In last week’s blog, the four words above constituted a throw-away line that dealt with a serious issue—having a relative in my life who was also a pedophile. Unfortunately, those words impacted far too many of my readers, and so I’m going to do a Paul Harvey here and tell the rest of the story, and then we’ll be done with it.
Yes, my grandfather, Henry Busk, was a pedophile. I was seven years old and we were in South Dakota on summer vacation when he took me and my younger brother down to the lake to “go fishing.” He molested me with my little brother sitting only a few feet away and totally focused on his fishing pole. Since my brother was little more than a toddler at the time, he can’t be held responsible for being unaware of what was going on. And it only happened to me once. I never told because I figured if it was my word against the word of a pillar of the Lutheran Church of Marvin, South Dakota, who was going to believe me? And besides, somehow, I believed that what had happened was my fault.
It wasn’t until years later, while comparing notes with my three sisters, we learned that he had victimized all four of us. And while we told each other about it, none of us told our parents, not even then.
More time passed—decades actually. Grandpa Busk died sometime in the late sixties or early seventies. I have zero interest in remembering the exact date, but I do remember what happened next. My first husband and I were living on the hill west of Tucson and teaching on the reservation. One afternoon while in Tucson on business, my dad stopped by to visit. He had just returned from South Dakota where he had attended Grandpa Busk’s funeral. At some point he turned to me and said, “I don’t understand why none of my daughters came to my father’s funeral.” That’s when I decided it was high time someone told him why, so I did.
When I finished, he got up off the sofa, strode over to the living room window, and stood there for a long time staring at Kitt Peak in complete silence. Finally he spun around and said to me, “If I’da known that, I would have taken my shotgun and shot that son of a bitch!” It’s the only time in my life I heard my father utter a bad word.
That was a healing moment for me. My father’s instant belief in what I had told him was a blessing far too many abused children, including several of my readers, never received. And it’s why Norman Busk is not only my father, he’s also my hero.
More time and more decades passed again. In the early eighties, it occurred to me that in the books I had devoured as a child—the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls—there was no mention of what had happened to me. I decided to do something about that and wrote a children’s book called It’s Not Your Fault. The book is no longer in print, but it’s the story of a little girl whose not so nice grandfather is coming to visit. In her case, the person who believes her is a school nurse.
About that time, I was also working on Until Proven Guilty, the first Beaumont book. It’s the one in which he meets, falls in love with, and marries a very troubled woman named Anne Corley. That book went on sale in June of 1985.
Nine years later, on my 50th birthday my gift to myself was doing a talk at a local high school where students had been encouraged to read some of my books before my appearance. After the talk and during the Q and A, a young man stood up on the gym bleachers and asked, “Where did Anne Corley come from?”
Thirteen years after writing the book and nine years after publishing it, and while standing in a gym filled with 1600 high school students, I suddenly figured it out the answer. I was Anne Corley, a woman on a mission—a self-appointed vigilante—traveling the country, and taking out pedophiles who were … never charged and never convicted. I was her, and she was me.
After that realization dawned on me, I ended up standing there and telling all those kids the same story I’ve just told you. At the book signing afterwards, a tearful young woman, most likely a freshman, came up to me and said, “The same thing happened to me. What should I do?” I pointed to a nearby counselor and said, “Go talk to her.”
On reflection, it’s probably a good thing none of us girls told on our grandfather because I believe Norman Busk would have done exactly as he said. Evie would have had a tough row to hoe raising seven kids with a husband in the slammer, but I’m pretty sure she would have made it work.
While I was out walking this morning, one more thing occurred to me. I believe there’s a rule that you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead. Guess what? I’m breaking that one. My father was in his seventies when he learned that he had a half-sister, the product of his father having abused a friend’s daughter. After it happened, the family packed up, left South Dakota, and moved to California. My father didn’t know a thing about it until she contacted him almost seventy years later.
So yes, I’m speaking ill of the dead. Henry Busk isn’t here to defend himself, but so what. Like Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, he was protected by decades of silence, and he got away with the crimes he committed. That private silence was finally broken in 1970 when I told my father, and since then I’ve broken my public silence.
Was taken advantage of by some older boys (actually men) who did not have sex with me, but touched me inappropriately. I was afraid to tell my parents what they were doing as I my father was very mean and thought he may say it was my fault & beat me.
So very happy you told your true story – if it helps just a couple of children, consider it successful.
I am so happy to now realize it was not my fault!!!
