#METOO Childhood Rapes, Soul Murder & 'Trauma Blindness'
Childhood Rapes - “Soul Murder,”
"The problem’s not that the truth is harsh but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born.Run after truth until you’re breathless. Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh." —Naguib Mahpouz
BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark
by Coral Anika Theill
Chapter 1 - Excerpt
I believe life is a series of rooms. Who we get stuck in the room with is what our lives are. I was born in Tawas City, Michigan, to Bobby Ray and Carolyn Jean (Karstensen) Hall. My father was serving in the Air Force at Lansing Air Force Base. My birth name was Kathryn Yvonne Hall.
I grew up in Washington State. I was a straight ‘A’ student, president of Honor Society, co-valedictorian of my high school class and voted most likely to succeed and most academic. I had received my solo pilot’s license by the time I was seventeen years old. I volunteered in nursing homes, at schools for the blind and deaf. During my childhood, I suffered years of sexual molestation, physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse.
I do not blame my parents or my childhood for the way my life unfolded. My father was transferred to McChord Air Force base, so we moved to Washington State when I was five years old. I took care of my mother who was ill during most of my childhood. I also helped my father renovate our homes, old classic cars and wrecked helicopters. (Instead of cars in our garages, we had helicopters.) I also cut and delivered cord wood to help assist the family’s income. I baby-sat, worked in orchards and picked berries and cut berry canes for extra money.
I had one brother, Donald, who was two years younger. My father served in the Air Force for fifteen years and later worked as a pilot for the federal government until his death in 1984. His job assignments were mostly out-of-town. In the mid 1960’s, my brother and I crashed in a Bell Helicopter with my father in Libby, Montana due to the altimeter failing. My father was demonstrating aeronautical stunts over the runway to amuse my brother and me. We all walked away from the crash fine, but the helicopter was quite crippled.
Prior to my senior year in high school, my father encouraged me to pursue a career in aviation. I enrolled in ground school and completed two years of flight training. I passed my FAA exams at the Portland International Airport. I spent most of my growing up years in Kennewick, Federal Way and Vancouver, Washington. My childhood was filled with many experiences, some of which I was not prepared for, including several years of sexual molestation by my great-uncle, and physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse from members of my family.
On occasion my brother and I would visit my paternal grandmother and step-grandfather, Odis and Fern Hall, in the summers. I have memories of severe beatings with belts from my step-grandfather from the time I was five years old. He had done the same to his step-son (my father) but used whips and chains. This type of punishment seemed normal to him and he often hit me in public. After one beating when I was five, I could barely walk and became very ill with the German measles. My mother watched the beatings and appeared pleased to see me suffer.
During this illness I remember feeling weak in body and spirit for a long time. My grandparents were very occupied with their foster children during these visits and throughout my childhood and therefore had little time to give attention to their own grandchildren. I was taught by my family to submit and to obey my parents, teachers and elders. Approval and security centered on how well I pleased my parents and those placed in authority over me. My parents did not consider my feelings as a person because I was their “property”. By my birth, my parents claimed “ownership” of me and my life. I was used as a possession and an extension of my parent’s ego and identity. My mother was a sociopath and narcissist. I was not allowed to speak, feel, and show emotion or cry while living under the rule of my mother. My job was to serve her and make her happy.
My life as her daughter was a cross between the Mommy Dearest and Carrie movie. My mother’s personality was ego-centric, narcissistic and hypochondriacal. She was cold and demanding. For years she abused me verbally, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially and spiritually. I lived in fear of her rage and mood swings every day of my life. During the night she would walk in my bedroom and throw Bibles at me. She also appeared to derive pleasure from publicly humiliating me.
From the age of fifteen I was her personal chauffeur, beautician, marriage counselor, nurse, cook and maid. My mother viewed me as someone who should be in service to meet her every need. She viewed herself as privileged and superior. Narcissistic parents do not respect and value their children’s feelings or see them as independent from them in a positive way. They do not feel that their children’s thoughts and feelings are as important as theirs. Children under these circumstances often grow up feeling ‘voiceless.’
To raise emotionally healthy children, you must give them the gift of ‘voice.’ During my teenage years, I longed for safety away from my mother and I thought of running away, but there was nowhere to go, no one to tell. I was isolated from family and friends. My mother said I had no time for other people. Outings with friends were a rare occasion. When I did enjoy an occasion away from the home, my mother verbally abused me for weeks afterwards.
