ellensagh

5. Horror

My son went to visit his stepsister for the weekend. It was the first time in months I had been alone. I was fine until I crawled into bed. Then images began appearing in my head. I grabbed my journal and wrote eight pages of memories as they came. They weren’t memories of abuse; they were memories of being a teenager, playing football with the neighbours, babysitting, learning to crochet, getting hurt in a volleyball game, watching hockey games on Saturday night, sewing a dress for a wedding, hilling potatoes, picking crocuses, skating on the dugout, standing around outside after church, smoking and trying not to get caught. These were things I had never been able to remember about my childhood.
 “How could no one listen to me?” I wrote in my journal. “There were people, people, people in my life, twenty-four hours a day for thirty-some years and no one I could talk to.” I wondered what would happen next. Would more memories of abuse surface?
 What happened was days and nights of flashing images, nightmares, rashes, skin eruptions, fear, and the constant feeling that something was going to happen to me but I didn’t know what. Death was on my mind all the time. I called my lawyer and made a will over the phone. I phoned a sister and told her that if anything happened to me, I wanted my journals published. My lawyer phoned back. “This is scaring me,” she said. “Why are you doing this now?”
 I tried to explain about my dreams and memories, the fear that kept haunting me, and as I spoke I started crying. She didn’t hang up until I promised to phone a counsellor. I phoned two different counsellors and other women, but I couldn’t seem to break free. My thoughts were morbid. I was planning my funeral. My body was in constant pain — muscle pain, joint pain, and the constant, burning irritation of the rash that came and went on various parts of my body. The fear of being abused prevented me from leaving the house. I was scared to be alone. I was scared to sleep. My dreams were filled with horror. Snatches of memory appeared, but all mixed up. First I was thirteen years old, then it was five years ago, then I was five years old, then I heard Calvin saying that he had seen Stretch touching me and I said I didn’t want to hear about it, and then I couldn’t figure out what was the present and what was the past. In desperation, I wrote a letter to my father:
Dear Dad,
 This is hell. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. When will it be over? The body memories are worst — no, the fear. I’m so sick of this. Why did this happen to me? What is the purpose? When am I going to know it’s over? If I got angry would I feel better, but I don’t have the energy to be angry. Everything hurts too much. All I want is to be safe, protected and taken care of. It’s like I’m in jail, locked in, and can’t escape.
I never sent the letter, or read it to him. My body was in such pain I could hardly walk down the stairs. As soon as I was in bed, a prickling, burning sensation would take over my body, and the horror would start. Then I was wondering, “Was there a fourth abuser?” And then, “Was it my father?”
 One night I woke up shaking with fear, my body soaked in sweat. My night-gown was thrown down beside the bed, as if someone had ripped it off. If I could only remember, I thought, if I only knew what had happened. . . . I didn’t think this had anything to do with my brothers or Father Allinblack. I was reliving a rape, night after night.
 The fear didn’t go away, but now I was scared to tell anyone. I didn’t know how much people would believe. Part of me was convinced that God was punishing me, but I didn’t know what for.
One of my sisters stayed with me for a week as the horror continued. I dreamed that someone was going to get me, or I was in a courthouse, or I was walking out of the bedroom and my husband was at the bottom of the stairs with a gun, or Calvin was in jail, or a little girl was sobbing and I couldn’t shut her up.
 It all shut down for a day when my daughter called to tell me that her father had slapped her across the face. She read me a six- page letter over the phone. The first page was about suicide. The second was about why she was drinking so much; she’d hardly eaten for weeks. The third page was about sleeping at her boyfriend’s because there was no point being at home as her Dad was never there. The rest was about fighting with her father. She wouldn’t live with me, she said, because she felt my house was evil.
 Calmly, I sat down and wrote Alfred a letter, pointing out that if he touched her again and she didn’t want to live with me, a foster home was her only option. I told him I was sending a copy of the letter to her school counsellor. I mailed both letters immediately. Later that day she called back to say that she and her Dad had made up and everything was fine.
 The horror returned the next day. I phoned my counsellor at home, desperate for some kind of relief, or just advice. I felt better when she validated the seriousness of my experience. She spoke of trauma and the need for rest with no physical or emotional demands. It made perfect sense, she said, that I didn’t want to be alone, that I wanted someone to check out my reality.