Please do not publish my name. “Just Anonymous”
That exact same thing happened to me, but unfortunately over a period of a year or so, whenever my grandfather came for a visit. I later learned he had done the same thing to my older sister. Though we both told our mom, she never told my dad because, she said, “Your dad would have killed him.” Since Dad was our breadwinner (Mom wasn’t in the best of health), she feared we would lose everything if Dad was told. So we carried around that guilt for a long time, until, many years later, a therapist did EMDR treatments on me. My sister cooed by drinking too much (my theory, anyway). I wanted to dance on my grandfather’s grave when he died.
There are TOO MANY of us both male and female who’s life was completely changed due to grown-ups taking advantage of our innocence and leaving us with scars for the rest of our lives! Thanks for sharing…..its time for these long-ago traumas to come to light and be dealt with and healing those wounds!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Me too.
Thank you for using your experience to encourage those high school kids (and probably others) to break the silence and get help.
Thank you for this private revelation
So many girls who have told their mothers about being abused were not believed
I am glad your father believed you but I wonder if he would have believed you at the time, when you were a child and not an adult.
So many children have suffered similarly, I am fortunate I missed this experience.
The awful truth is, these family predators continue to exist and continue to get away with it because the victims are not believed. So they never tell
Again, thank you for your painful memory.
That is so sad and so enlightening. I’ve dealt with a lot of child molesters in my life. One thing that I learned is that most of them can’t stop themselves. They are happy in prison even though they are subject to lots of beatings etc. What I just said doesn’t make up for the horror they caused the children but, at least for me, she’d some light on what and why.
I’m 81. I was molested by a day camp counselor when I was perhaps 8 years old. I told my parents that this guy did something wrong. My father called the police. After much questioning by the officer assigned to this – a female – it wound up in court. Case dismissed. After all who is going to believe a timid child over a respected camp counselor.
I’m so sorry. All the time I hear, Why didn’t she report it? This is why.
Apparently your father and the officer believed you. That’s something, especially back then.
Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage is inspiring.
Thank you for telling your story.
Thank you for sending that young lady to her counselor.
All of the women commenting… and you…are very brave.
There are more of those SOB’s out there than we will ever know. People that Ruined a part of ‘every one’ that they touched. Which stayed with those affected by the event and guided them in positive ways. As shown in your disclosure and tenacity in your life. I too was violated by trusted person at the age of FIVE. Thinking must have been my fault. Thank you for shedding light for others thru your blog. ( Chuck in Tacoma.) Wife of whom lived thru self issues, inflicted by a brother whom also affected at least 7 others in his lifetime. Bringing this behavior to light for needed exposure, is aparently a needed service that you are providing. Chuck in Tacoma.
Thank you for sharing your story—with those high school students and now with us. I believe everyone who shares a story like this makes it easier for the next person to tell and to be believed. Thank you.
Very brave of you to share this story, no matter how much time has passed. You are a survivor, and very strong. And good for your father,too. Not only did he believe you, but he represented a good male role model, as well.
Thank you for your courage to speak the truth. You set yourself free and helped others to tell someone and start their healing process I have always loved your book but now I love you even more for a different reason. Thank you. ??
Thank you and well done JAJance. While I was fortunate not to have been abused by my parents, they protected me from those they suspected of ‘not being nice men’. At the time, I didn’t understand, but as time has gone one, I’m so grateful for their watchful eyes and desire to protect me. In those days (50s-early 60s) we ‘didn’t talk about those things’. Horrifying as it seems now, both my parents did talk to me as much as their comfort level would allow, but really feel we do our children and grandchildren no good when we fail to alert them to the dangers of the predators, especially the ones in our families or close circles of friends. Thank you for being an advocate for others and a voice speaking out against the predatory nature of too many in our society.
There is a lot of my childhood I have totally blocked out I guess because I have a long buried gut feeling I was abused by my father and uncle. I never mentioned it to anyone and unfortunately at 18 I married the same type of man. I never related emotionally or sexually very well to other men until I was in my late 20s when I married my soulmate. We had a long and relatively happy marriage until he passed away after nearly 39 years.
Thank you for bringing this out into the open and hope it will help others.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Why are we as innocent children so often victimized by those who should be our protectors?
In my case, an uncle, my step father & my father.
It changes how we are as sexual beings in our adult lives.
It creates a totally different scenario then it might have been.
In my case married at 15, 2 children before 19.
3 more marriages & 2 more children.
