The following is an email I recently sent to my State Representative in Wisconsin in response to Senate Bill 507, which attempts to label single parenthood as child abuse. I debated whether or not to post this publicly as it brings up some pretty personal family stuff (though, in hindsight, I guess not incredibly personal and, heck, not even that bad of a story compared to some), but then I thought about just how many children of divorced parents there are in my state. I realized that someone needs to stand up for these victims of child abuse. So I post this with the greatest of hesitance, hoping that it may help others who have been victimized and "lead astray" without even realizing it.
PS - I love my parents and am incredibly blessed to have three loving ones who have only ever supported me in my derelict, unsuccessful life.
Editor's Note: I went back and changed the way I had written a few things regarding my parents' divorce. I hope no one read it thinking my mom or my dad were to blame, or worse, that I blamed either parent in particular. You know what they say about divorce...It Happens. And that's really all that needs to be said. See above post scriptum.
Dear Representative Cullen,
I'm writing today because I'm deeply concerned about Senate Bill 507, which I first heard about via The Huffington Post. I would write my Senator, Leah Vukmir, but based on her past actions of leaving open houses and town hall meetings at any sign of dissension I'm afraid she won't listen to my concerns.
I'm concerned because I've been a victim of child abuse for the past 18 years and I didn't even know it.
I'm concerned because my mother is the scourge of society and I would like to report her dastardly behavior.
You see, my mother had the audacity to raise two daughters in a single parent household since I was the age of 11 and my sister 16.
When I was young, sometimes my parents would fight. I actually didn't know any of this until right before they split up. They tried their best to work out their problems and, most especially, keep their fighting away from my sister and I. I only happened to witness two fights before the divorce (a.k.a. my mother's criminalization).
At the time my parents split up my father immediately quit drinking and, even though he no longer lived with us, kept being the best dad I could've asked for. In fact, he became a better dad (if that's even possible), calling every week and making sure my sister and I had everything we could ever need, especially as we were too young to realize there were herds of child sex abusers coming to get us now that the marriage was over.
It really is amazing that my sister and I survived unscathed. She went on to earn her associate's degree and is now married with two young boys. I admit that in light of this recent piece of legislation I am now a little concerned that my mother spends so much time with these impressionable young children.
As for myself, I had no idea that because of my parents' divorce "I've gone so astray." I not only have a bachelor's degree, but also a master's degree and master's level certificate. I have a goal of earning a PhD someday and am on the brink of starting my own business, but now I mourn the fact that this will never happen. How can it, when my life is such a ruinous mess? I mean, while my sister and I were busy playing at being successful, my mother, the criminal that she is, spent her time on the lam with my stepfather, the second best dad a girl could have.
I'm only now learning how they both braved extradition charges and visited me overseas when I was a missionary. They helped fund my sister and I in college as much as they could. They've supported us in every crazy endeavor we've come up with, though, that's probably not surprising seeing as how they themselves are crazy criminal masterminds.
Representative Cullen, I no longer feel safe as all I've come to know is proven false. I can only now apologize for not being a successful, contributing member of society. In my defense I can only say that I was raised by a criminal and abused as a child. I promise that as soon as I am able I will quit my full-time job, drain my useless brain from the economy of this state, pay PhD tuition to another state's university system, and found my growing small business elsewhere. I know an apology on behalf of my derelict family is hardly enough, but it's the least I can do.
Sincerely (and with greatest regret),