Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MY FATHER'S LOVE

I first published this post on November 25th, 2011. I offer it for your reading once more because on Thursday I'll review the second volume of Sharon Doubiago's memoirs.



Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Sharon Doubiago wrote My Father's Love: Portrait Of The Poet As A Young Girl, the first volume of her memoirs, about the horrific alternative to love that she received from her father. For her father's love was presented in the form of emotional and physical abuse -- and even rape.

Doubiago, a poet, writes about the worst events in her life so eloquently and beautifully, that I marvel it is a book about a hideous childhood. We look at the 1940s and '50s with such nostalgia. But those were the years during which Doubiago grew up, and sexual deviance seems to have been all around her.

From the homeless men who hid in the bushes and jumped out with their pants unzipped in front of young Sharon and her friends, to numerous family members, Sharon Doubiago seems to have been wanted for one reason only: to satisfy the sexual cravings of men, molestations that her mother refused to see.

Night comes. To go to bed is like being tied to the railroad tracks. Lying there waiting for the 4:20 train to grind you into Eternity. Your ears ring and ring and your heart jumps crazily all over your chest. You can't show you're afraid, he will know you know. Just pray, do not sleep, do not go to sleep. To stay awake you have to keep your mind busy, you have to constantly think (the bag's not buried enough), you have to talk to yourself, you have to see things (the screen's not back on tight enough), you have to remember (don't return to the scene of the crime, someone will see you, you'll remember). To keep your legs crossed and your eyes open you have to sleep on your back. You have to listen with all your might for him coming again. . . . You pray for the bleeding to stop. You pray that your bloody things are never found.

Doubiago not only writes beautifully. She changes the genre of memoir. It has long been accepted that memoir represents the memory of the writer whether the memories are accurate or not. But Doubiago supplements her memory by using diaries, scrapbooks, and other records to document her family's life.

I am so glad I purchased this book. I bought it at City Light Bookstore in San Francisco. I've never seen it anywhere else. I bought it because it is signed by Sharon Doubiago and I wanted to add it to my small collection of autographed books.

I had no idea I would discover a gem of a writer. I have also purchased the second volume of Doubiago's memoir and hope to read it soon.

True, Doubiago's story is not easy to read or understand. How could a father do such things to his little girl? But sadly, a lot of men -- and some women -- do such things to little girls and boys.

The most recent statistic I heard about molestation is that one in three girls is sexually molested and one in four boys. The attacker is usually a member of the family or a friend of the family.

Important facts to keep in mind.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sharon Doubiago, a great talent

29 comments:

  1. There's a lot of horrible stuff that went on years ago -- and, sadly, goes on to this day -- unreported. When it involves a "trusted" family member or friend, it's all the worse.

    I'm not surprised you found the book at City Lights. I went there once in 1982, just to soak up some of its history. Purchased a Kerouac volume ("Visions of Cody"), not surprisingly.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

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  2. It's actually up to 2 1/2 out of every girl. Isn't that horrible? That means out of every 6 girls 3 of them have been raped of molested. It breaks my heart. Of course you know how close to my heart this is due to my and my daughter going through this. I'm glad she wrote that book. Someone needs to tell it like it is.

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  3. Such a thing is just so sickening, I cannot understand or ever will what people possibly get out of doing such acts with children. They all deserve to rot in their own special place in Hell.

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  4. I seen man killed for such acts. Didn't lose a wink of sleep over it.

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  5. sickening and sad. there's been some cases like that where dad rapes daughter here.
    i remember one case in which the girl gets raped by grandad, dad and brother, and the mother knew all along and did nothing.

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  6. With my reading (addiction) I alternate amongst light, literary, fiction, non-fiction – sad but beautifully written are also included. I’ll add this one to the latter category.

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  7. I had no idea how common this was. I've heard stories, like everyone else, but it makes me sick. How do you know who it is ok to leave your child with if you can't even trust your own family? This story makes me very sad...

