According to me…..

Posts tagged ‘Justice’

No Title here for Unknown Callers.

Trigger warning:  My child within is screaming at me.  DO IT!  My adult self has furrowed brows.

I got a call today – blasted unknown numbers – they never portend anything good.  This one left me a message and asked me to call back.  Some calls should not be answered.  Or should they?

The police wanted me to call them.  I did what any self respecting Google fan would do and I searched their location first.  I found them located in an area I haven’t lived in or near since I was young.  An area I’d sooner forget exists.  I returned the phone call – my stomach churning with dread, a dread that only a call from police can elicit.  I found myself nearly whispering into the phone as if not giving voice to it would make it gone – like a child stepping up to an adult in fear – knowing they are in trouble, but waiting to hear what for.

The officer was gentle with me, thanked me for calling and told me that they were clearing up old files and they’ve come across one from me as the complainant.  I laughed nervously while my mind quickly sorted through years of life and people – unable to grasp onto anything that could possibly be a reason for this call.  She said it was *from about 1980 – and it involved*, she hesitated *your step father*?  I stopped breathing.  She asked me to wait while she collected her files.  *No, no… your father, Peter.*  My lungs let go.  I couldn’t see the forest for all the trees.  This was the last thing I’d have expected – the biggest thing of all.  How did they find me?  My phone isn’t even under my name.

31 years it took them to call.   31 years of me feeling no one cared, and that it all didn’t matter.   When I tried 20 years ago to restart this, no paperwork could be found on it.  I even quoted an officer who had once come to our home.  Officer Lamb… I think.  My mother had strangled me one day, leaving finger marks around my neck – and my dad called the police and told them I was dead.  The officer told my dad he would *dance on his eyebrows* if he ever made a call like that again.  Still, they found nothing.  I felt like I was crazy like it never happened. Today I’m told she has information – right on her desk.

I told my dad that I would hunt him down if I ever found out that he hurt his next three children.  I called his new wife and told her… all she could say was don’t take it to court and I’ll make sure it never happens.  I called the kid’s school and asked them to keep an eye on the kids.  Then I put it behind me, or tried.  I haven’t done a very good job of it.  I’m actually quite a mess and I like to think I hide it.

My earliest memory is from when I was about 7.  The rest is gone from my mind – probably best.  Night after night of *count to ten and come to my room*.  Second after second of trying to squeeze my whole being shut.  Of watching the glowing red numbers on a clock and making everything else vanish.  Days of incessant counting so I wouldn’t think or feel, hiding, wishing I was invisible.  Dreading that knock on the door when I was in the bathroom.  Hearing the vicious fights and knowing they were about me again.  Nights where terror wore his face, days where it wore hers.  The beatings because I was a *slut* at 12, the blood, the fear.  I didn’t even know what a slut was.  The *you are special, my number one, and this is our secret*, and *if you tell they will take me away* kind of sick love/control, and the lies and pain and horror and secrets.  And the deep, deep shame – shame that I was to hold onto for many years to come.  Shame I would later learn stemmed from my body reacting exactly how it should… shame that belonged to him for abusing my trust.

All the craziness.  Cars being driven up walls, comforters cut in two, walls ripped down, knives carving furniture, climbing off roofs to get the police, screaming, homeless, caught in a car in a *compromising position* craziness.  Being fed booze and when I was sick – cough syrup and 222’s… to knock me out for convenience.  Living in family shelters, being made a ward of the court and put in a group home for pregnant teenage girls to keep me away from my parents.  Seeing my friend being raped by him.  My brothers and sister hating me for being crazy – and eventually disowning me.  Being raped and then beaten until I miscarried.  Going to court – getting no closure.  Years of repeating this cycle in one way or another.  All relationships have been just that – one type of abuse or another, cycles and cycles of them as if I’m more comfortable with crazy, as that’s what I knew.

And standing up again, wiping the shit off my knees and my soul.  Getting help, finding dignity, learning to love again – myself and others.  Years of trying to stop hating myself, and of trying to undo 16 years of old tapes they put there… tapes that played in my head and told me I was no good.  And it must be true, look what happened!  It took 16 years for that to be embedded / imprinted on my soul and it has taken much longer to undo.  I’m still trying, and I’m moving forward and trying to be a good person.  I try to do what’s right.  I’m not perfect, but I don’t have to be – I’m doing my best with the tools I have.  I’m right where I should be given the circumstances.