 I decided to visit my sister in Oiltown for a week. My brother Stretch offered to stay with at my house while I was gone, and my son was okay with that. Even so, I was almost overwhelmed at the thought of getting myself organized to go. I still don’t know how I managed it, but I did, then more or less fell apart when I arrived. I cried all day Sunday, but the rash disappeared and I managed to sleep through the night.
 On Monday, with my sister at work and the children at school, I walked to the Sexual Assault Centre. I was afraid of being alone. But for some reason, all I could talk about was my daughter and my failed marriage. I seemed to have left the horror back in Saskatoon.
 The woman at the Centre phoned the local Interval House to see if they had any support programs that week that I could drop in on. When I found I could attend three one-and-a-half-hour sessions, I felt better. I didn’t know what they were about, and I didn’t care. I just wanted the comfort of being with other survivors.
 I got a video from the Oiltown library on learning to paint, and tried it with my sister’s kids. I made two collages, as I had been taught in the self-empowerment class the previous spring. The first one was an expression of pain and frustration; the second was a visual celebration of my need for warmth, freedom, and colour in my life. “I’ll be an original,” I declared.
 One of my nieces read a book on healing to try to understand what I was going through. The main thing she understood was that I would only remember what was safe for me to remember, or what I would be able to deal with. Another niece taped a song and typed out the lyrics for me: the message was that if I looked inside myself, I would find the answers I needed. Another niece helped me make a relaxation tape, while the fourth shared her dreams with me.
 I also read a book on healing while I was in Oiltown. It talked about a crisis stage, a suffering stage, and a resolution stage. I found that hopeful, especially when I read that the suffering and resolution could be happening simultaneously.
 On my last morning in Oiltown, I attended a workshop about family of origin issues. We each constructed a “genogram” that consisted of our grandparents, our parents, our siblings and their partners, ourselves and our partners, and our children. Circles represented females, squares represented males. My grandparents were at the top of the page, then my parents and their brothers and sisters in the order they were born, then my brothers and sisters in birth order. I was the biggest circle in the middle, with my partner, my stepchildren, and my children underneath. The squares and circles were larger or smaller depending on what influence that person had or was having on my present life, or how I felt about them. When I finished making the circles and squares, I put a D for the deceased, and an X on the ones I considered or had heard were abusers. I also indicated “abuser” or “abused” or “alcohol” or whatever came into my mind about that person: I was shocked at the amount of abuse.
 By the time I was finished, I was so angry I could have screamed all the way back to Saskatoon. I got on the bus and wrote in my journal instead. Eight pages later, I had calmed down a bit.
 Stretch and my son met me in Saskatoon. They’d had a good week. Before he left that evening, I asked Stretch if he had remembered anything at all about abusing me since the day I confronted him. He said he had tried many times, but could not picture anything about it. I woke up the next morning with my bottom, legs, and breasts covered in the rash again.
I received a letter from the crown prosecutor, dated January 28, l994. He addresses me as madam and said it was regarding Allinblack Indecent Assault Charges. He said Allinblack now faces sixteen charges of indecent assault arising out of incidents when he was parish priest in Legend and Big City. He reviewed that at his most recent court appearance in Legend on January l2, l994, he elected to be tried by a Queen’s Bench Judge without a jury. Because of this election, the accused is entitled to a “preliminary inquiry.” The function of a court at a preliminary inquiry is simply to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant having a trial in the matter. The judge at a preliminary inquiry does not weigh any evidence or make any determination of guilt or innocence. Generally speaking, if the evidence discloses on its face that an offence has taken place, the accused will be committed for trial.
 The preliminary inquiry in this matter has been set for the week of April 25th to 29th inclusive at The Court House in Winning, Saskatchewan. The matter was transferred to Winning from Legend as there are inadequate court facilities in Legend and the Judge indicated that Winning would be the closest court facility that could deal with this matter.
 He said he’d be contacting me as we get closer to the April 25th preliminary inquiry date to review our evidence and discuss whenI will be testifying. I will not be required to be in Winning for the entire preliminary inquiry and in fact, due to the usual exclusion orders made at these types of hearings, will only be permitted to be in the Court Room when I am actually testifying.
 Travel and accommodation arrangements will be made through his office. He suggests that I not take any steps to make travel arrangements until March of this year as he will not have decided when he will be calling various witnesses until at least that time.
