Saturday, July 11, 2015

Rape, Cosby Sympathizers, and the Patriarchy

It's been a while since I've been here. Heck, it's been a while since my http alighted on anything cult related, much less my mind about Abenseurs. My mind has drifted there recently because of some events.

For instance, could someone please tell me 1) if you all still camp at Lake Pemaquid in July and 2) which week, because I don't want to run into you. Seriously, none of us want that awkward moment of me in the bathing suit and you looking at me wondering if it's me and all of us wondering if we should just ignore that we might acknowledge an existence that we want to conveniently forget.  I would really like to avoid you as much as possible. I'm sure you really want to avoid someone possibly verbally assaulting me out of anger and hate. I am friends with the Damariscotta police department and that could be really awkward. Consider this information a courtesy to all parties involved. Goon, Man clan, please, find another campground at the very least. Much appreciated. Private facebook message me or email me if you still have it and don't want to make it public. I'm truly not interested in sharing your meeting times and shit. I just really really don't want to run into you while I'm trying to enjoy some beautiful scenery and fresh water.

However, because I was there yesterday, I got to thinking about things and ended up reading Simply Me's newest blog about the rape culture and apologists of the cult, and how it favors the transgressor and vilifies the victim.  Or perhaps, that was just the extremely rude commenter who wanted to make everyone standing up for their personal rights a person of the left, a person of evil and hate, and of course a liar.

Simply Me, being a stand-up character who recognizes the acts of impotence that are internet trolling, chose not to respond.  Well, I'm not above that, because we all know what a completely hateful creature I am and how I will stop at nothing to inflict pain and misery on innocent people. Because that's how I roll. Duh. (For those of you written-word tone-impaired, that was hyperbolic sarcasm).

Sure, Simply Me is a liar. They lied to themselves for YEARS. They lied to their parents for years. They lied to their family for years. A secret keeper is a liar, after all. Some lies are lies of omission, and some lies are tales of fancy. So you too, vengeful anonymous poster, are a liar. You are an exclusionary liar, and a fanciful one. You are lying to yourself if you think that people have fun being raped. You are lying to yourself if you think becoming a victim is a favorable thing. You are lying to yourself if you think people make up being raped to get attention. Hey guess what, I was never raped. What's your excuse for me? Oh, that's right, I'm hateful and my purpose in life is to destroy "innocent" lives. Goddamn my man-eating heart.

But seriously, my sister was raped. We all know she was raped. We all know by whom. We all know the family involved. And oh, wait, what's that? Is he is jail now? For misconduct of a sexual nature? Hmm, I wonder if she was lying? I sometimes lie awake wondering whose children he used to share pornographic pictures of. Or better yet, isn't the dad also a sexual deviant who has been convicted and placed on the national registry? Yes. Interesting how that story unfolded. Interesting how the true colors bled through a lifetime's worth of thin cover-ups and lies. Horrible how as a young man he never got help. I wonder if his life would have taken a different turn? I guess we will never know, will we?

These are, of course, just a taste of the "innocent" lives I've ruined with my fanciful story telling here.

Let's not forget also, Pnina's rape. Repeated rape. And her assailant is where again? Oh right, also in jail. But her parents? Where are they? Sheltered and probably thought of as mostly harmless, if anyone even thinks of them. Of course, they "didn't do anything wrong" so they are likely thought of as innocents as well. Except for that whole issue with the Dad's nighttime entry into a woman's home, and unwanted sexual advances that were never reported. But of course, we don't talk about how certain social workers and Cult officials covered that one up. At least I hope they took away the key to her house? One can only hope.

I just want to cheer that there is some example of karmic retribution in the world and for the monsters of this family. Hurray for divine justice. It doesn't undo the damage to the victims, but at least knowing they are seen for what they are, there is a peace in that.

And Sim? Well, I'd just like to send a steaming pile of shit to her attacker's front porch everyday for the rest of their life so that the stink of their defilement can follow them around.