Then today happened.  That damn unknown caller just couldn’t butt out.  I asked for time to think about what I will do. I have until next Thursday.

I know that it’s right to go ahead – morally.  I know that there were others that were hurt and that could be hurt in the future.  I know that there is no help for the sickness that has taken his soul, and that he had no right to do any of the things he did.  I know that if someone else told me they were going through this I would tell them – do it! 

Now I’m 45 – no longer 16.  He has three more grown children.  Children that could possibly know nothing about this.  Am I responsible for ruining their lives if they haven’t been exposed to this yet?  I know it’s still him ruining their lives if this goes forward – it was his actions  – but I do have a choice now as to whether I let it go or pursue it and to pursue it could make it my fault they are hurt now.  Will I get closure from doing this?  Is it closure enough that they finally called?  Acknowledgment?  Validation?  Does it matter what I need?  What if I do nothing and his kids have kids… and so on and so on.

What if what if what if.  Would it be vindictive to go forward with this at this late of a date?  Self pity?  Or is it the right thing to do, the perfectly right course of action given the pain and horror I’ve been living.  Is my closure worth destroying more lives?  In his first marriage there were five of us that were ruined.  If I go on with this, another four people will be hurt.  Is this my concern?  I know he is responsible for it, but it’s in my court, as they say.  How do I know they aren’t already hurt?  What if they hide it like I do, and did?  What if me coming forward gives them the strength to come forward? Or they are horrified.

What will this do to me?  Will it set me back, or give me a sense of justice.  If I decide to go on… do I forewarn the kids?  How will I feel if he goes to jail – he’s 65 and it was over 30 years ago?  But it was 16 years of my life.  I trusted him.  When I tried to take him to court last time the judge asked me what I wanted to see happen.  I said not jail, but I don’t want him to be able to hurt anyone else, ever again.  It’s been so long. 

I was asked today if I had it all behind me, and I said no, no I don’t.  *Then there is your answer*… is it all that simple?

So many questions.  So much to consider.  So heavy on my heart.  Today I found myself standing by a pond, wind blowing – feeling how I used to feel – and thinking of the song Magic Power by Triumph.  I found myself not wanting to talk to anyone.  Not wanting to reach out to those that care.  I found myself wanting to hide again.  I keep going to sleep.  My head hurts, my heart hurts.

The moral of the story?  Unknown callers are evil.

Update:  I intend to go ahead with this.  I cannot turn from it.  After seeking advice from all who love me and from my inner self – it would be very wrong to not go ahead with this.  The choice to not do it would be much harder.  I’ve lived with it this long – I can certainly put up the fight needed to fix it.

Special thanks to my son.  Your letter was phenomenal.  My daughter… thank you for offering to come with me.  You both mean the world to me.  My guy?  Steady as a rock you are.  My friends?  There are no words… thank you all so much for all your support, your wisdom, your hugs – and your ass kickings.  lol  xoxoxox

Another thought that just came to me.  Why don’t I want him to go to jail?  When I hear on the news that someone has hurt a child this way… and they only get five years, I’m thoroughly disgusted.  He’s no different.

Update:  Oct 7, 2018

It’s taken me this long, two years, to make this a public post and update it.

I did go to court.  I did – sort of – have my say.  Lawyers are experts at stopping you from talking.  They tripped me up on addresses and locations.  Given that it was 30 years ago and I was a child… that’s a pretty horrible, cowardly thing to do.  The judge said that he knew “something” had happened but because of my mother not backing me.. and my memory not being cement, he couldn’t say beyond a shadow of a doubt.  At least I tried.  After that, my father turned and laughed at me, mocked me.  I’ll never get that out of my mind.  Did I get closure?  Nope.  I now don’t believe there is such a thing.  There is, however, being a better parent to yourself than they were.  They were pretty piss poor parents.

Prisoner Justice Day Followup

I don’t know where to start.  It’s overwhelming and I learned so much.

Ever attend an event or function and not completely know what it’s about or even if you fully agree with the issues?  lol  Yes, that’s what I did.  I knew that I didn’t like the deaths of inmates because emergency call buttons were not fixed.  I knew that what I had read so far was that people were dying in jails because of a lack of attention to medical aids.  This is the premise on which I attended this event.  There have been vigils every year for 35 years now because of this.  Deaths and suicides.  Unaccounted for and unexplained…well hidden.

