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Pre-2008 Posts


The Unmade Bed, by Imogene Cunningham

I intended to finish my blog post for women who support us this morning.  Instead I had the same experience I had last night of having nightmares, then waking up with a start, feeling the need to get up to check on my youngest, who is 8, and her brother who is 11, to make sure they are okay.   Not far from here in the last week, in the middle of the night, a man entered a home through an unlocked back door and raped an 11-year-old girl as she slept.  Her family slept through the attack.  She at first thought she had blankets tangled around her neck, and woke up to find a man in his 20s, strangling her.

The police found him and have arrested him.  He was living in an underground bunker he had built in the woods.  They found journals in which the man made reference to needing to stop his “child hunts.”  He hung around where children were and they were nervous when he was around, as were neighbors. 

As am I.  My daughter has just begun sleeping in her own bed most nights.  She’s proud of herself, proud of growing up.  Last night she made her bunkbeds into a kind of fort with blankets draped all around, all cozy. 

I’m proud of her, too, so proud.   And I am scared for her.   We live in a world in which grown men stake out little girls,  hunt them, enter their classrooms, enter their homes, their bedrooms, to sexually assault them and sometimes, to kill them.  We live in a world in which our little girls are prey and in which there are many, many predators who are completely willing to turn an innocent child’s life upside down.

If I have to get up in the middle of the night to make sure my kids are okay, how must this girl’s mother be feeling?  Her sisters, brothers?  Her grandmothers and aunts?  All of her family members?  How can they live in that home now?  How can she or any of them even look at her bed, her bedroom, the back door? 

How must this little girl be feeling?  When will she feel safe again?





12 thoughts on “Terrorized

  1. I know ur saying….and the craziness of it all, is that some say that God created woman to subject themselves to man’s leadership.Isn’t it men that rape,mutilate,war and destroy? Yep, it’s clear…men are worthy to lead…. (????)I must say….even a “non” Christian woman doesn’t do these things anywhere “near” the rate that men do.
    Can you imagine men, if woman started behaving towards them the way they historically have woman???? You know, gang rapes, degrading…demoralizing. But not even stopping there….after all of that, cut up his body, and bury the parts all over the place.Yep, God made a man to rule. He can’t even rule himself….

    I have 2 sons. I am not a hater of men. Nor have I ever been abused or raped. I am only educated & observant. I put that in here to ward off any male rule advocates from making the claim that I have been psychologically damaged by some male figure in my life.Otherwise, I wouldn’t see things this way.Yep, right.


    Posted by Karen | February 8, 2007, 3:44 pm
  2. My heart goes out to this family, and I am afraid too. When I saw this reported on the news, I thought, “How will I ever keep her safe?” I have a daughter. She is, by her own proclamation, not afraid of anything, at 4.5 years old.

    I don’t know what to teach her, how much to tell her about the bad people, the bad men in the world. I don’t know how to give her a foundation of resistance and skills to fight and protect herself. And I pray that we never fall asleep with the door unlocked. It’s so scary.

    Posted by Beansa | February 8, 2007, 3:51 pm
  3. I have no idea what to say. I spend every night worrying that my son has suffocated in his sleep, going in every hour or so to check on him. This is normal parent paranoia, I know; not normal for most parents I guess, but he had a near-fatal accident at three months and I am only just now coming to terms with the fact that I nearly lost him. Normal parent paranoia is one thing… but why the hell should we have to be paranoid about *other people* harming our children? How is it fair that we live in a world where we even have to THINK about these horrors? It’s not fair, I guess. It’s a wonder that anyone can sleep at night.

    Posted by Anji | February 8, 2007, 4:23 pm
  4. Heart,

    I send fierce circles of protection around your daughter, and you.

    Much love to the two of you.


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 9, 2007, 5:11 pm
  5. Yeah, Anji, beansa, and Karen, I so relate. I feel like it’s going to either kill me or cure me to get these last little ones raised. They are almost 9 and almost 12. I don’t really know how I managed to raise the older nine without going right off the edge with worry at times, but I did, so I have to believe these two will be all right as well.

    The rape of a child is horrific anytime. Somewhere on this blog I have Antonia’s curse on her granddaughter’s rapist (from Antonia’s Line, the movie.) I’m not a violent person, but honestly, I have often read and re-read that curse and found it strangely comforting, maybe just in that it binds me with all of the women through the ages who were left to somehow make sense of atrocities.

    More recently, I read, if you can believe it, the blog posts of a blogger who had spent years in jail out here for rape of a young girl. His blog was mostly about the way his civil rights were violated because he had to notify authorities of his whereabouts at all time. You could follow the procession of his thoughts. There were people who commented on his blog encouraging him to stay the course, go to church, etc. Finally the day came when he said something like, “Too late!” Goddess on high, it creeps me out so much even typing it.

