On Truth Telling


Ten years post retirement from my therapy practice, I shredded drawers of client notes— at least fifty per cent of which involved stories of both sexes who suffered childhood and adolescent molestation by a parent, uncle, cousin, boyfriend or girlfriend, priest, acquaintance or malevolent stranger.

To a person, each one struggled with the emotional burden of “double living”—that is, in the retelling, each individual faced the specific events and relived the emotions of the experience. It’s one thing to tell a therapist, a trusted preofessional trained to help contextualize and manage sudden and unexpected violence to one’s body. It is quite another to sit before an all male Senate Judiciary Committee in Circa 2018, the age of Trumpism, and reveal what up to a week and a half ago was privileged and private information.

I am grateful to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who has bravely come forth to tell her story to the American people. Months ago, she decided to write a letter to her Congress woman in order to “do the right thing” when she realized that Brett Kavanaugh was the very person who had attempted to rape her and muffle her scream.

Dr. Ford speaks for all my sexual survivor clients, especially those who were muted and intimidated into silence and were not able to confront their abuser.

I am grateful to Dr. Ford’s therapist both for her careful note taking (which is no small task) and for her willingness to hand over her notes to Dr. Ford to ascertain credibility to her story.

This has been a cliffhanger week for me. I have been on edge since re-watching Anita Hill’s dignified struggle to answer Joe Biden’s tortured and specific questions about Clarence Thomas’s licentious “come on” in 1991. In the presence of her mother and father and loving relatives, this Baptist raised, private woman spoke truth to power and was thanked with humiliation.

I recall a family session with a client who shared her abuse as a child by a male caretaker only to be rebuffed by her mother. As hurtful as her mother’s judgment and lack of empathy were  in that moment of truth telling, my client shed her muted self and lit the growing flame of self-respect.

Judge Kavanaugh is fighting for approval so as to be appointed to the highest court of our land. Dr. Ford is fighting to maintain her self respect in sounding the alarm about allowing a man who has a history of drunken violence against a woman to vote upon protocol, procedure, and laws that will effect women for decades to come.

According to a Facebook post, here’s what Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is facing.

The Violence Against Reauthorization Act of 2013 passed the Senate 78-22. The following 6 Representatives voted against it— Senator Grassley, Senator Hatch, Senator Graham,Senator Cornym, Senator Lee, and Senator Cruz.

These Senators are NOW ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be  questioning Christine Blasey Ford.

May Dr. Ford stay strong and speak her truth. In gratitude.











12 thoughts on “On Truth Telling

  1. Sally Brecher

    Faye, very well said. A cliff hanger for ” me, too”. And who can forget Anita Hill… This is not a circle game, I hope.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      I’m grateful for the well of response and support Dr Ford and others are receiving as they step up and state their truths, including Anita Hill who speaks with such dignity.

  2. Maureen Kelly

    You remain a strong and positive role model for me professionally and also personally as a shining example of healthy aging and empowerment.

    I am grateful for my past experiences of your mentorship and for your inspiring blog – never more than on a day like today with frightening developments in our government.

    Warmest regards from NC where I just spoke with staffer at the office of Sen. Thom Tillis re: both Kavanaugh & Rosenstein.

    Maureen Kelly

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Maureen, How special and wonderful to hear from you. I so appreciate your kind words and have very fond memories of our times together. Those of us in the field know so well what price survivors pay in the short and long run. Very moving to learn of your advocacy. Warmest regards to you!

  3. Paticia Rogers

    Faye, This whole scenario has been triggering and riveting . Your essay is beautifully crafted and heartfelt having sat with many who are in the same position as Dr. Ford. So much to talk about. Sad and disheartening to think we may now have two perpetrators on the Supreme Court and one in the White House…seems we haven’t come very far as a nation of equality for all. Thanks for your efforts in continuing to raise the issues that plague victims.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Pat, I can so well relate to your disheartening worry about what it might mean for Kavanaugh to be appointed to the Supreme Court. This process is important and riveting. Hopefully, with more women & men speaking truth to power, it can make a difference.

  4. Rosemary Booth

    This essay clearly extends the story told by Christine Ford to a much broader group, as the writer points (in words) to so many others with similar tales, based on her own experience as therapist. In that way, her preview of one woman’s testimony is able to expand in advance both its volume, and its reach.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Rosemary, I so appreciate your sympathetic and perceptive comment. Thank you!

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