There was also, in the back of my mind, the events of the G20.  1000 people thrown into makeshift jails.  Held in small cages with too many people so that sitting was not an option.  Hands tied with plastic pull ties.. bleeding wrists.  Lack of food, water, washrooms, dignity.  Guilty.  People passing out and revived only to be retied.  People having their prostheses taken away, and told to *hop*, by police… this all makes me furious… so I went.

These things I agreed with fighting against.

Domineering Don Jail

Don Jail

However, I get to the function and find it to be much, MUCH deeper than I expected / realized.  I waited to blog it because I wanted to get it all in some sort of order in my mind before just babbling… but it’s not happening, so I’m going to babble it out and then try to order it.

I’m going to start with the days’ events, I think… then move on to what I learned.  And what I learned is devoid of full facts and statistics because I don’t have them as of yet, but I will get them, I’ve already requested them.

We met at South Riverdale Community Health Centre and had an hour and a half meeting.  We were read facts, and statistics from current and past situations regarding jail time, prisoner age, sex, race, etc.  We were enlightened on what the government is doing, what laws it is trying to pass and has already passed.  Then people from the area who had experienced jail told us their stories.  It was heart wrenching.  Some chose humor to tell their tale…but you could hear the pain behind their words.   Humans being degraded in ways you cannot imagine.  One woman takes a painkiller every day for her pain and when she got to jail they offered her two Tylenols.   She quipped that if she had two broken legs, perhaps they’d have upped that to four.  Another told of rape and body searches.  Poor conditions, lack of food and being anemic, no contact with the outside world, the frustration.  And another told of how he was charged at an early age for a petty crime, and forever after harassed daily by police – to be charged over and over – as he lived on the system and could not afford food.  When you get out of jail you are usually homeless.  You get on the system and cannot eat.   He has two brothers…one he hasn’t seen since he was 12, as he is in the same cycle.  He just wants a family again.  Next we heard a native woman drumming an ancient ritual drum, singing a long known song to her peoples.  We lit candles and prayed for those who have died in prison, and those still incarcerated.  We got our black balloons, banners and signs and we marched on over to the Don Jail, in unison, in solidarity.

SCI Stats

SCI Stats

Once we arrived we had a tent set up and there were speakers.  We again heard of the statistics and horrendous numbers.  There were some speakers from the area…. and then we lit candles and marched in front of the jail.  It was peaceful, but painful to see.  The people who chose to speak of their experiences barely had to say a word, you could visually see what the system had done for them.  While we were there they had released (discarded) two prisoners… out onto the front steps with their belongings in see-through plastic bags, like so much rubbish… here the two changed back into their own clothing.  Another two people, homeless.  We gave them both a smoke.. they stayed to see what we were doing – they had nowhere else to be, they were in no rush to sleep on the streets.

So.  Here are some of the things I heard and learned.

If street sex and drugs were not deemed such a huge offense there would be less need for prison space.  If you make these things legal, you don’t need to jail folks.  If you feed them, they don’t need to steal food.  They don’t need to steal from stores in the area or homes, to get food, clothes, drug money.  If you supply them with food, and homes… and treat underlying issues – you have less folks in jail.  Now, out of the criminals in jail – you do have the real bad humans.  But the really bad humans make up only 1% of the whole population in jail!!!  So now, our government is looking at these extreme cases and it’s judging every *criminal* on the nature and severity of the crimes of these specific individuals.  It’s saying that because *so and so* is such a threat, we are going to change the rules so they can’t get out, or get out early.  They’ve already passed a law saying that you cannot be released early for time served.  So people who are in jail for smoking a joint are doing their full sentence now.  In jails that are already overstuffed, understaffed and unhealthy.  If a woman has a child and has to resort to street sex to feed her child because the system doesn’t see fit to provide enough money or services to help her… then she gets arrested… she must do her full term now.  They are working on taking away parole hearings.  They say that for some it’s better, it takes away the hopes and worries over repeated parole hearings.  Really?  Whatever time you get, you serve, end of sentence (so to speak).  Now we can all agree that for violent criminals this is perfectly fine… but what about all those folks who are charged with sleeping on the street?  With riding a bike on the sidewalk?  With needing the sex trades to get by?  With trying to survive?????  Why not legalize and make it safer for them.  Why not help???

