Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Roar of "No More"

Monica Holloway's parents failed her. Miserably. And not just once, but over and over. And now, they're compounding their mistakes by attacking her for telling her story.

This isn't terribly surprising, but it is terrible and it is disappointing and it is heart breaking.

Monica's book, Driving with Dead People, is funny and sad and brilliantly written. It kept me up all night, two nights in a row, when I first got my hands on it.

Monica herself is a thoughtful, loving, hilarious woman who told her stories the best way she knew how and with the clear intention to help others. We spent a long weekend lost in a car together, laughing and crying and sharing our stories, just before the book was published. She knew her family was likely to attack her when the book hit the shelves. She was frightened but willing to face them because she knows that abuse thrives in shadows and the only way to stop it is to shine bright lights directly into those shadows.

Once again, she's going through hell. Once again, her family put her there.

I have had the experience of being lied to for so long and with such vehemence that I no longer knew whether or not to believe my own heart and mind. I have been systematically bullied by someone louder and stronger and more demanding. I have spent sleepless nights analyzing my own actions and motives until I didn't know up from down or in from out.

How do I know Monica is telling the truth?

Because she questions herself. Because she is, once again, looking into her heart and her memories and examining the things she finds there. Because she is in terrible pain. We've talked back and forth via e-mail over the last few days, and pain drips from her words.

My experience with liars—and I've got a lot of it—is that they never question themselves, never doubt themselves, never torture themselves with "what if I'm wrong" sorts of thoughts. Their walls of denial are tall and thick and dense. They make no attempts to shine lights into their own dark corners, they simply attack. Again and again. No worry. No self-recrimination. Just long, loud attacks.

Monica's father and mother and one of her sisters are attacking her now. How could anyone who read the book doubt that her mother and father would deny their actions? And yet, The Diane Rehm Show has canceled her appearance and Monica's publisher's marketing plan is in disarray.

Sexual abuse of children is an enormous problem in this country and it will continue to be until the ones who have survived abuse and those of us who love them stand up and say "No more."

We can't simply say it, we must roar with all the force of all the lions of all the jungles that are now or ever have been, "No more."

Our voices have to drown out the denials, drown out the attacks, drown out the lies. Our demands for truth have to be so loud that the NPRs of the world, the attorneys, and the makers of marketing plans cannot afford to cave to the demands of the perpetrators.

Please join me in showering Monica with Light and peace and love.

Love (period)


Mystic Wing said...

Great post, Jerri. I"ve not yet read the book but will do my part and buy a copy very soon.

In the end, the truth always wins out. Everything else is just temporary drama until that.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Excellent, Jerri, you have done much to right the wrong by posting this! Thank you!


Monica said...

Dearest Jerri,

I need that this morning, dear, dear friend. I needed to be cradled like that in the folds of what you know to be true, not just about my story, but what you know to be true about life, about yourself.

I have found myself looking down a much longer and wider road than I had anticipated after the book's publication. I was under the illusion that all these years of therapy would really contain me. But I am in both foreign and familiar territory. It has to do with being so terrified that my jaw is permanently clenched and yet so sure that this is the pain that will lead to a whole new way of living for me. And in that, there is hope for a joy I've never known in my life.

I said to Jennifer Lauck that this book is certainly a ferocious wind at my back pushing down that road. And i wrote the book, knowing the difficulties would be there, but I'm still in shock. So that tells me I don't know myself as well as I'd hoped. And that's good because I need to get busy.

And Jerri, what you wrote is so empowering to me. I feel you right here. To know that you understand and that you can see it clearly is beyond healing for me.

And believe me, I'm feeling all the outpouring of love. From all you incredible women.

I love you. I can't thank you for all you've done by writing to me and holding me tight.

Amber said...


Add my voice to yours! Add my roar. I send love and light to Monica. And I am ANGRY on her behalf. Angry!

I pray that she will stand FIRM in her TRUTH. Stand firm Monica! You have a holy calling. You are a truth-teller, you are a Light-warrior. Evil will always try to silence holy workers. But your work is bigger than their weakness and darkness! What is in you is stronger than what is in them.
What is in you, making you a survivor and warrior, is stronger than what is in them.

You are right, J. We have to RAISE OUR VOICES. ENOUGH ALREADY! Enough. No more.

:/ grrrr.

kario said...

Raise our voices and join our arms. Feel our strength in love and connectedness, Monica, and know that this strength is enduring, unlike the bursts of energy that strike at your story. They cannot sustain themselves and we will hold on to you until they have petered out, and then continue to hold on.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Jerri! I have been so very angry since I heard about what her "family"/abusers are putting her through. She is a very brave woman who does not need to go through more abuse. I wrote to NPR and to Diane Rehm expressing my disappointment with their treatment of her and their decision to back down due to allegations from the abusers. It is so sad. I do not know Monica personally, but I loved her book, and I totally believed her story. I think it took a lot of courage to write what she did and I know she has helped a great number of people. Please send her love and support from me. Tell her to be strong and I hope she know that these people can no longer hurt her. She has the love and support of so many people, good people, who will be there with her every step of the way. Again, wonderful, beautiful post, thank you.

Go Mama said...

You are a good friend with a big heart to stand side by side and hold Monica in such love. Although I haven't read her book, I feel as passionately to come to her defense and widen her circle of love and support.

The part you wrote about perps and liars never questioning or doubting themselves rings so true. It is with such arrogance that they attack repeatedly, always self-involved, never thinking of what their own actions (or non-actions) might do to others. Whether it is denial or a fortress of self-preservation, one will never know, but it is astounding to me.

Add my love to the collective pot that she may find more love, more courage, more laughter.

Stacy said...

I emailed NPR a ripping little note. I received a form letter response. Showering you and Monica with love in spite of it all

Deb said...

Amen, Sisters! Thank you Jerri for saying this so powerfully. The force with which Monica's abusers are denying her story is pretty clear evidence to me that they're clinging with all their might to the lies they've protected themselves with all these years.

We stand together in the light of the truth and in love.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Powerful post Jerri.

Love to Monica and to you and to all who face this pervasive line of bullshit.

Kim said...

Wonderful, powerful post.

I am so angry at what Monica is being put through, but so incredibly inspired by her strength and resilience and courage. Not to mention the fact that it is SUCH an amazing book!!

Monica, I am honored to be a part of the circle that holds you. I hate that you have to experience this pain, but I know you will emerge from this even more fabulous than ever!!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Monica's hometown. I was very disappointed when I read the on-line version of the local newspaper that her parents and sister were creating more problems for her. I have prayed for Monica and Melinda since I read the book. I will continue to pray for strength and peace for her.