Stretch returned on Saturday with my parents for the weekend. My parents told me if I would just get a job and forget about it, I’d be fine. My father thought I should go out volunteering and get my mind off myself. My mother had no memory of my sister telling her that she had been sexually abused by Father Allinblack. I told her the incident would be brought up at the preliminary inquiry, not only by my sister but by the neighbour who would testify that in the l960s Mom had told her to keep her daughters away from Father Allinblack as he’d been touching her girls. My mother was shocked. She said she would phone the neighbour and tell her it wasn’t true. I told her she must have blocked it, as I had, as Stretch said he had. She then spoke to me about Stretch’s abuse of me as if it was nothing, as if he’d been seven or eight years old when it happened.
 “Mom,” I said, “he was 20.”
 “Well, why did you let him do it?” she demanded. “Why didn’t you say anything? You must have been fifteen; what were you doing?”
 Not once did she ask what might have been wrong with Stretch.
 A few days later, Social Assistance asked me to attend a case conference to discuss whether I was doing anything to help myself. I got out my journals and wrote an eleven-page summary of what I had done and what I was trying to do to. The summary helped me see why, in fact, I wasn’t over it yet, why I only felt safe and understood with other survivors. When I told a friend how my family talked to me as if I were a basket case, she told me that the person who is healing is usually the sanest one in the family.
 I made myself a healing room in the house. I asked everyone who had supported me for a picture of themselves and covered one wall of the room with their photographs, cards, and letters of encouragement. An area on that wall was reserved for photo albums, scrapbooks, yearbooks, and anything else I could find that related to my childhood. Another wall I covered with collages that spoke my pain out loud. One wall had a four-foot square mirror on it. The floor was bare except for stacks of magazines, glue, scissors, paints, crayons, clay, and play dough. I brought in dried flowers, candles, ornaments that brought me comfort, throw pillows, and a favourite blanket. I had tapes of meditation and relaxation. I put sayings of hope and wisdom on the walls, changing them as new awarenesses came to me.
 The healing room was where I could relax. In the rest of the house I walked around with my muscles tensed, terror just beneath the surface. I was just going day to day, hour to hour, and sometimes minute to minute, just trying to keep my sanity. I was terrified that I might be labelled psychotic and committed to an institution. It did nothing for my peace of mind when my counsellor suggested I see a psychologist who specialized in multiple personality disorders.
 I found a new counselor who saw what was happening to me as the healing of a psyche that had been fractured. Healing might involve flashes of well-being that would last for a second or a minute and then disappear, but these flashes would return again and again, and as I proceeded on my healing journey, they would occur closer and closer together, and finally meld into a permanent light, first balancing and then banishing the moments of despair. She saw healing as a long process fraught with crises. As I learned to trust, I would move through the crises, knowing that health and joy were awaiting me.
 I recorded this hope-filled prognosis in my journal as she spoke. Immediately I got home, I recorded it on tape. I played it over and over. I needed to hear that there was hope, for I felt I was coming apart. One minute I was an adult, the next a terrified five-year-old, then a thirteen-year-old overwhelmed by shame. I could feel good and bad in the same instant. I would picture myself when I was first married, disciplining my stepdaughters, and seconds later I would picture myself as a little girl being slapped across the face or hit with a belt and I’d be crouching in terror. I was dreaming all night, every night, and I could not shut my mind off during the day.
I wrote in my journal:
Bitch
 Why did you let him do it? Don’t be so stupid. Don’t be so lazy. Work never killed anybody. Why didn’t you tell anybody. You have no reason to cry. If you’d quit smoking. You should know better.
Downer
 You’re good for nothing. If people knew how bad you were. You only fit in with outcasts, people with horror stories. You should be working or in school. You’re just a useless piece of shit. You’re good for nothing. You don’t belong anywhere. You can’t even love your kids.
The Wrathful One
 It’s what you deserve. God is punishing you. You think you’re so high and mighty, above everyone else. It serves you right for getting aroused when you were being abused.
The Essence
Goes for walks, excited, sees a bigger picture, made a healing room, phones someone, writes letters, dreams, reads books, takes classes, believes in therapy, listens to tapes, creative, likes music.
