cartoon cow writing at a desk

Thank You Ted Danson (4.5.17)

I never spoke a word about my sexual abuse to anyone until I saw a TV movie called Something About Amelia which aired during the Christmas holidays in 1983-84. I was a junior in college and back then we only had 3 major TV channels to watch. I watched the show all by myself in my parent’s home – the home that I grew up in. When I returned to school in mid-January for the spring semester, my roommate and I were catching up with some other girlfriends in our dorm room. Everyone started talking about the TV special and they all seemed to be shocked and dumbfounded about the show. I looked at them and said, “That’s what happened to me.” They turned and looked at me as if I had 6 heads. One of my friends who was a Psych major immediately said, “We need to get you an appointment with the school counselor.” Even though I knew what happened to me for 12 years was wrong on every level of my being, I had no clue how to navigate this thing opening up in my soul.

Although I could never articulate the problem before, because I was threatened by my father to not tell anyone from the beginning, my body had already begun to crack. The fissures were deep. During my senior year of high school, I had intense back pain. I remember feeling torn emotionally and stretched out in too many directions with school work, extracurricular activities, my boyfriend, my brother being away for his first year of college, my parents, church activities, and applying to college. My mom took me to a specialist, he x-rayed my back, said that there was nothing wrong with me physically, and told us that the pain was related to stress.

Fast forward 2 years. I had always had irregular periods, however in the summer of 1983, I had a menstrual cycle that lasted 45+ days. My mom took me to a new gynecologist and he suggested a D&C – the perfect let’s traumatize your vagina more experience for someone with a history of sexual abuse. Back then we didn’t have the internet to research things to death and get second opinions. I trusted my mother’s guidance. Even though the procedure was considered outpatient surgery, I felt terrified going into it. After the surgery, which was supposed to “fix it,” I continued to bleed from my vagina non-stop. The next solution was to put me on birth control pills to “control” the bleeding. That solution worked to manage the physical hemorrhaging from my vagina, but the psychological and emotional hemorrhaging was preparing to seep out. My vagina was erupting from all of the mental, emotional, physical, and psychological stress that I had endured, managed, and controlled for 12 goddamn, long, mother fucking years.

In February of 1984, I met with the one and only school counselor available at my small liberal arts college of 3,000 students. With Dr. Kelly’s compassion and guidance, I began releasing the pressure valves from this horrific nightmare that spring semester. Unfortunately, when I returned to campus the following fall, I learned that Dr. Kelly was dying of cancer. She was no longer available to help me. I began seeing the male counselor who was the interim school counselor until they filled the position. I went to Dr. Kelly’s funeral that spring of 1985 and cried my heart and soul out during the entire service. The floodgate of sadness was busted open and the years of grief began gushing forth.

I am eternally grateful to Ted Danson for being so brave to play the role of the father in the television movie Something About Amelia. I was familiar with Ted from being one of the main characters in the popular television series called Cheers. I was not aware that Glenn Close played the mother in this movie until I just researched it. Ted Danson is still acting in television shows and movies, however what’s fascinating to me is his connection and leadership role in Oceana. Ted Danson is a board member for Oceana – one of the organizations that I support as Mommy Moo Moo.  Thank you Ted Danson from the bottom of my heart for helping me connect with my voice to heal myself from the trauma of sexual abuse. And thank you for giving a voice to all of the oceans and Mother Earth. There are no coincidences. Everything is connected.