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December 15, 2017

This Is Just The Beginning…

A dozen years ago I had an opportunity I never sought out or wanted. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d sit across from an admitted sex offender and discuss his crime. It wasn’t on my radio or television show. It wasn’t for an essay, until now.

First, a little background. I was assaulted at an early age by a teacher at my Christian school. He hurt the older girls much worse, but it was enough to make me keep a secret, and stew on it, and harm myself in ways I wasn’t conscious of. It happened again when I was 18 and again at 20. Sexual assault. When it happens over and over, you tend to find yourself the common denominator and own the blame.

A dear friend of mine in Homer had me come to his home for a visit. Jack Epperson was a healer of things most doctors don’t think about. Jack was blind but could see so much damage to my spirit. He never touched me, but said he was putting my energy field back together. He explained to me sexual predators see wounded prey and won’t leave it alone. He called it, “The Mark From A Beast.”

I tested that theory when I talked to the man who had gone to prison for molesting a young girl in his care. I felt comfortable asking because he had been very candid about his crime and he owned it. He was going to meetings constantly, stopped drinking or using drugs and was honest that it was still a struggle for him.

He looked at me and nodded his head. “He nailed it,” he said. “I can see those girls from a mile away.” We talked about how so many victims become promiscuous to try to take back some control. They think if they are giving it away then it can’t be stolen. It’s a defense mechanism.

In October, a new state study was released on the state website regarding Alaska’s sexual assault statistics. As this paper reported, “It uses a different data source from the telephone survey and is based on reports to law enforcement. It also includes child victims. More than half of the reported sex crimes involve victims under age 18.”

Here’s the kicker, “While the most common victim is a 14-year-old girl, the most common suspect is a 19-year-old male.”

Once marked by predators, there is a lifetime of sexual assault for so many. The tear it creates in their spirit is obvious to those looking to exploit it, and they lose no time. The vices developed to cope are impossible to calculate, but none of them “make you stronger” for the long run. It’s tragic beyond words.

While our Legislature prattles on about numbers and budgets and how we’re going to be able to afford to support those benevolent oil companies, lives here are being shattered. In Washington, the posturing and posing is pathetic and nothing they do is protecting victims from harm. If you were a betting person you’d bet ANWR would be full of oil wells before Alaskans could feel safe from sexual assault.

Our news feeds are full of outrage about the Senate hopeful and alleged pedophile, Roy Moore from Alabama. One of his defenders mentioned that at the time Moore is alleged to have assaulted a 14-year-old, it was a misdemeanor — less of a crime than “stealing a lawnmower.” If only Mr. Moore had raped a lawnmower, much of this could have been avoided. Joe Miller and the Alaska Constitution Party still support Moore. That really doesn’t help our sad statistics, or our people, here at home.

Hollywood is flipping over rocks and tossing out the trash in producers and stars who have raped and abused women. Men who have played presidents on television shows are being held to a higher standard than the real one.

Sen. Al Franken pranked a sexually harassing picture and has apologized (his victim has accepted the apology) and has asked for his own ethics hearing. The president has tweeted, “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …..” He has yet to mention Moore’s offenses and seems to find no irony in the fact that there are 12 women on the record charging him with sexual harassment — including his former wife.

Sexual assault shouldn’t be politicized. It’s become weaponized by political parties and the barbs go so deep that the battles can’t be won for either side. Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, David Vitter, the list goes on because there is no end to it. Never has someone been raped who was first asked who they voted for.

If someone will sexually assault someone, what makes you think they will make sure your future is intact? Do you think they will worry about your children and their education, environment or health care? No. They are worried about getting caught. It’s going to take all of us to let them know there is a reckoning coming. I think it’s just beginning.

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One Response to “This Is Just The Beginning…”
  1. Really? says:

    Shannyn, you are an amazing woman. And to have been able to share with the whole wide world thru the computer, (thank you smart people). I have been thinking so hard about how I can personally help with #metoo. When I first learned what sex crimes meant, I thought about a friend that told me it happened to him. So since then I have always considered that crime to be about both males and female I think of you Shannyn, as a SWEET, innocent girl, your proud parents, sending there innocent children to a safe haven. After reading your article I literally wept so hard ,I just stopped using tissues. I am not just saying women here, Shannyn, but all sexes, all genders, all beliefs and all of those other words that mean equality for all. So, this is what I came up with for those who have been thinking of the ways they can help with expressing their views world wide. In my community of Tok Alaska, 90 miles from the Canadian Border, the intersection where a driver decides which way to go , in this case the the NE Corner ,is leased to the Tok chamber of commerce (you know Shannyn, the wonderful organization that is suppose to help do good things) , last time this year they erected a display and advertised locally to welcome all community members. The display includes an innocent girl like you, Shannyn, her name was Mary, Mary was holding a baby, the baby looked cold ShAnnyn, I am shaking when I am typing, Shannyn, there were people around Mary and her baby, they were just standing there , oh and there wre some animals they were just standing there, oh right it’s s display, a display , displaying what? Ok, keep in mind this display is not only to represent My community but to be welcoming too all travelers of all nationalities and all of the words that mean that. I then realized ,since I now knew it was possible, to be able to erect a display of my own. But what display and how , it was short notice, I needed great sign ideas etc.. So yesterday I emailed the people and asked if they would please send me the paperwork that is required for a community member to have the opportunity to also have a display. I am waiting for a response. Thank you,, maybe I will be able to finally be able to have th opportunity to spread my own words and thoughts to the World Wide Web. My sigh ideas are expanding. I better go Shannyn, love to All, all to love

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