Portfolio > Interviews with Escapists (2011)

Painting of escapism by Karley Feaver
Sophie, Solo stay-at-home mother
Acrylic on canvas
1000 x 1000mm

SOLD - In the Westpac NZ Corporate Collection

There are two parts to this story, my original write up about Maria and her response to me after reading my blog. These are both detailed below.

Part One
Sophie is 42 years old and has been a solo, stay at home mum for the past 6 years - by choice. Sophie was sexually abused at the age of 10 years old, by the hands of a grown man.  Sophie dealt with it her way by being bulimic and sometimes anorexic - this was her way of escaping from what happened.  Today she is still going to counselling but she has decided to press charges against the man who stole her innocence.  

When Sophie found out he had done this to other girls, one being his own daughter, made her decide to go ahead with the charges. Sophie is OK talking about her ordeal now days, she has been able to move on with her life.  Although she says she is very good at “presenting”  herself, dressing beautifully and looking pretty, this is sometimes a front for what is actually going on in her mind.  Not so much now days, but maybe a year ago.

I never actually asked her if her parents knew what happened to her - I didn’t feel it was right.
Describing herself as “Hidden”, Sophie is an amazing woman, who brought a tear to my eye. With persistence and the love for her son, she is at a point in her life where she can honestly say “I am OK, and I will be OK”.

Part Two
“I no longer question my motivation to press charges.  The police did find out that my mother was warned about him but for whatever reasons didn't act on the information.  Way back then his wife had been advised by a lawyer not to press charges. Times were different.

I often feel that I don't move on with my life.  I suppose what I'm saying is that I am not ok all the time.  Now I am better at being emotional and I am more conscious.  We have this idea that one gets fixed or better.  I don't believe that. What I think happens is that one starts to manage one's life. I love the saying that Life is managing ordinary Misery.

The man did not steal my innocence. I am still innocent as an adult. What these people do to children, what that man did to me, took away boundaries and safety.  Their actions make children, made me, ashamed, secretive and scared.  He gave me physical pain.  As an adult that sexual abuse makes problems for me with intimacy and trust.  It has made me ambivalent.  

I am difficult to take care of.  The bulimia and anorexia becomes a reliable friend to deal with emotion.  I have learned to escape very well.  I think that happens when as a child you are not protected”.