9 miscarriages over the years & never able to have a climax or any sense of fulfillment in a relationship.
At 81, I’m now in a 10 year relationship with an amazing woman & totally fulfilled in all ways.
I don’t hate men, but have no desire to ever sleep with one again.
I also find most men to be boring, self absorbed & more often then not, very stupid.
Fortunately I’ve had 4 incredible children that were always made aware that no one was to ever be allowed to touch them in any way that made them uncomfortable.
They listened & when my grandfather tried to molest one of my daughters, she ran & told her grandmother & they knew never to be alone with him again.
Your stories tell the younger generation that they don’t have be silent.
Pedophiles should never get away with targeting innocents & the world should know who they are & what they do.
Good for you! And I hope you have helped others in the past as well as some new ones now.
While it is so painful for a child to have to tell it is so important that they do. So the cycle of abuse may be stopped. We need to believe kids first and figure out the facts later. We need to let our children know it is never their fault and that no matter what they tell us we will always love them.
I don’t know what is in the mind of a pedophile that drives them to do what they do, but we as a society need to figure out how people like this can be vetted out of positions that place them in contact with potential victims. So much more needs to be discovered about the workings of a mind that is in my opinion so corrupt as to exploit and abuse the most innocent ; our children.
So, doubly difficult when it’s a family member that does the victimizing. Someone whom is supposed to love and protect you.
My heart goes out to all whom have been a victim of such a horrible crime.
Thank you so much for saying this. I had an uncle who abused me. Like your grandfather, he was never charged, never convicted. I have no idea how many others he molested and it bothers me. I’m 61 now and was 12/13 when it happened. I am so glad to hear that you got to tell your father. I told my Dad when I was 32. The uncle had died, but my father had the same reaction yours did. ??
I’m so sorry you had to wait so long for redemption. Your grandfather had a mental problem that wasn’t addressed decades ago and I’m sorry you had to pay the price. I’m glad you can write about it with such courage.
Thank you for telling this…brought up some very painful memories for me. Glad your father believed you and happy that he did not have to kill that son of a bitch.
Yes, Evie would have managed the family if your Dad was imprisoned but it would have been very different.
BTW, I just ordered your book.
Good for you, and good for your dad. Thanks.
We had a similar thing happen in our family. My father-in-law molested our nine year old daughter. We were moving back into our hometown after being away for a year while my did his first year of teaching. We were going to leave her overnight with my FIL and his wife while we finish the move.
It was then that she us she didn’t want to stay them because Grandpa had molested her. They, of course, denied it and his wife implied that our daughter was to blame. We went to our family doctor. He said, after talking to her, he was sure that it had happened. He said that if he physically examined her, he would have to report it to the police. We felt, to involve the police would add more trauma to the problem. The doctor advised us to talk it out with her and then drop it and move on. That was what we did. My husband, like your husband, wanted to kill the SOB. Instead, after much shouting, he left his dad’s house, never to speak him again. We thought that was the end … a closed issue.
Fifteen years down the line our daughter started drinking. She became a serious alcoholic. Until she met Chardonnay, she was a near perfect daughter. Thousands of dollars went into rehab. Her therapist determined that the molesting years ago was a contributing factor her situation.
Last September, at age seventy, Alannah died. While intoxicated, she fell , cut her head and bled out on her living room floor.
The end of a sad unfulfilled life. I hope the grandpa is rotting in Hell.
My sister and I were molested by the owner of our favorite vacation spot. When we told our Dad and our friends told their Dad the two went after him. Never new what happened to him but whatever it was he deserved it.
My mother never doubted me for a minute when I told her why I couldn’t move back home. The very next day she filed for divorce, kicked him out, and called me again to tell me to come home.
Thank you for sharing your story. It will help many more people that you’re ever going to know. It happens far too often. And yes, it happened to me, too.
Thank you for sharing this difficult story! You are an inspiration to others who have suffered this horrible time in their lives. May you find peace and comfort now and know how much you have helped others!!
Thank you for telling your story. I’m sorry that your grandfather got away with it while he was alive, but I think he is being punished for it wherever he is now. I don’t understand these creeps who molest little children. Thank goodness I never met any.
Good for you. Glad you broke your silence.
My sister and I have talked before about how fortunate we both were to not have been sexually abused by a relative growing up.
I was one of those whom that line from your previous essay struck a chord with.