Horror Sharon
 On the edge. It’s never going to end. Watch what I do, say, think, read or I’ll go over the edge. Can’t trust anyone. Never feel safe alone. Fear and Terror. Pin prickles. Can’t stand someone looking at me. Nightmares in my mind in the day. Memories. Memories. Memories.
Little Sharon
 Plays. Paints. Colours. Likes it outside. Loves a kitty. I like her.
Little Girl Sobbing
 Feels alone. Hurts. No one there to help her. Pain in my vaginal area; lower abdomen. Feels lost.
 Adult Sharon
 In control, hardworking. Full of Energy. Ideas. Positive. Enthusiastic. Optimistic. Different than the old frantic anything who didn’t feel anything. Is a good mother to my kids.
Ten-Year-Old Mother
 Tired of taking care of herself and everyone else.
Fake Adult
 Total Control. Feels not good enough. Looks fine on outside but knows how to hide the ugliness. Can’t look people in the eye. Afraid they’ll see through me. Forget about this shit. Get on with your life. Feel like an awful person.
Funny Sharon
 Sense of Humour. Plays. Has Fun.
Teenage Sharon
 Smokes. Rebels, Puts down other people. Always embarrassed. Full of Shame. Feels Vulnerable.
The RCMP called. I picked up my subpoena at the station . It stated:
Whereas Allinblack has been charged that between the years of l955 and l974 in the province of Saskatchewan he did commit indecent assaults against young women, contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. and it has been made to appear that you are likely to give material evidence for the prosecution this is therefore to command you to attend before the presiding judge on Monday the 25th day of April ad 1994 at 09:30 o’clock in the forenoon at Winning Provincial Court . . . to give evidence concerning the said charge. Preliminary Hearing. Dated this l6th day of February AD l994 at Saskatoon in the Province of Saskatchewan.
A woman I grew up with called. As we were talking, she told me that when she was dating Stretch, she had seen him sexually abusing me. She hadn’t said anything at the time, but just thought, “Oh, they do that in this house, too.”
 I began attending a weekly dream-sharing group. There I learned that my dreams were helping me heal. I learned not to take them literally — although some were verbatim replays of my life — but to understand what they symbolized. It was reassuring to discover that other survivors had similar dreams.
I drove out to the town where I had grown up with a list of questions I wanted to ask women I had gone to school with:
What was my family like?
How did you feel when you visited me?
How did my parents treat me?
What were my younger sisters like?
Was there violence in my family?
What was I like in high school and as a teenager?
Did I use or abuse alcohol, drugs, or sex?
Did I ever talk about sexual abuse?
How did I relate to friends and teachers?
What kind of student was I?
Was I involved in any activities?
I saw four women I had gone to school with. They filled me in on school activities and things they remembered me doing. They knew nothing about abuse. They saw my family as normal — lots of kids and lots of fun. I could not relate to how they remembered me: sensible, mature, refined, self-confident, an organizer, a leader, a teenager their parents liked them being around.
 I found out that my daughter had been living on her own for seventeen days. The school counsellor told me that if I didn’t contact social services, the school would. I phoned the Child Protection Worker at Social Services who told me that, as she was fourteen years old and her father was providing heat, lights, and groceries, she was old enough to phone for help in an emergency. I spoke about the drinking and the partying and the school’s concern, but Social Services told me they would not be getting involved.
 I received a letter from my church lawyer, dated February 22, l994. She said she was pleased to advise that we have now completed much of the preliminary work required prior to issuance of the Statement of Claim. She said to assist her in preparation of my Statement of Claim, she needed a letter from me about the following:
* As detailed as possible a recollection of the assault or assaults by Father Allinblack and with dates or special events which can connect to the timing of the assaults
* A description of any physical injuries which I suffered as a result of Father Allinblack’s assaults;
* To assist in assessing the impact of the assaults upon my life, to detail, how the assaults by Father Allinblack have affected my thinking and feeling about relationships with men and my ability to sustain such relationships;
* I was to give her a list of what education and training I have and whether I believe the assaults had any impact on my ability or my willingness to pursue higher education, training or career goals;
* to describe any information about destructive behaviour patterns which I feel are the result of the assaults by Father Allinblack such as alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.;
* Any other information which I believe might prove useful in assessing my claim;
* The names of any psychologists, physicians or other specialists which I may have consulted for counselling or assistance as a result of the trauma inflicted by Father Allinblack.