Let's be clear, some people are just predators. Winks and smiles in public? That didn't even happen to me and I want to fucking puke and hit this guy (assuming) in the face with a Louisville slugger.  The real problem with a predator versus someone with a sexually deviant history is that predators are smart. They do not commit crimes of opportunity, like Pnina's Dad. They work very hard not to leave a trail. They stalk their prey and select them carefully, slowly dividing them from their herd. They continue to find ways to marginalize them. Eventually the shame of the thing and the defilement (which Niddah lessons really helped solidify) come to bear so heavily that a person becomes mired down by it. Victims are often kept silent by their own shame. Later, I will go into the aspect of victim shaming, or the "slut-shaming" culture for women who accuse men of stature of sexual assault. Because the patriarchy will always tell you, it's the woman's fault for being a temptress. However, these women are not Tamar, dressing themselves and tempting Judah in the desert in order to get a birthright. Get over yourselves you patriarchy asshats. (Ignoring the fact that Judah was only too happy to get this dick wet with a prostitute. Abba loved his flawed patriarchs didn't he? Those wily women and their wily ways of appealing to men's total inability to stop themselves from getting a hard on!) Women have a vagina. It's not our fault you are so power obsessed and vagina afraid that you have to rape women to feel like a man.  That's your own spiritual impotence. You know it. Perhaps, and just maybe, you shouldn't have "caught" Abba's sperm. I'm sure that affected your personal picture of what a man should be. Many of you were not and are likely still not homosexual, so I'm sure being a victim really fucked with your sense of testosterone and trying to live up to that whole "head of household" persona. I know there are men that took that leadership role to mean some very severe things. I think we all know what over-compensation looks like.

I'm going to bring up a fucking painful topic for some people.  Sim, you say you have to, as a woman in the family of marriage age, bear all your sexual history prior to marrying a priest?  Now as much as I love to hate on the patriarchy and how they vilify women,  I dare bring up a late 90's/early 2000 wedding where at least 2/3 of the bridal party wanted to back out because of known "issues" with this arrangement.  They were told by Abba that they HAD TO participate. They had to. We were also told during the retreat immediately preceding said wedding that our La Shon Hara was out of control and the Watchers were winning the battle for our souls and that we needed to mind our own fucking business, stat. Let's just go ahead and assume this was a wedding near and dear to his heart.  So yet again, the rules only apply to the sheep. Even if you're a woman. If you want to be involved with the right family, and someone higher up has a vested interest in keeping your family name beyond reproach, your indiscretions will be absolved.

Seriously, the entire debacle of that union and lots of peers KNOWING a non-virgin was marrying a priest, sent shock waves through the youth. Because we were somewhat clearly told by Abba to mind our own fucking business. Classic, man behind the curtain, nothing to see here, these are not the droids you're looking for, move along, bullshit.

Now, I'm a person, not a cult-member. So I just want to say to those two people who will probably hear about this later, Whatevs guys. Seriously, I don't give a fuck noodle about your sexual experience. I'm sure you have a rich and valuable family life. If there was forgiveness and re-virginification then good on you.  I simply wanted to use the known tale to point out, it matters not what you do in the family, it matters only who you are.

To further illustrate this point, how about when my sister (known to have been raped because the clanheads and elders did get involved) was dating a priest in the 90's, they were told to break up. I'm not even kidding. It was elucidated lightly and then more strongly over time to the boy that he couldn't be with her. He had a priestly duty to attend to. Because they fucking KNEW she had been raped. They knew it big time.  I'm sure it didn't help that we weren't the right family either and there was interest in a good boy from a nice family, well connected family, not getting involved with a troubled family, and with a girl known to be raped no less.

Just to sum up, you don't have to be a virgin if there's an interest in solidifying your connection to another family. But the rules totally apply to you if you are persona non-grata.

Similarly, I want to correct what Sim was told about Niddah and the souls of your future children. We were told at a Pennsylvania youth retreat in the 90's (about the same time as the announcement of the dynastic lineage) that the only sex that mattered was SPERM in VAGINA. That was from both Abba and Goon. Remember, this was Goon's first big teaching about the importance of the seed? I can still see the basement room where most of us sat on the floor while this was being taught. People were very confused by this.

Now, I can understand how the Family Hierarchy in recent years may have updated these Niddah teachings. I mean, people ARE asking questions and using some pretty decent critical thinking these days (if you believe the commenters on Sim's blog). So, it stands to reason that if the seed is EVERYTHING, and you want to try to pretend that you don't have a sexually deviant history with some questionable boundary setting, that you might want to amend that part of the charter, and fast. Lest people get the wrong idea.  Also, how old are the youth's kids now? They are, some of them, puberty age right? I can imagine them being ultra-conservative about everything. I can imagine them not wanting their kids to get pregnant. I can imagine some of them blanching about memories of steamy car windows and awkward hook-ups in their own youth and trying to pretend like there was no sexual gray area.