Sadly, these horrible things happen to children everyday and either get swept under the rug or don’t see the light of day for decades until the abused learns the importance of what we don’t face we can’t heal from. I spent almost 40 years with that man still controlling me, feeling worthless, feeling it was my fault, feeling I should have been able to stop it despite the fact the abuser was the man who was supposed to protect me, having that affect my feelings about men in general
feeling I could not trust any man, and hating myself because of what he did.
Thankfully, over time and with the help of others, I was able to stop hating myself, blaming myself, and allowing what he did to control who I am today.
I salute you.
I am weeping with joy, with anger, with relief. For over 70 years I have longed to speak to different people about what happened to me, but I was never encouraged to do so. I think so many of the anguished times in my life could have been different had I been allowed to question or discuss the horrible deed. The person who caused this life-long feeling of disgust and self-blaming is long dead and so are others who could have comforted me instead of sweeping it under the rug. Thanks to Norman Busk for wanting to rescue you and thank you for sharing with us.
I too am sorry this happened to you. Thank you for admitting this and I hope this helps all kids to tell. I too was molested by my brother, 2 neighbors, a store owner. I also thought it was my fault that they singled me out. And also confusing as most men called me a disgusting dirty ugly child. Maybe this helped ease their conscience for doing this terrible thing. When I finally told my mom she told my step dad who then almost beat my brother unconscious. The rapes stopped.
Years ago we were driving north of New Orleans in the swamps, killing time before our flight. It was a weekend when local talk radio shows dominated the airwaves. I listened in facscination to the guest, a molester. His shocking answer to the host’s question “Why do you do it? “ was ‘Because I like it ‘. We need to as a society accept this as truth and take appropirate action.
I was one of those little girls abused by an adult relative. But I told my girlfriend who told her mom who called the school who called the police. It progressed to a court trial and guess what. . . .he was acquitted because I was just a silly little 7 year old and he was an honored veteran of the Korean War. He’d gotten a finger shot off, even. That was near 70 years ago. lw
I can’t help but believe that was a difficult post to write. I congratulate you on your willingness to do so. Not until the world becomes aware of how common family members are the victims of the abuser, can we hope to help the kids being abused. Help parents and aunts and uncles to believe these kids when they speak out. It’s important, and your speaking out, helps. I hope you and your sisters find some peace. Your grandfather doesn’t deserve to take one more thing from you, or anyone.
You are very brave and my hero! Happy you could talk to your father and let him know what happened. You have helped many others with this same situation and just keep talking about it! Thank you!
Bravo, Judy. You did the right thing.
Your kind, gracious selflessness has given courage to countless others.
Thank you, Annie
Thank you for sharing this unfortunate (to put it midly) experience. Let’s just say, I understand.
I worked at that high school and remember your visit. I never knew this part of the story and the profound effect you had on that girl. We were blessed with wonderful counselors and it’s to their credit that this part of the story wasn’t shared until now. Thank you for sharing it now. Your visit was part of a program to encourage reading for pleasure and we all became fans. We also always believed that a school staff member who was the killer in a subsequent book was based on our beloved dean of students! I think she secretly hoped so too.
I want you to know that visit so many years ago still matters today. I’m sure that student remembers your words and support to get help, who knows who else needed that message? I am grateful that your visit started my enduring attachment to your books. Thank you from a long time reader.
Thank you for telling me. I’m glad it resonated. You don’t know this part of the story. I heard about the reading for pleasure program and wanted to support it. I called the principal and told him, “My name is J.A. Jance, I write murder mysteries, and for my 50th birthday, on October 27, I’d like to come to your school and do an assembly at no charge.” He said, “Who are you again?” When he found out I was legit, he called back and said, “You know, we have a lovely auditorium, that holds 400 students. Wouldn’t you like to do it there?” I said, “I’m doing this for free. I want to do one presentation, not four, and I want to do it on my birthday, October 27.” He went away, then called me back. “October 27th won’t work. That’s the day the shop guys to their pumpkin-carving contest.” “Okay,” I told him, “I guess I won’t do it then.” A day or so later he called back again. “Do you know that some of the shop teachers are big fans of yours? They’re willing to move the pumpkin carving
And that’s why it was so wonderful when, on my 50th birthday, I was driven into the gym in a Porsche by a very nervous young shop teacher who handed me out of the car and gave me a bouquet of flowers. That’s when I learned the real miracle of being a late bloomer!
That’s a wonderful story! I can picture everyone you met, from the principal to the shop teacher. The Porsche belonged to one of the English teachers who was very cranky about his car. He must have been VERY happy to have you speak to the kids to allow someone else to drive it. You made a difference to many of us, thank you!