I learned at an early age the lack of equality of men and woman. My family favored my brother and other male relatives. Male-privileged entitlement was the norm in our home. My mother exhibited extreme prejudice by her speech and actions. I did not relate to her feelings against people from other ethnic backgrounds or religions. I was greatly disturbed to hear her projections of hate toward men and all those she did not care to understand or tolerate. I could not understand why she felt this way. Her beliefs were foreign to me as I felt acceptance towards all people.
My father was a loner. Although successful as a pilot, mechanic and carpenter, he suffered an emotional numbness as a result of his own childhood. He was severely beaten by his step-father with chains and whips from the age of four until he left home and enlisted in the Air Force. He became a pilot and captain in the Air Force and flew secret missions during the Korean War. I remember the thrill during my elementary years of riding in helicopters with my father as he traveled to job assignments. I was closest to my father, but my mother forbade me to spend time with him when I reached my high school years and adult life. My father told me that my mother lied to him about being pregnant, so that is why he married her. I witnessed years of my mother abusing my father. They suffered an unhealthy marriage, infidelities, and serious health problems until my father’s death in 1984.
As a young girl, age six, I have memories of visiting my great-uncle, Herschel Stonebraker, on several occasions. He lived in a compound of buildings with surrounding walls, fences and wires. I was told that this was where my great-uncle “worked”. While sitting in the “visiting room” at this facility, I remember feeling very uncomfortable—there was no privacy for the couples. My great-uncle was serving time at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary. My parents and grandparents were trying to show support to get him paroled early. Many years later, as I pieced my life back together, I would discover the truth. My great-uncle, Herschel Stonebraker, murdered his sixteen-year-old daughter, Patricia, in a drunken rage in 1956. At his court trial my uncle is quoted as saying his “daughter had it coming to her,” after he shot her. He was not remorseful.
Testimony at his court hearings state he was angry with his wife for cheating on him. He had also assaulted his wife with a pistol and threatened to kill her after he murdered his daughter. He served a few years in prison and was released with the understanding that he was to live with my grandparents in the Tacoma area and not in the Kennewick area where his ex-wife and two remaining daughters lived. But he moved in with our family in Kennewick, Washington, the same town as his ex-wife. His probation conditions also stated that he was not to live in our city or have contact with young girls because he had formerly sexually molested his daughters. (Hershel’s ex-wife, Pauline, died in a house fire shortly after he was released from prison.)
My great-uncle’s probation office was “missing in action.” My father once shared with me that while he was being severely beaten by his step-father, his uncle, (Herschel), came to his aid. My father’s gratitude toward his uncle for this incident would blind him from protecting me, his daughter, from this man. As a child, I deserved to feel safe in my own home, be respected, be responded to with courtesy, live free from emotional and physical outburst and rage of others, manipulation, intimidation and trickery and not be subjected to sexual molestation and human trafficking. Safety was not my mother’s concern for me—destroying my very being, spirit and soul was her goal. To this day, I cannot understand why my parents and grandparents had my father’s uncle come to live with our family after his release from prison.
During my elementary years, my mother sent me to an upstairs apartment each night to sleep with my alcoholic great-uncle, Herschel Stonebraker, although I had my own bed and separate room on the main floor of the house. I was also severely beaten by my step-grandfather during these years. I was fondled and caressed in very explicit and sexual ways and forced to touch and do things no child should have to do. My own sexuality, which hadn’t even developed at that age, was forced upon me and twisted.
Coral Anika Theill, aka Kathryn Y. Hall, age 10,
I was forced to be the object of my great-uncle’s desire. Family members taught me to obey and be “seen and not heard.” Sometimes on weekends and Christmas Eve when my father was home, I was allowed to sleep in my own bed.
Physicians and counselors have commented about my childhood. They believe my family members offered me to my great-uncle “to keep him home” so he would not be arrested for molesting other young girls in our community. But if that was their plan, it did not work well. After my uncle was released from prison he was caught molesting another young girl. My grandparents paid large sums of monies for attorneys to keep my great-uncle from being sent back to prison. After the trial, I was again handed over to my great-uncle to meet his sexual needs. I begged for help, but no help came.
They dismissed my calls for help and I did not have a vocabulary to make them understand. The message I got from my parents was that if I told the truth, I would be rejected and my abuser embraced. Instead of my protectors, my parents exploited me for reasons that only they will have to answer for.
People, even my former psychiatrist, Dr. Charles H. Kuttner, have asked why I did not try to get help from someone outside the family while this was happening. I think adults asking a question like that forget how small and vulnerable a child is. And when all of the people that you expect to be good and trustworthy—the people you have looked to for protection and comfort your whole life—betray you and tell you nothing is wrong or its all your fault, as a child you don’t have a lot of power to change your circumstances.