She let me know receiving this information would assist significantly in preparation of my Statement of Claim. She would then draft it and forward it to me for review.
 She said to expect that the next step would be to arrange for an appointment with a psychologist who would provide us with a report documenting the effects of the assault upon me.
Once we have had the psychologist identify the areas in which I have been affected by the assault, we will then have a forensic economist translate this harm into losses in terms of dollars and cents. That will form part of our claim which will then be served upon Father Allinblack.
 She said she hoped to be ready to move on with the civil action as soon as Father Allinblack’s preliminary inquiry has been completed in the end of April.
I put together the information she requested and took it to her. While in her office, I signed my will.
 At the beginning of March, the crown prosecutor asked me to attend a meeting to discuss my police statement and evidence and prepare for the preliminary inquiry. He told me the defence was discussing a plea bargain: Allinblack would plead guilty to eight of the charges, but the pleas would be interchangeable. He would agree to serve three years in a federal penitentiary. I was shocked. The prosecutor raised the possibility of asking for five years, but doubted that a judge would agree.
 I did not agree with the interchangeable pleas; I told the prosecutor he should plead guilty to all of them. The prosecutor was doubtful, as there were no adult witnesses at the time. Immediately, I told him of two of my aunts seeing Allinblack abuse two of my sisters. I felt uncomfortable revealing their names without talking to them first, but I felt like the crown was caving in to the defence.
 I phoned my aunts and told them what I had done. One of them called back the following day. She had decided to tell the police that she had seen Father Allinblack abusing two of my sisters. I was impressed. She was eighty years old. I suggested she phone the crown prosecutor directly, which she did.
 I woke up the next morning vibrating with anger. I wonder if your day is starting out so lovely, Father Allinblack? Do you wake up in pain, in horror. Can you hardly move, or get out of bed, or dress yourself? Do you get in your car and drive, hoping you won’t hit anything or go through a red light because you’re screaming at the pitch of your lungs? You bastard! How could you do this to me? I was a little girl and you hurt me. I have to scream now. I couldn’t scream then because you were supposed to be taking care of me. You were a perfect person who did no wrong. Well, you did, you fucking asshole, and I’m paying for it!
 I spent the next week crying or raging at anyone who would listen. My brother Calvin and his wife listened to an hour of it one day. It helped me get through that hour. I did collages for a month straight.
March 5, l994
 Wondering, how did my life begin? I know I’m facing the mystery. I demand to know. Feels like I’m heading down a slippery slope, burning up inside, going crazy. It’s like I’m living the epitaph of a girl who died. I miss the person I used to be. It’s as if there are voices inside me seeking shelter, and all these old, old women who have given all their life and got nothing back but violence. I am paying the price of unequal power. Is it hate that lets a man lure a little girl, or is it power? This is slow suffering, broken spirits, secrets from stepping on the little ones.
March l0, l994
 Intimidating — the power. Honour thy father. Is the law abusing women? Horror Stories. Scared women wearing dark glasses. Is it time to explore the dark side?
March l7, l994
 If I could wish upon a star, I’d say out loud, “Mommy, I’m afraid. This is how bad it is.” I felt like property as a child, had upset stomachs all the time. I’d say, “Me do it” and I’d get a big “No” or “Don’t.” Dad was always on the road, but I’m always told, “Smile big for Daddy.” I never knew what to expect. . . . They promised to protect me. Wouldn’t you kill to protect your children?
I was trying to come up with an idea to make some money. I wanted to buy a blouse I’d seen in a second-hand store, but it was two dollars and I wanted to save that because my daughter was coming to visit and maybe we could go for a pop. My son wanted a computer. I knew he deserved one, but I didn’t feel capable of doing anything right then.
 I dreamed that a priest stole my car, my clothes, and my purse. I was desperately searching for them. My first thought on waking was, “He stole my body, my identity, and my spirituality.” Some cousins invited me to a Healing Mass. It didn’t do a thing for me:
Seeing the older woman yesterday at the Healing Mass bending over and kissing the priest’s hand reinforces where my beliefs and attitudes have come from. God’s image is male. Male church hierarchy. Church psychologist saying I shouldn’t talk to a lot of people about the abuse. What a way to silence me. What crap. Males have power. Females serve. Seldom do I hear any understanding of what victims are experiencing in sermons, hymns, prayers. Where is the pastoral care? Silence sustains injustice.
