
All is right.

Tina Rae Collins
March 3, 2014