But be clear, the older youth, we were told that a woman remained a virgin unless the sperm hit her vagina. Talk about gray area and loose boundaries right?

Regarding rapist sympathizers: I wonder how many family members saw the coverage of Bill Cosby and the MANY women coming forward with rape and assault allegations and thought "opportunist whores." Seriously. Because that story continues to make national headlines. It's such a great example really of what happened in the Family.  Man of power, abuses power. Lord could only know why, because as people point out, the man probably didn't need to drug or coerce women in general to have intercourse.

But what he did, that wasn't about intercourse, was it? It was about power. It was about control. Why would you drug a woman to have intercourse with her? I mean, that is not even conjecture at this point. He bought quaaludes with the purpose in mind of giving them to women to have sex with him. By his own report.

And what are the apologist and sympathizers saying? He's a great man. These women were ne'er do wells. These women were sluts. These women were ladder climbing socialites nursing a grudge because they were cast aside. These women just want the money. These women want attention. These women are hopping in the bandwagon. These women are just full of hate and out to ruin a great man.

Seriously, read the blog comments for four years and you'll see the same bullshit.

That's what is it. It's apologist bullshit. The Cosby Show was fucking great. Really, I really liked it. It made me feel good. I loved Rudy, she was fucking awesome. The jokes were spot on. But that was the show Cosby put on. He wasn't Cliff Huxtable, no matter how much we wanted him to be. And Jack Hickman was not Abba, or Jacob the prophet, or James the brother of Jesus either. He put on a show. He hid his private life. Sometimes well, sometimes not so well. But it was a show. And we may have loved his show, and it may provided meaning to life, but it was a lie. It was fake. It was a persona he put on like an actor takes a role.

So readers, when you see George go to Jail what do you think? What did you think when David went to jail? What about Bill? Was he falsely accused? Were the women attention seeking, whore/slut liars with nothing else to do with their fucking precious time than ruin the life of a"great man?" What about the CHILDREN in David's pictures. Are they attention seeking? Were they trying to ruin his life? Were they sluts and whores with a revisionist history?

Bill Cosby admitted to buying drugs for the express purpose of giving them to women with whom he wanted to have intercourse. Without their knowledge.

Jack Hickman admitted to sexual misconduct and the passing of the seed.

Just let that sink in a minute.

Now let it sink in how many YEARS Cosby has denied any wrongdoing and publicly shamed the women involved in accusations as upstart liars and sluts.

Then, he goes on the offensive offering advice and admonitions with the message that HE does it all right. HE knows the right way to live. If only people would listen to HIM them could pull themselves out of the gutter and into the light.

I'm sorry, does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Sexual assault is not about sex. It's not about wanting to have intercourse. It's about power and wanting and needing to have power over another human being. It's about finding a victim that satisfies your cravings. The more pathetic the better (in many cases) because who would believe them?

The Family has a long history of this type of behavior. Slut shaming women who sat in steamy cars with Jack's favorites existed. The men, well they were just a pile of hormones, faultless, tempted by the beguiling vagina. It wasn't their fault. It was the women.

But what about David? What about Lev? I mean, what happened to those guys? They were barely even "guys" when all the accusations against them started. Barely. What happened to them? What about Lou? What about Dennis? What about those brothers that raped that girl in that boat that time? What about that Greg guy? What about the other boys that became men who did things, who were accused of things?

They don't have vaginas, so that whole slut shaming thing doesn't work.  Were these guys hurt? Did something happen to them? Why would they act the way they did? I mean, some of them were Abba's boys! They knew better. They knew the covenant, and the rules, and why would they do what they did?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

4 years

Almost exactly 4 years ago today Pnina sent me the Foibles of Abba article. I don't know if I will ever forget how I felt upon reading it. It was a life-defining moment.  It was a moment where time seemed to stand still as I was caught in an odd introspection considering where I came from, re-adjusting the lens through which I viewed all of my experiences.  With the shock wave of uncertainty that followed, I had no idea what my future would hold. Those moments do not fade easily from memory.