Thank you. I knew you were Anne when I read the novel. In my case, it was grown man vs 4-year old. Twice. I repressed the incidents until I was 40; now they are with me every day.
i ALSO WAS AN ABUSED CHILD IN A FOSTER HOME. i WAS AFRAID TO TELL AS i WAS ONLY TEN YEARS OLD AND KNEW NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE ME. iT HAPPEN IN MORE THAN ONE HOME AND MORE THEN ONCE. i WAS AFRAID OF BEING PUT OUT ON THE STREET.
iT TOOK ME YEARS TO PUT A NAME ON WHAT HAPPENED. i AM 80 YEARS OLD NOW AND HAVE DEALT WITH IT. i CAN TALK ABOUT IT NOW WHEN i COULD NOT FOR YEARS. a COUNCILOR TOLD ME I HAD TO VERBILIZE IT TO GET PAST IT i AM SO GLAD NOW THAT WOMEN ARE SPEAKING UP. iHAVE READ ALL OF YOUR BOOKS FOR ADULT READERS AND HAVE PASSED THEM ON TO OTHER READERS THAT HAVE BEEN BECOME FANS.
i WAS AN ABUSED CHILD STARTING AT TEN YEARS OLD. i WAS AFRAID TO TELL BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE ME. I WAS IN FOSTER HOMES WITH NO WHERE TO GO.
IT TOOK ME YEARS TO PUT A NAME ON WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. A COUNCILOR TOLD ME I HAD TO VERBALIZER IT IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH IT. NOW WOMEN CAN TALK ABOUT THESE EXPERIENCES OPENLY.
i AM EIGHTY YEARS OLD NOW AND IT AFFECTED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MEN FOR MANY YEARS. I HAVE BEEN WIDOWED TWICE NOW AND I AM ALONE. IFEEL LIKE I SHOULD WRITE SOME OF MY EXPERIENCES DOWN IF I THOUGHT IT WOULD HELP OTHERS.
Thank you for sharing. My great niece, age 7 at the time, was sexually abused during the middle of the night in her bed by her stepbrother, age 13 at the time. She told her sister, who told my nephew. He was ready to strangle his stepson. Police were called, made a report and the only thing that happened was stepbrother was made to move in with grandmother who lived directly behind them. Not long after he attempted to do the same with his 4 year old half sister on his dad’s side who lived in a different house. His stepmother caught him. His dad, who was a police officer didn’t want to do anything but send him back to his grandmother. His now 2nd ex-wife forced the issue and finally the stepbrother was sent to a detention center for teen sex offenders where he had to stay for over a year. Before he could leave he had to sit down with who he had abused, apologize, write a letter of apology and answer any question the girls cared to ask. Unfortunately he is now back home with my great niece. He is watched like a hawk but I worry about my great niece. She had therapy and says she is okay with him being there because she is older and will yell loudly if he ever tries again. My nephew told her he would make him live somewhere else if she wants but she says it is all good. I still have problems being around him.
I found a used copy of It’s Not Your Fault on Amazon and will have it next week! It says “good used for $6.11. I passed on “very good” from $34.99-$44.00. They also have a “like new” copy for $111.00 for anyone with more money than me!
Thanks for being so open with your life.
I carried the guilt feeling pretty much my whole life from 5 years old on, because my mother treated me like I was a bad girl when the situation came to light. The man was a neighbor and I never felt in danger with him. He actually was nice and I wasn’t aware that his touching me was wrong, just giving me attention I wasn’t getting at home and craved. I’m 80 now and just recently realized what was lacking from my mother is what drew me to being a “needy” person. I’m grateful that the situation was discovered before he might have physically harmed me as I’m sure he was grooming me for more intimate action. I later saw his record when I worked for a police department and it was a mile long of vagrancy and child molesting.
BRAVO!!! Very well told and the story needed to be told. If you help one person, it will lead to more people being punished and the abused will get the required help. You have started a wave that will continue to do good.
God bless you.