Two days later, I got more memories back — shovelling grain in granaries, getting the cows, climbing the bale stack, looking at the stars at night, statues of Jesus and Mary, washing diapers, cutting meat, brown butcher paper. I couldn’t get any sense of how old I was, but I thought maybe twelve to fifteen. “Trying to organize my healing room,” I wrote. “Feel as if I have to get it done because this is the beginning of the end.”
 People phoned me. I either cried or was incoherent. The researcher for the report on the needs of adult survivors of sexual abuse became concerned about the state I was in. When she found I didn’t have a counsellor — the one I had found so helpful had left the country — but was on waiting lists again, she made some phone calls. Her influence got me into free weekly counselling starting the next week. It helped me hold on. All week flashes of shame, fear, and abandonment were continuous.
 My new counsellor described what I was experiencing as an emergency stage in my healing, and we talked about ways of getting through it: sharing my feelings with an inner circle of friends, having a safe place in my home, getting sleep whenever I could. A new idea was to ask myself each night the following three questions: What do I know for sure? What do I fear? What are my dreams telling me? She asked if my healing journey had been an obsessive one. That, at least, was something my family and I could agree on.
 Survivors began to phone more often as the preliminary hearing got closer and they had their meetings with the prosecutor. Some of them wondered if mediation was possible, they were in such fear. They were scared the defence would rip them to shreds. I was scared, too, but some friends helped me write out why it was important to go through with it:
* The truth needs to be told.
* Justice: he’s never had to answer for his actions.
* What he did was wrong.
* He should admit it and take responsibility.
* I can get on with my life.
* People he abused are living in hell.
* Part of my healing process.
* Change things in the world: break people’s denial.
* I have a lot of support for what I’m doing.
* People will become aware of what a victim of sexual abuse goes through.
* People will come to believe what children say.
* He hurt a lot of people; if he has to face it, maybe he won’t be able to do it to others.
* Past must be recognized, owned, accepted, and finished with.
* Do it for other women who can’t come forward.
* Driving force inside me that says it matters.
* Doesn’t matter what the results are — I’ve done it for myself.
* Guilty or not guilty, there’s been a ripple effect from speaking out that has touched people in ways that I or they may not even be aware of.
* Makes what happened to me more real, helps me to see what the reality is — that it wasn’t me, it’s what he forced on me.
* Other people — the justice system — validate that it was wrong, that it should never have happened, that it wasn’t my fault.
* Shows part of his true character — the same character he had when he abused me.
I received a letter from the crown prosecutor, dated March 28, l994 saying it would be useful if he received from me a “victim impact” statement of one or two pages detailing what I view as the personal consequences to me of the actions of Father Allinblack. He explained in order for him to make representations at any sentencing hearing, if the defendant either pleads guilty or is found guilty of these charges, he would need to have this information and further would need to disclose this information to defence counsel prior to it being used in court. He told me I should be aware that any such statement given to me will be provided to Allinblack’s lawyer.
 He also advised there have been discussions with a number of the complainants as well as with Father Allinblack’s lawyer over the past few weeks, dealing with a possible resolution of these charges by way of guilty pleas. As of the writing of this letter, no such agreement has yet been reached and I plan on proceeding with the preliminary inquiry in relation to all charges on April 25th unless there is some change in Defence counsel’s position regarding guilty pleas before that date.
I wrote out the following and took it in to the crown prosecutor’s office:
Sharon Speaks — After-effects of Sexual Abuse by Father Allinblack
* Low self esteem; felt dirty, used, as if there was something wrong with me.
* Shame, felt different from others, undeserving, unworthy, empty, ugly, abandoned, powerless, helpless.
* Fear I’d lose my eyes, not be able to see; my eyes hurt all the time.
* Guilt; feeling of having done something wrong but don’t know what.
* Tried to be so good but never felt good enough.
* Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others; could not get close to anyone, not even my family.
* Time of promiscuity, alcohol abuse, shoplifting, stealing in teen years.
* Pattern of being a victim; from relationships with much older persons starting in adolescence to being victimized sexually by others to being in an abusive marriage relationship.
* Unable to go to University after Grade l2 because thought I’d be a failure. Job and Friend choices based on my only relating to troubled, lonely, needy and dependant people.
