Twenty some-odd years ago, I was promoted to detective. Among my other duties was that of Juvenile Officer. In my first twelve weeks as a juvenile officer, I received twelve cases of sexual abuse of children. That was three times more than I had encountered in the previous seventeen years of my career.

As the juvenile officer, I belonged to an organization of police juvenile officers, juvenile court personnel and civilian juvenile caseworkers. We held a meeting every month in the juvenile court/detention building. In one such meeting, we were honored with a guest speaker. Gena was a lovely women in her mid twenties. She stood up and told us about her experience as the victim of a family member’s sexual abuse from the age of seven until she was twelve.

In the first ten minutes of her talk, all us tough cops in the room were trying surreptitiously to wipe away our tears. There was not a dry eye in the room. Before she was done, we were all openly and unashamedly weeping.

This was the time of my life when I first began writing poetry. When I got home, using the parts of my notes that were legible, I wrote the poem Gena. It was from the heart and very raw, but other than cleaning up punctuation and spelling (spell check improved over the years), it is in its original organic form.

I gave a copy of the poem to the organization president. She passed it on to Gena. Gena sent me a nice thank-you note and said that I had “captured” that period of her life. I do not think so. I do not believe it is possible to capture Hell.

by Mike Patrick

Flickr photo by cheesemonster

Childhood’s shame of sex abuse
Is the scar of later years.
Remembered prayers that served no use,
That halted not the tears.

At first it was a promise
Of the love that kids desire,
Bound with silken, tight-weaved lies
From a man whom you admire.

No one asked the questions.
No one showed they cared
About this “friend’s” deceptions,
Or in silence, what he shared.

Threats were made of what you’d cause
By talking out of turn.
Of jail that follows broken laws
If anyone should learn.

Then is when the truth you find,
This thing is sick and wrong.
No one makes it stop; all are blind,
Children aren’t that strong.

To late learned, it’s all right to tell,
The damage had been done.
Only God heard the silent yell
That never saw the sun.

No adult was there to heed;
To bend and lend an ear.
Little ones, with tears or need,
Only interfere.

More days pass in hidden shame
In a house that’s now a hell.
When he comes in and calls your name,
Nowhere to hide; your room’s a cell.

As time goes on, in your mind
A giant you create;
To lean upon and hide behind
And focus all your hate.

A gentle protector to take the place
Of those who won’t appear.
Who would stay around and help you face
The hopelessness and fear.

When at last you grow and break away,
A tainted life’s the cost.
Trust is gone, bad memories stay,
Innocence was lost.

It takes years for the pain to halt,
For time to dull its glow.
Years to learn it’s not your fault,
Learning things a child can’t know.

Childhood’s lessens aren’t forgot.
As an adult, again you’ll pay.
Fighting off the feelings taught,
When real love comes your way.

A loving touch can feel like dirt;
A kiss, like remembered sin.
A warm embrace brings back the hurt
And loathing for all men.

You’re not alone, you have to know,
To a special group do you belong.
And the gift that time does finally show?
The child did nothing wrong.

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