I tried to please my family and suppress the feeling that everything was wrong. I could escape into my imagination and numb my feelings. Add to that the fact that you’ve been told to keep a secret or you are afraid of punishment if you tell someone, it’s rare that an abused child is able to reach outside of their world to seek help.
Uncle Herschel lived with us throughout my junior high and early high school years. I was required to be his caretaker when he was ill due to his alcoholism. He left only after his drinking problems became too difficult for my father to manage and tolerate. My mother received great satisfaction observing the abuse I suffered. She was cold and demanding until the day she died in 2010. Some details of my mother’s abuse of me are too humiliating and shameful to articulate. Before her death, my mother (like my ex-husband) had friends whose consciousness was aligned symbolically and in terms of beliefs of their own selfishness, fear and corruption.
While speaking to my mother by phone, she spoke to me about my childhood and acknowledged the abuse I suffered, but she expressed no remorse for what she had done to me. Just hearing her voice re-traumatized me. In her letters, she admitted what she did to me, but felt no responsibility. She would ask me if I was reading my Bible and if Jesus was my Lord and Savior.
My mother’s hate of me did not stop me from loving her. Since I was her target, later in life, I stepped aside to heal because of the ongoing atrocities and crimes she committed against me. In short, my mother was my pimp and trafficked me throughout my childhood. Love was and is still stronger than her hate of me. Because I confronted my mother about the abuse I suffered several years ago, she disinherited me and left her and my brother’s sizeable estate to my well-to-do cousin, Mrs. Beverly Ann (Stallings) Moerke, Walla Walla, Washington, and me, $1.00.
Beverly’s relationship with my mother was not conflicted—my mother’s rules for me did not apply to her. Beverly, a devout Catholic, sent me a $1.00 check through her attorney, Mr. Bradley V. Timmons, just in time for Christmas 2011.
Even though I live under poverty level due to disabilities, I never cashed the check. Friends confronted Ms. Moerke, but there was no response from her. In short, my cousin made me into a “bastard child.” I know my father is rolling in his grave over the fact that I was disinherited. No matter—I am still my father’s daughter.
Mentors and friends wonder what price my cousin, Mrs. Moerke, would put on the sexual service I was forced into by my mother and great-uncle during my young childhood years. I received no compensation or restitution for the many years of torture and for the crimes my mother committed against me. Under the Child Abuse Accountability Act adult children can sue their abusive parents.
Childhood sexual abuse and rape is “soul murder” and child homicide. The effects of these types of crimes reverberate through a child’s life and extend into adulthood. Survivors become the walking wounded. Besides the years of my uncle’s molestation, I was also attacked by a man while I was baby-sitting for my neighbors. I resisted and thankfully he did not rape me. I was fifteen years old and was terrified from the incident. He was in his 30’s and married. I did tell my mother and the woman I baby-sat for, but no one responded. I remember going home and showering to try to feel clean again.
As a young girl, connecting with nature, rock hunting and spending time in the forest was restorative and relaxing for me. Anorexia became a coping tool for me throughout my teenage years. I also suffered hormonal imbalances because I wasn’t eating and I was under a lot of stress. My mother took me to an OB/ Gyn because my menstrual cycles had ceased for several years. He sent me to a specialist at Providence Hospital in Portland, Oregon. After a short visit with the specialist, he required me to strip naked in a room full of young male medical students. I remember him touching parts of my body with a pointing stick. My mother was also present in the room. I was mortified.
In the circles I lived in, women would demonstrate their “love” for their husband and/or father by appeasing him and keeping him happy—no matter the cost to their personal well-being. Sexuality was not spoken about in our home, but there were underlying messages given by both parents that were unspoken. My father appeared uncomfortable with my becoming a young woman, and somewhat disapproving. My mother became jealous. Teachers had similar projections.
But the view the world saw of me was much different than how my family saw me. During my adolescence I demonstrated maturity and responsibility beyond my years. During my senior year at Columbia River High School, Vancouver, Washington, I received a “Daughter of the American Revolution,” D.A.R. citizenship award, an Outstanding Business Education Award, and was co-valedictorian of my class (almost 300 students).
I was well respected by my teachers, fellow classmates and the community. For many years, I blocked the unpleasant memories of my childhood. Although I did not harbor feelings of resentment or bitterness toward my abusers, inside I knew that my soul had been violated. I knew someone, somehow, had taken something very sacred of mine.
Feelings of shame, uncertainty and chaos would haunt me in the years to come as a result of living in a home where no one listened and boundaries were seldom honored. The memories of childhood were painful because those I looked to for guidance and protection never “showed up”.
My parents and family not only betrayed me; they sabotaged me.
