Dawn confronts the world of child molestation, abuse and inadequate foster care in this memoir.
During Dawn’s childhood, she was sodomized repeatedly by her uncle. She chronicles her experiences of ongoing sexual abuse and wonders why “not a single nurse, teacher, or student ever said a word.” Ignored, Dawn withdraws, drinks and continues to be molested by her uncle (whom she refers to as Uncle Daddy) until she becomes completely demoralized. The author recounts the abuse she endured in unflinching detail; she writes, “instead of standing on the toilet and molesting me, [Uncle Daddy] decided to shower with me instead. Just seeing him naked sent me into a panic which was his desired reaction.” When she eventually enters foster care, Dawn begins to experience a normal lifestyle. The author paints poignant scenes of how ordinary family life affected her—“Those first few days I cried about everything: getting a pair of jeans, sharing a room with a girl, not cleaning out a chicken coop. I cried because no one came in to send me to Father’s room.” However, when she eventually runs away from her foster home, her foster family abandons her. Readers will find themselves completely absorbed in the author’s journey, despite its gruesome details. At times, however, Dawn interrupts her own narrative to provide the points of view of her other siblings, which drains tension. The author wrote about her horrific childhood, she states, in an effort to change federal law and “remove the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children in all fifty states.” She urges her readers to “ask [their] representatives where they stand on this issue and what they intend to do about it.” The plea is a forceful one, although readers may wish that Dawn provided more legislative and policy solutions.
A difficult subject, but an important first-person account of sexual abuse.