I, too, was molested at a young age – twice. First time by my baby sitters son. The first time I was preparing for my First Confession and asked my Mom if I had to confess what happened. She said no, it wasn’t my sin. To this day – 65+ years later, I still feel as if I have never given an honest confession. The second time, it was my own father. I will never forget the words he said to me: If you let some bastard do it, why not me – referencing the first time it happened. I told my mother, but she essentially did nothing about. My father died in 2011 – and I didn’t speak to him for the last 10 years of his life, until a month before his death. I did the “daughterly” thing, and had him cremated and buried in the National Cemetery there in Phoenix. You are supposed to say something nice on the plaque, but I couldn’t think of anything polite, so I simply had them say: He served his country well. I wish I could forget and forgive, but that is simply not in me to do. 🙁
Whoa! I had previously heard about Grampa (sounds like too nice a word for him, doesn’t it) in one of your other blog posts. I don’t remember hearing the half sister thing. I wonder what kind of a short circuit does that to people? Also wonder if your grandmother knew and it caused her to be like she was, a weird duck?
I suspect that was part of the reason she and her husband didn’t speak to each other for ten years.
I am a huge fan and I am also a Bible teacher. I promise you he will be held accountable and pay a price. It won’t be pretty.
I’ve read your posts since the beginning and I always thought After the Fire was your first published book before JP. You stand taller each post you make.
Thank you for sharing your very sad story, I too was molested by a close friend of my Dad’s. I didn’t tell my Dad because his friend said he would kill my entire family if I did. So, after he died, and I had a family of my own, I told my Dad, he cried! I wish you could bring your book back to print. I think that young ones still need the information.
I totally agree with you on re-issuing the book. My first thought about the gap in it’s been taken off the market was exactly what you said.
Judy—you are so brave—no more covering up & hiding your pain. When a friend shared years ago how she had been abused by her father & brother I was immediately sick to my stomach. She left home @ 18. Can’t even imagine being 7 & that happening. I played with bugs, climbed trees, made mud pies—my idyllic childhood wasn’t marred by an evil pedophile. It must be such a relief to you & your sisters to no longer be silent. Sending much love—I too was friends with Pat. Sorry she’s unwell.
Pat has made a remarkable recovery. She still can’t drive and needs help with some things, but don’t we all!
So powerful. I am so glad you have the means and the courage to speak out loudly and clearly about your ordeal. So many will thank you. It sounds like a very difficult but smart move to have waited to inform your father.(at least when you were older) I am sorry you didn’t feel you could tell him when it happened. Your family needed him much more than the so-called justice system. But so much to carry on your shoulders. God Bless you and your sisters.
You personify the phrase “and yet she persisted!” Thank you for your bravery in breaking that hideous silence. I hope this has a great effect on us all.
I’m so glad you had the courage to tell your dad and then come out publicly. Too many live in fear and besides sexual abuse there are so many that suffer from physical and emotional abuse. In the 70s and 80s when I was growing up many police officers, most of them the age J.P. would have been at that time suffered from PTSD from Vietnam then went into police work which only exacerbated their PTSD. As the daughter of a SPD patrolman who became a detective almost all of our family friends were SPD and their families, not to mention all of my uncles and grandfathers were LEOs. I remember on camping trips sneaking out of my tent, crawling military style to get within hearing distance of my dad and all his friends so I could listen in. They’d sit around the campfire drinking swapping stories of Nam and LEO work. At some point in the night there was always someone who would get angry then break down in tears because of the load he was carrying. In my dad’s case it was a 17 year old at a bowling alley who was a good kid, had great grades, president of his class and so forth who got caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting. He had a a coat that in the night concealed the damage the shotgun had done to his torso. My dad held him and they talked as they waited for the ambulance, my dad knowing he was powerless to do anything to for him. At first he kept reassuring the young man that he was going to be okay but it was as if the young man knew something he did not. My dad opened up the coat and saw the damage and knew then that young man would soon draw his last breath so they talked. He talked about his amazing parents and told my dad to pass on to them how blessed he had been to have them as parents and how much he loved them, he continued with messages for his siblings, special friends and a very special grandma. The young man’s breathing became soon became more labored, his eyes became filled with fear and he said to tell everyone he didn’t suffer and wasn’t in pain even though he was. My dad was in awe of this young man’s courageousness and how selfless he was, worried more about those he was leaving behind than himself. Not an ounce of self-pity for his young promising life being cut short. At this point of telling the story my dad violently through a beer bottle into the fire and for the first time in my life I saw my dad crying, a primal crying and screaming carrying through the night air. There was no seeking of mental health care then or you would lose your job. Many of my dad’s friends