A Letter to the People Who Worship The Confederacy

Last week a friend, sent me an email he’d received from the “Commander” of a “Brigade” of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  My friend had been studying a genealogy site in hopes of learning more about one of my ancestors, a man who had his name inscribed on a stained glass window which had been removed from an old Church in Tallahassee.    Apparently that website allows messages to be transmitted to its members. Mr _____ I have been digging for some information on the DeMilly Family of Tallahassee, Florida. One


If you know me, then you’re likely aware that for the first twelve years of my life I was sexually abused by a man more powerful than me (which is to say, my father).   So when I say there’s no excuse for complicity with a President who brags about his nonconsensual sex with women because he’s “a star,” be assured I mean it. His callous immorality goes on every day.  As parades of advisors goose-step their way into the new administration we see that one of them–Stephen Bannon–was once arrested

Open Letter to BSA

November 1, 2012 Michael Johnson Youth Protection Director Boy Scouts of America   Dear Michael,   As the Boy Scouts of America hosts the National Symposium on Youth Protection, I’d like to bring up a serious issue affecting the lives and hearts of countless boys which thus far, the Scouts have refused to address. I grew up in Tallahassee. In the 60’s, when I was a scout, my dad was president of the Suwanee River Area Council. So I knew the leadership and the scout executives, and the scoutmasters and

Silence = Evil

Almost always, it happens like this: An offender abuses another person. The offender lords over the victim, coercing him into a pact of secrecy. It’s not a difficult task, since the victim is almost always less powerful (and dependent) on the offender. Later, sometimes decades later, the secret emerges as the spoken truth. By that point the offender is no longer in control. The former victim, now moving in his journey into a new identity, is taking control. This is when (unfortunately, too late to help) we can see the

Being a Misfit

What am I doing putting up a photo of Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift? The story begins with the man standing under the ladder. Longago, before I knew him, before this photo was taken, he had moved among several major NY Publishing houses as their editor-in-chief. One of his friends, the playwright Arthur Miller (cowboy hat and glasses, top of pic) wanted to give his wife a valentine’s present, a screenplay titled “The Misfits” which she could star in with Gable and Clift. Miller’s wife of course was

An Open Letter to Sandusky’s Victims

I heard today’s news that Mr. Sandusky waived his right to the hearing. I know that those of you who were prepared to testify today had no doubt steeled yourself for the event. I suspect that when you heard of Sandusky’s decision, you were both relieved and upset. But from what I understand of the law and of criminal proceedings, it may be best that you only have to testify once. You know as well as I that you are speaking for untold numbers of boys who can’t come forward.

A Time of Fear and Hope

The thoughts of a fifteen year-old girl in 1938: “When I was born into the world as an American citizen, I was given freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. Because of these rights and others, because America is democratic, because I live in a beautiful wholesome country, because these things were given to me, I owe my deepest respect to America. By being a good Christian, by being honest, by being loyal, and by obeying all laws as a good citizen should, I can repay to America all the wonderful things


If You Are Thinking of Suicide A personal letter for you:  If you are a teenager (or an adult) and you ‘re thinking about suicide, THE most important thing you should do is make a connection with someone who’ll listen and help you figure things out. Think of your life at the moment as this: You live in a big house. Everything you know and see and do and feel is in that house. Your family, your friends, your enemies, your computer, games, sports, your understanding of yourself, of your

Work and Meaning

Our lives are specks. Planet Earth is a speck. Our galaxy is a speck. We live in an infinite universe where looking at a star means looking into a past so distant that earth had not yet stirred with life. We don ‘t sense our insignificance until it is brought to our attention: A natural disaster. A moment of awe, while seeing spectacular beauty for the first time. An intellectual epiphany in which we grasp but for a moment the impossible scale of existence. It is at such moments that we can find meaning in our lives. But these moments do not come often. And so,

Reporting An Offender You Love

After I wrote my memoir, I collaborated on a second book entitled “Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse. ” The theme is that what causes trauma in a child abused by someone older, is not so much the physical act, but the betrayal of a relationship. No child grows up with an innate understanding of an ideal relationship. At the deepest level, children learn what relationships are by their own relationships. If a boy gets into a relationship with an older man, he will think that the man

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