* Over-responsible for everyone, everything.
* Workaholism; do things to excess, don’t know when to quit, couldn’t relax or have fun, had to be in control all the time.
* Hyper-vigilance of everything going on around me.
* Overprotective parent hard time setting boundaries, limits, with children; passed on fears and feeling of low self esteem to children.
* Can’t be close or affectionate with my children — not even give a hug.
* Sexuality — went from feeling sex was dirty and promiscuity to having to be in control to a dead sexuality; no feeling of desire.
* Obsession with God, religion, seeking forgiveness to no faith in God, religion or Christianity.
* Repressed memories of abuse, childhood and most of adolescence years.
* I repress times in my adult life when I was feeling anxious, fearful, ashamed or hurt.
* Memories of sexual abuse began returning April 7, l992 with flashbacks and images of sexual abuse and intense body pain.
* Physical body pain; screaming pain in vaginal area, spontaneous vaginal infections, neck and back muscle spasms from muscle tension; poor body image; hate how I look and feel.
* Emotionless/numb feelings as in no awareness of what I’m feeling to intense periods that go on for days of feeling intense rage, grief or depression. Total absence of loving feelings; joy or closeness.
* Seemingly baseless crying and feeling down; no idea how to change it.
* Disconnected from what is happening in the present or inappropriate reaction to present event with no sense of its meaning.
* Haunting memories of sexual abuse. Difficulty in staying asleep.
* Recurring, distressing horror dreams and nightmares of sexual abuse.
* Hating myself, sense of doom, suicidal thoughts and sense of dying.
* Went from trusting indiscriminately before memories of sexual abuse came back to never feeling safe after remembering.
* Days of acting and feeling as if abuse is happening right now, as if I’m reliving it.
* Intense distress when exposed to a reminder of abuse such as the anniversary time of the trauma. I have depressions during every Lent. I hate Easter, the colour purple, men in black, priests, or things that remind me of the abuse when I am at Mass or in a church.
* Everything seems too overwhelming.
Two weeks before the preliminary inquiry, the prosecutor’s office informed me of the date and time I would be testifying, and that my transportation expenses would be paid. All day I saw visions of hairy arms. I knew they were Allinblack’s.
 My church lawyer phoned. The civil action was being prepared. She told me that another victim of Father Allinblack had come forward. She had been abused before me, and in a different parish. It involved both penetration and oral sex.
 The RCMP phoned to see if I could drive other witnesses to court in my car, and reminded me not to discuss evidence on the journey. The prosecutor’s office called again. The date and time I was to testify had changed. Allinblack had agreed to six of the charges going straight to trial without those six witnesses having to testify at the preliminary hearing. Mine wasn’t one of the cases. When I asked what it meant, I was told that there was either so much evidence on those charges that the defence judged it would be hopeless to rebut it, or there was not enough evidence to get a conviction.
 I wondered what was really going on. Was the defence trying to get the counts down, have some charges thrown out, or was this a divide-and-conquer strategy? Other survivors phoned me. Some of them thought the prosecutor was being bought off by the church.
 My church lawyer phoned. The Statement of Claim was ready to file. She and I would go over it at the inquiry and then file it. The bishop of the diocese had died a few days before, but that should not delay the filing. The defence did not want adverse publicity.
 A woman phoned from my home town to offer support. We got into a discussion about offenders. She spoke of girls enticing men, saying she knew I hadn’t , but she had seen how mothers dressed their girls for dances and other social occasions. Garbage, I thought. I told her that, no matter how a girl was dressed, the adult was responsible. After I hung up, I realized that, if even one judge learned about the after-effects of sexual abuse, the preliminary inquiry would be worth it.
 The prosecutor talked to me one last time, on the Friday before the inquiry. I was to testify the following Tuesday. The purpose of the preliminary inquiry, or hearing, he told me, was to challenge the validity of our statements. The judge wasn’t there to determine the truth, just the evidence. The trial date would be decided after the inquiry was over.
 The next day seemed endless. I was restless, couldn’t start anything. I just wanted it over with. My parents and one of my sisters who was testifying were coming for supper, so I kept myself occupied cooking. But my back was tense, and my feet kept going into cramps.
 We had just finished supper at 6:35 when the phone call came that every parent dreads.

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