had similar they had experiences in Vietnam and as officers. Some of them became violent at home when the PTSD or their internalized anger and unresolved emotions would turn them into something they did not recognize others would just have these emotional angry episodes where they never physically hurt anyone but they threw things and screamed scaring their family and causing their children to run and hide in closets or under beds. That generation of LEO’s were especially hard hit with these issues. I am so grateful that so many of them retired and finally found the help they so desperately needed, some never did though. I have remained friends with the many of the other children of LEOs I grew up with and we have healed together. We have empathy for and an understanding of our fathers for they lived in a time that an LEO would lose his job if he sought help and shared what he was really experiencing emotionally. We all lived in silence as you and your sisters did. Now all of us talk about it, heal from it and in the end after my dad got help when I was 19 he became emotionally healthy and we forged the best daddy daughter relationship, one I could have never dreamt of. Interestingly I found out from talking to his friends after his death that my dad was the coolest headed guy on the street. He never hit a suspect out of anger or to hit them, he in fact kept other officers from crossing the line. I realized then he was bottling everything up on the street so when he came home some nights he was one step away from losing it. That has provided me comfort that he did not hurt people outside of his family. His friends I spoke with almost couldn’t believe what I told them my dad was like at home until my parents divorced when I was 17 and the man he had become by the time I was 19. I sure got off on a tangent. My point was going to be that by brave women such as J.A. telling their story, writing a book and so forth now others feel more so now than ever to tell someone and that there are many of us. In my case, a group of now adults who grew up with LEOs who served in Vietnam and then became LEOs who remained silent but now speak up and tell their stories. (I didn’t have time to go back and edit this so please excuse its’ length and any issues with my writing.) 🙂
Thank you. I read every word. I was never a police officer nor were there any in my family, but I think I came pretty close to capturing the real thing when I created J.P.
The authenticity of J.P.’s character is what connected me to and made me fall in love with J.P. when I was only 17 years old. Most of my family members including LEOs love your books and J.P., four generations to be exact. We all have been impressed with how realistic your books are, your research is impeccable. In my mind when I picture J.P. he is my dad. J.P.’s demons led to his alcoholism and divorce my dad’s led to a man who was a big teddy bear until an episode of PTSD erupted. J.P. got sober with AA and my dad got help for his issues. J.P. has been a part of my healing. Thank you for speaking up about you and your sister’s abuse. I have an immeasurable level of respect for you for doing so.
I now understand why Ann Corly wore a red dress
So glad you could speak out, JA. Amen.
That is an awesome message to share with us. If more girls shared it would be a good thing. Thank you!!
So glad you are now talking about it. These criminals have no regard for the damage they have done and will continue to do. I truly believe they CANNOT be “rehabilitated”.
We were lucky we only had to deal with an alcoholic father, who grew up during extremely tough times (1920’s — 1940’s), and lost his mother at age 12. His father was not so much for reliability, and my Dad and his sister were farmed out to good relatives, thank goodness.
All in all, though he was a good dad, and very protective of us girls.
If you ever have a speaking engagement or book tour in Kansas, it would be great to hear you.
They CANNOT be rehabilitated, unless they die or are in a coma and cannot continue. The cycle of abuse in a family can go on for generations. It should be stopped somehow. They leave their legacy, which means maybe another molester has been created, every time they molest a young innocent. So sad.
Bravo. I’m glad you didn’t go to the funeral and glad your father came and asked why. Family secrets are damaging. When I shared my abuse by a former spouse with my very Catholic family who were cold toward me after I left, I was greeted with “TMI” from my niece. I gave her a piece of my mind and to this day don’t remember who else was there. Just her. It only happening once doesn’t diminish the pain of violated trust.
To all the gentle survivors, we are amazing and wonderful.
What does TMI mean?
TMI = too much information
Too much information
This weeks blog really opened a lot long hidden sores. It seems almost all of us have a sad story to tell of their own or of a loved one. How many lives these evil predators have a damaged?
My grief group facilitator explained that telling your story is an act toward healing. Each time you tell your story it gets less painful and puts you on the path toward healing.
Thank you Judy, for giving us the opportunity to vent. Hugs.
Tears for your innocence lost, cheers for your bravery. God brought such a blessing to me and thousands more as well through your writing and so much inspiration. You did not let the demons win. Out of great evil greatness and strength emerged. You are the victor.
I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of mail on this blog! Just about all of us have been victimized and been told “don’t tell” or “I don’t believe you,” believing it was our fault at such a young age. It took me a long time to get over it and an amazing husband that cared enough to heal me.
Thank you for bringing this subject to the light and hopefully help others. It is NOT their fault!!