    A few weeks later it was in all the papers. He was the one who murdered a mother, father and 14-year-old son and kidnapped a younger boy and girl for sex. He held them for six weeks. He killed the boy. He was caught when a waitress recognized him and the little girl and called police.

    He’s on trial now. As things have unfolded, it came out that he had also murdered two little girls in Washington (murders unsolved for years) and a little boy in California.

    He’s blogging on about how his civil rights are violated, this person who has serially, systematically abducted, raped and murdered children.

    I’ve never been able to suspend my fear since I read his blog, not the way I used to be able to.

    I’ll get a link.

    Mary Sunshine, so good to read you today! Thanks.


    Posted by womensspace | February 9, 2007, 9:20 pm
  6. Link, may trigger.

    Posted by womensspace | February 10, 2007, 5:26 am
  7. I love my dog, he would kill anybody who threatens us. Without hesitation. He’s a mix, lab, pit bull, chow. He’s gentle to our blind cat, who chews on his head for kicks.

    As a single mother, I wouldn’t sleep soundly without him. A couple of times I have been approached by strangers who didn’t notice him, and as soon as they did, they split. I have to keep him on a leash of course, because he will bite strangers. But I definitely recommend, any woman or child should have one like him. Much better than a gun. A gun can be taken away or stolen and turned against you. My dog will never turn against me.

    Posted by saltyC | February 10, 2007, 5:59 pm
  8. Hey, salty. I’ve always relied on my beautiful and amazing Chloe, an Alaskan Malamute, to alert us to strangers; however, she’d only protect us against other dogs/coyotes/raccoons and similar. She’d be useless against people! Especially if they had food. :/

    Very true about the protectiveness of a dog, though, when it comes to children.


    Posted by womensspace | February 10, 2007, 11:44 pm
  9. Hi Heart. Yeah, the breed is important. Malamutes were never killers, AFAIK. They had to get along with other dogs.

    But mine is from a long line of inner-city New Orleans guard dogs, or maybe pit dogs (sadly). He would not hesitate to defend us. He is especially suspicious of grown men. When my daughter goes to college, I would want her to have a companion like him. She might have to live off campus, but with the rate of rape in college, she’s entitled to a mean dog.

    Posted by saltyC | February 11, 2007, 3:06 am
  10. In the fall of 1996, I was on leave awaiting orders to Japan. I went to my mother’s country house for my 30 idle days. Her house sits on ten acres that had been a cornfield. Nothing had been touched since my father died in 1994. The yard around the house, especially behind the house was a mess. My brothers who lived with my mother, one a car mechanic and the other a merchant marine would drag crap home, always with the intent to build, create, and make something of use. However, nothing would ever come of anything and the trash piled up. She lives so far out from town that rubbish disposal is the responsibility of the landowner. I was angry at the outside conditions, it was deplorable. There was more than enough labor there, including the hands of my mother, that their yard should not have been in the state it was in. After I scolded her, she told me of how she had paid a carload of men $150 dollars to clear the rubbish away. In fact, it was they who stopped and told her of their services. She gave them the money and they picked up a few things and then made some excuse to leave. They never came back. However, since she lived on a dirt road that only had one entry from the paved road, they often had to pass her house because their shanty trailer was further down the road. She tried to stop them a few times when she was collecting the mail but they would ride by ignoring her. I knew them well by sight. She pointed them out to me one day.

    Unable to live in those conditions I donned my combat boots and leather gloves and took the task in hand and begun by digging a four foot by four foot by four foot deep pit about two acres behind the house to burn the burnable trash. Before my BIL would allow me to use his tractor to cut the grass I had to assure him that no rubbish was hiding in the overgrowth that would damage his blade. This meant combing through each section with a rake. I made piles of assorted rubbish, aluminum, glass, scrap metal, including brass, rubber, etc.

    Alas, after two weeks when the work was winding down, the parasites began to surface. Apparently, there was money to be had with the scraps. The men who had evaded my mother for over four months were now stopping at the mailbox to inquire what our plans with the piles were. She told them that it was no longer her business that they would have to take it up with her daughter. Yet they could not take it up with me because I refused to go out to the road and speak to them.

    They could not come up the drive because my mother had a pack of dogs, literally a pack of dogs, maybe twelve all together. The pack existed because dogs would show up there after more than likely being thrown out by some city slicker who could not bother to do the right thing and take the dog to the animal shelter, oh because to deliver a dog to the shelter included a paltry fee. A few of the dogs were gentle and passive and would do anything for food and a pat. But there were two or three that were nasty and mean and who took turns trying to be the boss. They had a well-earned reputation. They shredded rabbits to bits and unfortunately the little Chihuahua down the way that belonged to an elderly couple. But it was the country and everyone gave as well as they got. One man up the way accidentally shot one of my mother’s dogs because he thought it was a wolf trying to eat his chickens. When he realized what he had done, he rushed the dog to the vet but it was too late, “Wolf” died by morning. He was such a sweet dog too, when my parents lived in the city he was thrown in the pound by an overzealous dogcatcher. I will never forget how grateful and happy he was when we retrieved him from his jail cell. He laid his head on my brother’s shoulder in the car all the way home. The country was good for him though. There were few trees so cats were never an issue. This pack of dogs knew what cars was family and what cars were strangers. When I first drove out there, I had to be walked in the house by family who was already living there. Slowly as they hung out with me while I cleaned and burned trash and took walks, bought and fed them dog food, they became obedient and protectant of me. My mother, my brothers, everyone who had lived there before I came for my visit had to wait for me to call the dogs off before they could come and talk to me at my “burn pit.” My daughter and nephew were the only exceptions because they were children I guess.

