By Susan Kelleher
The Seattle Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Susan Kelleher takes a look at the ripple effect of the MeToo movement in lifting the burden of secrecy. Kelleher says, “Each telling seems to create space for another woman to be heard. Experts say it’s an important step in coming to terms with lingering pain from experiences that happened decades ago.”
The Seattle Times
Karen Taylor’s introduction to sexual predators began in a workplace: her elementary school in Seattle, where the janitor on duty coaxed her and a kindergarten classmate into a janitorial closet, exposed himself and then gave them candy.
Another janitor at a different school raped her twice, she says, and other men preyed on her at the places where she lived.
She stayed quiet, not understanding that she could tell, until she was 15 and told on a male relative who had looked down her shirt. The response: He was probably just playing with her.
By then, Taylor says, any expectation of personal safety was long gone. “It plants a seed that you’re nothing,” she says.
Taylor’s anger built into rage and, at 16, she served the first of six prison sentences, several stemming from a crack addiction. The last one ended 13 years ago. Now, at 53 years old, she reflects on her life through a different lens, one focused on others who have no voice.
“I had a horrific life,” she says. “I want to give hope back to people like me who feel hopeless. I didn’t get what I should have gotten, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want somebody else to.”
Taylor says she found solace and a sense of safety by knowing Jesus, but her journey toward healing is rooted in telling and building friendships with women who know her story and remind her that she matters.