Four years seems so long and so short a time for the changes in my life. As my anger has ebbed. I am embarrassed by this blog. I even took parts of it down for a while.  I thought having some of the posts up was giving people the idea that I am someone I'm not. Many posts are things I would never usually think about or say.  I'm usually a pretty trusting and optimistic person, and when I read back, I cringe at the person I painted myself to be.  It was the worst of myself. It was opposite of the Pollyanna life that most people put up on the internet. Some people made sure to put me down for the things posted here. I didn't want to care, and I didn't want to be hurt by what people were saying, but I was. This blog was far too integral to my healing and my mindset at the time. I couldn't separate what people were saying from my self-esteem. I guess it just took me a while to learn a few lessons that seem so simple now:
1) Never read the comments
2) Fighting on the internet will never change anyone's mind
3) Most people don't care about the truth, they care about protecting their interests.

That means I really have nothing left to post. I'm not in touch with anyone in the Family anymore. I have no knowledge of what they are up to. I deleted anyone I thought still had a part in it. Until recently, I have not given it much thought at all. It's just no longer a part of my life. It's part of my past, and I am finally ready to leave it behind. Truthfully, I hope nothing bad happens to people.  I feel bad for the kids when they get older and realize what all of this was. There is nothing else I can do but leave the blog up for them. In case some youth comes looking for information about Abba and the Elders, and how the Family started, they can look here.

I remember the Foibles Article seemed unreal to me at first. I realized immediately that I had been deceived. I've known my whole life that I had a shitty childhood, so that was no surprise. I still remember chatting my with PCP about going to therapy and him saying "do you think you were abused?" I laughed at him and said "I've known that forever, but I still need to go to therapy for a while about this whole thing." My memories weren't PTSD latent and coming through in waves that seemed hallucinatory. My memories were clear and I knew what they were. I just finally had a way to understand WHY.  When I told my husband and he found Rick Ross and the Jack Hickman forum, and I stayed up all night reading how many other people were hurt... that's when the enormity of the Family and the wrongs finally struck home. Because as shitty as my parents and immediate family were, I really wasn't alone. There were other people and the fact is, the abuse spanned decades.  Even the people trolling and basically agitating the posters told me that people were still invested in keeping the secrets of the past a secret. It meant that there WAS a seedy underbelly. If the accusations were baseless, people wouldn't feel the need to respond. They would laugh and shrug it off. You wouldn't get the heated denials found on Rick Ross, and now some of the blog comments.

I'm thankful for Rick Ross, but I fucking HATED the anonymity of it. It only helped to strengthen the paranoia. Oh the paranoia. I absolutely do NOT miss being paranoid. It's such a scary lens in which to view others. Its so unnatural. It made me feel crazy on more than one occasion. I was also terrible at it. I'm sure not everyone I spoke with was who they said they were. I'd be surprised if they were. Then the blogs started. After the blogs started, the internet bullying seemed to hit a spike, but I noticed that youth looking for answers were no longer being pulled in.  Rick Ross is barely used anymore because it was becoming more and more difficult to pretend to be someone you weren't. I think the blogs brought that about. We started naming names and people knew who we were, so you couldn't totally discredit it all.

For that reason, But Seriously will stay up. For public record on the Abenseur Family, or Shoresh Yishai, or the 13th Tribe. What do you call yourselves now?  The-50th-order-of-the-tribe-of-Israel-once-removed-under-kingly-leadership-until-the-prophet-names-the-Abba? Wait, it's not a prophet, its a kid that sees a Maggid and old men will dream dreams, to confirm his vision, right? Anyway, this is here for you guys. For whoever needs it. I'm sorry there is nothing else I could do. Religious freedom is still a protected right in this country and your parents have the right to raise you into any form of belief that does not break the laws under which you are protected, or they are able to raise you into beliefs that actually do break laws that protect your personal freedoms as long as they were smart and savvy enough to hide your abuses and keep you quiet. I'm saying this, because that's what happened to me.

This year has been a great one for personal growth for me. My Family-related panic attacks are gone. I haven't had one in a long time. I'm not afraid of running into someone's grandma, or traveling to Augusta to go shopping, or talking about my odd religious knowledge or practices. I used to be really sketchy when people asked where I was from. Little things would cause pangs of anxiety like, I might say the wrong thing. When you grow up your whole life in a secret society that trains you to lie about the truth of your life, AND you're a terrible liar... you carry a lot of anxiety about anything that comes close to letting the cat out of the bag.

