a few questions

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Puzzler

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Dec 29, 1991, 6:00:16 PM12/29/91
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Hello, All.

This is my first posting. I've been reading the ASAR newsgroup since
just before Christmas, when I discovered it, and am finding it extremely
fascinating, and of much higher quality than many other newsgroups.
I am especially impressed by the sincerity and openness of those posters
who admit to having suffered abuse as well as by the supportive atmos-
phere which has been created. I feel a very genuine sense of people
trying to help and befriend one another as they struggle with a common
problem (both in the sense of sharing it, and in that of the high inci-
dence of sexual abuse in the family setting).

A little about myself... To the best of my conscious knowledge, I have
never suffered specifically sexual abuse, though I do recall that my
questions about sex (I am male) were rebuffed by my father, and I was
made to feel ridiculous. But that was only one small element of the
kind of abuse I did feel from him, which is the primary reason for my
feeling of personal affinity with people in this discussion.

The kind of abuse I suffered was being at the receiving end of both verbal
and physical violence, taking the form of extreme punishment and general
humiliation from my father. He seemed to have a definite program of
destroying my own confidence in order to bolster his own, and he was quite
successful. I could say much more about the form of the abuse I suffered,
and wouldn't mind doing so if it were felt that the subject is of enough
interest to others taking part in this conversation. This question, in
fact, brings me to my main subject...

Having read, or at least skimmed, most articles covering a week's period,
I find that most of what is posted here is about the actual experience of
one particular form of abuse and a specific kind of result, usually that
of fear of other people and of situations which are reminiscent of those
in which abuse occurred, or is about people trying to comfort and encourage
one another. I find both kinds of statements interesting and encouraging,
but I keep finding myself wondering about the larger context of the exper-
ience and how people have dealt with the secondary problems which I cannot
help but feeling must exist in many cases. What I mean to say is that I
have to think that a parent who is sexually abusive to a child is likely
going to be abusive in other ways as well, since, at base, there must be
something of an attitude that the child is "fair game" for a kind of acti-
vity which can have no benefit to the child which is not outweighed enor-
mously by the negative consequences (yes, I do think in my own case that
the abuse I suffered has made me much stronger in some ways - or, more
properly, my response to that abuse, but it has taken me a lifetime of very
hard work to achieve such a result, and I feel I'd gladly give up a large
measure of this "strength" for a kind of security that I was denied as a
child). I have to feel that a parent who would sexually abuse a child is
one who is not going to be overly concerned with nurturing that child or
with various aspects of that child's normal development. Or am I wrong
here? I have not "surveyed the literature" or spoken with people who admit
to sexual abuse, so I'm just guessing. Maybe you folks can help me under-
stand a larger dimension of your experience - was the sexual abuse just an
aberration in the behavior of an otherwise loving parent? If so, I can
understand why the experience must have been especially painful. I suppose
it's hard to generalize, but this is one question which intrigues me.

I'm also interested in knowing more about the secondary effects of the
experience, such as loss of confidence, maybe problems with speech or
motor control, coordination, memory, academic achievement, etc. I hope
these kinds of questions are not seen as being contrary to the purpose of
people asking for and receiving support for the primary kinds of problems
related to memories (whether conscious or repressed) and other after-
effects of the experiences themselves.

Maybe there needs to be another newsgroup for talking about child abuse
and other forms of one person harming another, but this forum seems as
good a place as any to start. If I'm wrong in my assumptions that such
secondary effects exist among the population of people who have suffered
sexual abuse as children or that there are important common elements
between this experience and that of having suffered other forms of abuse,
and that these questions detract from the main focus of the discussion,
I'll willingly go away. I hope you understand that my curiosity is not
exactly detached, though, since the abuse I suffered has been a primary
formative experience of my own life, and I still suffer acutely from the
after-effects, and would like to "compare notes" with others who have
had similar experiences.

