Teasers & Deleted ScenesAshton, Virginia, September 2008
Approximation: One in five children experiences some sort of sexual abuse. The rate is higher for girls than for boys.
Fact: Ninety percent of childhood sexual abuse victims never tell.
Fact: The most commonly reported perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are fathers and stepfathers.
Fact: Ninety-five percent of such abusers were abused themselves as children.
Fact: Media portrayals aside, most abused children do not go on to abuse others.
Fact: Child sexual abuse is more common in alcoholic families, possibly because alcoholic families have permeable boundaries and confused parent-child relationships.
Fact: Children sexually abused by trusted authority figures grow up with broken boundaries and fractured senses of themselves. Consequences include biting, rocking, eating disorders, incontinence, dissociation, substance abuse, psychopathology, and inappropriately sexualized behavior.
These are the fact about abuse.
Fact. Sure. It sounds like hard statistics, the sorts of things Nikki Lau's colleague Chaz might spout without pausing... until the pretty, gaunt, brown-haired victim of that abuse came around the interview table and tried to curl up in his lap and nibble on his ear.
Fact: When she thinks about Jessi Kelly, Lau's fingernails pinch her palms. Abuse. She wants to shake somebody, slap them. Scream, Call it what it is. Long-term sexual exploitation. Slavery. Rape.
Fact: Jessica Kelly's father--the rapist--and her mother--the collaborator--do not come to visit her at the Idlewood Institute For Mental Health.
Fact: Jessi Kelly is twenty-six years old as of last August. She'll have been in Arkham for nine years, come April. A third of her life. She will never see the sky, except through barred windows, again.
Fact: Jessi Kelly is one of the good guys. She believes it deeply, passionately, with the conviction of the adolescent and the insane. She believes she is a superhero. She believes that she saved both herself and the man who--between the age of five and the age of seventeen (twelve years, half as long again as she's been in Idlewood)-- repeatedly raped her. She believes she saved them both from the monsters who wanted to destroy them. Who wanted to keep them apart.
Facts are not truths, though, and Nikki Lau knows the truth about sexual abuse.
Truth: This is why Nikki Lau goes to visit Jessi Kelly in her internment. Interment. Both.
Every month. Without fail.