I have been openly talking about things for a few years, but this year is the first that I don't have anxiety or an emotional response about it. My heart rate doesn't hike, my face stays the same color, I don't start sweating. That's a pretty big deal for me.  It's peaceful. It feels good to be done with secrecy. I can really look back at how poisonous secrecy was for my life and how many ways it affected me. I can talk to my family about things openly now. My extended family are not worried about talking to me anymore. That's apparently something they were always worried about. They had no idea how indoctrinated we were in this religious "thing" my parents were into and they were afraid of hurting us or just not being able to tolerate the bullshit. So for the first time in years, I can have a real relationship with my sisters and my family.  Knowing anything about my family, this is pretty fucking amazing. I spent my whole life being told that I couldn't have a relationship with people I was related to because they wouldn't understand "who I was." Whatever that means. Thanks Mom and Dad--not a part of my current or future definition of "family," FYI.

I also seem to have regained my life and let live mentality. Actually, I don't think I can say "regained." The religious experiences of others were at the least "other" and at the worst "inferior," so that I had a ton of unconscious judgment about the ways in which other people worshipped or found meaning in their lives.  I find now that it doesn't matter to me. This actually applies to the Family as well. The Family was clearly not for me. It didn't help affirm a life mission for me, it didn't offer me a place that I felt that I belonged, it did not help me deal with mortality, it did not offer a sense of purpose. Those are the things I perceive people get from their own religious or spiritual experiences.
But, when the house of cards fell down, I didn't cling to any of it. There's this weird feeling I have about the Family that I know will never pass. I KNOW there are bad guys hiding in the leadership and amongst the rank and file. I also KNOW there are good people trying to live a good life and do good things. That's not easily reconciled, but if not for the good acts that the Family promoted, they would have had no followers in the long term.

I think I went atheist for a while because it made sense to me in a rational way. I felt as if there were a deity somehow in charge of life and good vs. evil then they seriously let me down.  I could not have continued to hold onto that belief in the face of the reality of my life.  Now, I'd say I'm agnostic. I still believe that my experiences with the Family have soured me. I don't believe I could walk into any congregation and find meaning again. Yet, I still find myself being grateful for the connecting life strings that seem to tie us all together as humans, the circumstances of coincidence that seem anything but, the answer to a question that never made it past your lips arriving at just the moment that you needed it. Maybe it is a universal consciousness, maybe it just a life spark, or just how energy circles the universe. I don't know. But I do get a feeling I can't shake once in a while, and I know its this other thing. Not having the answers to that is okay with me. I don't need this feeling to have a name. At least I no longer need to deny it's there in order to feel normal.

Of course there's my parents in all of this. Thinking about them makes me wonder how people could have a saying that says to "forgive and forget."  I can never forget.  The forgive part is also a little strange to me. This seems too big for forgiveness. Over the years I can only apply a little understanding to how and why they made the choices they made.  I still think that they were adults that were culpable for abuses they engaged in, and the abuses they ignored. Neither came from great family circumstances. Neither had anything like a good support systems. Both wanted desperately to belong to something. Both got a tremendously good feeling from being a part of something exclusive and that they had a life calling. I can remember in 1997 after the first "Youth" retreat, and the revival of family meetings and the "sign up or you're out for good" calling came out. Both of them were pissed. In a few meetings it was made clear that the parents were done. They were old hat. They had their kids and they sent them to the retreats and they were done. Thank you very much for playing, now run along while the big kids handle the little obstacle of saving the world from judgment.

For these two people who struggled with and yet clung to this Family to feel as though their life was over and to be cast aside, it devastated them.  I think that's why by 2004, they were out. They had stopped having a relationship with their brothers and sisters, they rejected so many things, and now weren't even being rewarded for it. They were never even close to inner circle, but despite hanging onto the doctrine, they were pissed. Talk about Daddy issues. Rejected again. I can't imagine spending my life the way they did, only to be pushed aside.

I think of them in their 30's, not too far off my age, dealing with having a daughter come home from people you wanted desperately to belong to, someone in a position of prominence, someone you came to rely on for childcare... to hear that she was assaulted. I have no idea what was said to them. I know the incident made my Mom crazy, because it brought up her own assaults that she never dealt with. I don't think she believed my sister. I think she honestly would rather believe she lied. If she lied, then she wouldn't have to deal with her assault, and how she didn't get help, and how her family glossed over what happened to her. It was a totally different time. I know this intellectually. It still pisses me off. But in the effort to understand, I can actually see it from their perspective. I know I would have made other choices, but I know where they were, and they were vulnerable.