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  8. I came here for a laugh & instead got a dose of much needed reality. I had no idea of how frequently this happens. IT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN! How does a mother ever allow it to continue?

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  9. Thanks for your comments. It's really shocking, isn't it? Doubiago feels her mother saw Sharon as a rival for her husband's love. After Doubiago told her mother about her father "touching" her, her father remained abusive but did not attack her sexually again. Her parents remained married and her mother defended her husband for the rest of their lives. I don't understand, but sometimes I don't understand myself either. Anyway, this book is definitely worth reading.

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  10. Those statistics are truly frightening aren't they? It's a sad world we live in when children aren't safe with their own families. Sounds like an interesting book. Might have to try it sometime.

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  11. That's just sickening...In a way I suppose I'm lucky, or at least a lot luckier than these girls. I don't know how I would react if it were me. I'd like to think that I'd get up and fight but really, who knows? Thanks so much for the reference.

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  12. Do you have any idea where I can purchase this book, either in the west Los Angeles area or online?

    I've tried the public library, Kindle, Smashwords, etc. to no avail. It looks like a MUST READ.

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  13. It's a horrible statistic. It's sad that stuff like this goes on. It truly makes me sick.
    http://sassyuptownchic.blogspot.com/

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  14. fishducky, Amazon has it. I ordered the second volume from them.

    Love,
    Lola

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  15. Makes me sick,but this stuff happens way to often.

    I feel there is a special place in Hell for those that violate children like this.

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  16. Yes this is really sad. I am attending parental courses conducted by a doctor of how to be a better parent. And when it came to this chapter it was heart breaking to see the statistics. It is also because of the children are not aware and we should make our children aware at young age if anyone tries to touch them in their private parts yell or tell someone. Even if it is a parent or teacher some adult should be told about them. They should be taught that not to be afraid to voice out.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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  17. Awful how common these things are.

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  18. Horrific. Ny daughter in law was the victim of such abuse and she carries around a lot of baggage from it to this day. I'm in awe of how gracefully she strives to rise above it every day. I don't think I could read the book, although I do not shut my mind to the reality of it.

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  19. Thanks for visiting my blog today and prior.

    This is a subject so seldom discussed by the victims, yet so much more out in the open than times past. I have several friends who've admitted to being either raped by a family member or date or acquaintance. It never ceases to shock me.

    The excerpt you include reminds me of the confession?/admittal/story? my close friend told me about 10 years ago about her father. She actually escaped his cluthes but not so a couple of her siblings; one of whom took his own life.

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  20. That's really interesting. Thanks for posting all the great information! Had never thought of it all that way before.

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  21. A great excerpt. You are right - a talented writer! Horrible but very good - if you know what I mean...

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    1. I know exactly what you mean, Pat. I'm always amazed when an author can write about violence and remain lyrical, such as Pat Conroy.

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  22. Dear Janie, the reality of what you wrote about in discussing Doubiago's memoir saddens me greatly. I, too, was molested as a child for three months (not raped). I'll be posting about that on my cominghometomyself blog in the next few weeks. And the thought that Doubiago had to endure her father's need for power each night sickens me.

    So much pain and misery in our world. So much treating others as property or trash. So much failure to see that we are responsible for one another. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and aching in my heart. Peace.

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    1. Ah, my darling Dee. Please wipe your tears and know that I'm sending you a huge hug. Yes, so much pain and misery in our world, but so much glory and beauty. That Doubiago could take her horrible experiences and turn them into such beautiful writing that can touch us is a miracle in and of itself. Please be gracious to yourself.

      Love,
      Janie

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    2. Dear Janie, thank you for reminding me of the "glory and beauty" of life. I was caught up in misery and forgot the flip side. And I do need to be reminded to be gracious to myself. Peace.

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  23. She seems like an incredibly talented writer! What an ordeal to go through, though!

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    1. The rape doesn't even begin to describe the horror she experienced, but as I have said many times, I greatly admire writers who can turn the horrible into beautiful writing. Doubiago is incredibly talented.

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