One more question -- Erin Zhu recently mentioned that people can write to
her anonymously by bouncing a message off of a machine at U.C. Berkeley,
in her recent reply to Squirt:

| From: z...@zariski.harvard.edu (Erin Zhu)
| Subject: Re: I've gotta talk
| Date: 25 Dec 91 23:17:34 GMT
| Organization: Dept. of Math, Harvard Univ.
|
| >Thanks so much for putting up with my babbling. I guess I just needed to
| >talk.
|
| Feel free to write more, or if you want to talk privately with someone
| your age who's been through similar things, either reply to this, or
| annonymously to "ap....@layout.Berkeley.EDU". Thanks for writing, and
| hope you feel better.

I'm just wondering whether this facility could be used by others to com-
municate with one another privately. I assume that if I were to write
to Erin and get one of those "ap.nnnn" IDs, I could give it to others so
they could write to me anonymously, and that others could do the same,
so, for example, if anyone wanted to respond to one another privately
they could do so via this mechanism - or is this kind of facility one
that Peter Fay is planning on building into the ASAR software that he
has developed? (Peter??)

Again, thanks to everyone for your openness and support of one another.
I'm glad I've found you, and hope you don't mind my listening in, even if
I don't share your exact problem. I would be curious, though, to know
about your experience of growing up and what other kinds of abuse you
might have suffered and what relationship you think it might have to
particular problems you've experienced, if you don't think it too far off
topic.

Regards to all and best wishes for the new year!

--
To use this service, send EMAIL to:
Anonymous posting: asar...@wpi.wpi.edu
Test path/get alias: asar...@wpi.wpi.edu
APS administrator: asar-...@wpi.wpi.edu

Larry Margolis

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Dec 30, 1991, 2:59:12 AM12/30/91
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In <1991Dec29....@wpi.WPI.EDU> asar...@wpi.wpi.edu (Puzzler) writes:
> I'm just wondering whether this facility could be used by others to com-
> municate with one another privately. I assume that if I were to write
> to Erin and get one of those "ap.nnnn" IDs, I could give it to others so
> they could write to me anonymously, and that others could do the same,
> so, for example, if anyone wanted to respond to one another privately
> they could do so via this mechanism - or is this kind of facility one
> that Peter Fay is planning on building into the ASAR software that he
> has developed? (Peter??)

The original anonymous posting software did handle mail also; I assume
that Peter turned it off for his implementation. I can see a couple of
good reasons for this - some people might find a direct response
threatening, even if anonymous; some people might be using a shared
account and not want *anything* to be sent to their userid.

A nice enhancement would be to have a mail flag, that each asar.nnn ID could
control, which would specify whether mail to that ID would be forwarded or
bounced.

Random thought - if Prisoner were to ever visit me, he could post
from "the village". :-)

Larry Margolis, MARGOLI at YKTVMV (Bitnet), mar...@watson.IBM.com (Internet)

Peter R Fay

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Jan 2, 1992, 11:20:52 AM1/2/92
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On Sun, 29 Dec 1991 23:00:16 GMT,
asar...@wpi.wpi.edu (Puzzler) said:
asar> I'm just wondering whether this facility could be used by others
asar> to com- municate with one another privately. I assume that if I
asar> were to write to Erin and get one of those "ap.nnnn" IDs, I
asar> could give it to others so they could write to me anonymously,
asar> and that others could do the same, so, for example, if anyone
asar> wanted to respond to one another privately they could do so via
asar> this mechanism - or is this kind of facility one that Peter Fay
asar> is planning on building into the ASAR software that he has
asar> developed? (Peter??)

I don't have any immediate plans to offer anonymous e-mail on
wpi.wpi.edu, so you should use layout.berkeley.edu for that.
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Peter Fay College Computing Center ~
~ (f...@wpi.wpi.edu) Worcester Polytechnic Institute ~
~ 100 Institute Road ~
~ Worcester, MA 01609 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Erin Zhu

unread,
Jan 2, 1992, 4:44:37 PM1/2/92
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In article <1991Dec29....@wpi.WPI.EDU> asar...@wpi.wpi.edu
(Puzzler) writes:

>Hello, All.