I also think it's why we moved away from the D's and the abusers within 2 years. I also think its probably why we moved in the B's, a family I have no memory of until we were suddenly moving to Central NY to live with them. The dad was an Elder, my parents couldn't make waves by asking too many questions, and that family was already dealing with a "problem daughter."  My sister and I both remember that Dad giving my Dad some training on how to deal with insolence. I remember my Dad punching my sister for the first time when we moved in with them. Force was how you dealt with it. Something to do with the proper respect being shown to head of household and blah blah blah. My Dad did like to feel that he was in control. Having smart-mouthed kids that were not obedient was something he could never stomach. And Mom, well, Mom knew she couldn't hit us, but she was a good manipulator. She was long before we moved in with the B's. With Dad's new-found "confidence" she was able to put her skills to new use. We definitely were scared straight for a while. We were probably the best behaved kids ever. Fear of a beating can do that to you.

That's where I'm at. I know the what's, and I'm only beginning to guess at the how's and why's. But in reality, the Abenseur Family was SO MUCH of what happened to my family in the long run that I cannot separate the two. And my parents had so many chances to change their minds and their actions. They couldn't, and wouldn't after too long. I recall one starting and stopping therapy multiples times, unable to deal with it when they actually started to talk about the hard stuff. I remember the other never agreeing to go, probably petrified of having to talk about the truth. Mental illness is a terrible thing. I can give you first hand accounts of how the people that really need the help the most, will not accept it.  So there's a part of me that is feeling like I need to forgive them. I need to forgive them for me. I need to let this go. There's another part of me that thinks, how can you forgive people that refuse to change? Isn't that like saying that what they did was okay?

This is my conclusion:
I don't like what happened. It sickens and disgusts me. I know as an adult that I would NEVER make the same decisions. I also know that I was made stronger by my own circumstances. I know my entire childhood wasn't a piece of shit, or I wouldn't be who I am today. I know that I have good character traits in my life that came from the support and teaching of my parents, some of them even from the Family. I know all of this. I can see all of this. But the good will never erase the bad. I will never condone what happened to me at the hands of Kevin and Maureen, or the various people I was forced to interact with while a member of the Family. I will never forget. Please do not ever assume that any forgiveness on my part would make what you did to us and other people okay. It will never be okay. Just because you were nice to me for a while, or did something altruistic as it concerned dealing with the Troubled Girls that we were... it doesn't make it okay to lie to people, manipulate, or indoctrinate someone into a way of thinking to keep you from having to deal with the demons of your past. No good can erase that bad. None. I don't think you can conveniently say "I repent" at some future date and think that your wrongs will be erased, because they won't.

I hope you all use George and David as a cautionary tale. Shit, you should use John as the same. As an organization, you did not protect the innocent. You protected the guilty, and because of that gross negligence, you have allowed other innocents to be hurt.  We have seen the sins of the father passed to the sons already, with Lev and David both in jail. Will the next generation share the same fate? When will it end.

I know I will think about this for many years to come. It will be the thought I have that will have no answer, and it will be the one I think on the most. But I will sleep well at night knowing that my abuse did not extend to another generation. I made the difficult choice. I am living another path. It's the right one. It was hard and embarrassing and at times disorienting. But it was also affirming. I know who I am. I know exactly how much I can and cannot take. I know where the line in the sand is, and I know what side I am on. I will never have to wonder if I did the right thing.

I am a person who was abused. I am a person who was in a cult. I am also a person who made a new life. I'm not a survivor, or a victim. I'm just me. I am profoundly happy with that.

Cheers to 4 years of being free.

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 years gone... and I've found compassion

My father has been in the hospital this winter. I only know this because my sisters broke the "Don't talk about our parents to me and about me to them" code. Heart trouble does that to people. What surprised me was the lack of "about fucking time" or "serves him right" epitaph that should have left my lips. I am the angry sister, most days of the week, so hearing Dad was going to get a pacemaker, probably, and not feeling righteously dignified by his poor health was a very eye-opening look into how I've changed since last year.

Don't get me wrong, I hold no sentimentality toward my malevolent patriarch. My parents were abusive pieces of garbage that were desperate to cling to a dogma and spiritual lifestyle so much that they exposed their children to rapists and liars, even allowing their own child to be raped and doing nothing about it.  I was recently accused of being blasé about abuse and the fact that this happened. I just want to ask, what is the correct way for a 7 year old to out her sister's rapists, their father, the clanhead, and the elders that covered it up and quit being a part of cult?  It wouldn't do me any good now, but it would be interesting to know how other people would handle that. I'm just wondering how people feel that abused children should handle being abused? Because if I did anything my father didn't agree with, I would have been flung around like a ragdoll and hit until I pissed myself and he only stopped because his jeans were wet. At what point should we lay everyone to blame for happened to us? At what point can I condemn other people who were children just like me, for choosing to ignore it?