    One morning at the beginning of the third week a car came down the driveway, it was the men. The dogs were going wild. A man cracked his window and was crying out “Miss, miss, miss could you call your dogs off, we want to talk to you.” I shook my head no and went back to work. He kept calling and calling out to me. I was annoyed and I a little afraid especially since that very morning I had read Joyce Carol Oates short story, “Where Are You Going and Where Have You Been.” It is a spooky tale that I think all teenage girls and women should read. I felt violated and insulted that they took the liberty to go down the driveway after I know my mother told them I was not interested in speaking to them. So instead of calming the dogs, I told them to sic. The dogs were wilder than ever. The men finally started backing away. When they got to the road the dogs had already come back to me, and one of the men yelled out “YOU F*CKING DYKE!” I may have heard C*NT too. HAH!

    I sold the scraps and gave the $250 to my daughter who squandered it on some insane outfit from Gadzooks

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 11, 2007, 5:40 am
  11. Wow, chasingmoksha, what a great story. Loved every word, and one reason is, you’re describing the area where I live, way out in the sticks where most people don’t have trash pickup, where people drop off dogs and cats, where some people accumulate cars, trucks, you name it in their back yards, where some people’s animals get eaten by neighbors’ dogs.

    One of the first things that happened when we’d first moved to our current place is, our dog, who was then only a youngster, ran up the long hill to the neighbor’s house one day and proceeded to kill four of the neighbor’s chickens. :/ The neighbor came down to complain and we gave him four of our amazing laying hens and he carried them home upside down by the feet.

    That story about those menacing men gives me the chills– I know such men well out here. I was afraid you were going to say they’d done what I’ve known them to do, take money to dispose of trash. often from some single mom or older couple, and then, instead of taking it to the dump, dump it alongside the road somewhere, the result being, if it is noticed by police or other authorities or people who live nearby, they will go through it, find an address, and report the poor duped person who then gets a gigantic fine and is still responsible for cleaning it all up and taking it to the dump. Or, similarly, assholes like this will say they will haul out dead cars (usually left by someone’s sons, like you say) and then they just strip them and abandon the hulks somewhere and ditto, the police find them or some property-owner complains and they get towed and if your name is on the title, you get a gigantic bill in the mail. I love your story, though– yeah, sic the dogs on them, find out their true colors. I bet they never troubled your mother again, but how unbelievable is that to think that after they ripped her off she’s going to “let” them “help” her out again, not to mention, these guys are often dangerous.

    I love the story of the dog with the head on the shoulder all the way home from his jail cell experience. Reminds me of the way my dog always wants me to pet her while I’m typing on the computer and will come and lay her nose on my leg while I am obliviously typing away, so I look down and sticking out from under my typing arm is a resting snout. 🙂

    salty, Alaskan Malamutes are interesting– they are pack dogs and need a pack of some kind, animal or human, but they can be aggressive towards one another. When Chloe was young we got another dog, princess, to be her companion. One day randomly, we have never figured out why, Chloe attacked Princess (who was the gentlest dog ever) and hurt her. She had to be taken to the vet and stitched up and we had to give her to my daughter because we were afraid Chloe might do that again. The vet said it was alpha female behavior, both Chloe and Princess were females. Chloe is as gentle as a kitten though, with people. And she never bothers any of my 11 kitties. But she gets really agitated when coyotes come through, or raccoons, or another dog — then she really goes ballistic — which is invaluable to me because she protects my sheep that way, nothing can get near them.


    Posted by womensspace | February 11, 2007, 12:45 pm
  12. It happened just the other day in Indiana, a 12 year old girl raped in her home.

    One thing that criminals are trying to get the right to do is have their names kept out of the papers like the victim’s name. I about fell over when I heard that.

    Another point of controversy- women offenders and female predators affect our sons in the classroom but late night TV laughs about it in their monologue. For this reason I don’t watch Leno anymore. I don’t watch his show at all. He can laugh at boys whose world has come crashing down the same as he can laugh at Kenny Rogers for his face lift. When did assault ever become laughable and find itself in the same category as Hollywood gossip?

    Austin of Sundrip Journals

    Posted by Austin | February 13, 2007, 11:46 pm

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