Friday, April 21, 2006

Why Feminism? (Part 7)

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

When I told my parents that he had never really stopped, they were mad - at me - for not telling them sooner. Only a little - upset, really, would be a better word - but still. I was just as shocked as when my mom had accused me of not living up to D.A.R.E. standards. Only this time I’d had time to think through how illogical it was for them to be mad at me for not doing something they had never asked me to do in the first place. Only I didn’t know how to tell them that, because they technically had asked me to tell them if it happened again. I hadn’t really believed them, though, partly because it was their actions, or lack thereof, that I had been listening to.

I must have said something, because I remember learning at this time that they had already taken him to see the pediatrician. I have vague memories of accusing them of not doing anything and my mom saying that wasn’t true, but that they didn’t feel (at the time) that I needed to know what steps they had taken. Another argument that I didn’t understand. Even when I didn’t get to know why my sister was grounded, I knew that she was. This time I already knew the why, it was the consequences that I couldn’t see or hear, so keeping secrets made even less sense. It suggested that the “steps” being taken didn’t include punishment, which in turn supported my fear that the only thing wrong about what happened was what he did, not what he did to me. I was crazy after all.

I still remember leaving the stilted conversation feeling as though I’d been wronged twice, first by my brother for treating me like a freak and not a sister, and then by my parents for not caring. I spent a year hating myself and all the people I’ve always cared about and trusted more than anyone else and he was taken to the doctor and I was ignored?

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