That's what's changed for me. I will always abhor the elders. I will always want to throw up when I see George's mugshot. I will always wonder how many abused kids have compartmentalized their experiences in order to try to find peace.
I will not lash out at other people for not getting it. I will not use my anger to try to get other people to see things the way that I do.

Somewhere in this last year, I found some sense of compassion and respect for the youth. Even the youth that know about the Foibles article and are so emotionally retarded they can't even say what it said. They cannot even talk about how their parents knew the accusations and said nothing.  They cannot begin to hold their parents negligent in the least, and complicit at worst for what is contained therein.

Those are the things that I did. I responded in a very definitive way after reading Foibles. Other people aren't me, and they're not responding the same. What can I do about that? I don't know. But, I do know that I can allow them their opinion, respect it, and not allow it to rattle me and make me feel differently about my choices.

Do I feel bad, Oh Anonymous One, for not leaving the cult and continuing to be a part of it after what my sister and best friend went through? Yes. Thank you for trying so hard to make me feel like a piece of shit about it. Success is in your corner. What more could I have done? I ask myself that often. I don't have the right answers. The fact of their rapes and our continued abuse by our parents was such a pervasive truth in our lives, it was almost like background noise. Maybe you can't imagine it. I bet you can't. It wasn't even the elephant in the room, it was the painting on the walls, almost the sheetrock itself. There was no point that this abuse was surprising to me, because there was no time that it didn't exist.

Does that make you sick? Yup, it should. I makes the adult non-cult me feel horrible. But that's what it was like. So watching them continue to be a part of the cult, into adult years, what was I going to say about that? What was I going to do?  In what way would my behavior not have been abhorrent to those anonymous's that didn't grow up in abuse and a cult-mentality, what way could I have been different?

You know what I did do, I supported them. Pnina and I went through a lot of shit together. We were thick as thieves, we grew apart, and we came back together. She is still my best friend because I have always supported her. Always. My sister and I have a lot more shit to wade through, family being a cumbersome entanglement, and we still talk to one another. We have found a way to find peace with one another. We have a relationship and we are moving ahead. And when she was unable to talk about what happened, I took up the mantle for her, because it's what she needed. She needed to know it wasn't all in her head. And when people started victim shaming people who have been raped, I was right there, on the front lines, not standing up for that bullshit. Because I love them, and no one deserves to be made to feel like that.

But three years out, I'm not seeing villains where there aren't any. I'm not calling people to carpet who are still trying to find their own way. I not screaming at people who don't know how to respond to all this because it will completely unseat their own reality.  Somewhere, surprisingly, I have found a compassion for these people and found the ability to give them respect, and let them have their own opinions.

I'd like to think that doesn't negate what has happened in the cult. I'd like to think that it's me finally learning to choose my battles.  I'd like to think that no longer painting everyone as the bad guy, is a huge emotionally mature step for a person who has been emotionally stunted due to years of abuse. It should not minimize anyone's story, and change their feelings or attitudes. It's my coming out of this cycle of letting the cult run my life.  It used to do so by being cornered by adults that pretended to be well intentioned, then later with the blog, and trying to out them, and trying to send the Foibles article to every youth I know, and being the first person to say, there has been abuse, I have been abused. These abuses were ignored, and we know they were.   I put so much energy into that. So much. You don't even know. Even when I wanted to stop, I felt I had to keep going until it was done. I pushed myself to the breaking point. Now I'm done. I have nothing left to add. There's nothing else I can do that would be healthy for me. If I hear any inkling of kids being abused now, of rapes, the authorities are on my speed dial. I'm not going to just fucking blog about it. I take that shit fucking seriously.  But I'm not hearing anything anymore, because I'm out.

That's where I'm living my life now. I'm out. I'm not 7 years old wondering what to do about the bad guys. They are pieces of garbage. In my mind, it's time for me to be 31 years old, love my kid and my husband, and a build a life that has nothing to do with elitist assholes from long island who have funny ideas about religion, the after life, and survival.

Wishing you all the best, don't rape anyone, and don't beat your kids.