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Voices / Letters from readers

Former radio commentator appreciates support and affirmation from Commons readers

RE: “He was my grandfather” [Viewpoint, Oct. 10]:

I’m so grateful to my readers for the outpouring of support in response to the publication of my story of being silenced for telling my story of childhood sexual abuse. The response has been as astounding as it’s been affirming.

I thank everyone who sent messages of support by email, by phone, by comment online, on my blog, and on social media.

As sad as I am to forgo my radio audience, I’m intensely gratified to find such remarkable support at home and on line. Thank you.

I’m as humbled as I am gratified: many of you shared with me your own stories of family abuse and decades of silence. Thank you for trusting me with your stories; I hope that voicing them brings you both relief and freedom from shame.

What we are learning from this very public discussion of what’s traditionally been a very private shame is that our memories of these traumatic events are particular in peculiar ways: we remember sounds, smells, or cracks in the ceiling, but not necessarily the facts of time, place, date — the facts that stand up in court.

That some media outlets with national distribution, like The Washington Post, and other, intensely local papers, like The Commons, are willing to publish these accounts means that we are breaking the silence that has previously allowed people to deny that children are sexually abused by family members, that women are assaulted by frat boys, and that women are harassed at work.

Those who’ve not experienced this behavior are starting to learn that it is as commonplace as it is commonly denied. And we’re learning that speaking up about it is the first step toward bringing it to an end.

On a personal note, this entire episode has expanded my appreciation for living locally, what I call Living in Place. I’ve been engaged in local foods since moving to Vermont in 1984, and with local, restorative justice since 2007. I’ve been posting essays both pointed and poetic on my blog, “Living in Place,” since 2014.

The blog, accessible via my website, doesn’t have the reach of VPR, but I hope my former listeners and my new readers will find me there. Rather than sanitize my work for broadcast, I will be free to drill down into the loam of what’s going on right here.

But none of this would have come out were it not for our local, independent weekly and Jeff Potter, editor of The Commons. To have this paper in our community is yet another blessing of Living in Place.

Deborah Lee Luskin

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Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #484 (Wednesday, November 7, 2018). This story appeared on page D3.

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