All in all crime has gone down in Canada…yes, it’s true.  But the costs and building of jails has gone up!!  Is it really that much easier to just throw so many people away?  Do you think they get rehabilitated in jail?  No… they learn more street skills and they soon lose the ability to get honest work.  They lose self confidence.  They may turn to drugs to cope, then more crime to support their new habits.  What are we doing?  It’s inhumane.  Caging humans is NOT an answer…not for all of them.  How can it be legal to smoke pot in one part of the world and yet in another they are locked up?  How about sex?  Some places have designated areas and high controls for health and safety.  How is it different, one woman asked, that I sucked a cock today to get food and I go to jail… and you can hear the unasked question… if I suck a cock tomorrow because I want to… I don’t go to jail!  Isn’t it a choice – albeit, a choice because you have no choice but to survive… and if this is the choice you make, rather than stealing or hurting others…why is it punishable?  If you panhandle… who are you hurting?  If someone doesn’t want to give, they can just keep walking.  People have to eat.  Would you rather they steal or become a hardened criminal?  No… but you will take them to your jail and strip search them and degrade them… make them sleep on a mattress on the floor because you have no room and deny them food and medication.  If you take methadone, they hold out on you… they use it as a tool.  Well, diabetics have their medication readily handy.  Methadone stops a lot of people from using hard drugs… as does smoking pot.  It’s used for medicinal purposes and for some people I know and have spoken to, to avoid hard core drugs or drinking.

I don’t smoke pot, but I’m for it being legal, with the same rules as alcohol.  I don’t ever want to see someone driving after a toke. LOL  What is the worst that happens when people smoke pot?  They do a drive by pillow fight????  Seriously?  They are trying to pass a law that will mean hard jail time for anyone caught with drugs – no alternative.

The numbers are phenomenal.  Out of the whole population in jails, most are the poorest of the people.  The highest percentage are native men.  Women in jail has gone up by leaps and bounds.  Jails are stuffed to bursting… and most crimes are petty.  All the laws they are trying to pass right now ensure that no one gets out early or on good behaviour, or for time served.  They are transferring folks as they wish and handing out harder, longer jail times.  All this does is make longer jail sentences, more folks in jail for longer – higher costs to the city, to the tax payers, and a more judgmental, demeaning way of treating humans…. and they certainly are not coming out any the better for it.

Some folks are comparing jails with institutions for psychiatric prisoners.  They mutually reinforce the approach of state controlling humans.  Both are guilty of classism, racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, and albeism.  In both situations you have humans locked up against their will, denied access to information, services, visits, media, and the public, even sunshine.  People are dying in both – sometimes from drug overdoses and improper mixing of drugs – without informed and free consent.  There are no public investigations – hell, you hardly hear of them.  Both systems use solitary confinement, forced transfers, sensory deprivation as means to control.  Women in the system are subjected to extra oppression, and more electroshock, damaging drugs, and longer confinement.  The LGBT community are doubly oppressed.  These systems claim to benefit society while promoting hierarchy and oppression.  This is not helping any *prisoner*, it is punishing and controlling.

There are many ways to help someone in crisis… much more effective ways.  There can be healing,  and crisis centres, community justice circles, residential-therapeutic houses, supportive housing and decriminalization of petty crimes.

Why are we wasting money on jails instead of housing, schooling and food?  We need to start treating all humans as if they are indeed, humans.  With dignity and respect and perhaps a little care.

Don Jail

Don Jail

CLICK HERE to see more statistics on number of jails, and folks being sent there.  There are many and overwhelming.

5K Walk for Poverty + Justice‏

In case anyone is interested!!

Saturday, 17 July 2010
13:30 – 16:00
25 Charles St. E
Toronto, ON

This street-walk is a great way of both raising funds for and walking in solidarity with our friends, many of whom live on the street and walk miles every day in search of food and shelter.

E-mail Nada Thomson – – to find out more information and to sign up!!!

*SIGN UP BY JUNE 30TH and raise a minimum of $100 to receive a FREE Sanctuary ball cap; raise a minimum of $500 to receive a FREE handcrafted wood pen by StudioSanctuary (retail value: $75).
To read the facebook page, click HERE.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: