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  1. reocochran says:

    I like this portrait of you, Merril. I know you as a thoughtful, poetic and warm person who works hard on her serious writing. I’m excited to someday hear the title of your researched and edited book about rape over time and through the ages. (I think.)
    I feel you enjoy the humming moon, art, music, plays, family, friends, your cat and other topics. Smiles, Robin

    • merrildsmith says:

      Thank you, Robin! The two books I’ve recently been working on are “Encyclopedia of Rape and Sexual Violence” (should be out in May) and “Rape Cultures and Survivors: An International Perspective”, with co-editor Tuba Inal, (should be out in August). Both books focus mainly on current problems and issues, rather than on history.

      • reocochran says:

        Those are very valuable and definitely current and valid reflections of our own society. What a crazy and wild climate we have had our entire lives, in the past and even distant past. . .
        When my Mom would hear people saying people wished they could go back to the “good old days” she was quick to retort, “When in history we’re there good old days?” She had middle schoolers when she was a camp counselor tell her about priests and family members who were inappropriate. Mom would try to persuade them to tell their parents and then, if she had met any of the parents she would write a letter to them. She made sure to be the teacher union rep so that she would have “clout” to speak out. A Middletown, Ohio priest told young virgins to “sanctify their marriages they had to give themselves to Him!!”

      • merrildsmith says:

        Good for your mom! I suspect that the priest was not arrested, but I hope he was forced to retire.

      • reocochran says:

        I don’t know if she or the family pursued it; but the family spoke to their other daughters to tell them this was false!

      • merrildsmith says:

        So scary–such an abuse of power, like Larry Nassar and the young gymnasts.

      • reocochran says:

        Oh my goodness! I was getting up to change my water (for painting) and totally cannot believe how many girls didn’t tell their mothers. I have been ranting to my friends that I was able to talk to my Mom about anything and I am sure your daughters felt this way! It makes me sick!
        My Mom made me wrote a breakup letter to a senior who took me to his prom, that sliding his hand up my formal dress and touching my thighs was inappropriate!
        I had shared that it made my tummy feel uncomfortable to my Mom about his busy hands. She was one I could trust to support any decisions I made. My Dad would have probably punched him, knowing his “punk” roots! He told my ex (outside the courthouse) something I never knew until years later. Let’s just say my ex was forever nice and respectful afterwards!

      • merrildsmith says:

        Well, no, not everyone can tell their mothers. Or their mothers may not believe them. And many of the abusers convince their victims that it is a special secret. For the gymnasts, many of them were in a coercive situation during training anyway, and the “doctor” told them he was doing “treatments.”

      • reocochran says:

        I do know some of this is true about mothers but I am a little surprised no one told their Mom. I have several friends who did talk to their mothers in the 70’s and it is sad to hear this happened to so many.
        I also watched the court case for fifteen minutes a few times in a row and did hear the young women thought the touching was part of the treatments. Working in the battered women’s shelter, with 150 children in 18 months I had almost 10% tell me really detailed stories and I would call a social worker in to listen to their horrible situations. One I heard was so tragic, parents and grandfather were guilty of sexual abuse. The social worker liked how I had a doll house and would say that I wanted to have her show me how her (or his) family acted in their house. 90% acted as the parents fought or yelled, some hitting and choking. But there were others who took a few sessions of coloring and playing before they trusted me. I’m familiar with most parents not being as open as mine were, but these gumnasts were smart and confident. . . Not coming from domestic violence (usually).

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