Hello and welcome, Puzzler.

>A little about myself... To the best of my conscious knowledge, I have
>never suffered specifically sexual abuse, though I do recall that my
>questions about sex (I am male) were rebuffed by my father, and I was
>made to feel ridiculous. But that was only one small element of the
>kind of abuse I did feel from him, which is the primary reason for my
>feeling of personal affinity with people in this discussion.

In my family (very conservative Chinese), the subject of sex was utterly
taboo and not ever mentioned until it became obvious that the children have
had enough exposure to the culture here to have a pretty good idea of it,
and then the only response was to insist that I, as a girl in danger of
accidental pregnancy and so on, should never do anything as gross as that.

All this was, of course, after my father oh-so-impolitely deflowered me
himself. Amazing how well he was able to deceive himself about his motives
and actions.

>The kind of abuse I suffered was being at the receiving end of both verbal
>and physical violence, taking the form of extreme punishment and general
>humiliation from my father. He seemed to have a definite program of
>destroying my own confidence in order to bolster his own, and he was quite
>successful.

My father seemed intent on a similar sort of program, and tried his best to
undermine the self-confidence of my brother and I. For example, he would
expect me to get the absolute best grades in school, but keep telling me
that because I'm female, I have no chance of doing better than the males in
the science and math fields. So either way, I either fail his expectations
(which tends to result in beatings) or I fail to adhere to his idea of
being feminine.

>I could say much more about the form of the abuse I suffered,
>and wouldn't mind doing so if it were felt that the subject is of enough
>interest to others taking part in this conversation.

I would like to discuss the topic, if there's interest.

>[...] I have to feel that a parent who would sexually abuse a child is


>one who is not going to be overly concerned with nurturing that child or
>with various aspects of that child's normal development. Or am I wrong
>here? I have not "surveyed the literature" or spoken with people who admit
>to sexual abuse, so I'm just guessing. Maybe you folks can help me under-
>stand a larger dimension of your experience - was the sexual abuse just an
>aberration in the behavior of an otherwise loving parent? If so, I can
>understand why the experience must have been especially painful. I suppose
>it's hard to generalize, but this is one question which intrigues me.

For me, the sexual abuse part was certainly in line with the rest, a part
of the power game that my father so expertly plays with the rest of the
family. However, the importance of the sexual abuse was that it finally
brought home to me that this was not just a matter of me not behaving like
a proper little girl and getting punished by my father, but genuine
betrayal of all that he portrayed himself to be. It broke through the lie
of him being protective and only punishing me "for my own good", and thus
was more painful than the other forms of abuse.

>One more question -- Erin Zhu recently mentioned that people can write to
>her anonymously by bouncing a message off of a machine at U.C. Berkeley,
>in her recent reply to Squirt:

>I'm just wondering whether this facility could be used by others to com-


>municate with one another privately. I assume that if I were to write
>to Erin and get one of those "ap.nnnn" IDs, I could give it to others so
>they could write to me anonymously, and that others could do the same,
>so, for example, if anyone wanted to respond to one another privately
>they could do so via this mechanism - or is this kind of facility one
>that Peter Fay is planning on building into the ASAR software that he
>has developed? (Peter??)

Peter has said that the a.s.a.r annonymous server doesn't support email at
the moment (which was why I posted the berkeley facility in the first
place). Anyone wishing to get one of the IDs should write to
"ap-ping.layout.berkeley.edu" and get back one of the "ap.nnnn" numbers.
Writing to me would also do the trick. The only problem is that one has to
post publicly the ap.number to inform the rest that such private annonymous
email is possible with that person.

>Regards to all and best wishes for the new year!

Thank you for writing, and happy new year.

--Erin

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