Kathryn Y. Hall, aka, Coral Anika Theill,
High School Graduation, Co-Valedictorian,
In her book, Fire in the Soul, Dr. Joan Borysenko writes, “When we suffer a trauma, we lose part of our soul. It stays stuck to the trauma, lost in the imaginal realm beyond space and time. We cannot move on and experience newness in this world because invisible cords keep us tethered to pain and sorrow in another time and place. Many cultures believe that this soul loss is directly responsible for mental and physical illness, a point of view that I share at least in part. It is the shaman’s job to enter the imaginable realm and free the part of the soul that is bound.”
When I was nineteen, I tried to confide in my mother so she would know the truth about my childhood. She glared at me and called me a “slut.” That was the end of me attempting to have a conversation with her that had anything to do with reality. I couldn’t deal with the pain and horror of my childhood years until after my divorce.
I was conditioned by my parents, religion and my ex-husband that I must always compromise, deny the truth, and give away my soul to avoid further harm, pain and terror. After I sought safety from my husband, I realized that my parents and grandparents were also predators in my life. I asked myself these questions, when considering contact with my family.
Do we send flowers, cards and presents to rapists and people who would assault us? Do we socialize with those who rape us or assault us? The answer, of course, is “no.” So, why do many of us allow our abusive family members to further harm us? I believe it is because of societal and religious conditioning . . . . it is definitely not a directive from God. I believe in a God who does not want us to be subjected to cruelty.
Sadly, many adults are unable to escape relationships with the very people who have abused, tortured and/or molested them, just because they are “family.” I believe people can develop ‘trauma blindness’ and either deny their pain or become so accustomed to it that they are afraid to relinquish it.
‘Trauma blindness’ is the mental scarring that somehow prevents you from accurately ‘seeing’ trauma around you and being able to avoid it. Today, the mentors in my life are assisting me as I bring the pieces of my soul and self back. As a young girl, I prayed to the Universe to please help me. My prayers are being answered. I feel whole, well and safe. My mother and family have never apologized for or even admitted their negligence and their exploitation of my mind, body and soul. I have learned in life that much of the population is asleep, dead, or “missing in action”.
There appear to be two types of people populating the earth—those who are awake and who walk in the ways of compassion and those who are the walking dead, who are asleep and who know compassion not.
BONSHEÁ Making Light of the Dark shares my search for freedom and light in a society based on patriarchal religion and laws. It openly speaks about the ideas and beliefs in our society which foster sexism, racism, the denigration of human rights and the intolerance of difference. My documentation exposes the dark side of human nature when all people are not valued. A healthy society must have the courage to address these issues, speak about them, examine them and bring them to light.
Indifference encourages, "silent violence"-the type of violence I experienced in my home, in the community, religious circles and judicial system. Nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel states, "The indifference to suffering makes the human inhumane."
There are not always two sides to every story. Our determination to pursue truth by setting up a fight between two sides leads us to assume that every issue has two sides--no more, no less. But if you always assume there must be an 'other side' you may end up scouring the margins of science or the fringes of lunacy to find it. This explains, in part, the bizarre phenomenon of Holocaust denial, among other denials, and that river flows through lots of courtrooms.
Related articles: Since You Asked, Roy Moore, Here Is Why Victims Of Sexual Violence Wait Decades To Come Forward
Attempting to defame and discredit the abused is a tried and true method of silencing them.
#METOO #WETOO APOLOGIES TO THE DIVINE FEMININE (FROM A WARRIOR IN TRANSITION) by Jeff Brown Perhaps the next step, within and beyond the #MeToo movement, is a #Wetoo movement. One where every one of us so deeply empathizes with another's trauma that we fully get that when one of us is abused, all of us are abused. And, what's more, a movement where every one of us stands together in outrage against those that sexually assault or manipulate others. The 'Apologies to the Divine Feminine' below represented my own growing edge in 2010, but I am now wanting to envision the next step. Not where one merely apologizes for wrong action, but where one also stands defiantly beside those who have been aggressed and stands down those who seek to do harm. A movement that not only supports the voice of those who have been assaulted, but that takes action to protect and defend others from future aggressions.
“It’s really important that women come to feel safe and have a voice and not have to live with these kinds of experiences, so I really hope it becomes a kind of movement,” Dr. Kehr said.
When Women Rush to Defend Men Accused of Sexual Assault: They make it a little bit harder for other women to come forward.
Men who abuse women 'use the same tactics as pedophiles and I've never met one who wanted to change', says author of How He Gets in her Head
Mother of 8 Battered & Raped in the Name of 'God': Open Letter to Oregon Governor Brown, Lawmakers, Advocates & Clergy