I love your blog and your books. My husband and I enjoyed meeting you in Oro Valley a few months ago and hope to go to more presentations!!
Thank you for speaking out on this subject. It will benefit a lot of people, but sorry you went through that. The more people are made aware, the better the chances of the perpetrator being caught. Bless you and your sisters.
Clearly you have performed a great public service by sharing your story, Judy-
Almost everyone commenting here has suffered a similar violation-
God bless you for opening up at that High School- You may well have saved that young girl’s sanity, if not her very life- I hate to think of all those who were so destroyed that they committed suicide, and were then deemed “Crazy” by their families–
It “only happened once-” Once is enough to cause tortured years of self-blame and paralyzing feelings of being tainted- Once is enough to take away forever any feeling of safety-
Based on personal experience, I would like to point out that women can also sexually abuse children- Girls as well as boys- Of course, men can sexually abuse boys, as has happened in the Catholic Church, and in the Boy Scouts and in some sports organizations- Abuse, whether emotional, physical, or sexual, or all three, is always predatory, with an aim to dominate, and to completely dehumanize the victim-
My heart hurts for the little girl who had her trust and youth violated. I think you did an incredible service sharing this and speaking out. I have grown to love your parents through your blogs but today reading your story the respect I already felt for your Dad has grown immensely. God Bless that man and may your Grandfather rot in Hell. Thank you again for sharing this very important message about finding someone to trust and speaking up.
Ripping the innocence from the soul of a child will be judged eventually. No one ‘gets away with it.’ You have become a hero to many with your words and caring spirit. Done! And well done!
I know many similar stories. Waiting until adopted parents pass to find birth Mother and her story. Finding things in the safe after one’s mother passes. Sometime the karma balances, sometimes the healing comes so late in life that the nightmares and day time aversion to the opposite sex of any time is truly hard to overcome. As a minor seeking therapy, the professor taken me to group therapy tried something. Thank God I said stop and why. Apparently he picked another new student after I left that college completely. Even adult parents can be subjected to date rape and sexual abuse. Thank you for being open and direct. A gift of love to us.
I already bought the little book just like buying the book of poems and every short story collection in various anthologies. I have dreams about your characters and sometimes new stories come to me. We had no libraries in many communities where I was growing up. i am grateful to be able to find and read books that have been my secret therapy and hope for the future. it was especially helpful to see J.P. age and recover from alcohol issues. It is tough to read the Walker series with
those abuses of the girls. Thank to for being the voice of others in your writing.
It is a precious gift.
Thank you for revealing this part of your life to us. I was also sexually abused by a grandparent, but it was my grandmother. If you think it was impossible to reveal your grandfather’s abuse of you and your sisters (and to others outside your family) consider how hopeless I felt that anyone would believe me. I began to think I had imagined every episode. I finally wrote about it 60 years later in a poem that seemed to spill from my heart.
By Marijo Vik
She was as ample and substantial as a loaf of homemade bread
expanding in the warmth of her kitchen.
She was as still as a hidden fawn, fading into her surroundings;
quiet, unobtrusive, unassuming.
She was as comfortable to sit upon as an overstuffed chair:
soft, yielding, cushy, and snugly.
She was as soothing as white noise when she held me in her lap,
humming, rocking, absent-mindedly finger-tracing the outline of my ear.
She wore Emeraude perfume that camouflaged her scent,
and formless cotton dresses that tented her flesh.
When I was a good girl, she made my favorite dessert . . .
creamy, rich egg custard,
sprinkled with pungent nutmeg and
baked ‘til the top was crinkly, crispy brown.
Every Saturday, we rode the bus downtown and shopped
in the six-story department stores and five-and-dimes,
ate lunch in an ala carte cafeteria,
And escaped to the conditioned air of
where we sat in the dark.
where we cried tears of release for fictional lives,
where my hurt Rhett learned to say, “My dear, I don’t give a damn.”
where my survivalist Scarlett decided, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
And every night . . .
she would kiss me and
carefully tuck me into bed;
I was put away like her fine china.
And some nights . . .
I would awake with a start in that darkened room, when
Her touch betrayed my trust.
She whispered, “Be a good girl. Go back to sleep.”
In next morning’s light, she seemed sad and withdrawn.
So I drank my Ovaltine, ate my Malt-O-Meal,
and silently watched her, feeling confused.
Had I done something wrong?
But by that afternoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I’d eaten her custard.
That’s how I knew I was a good girl. That’s how I knew she loved me.