Tag Archives: children

Outcry: “Tamar Pleads Insanity”

Here is the second poem in the series dedicated to the issue of child abuse. This poem is about the tragic assumptions that children can make when they’re being sexually abused, particularly by a family member. Almost all children in that situation will assume it’s their fault, something they did wrong, either because the perpetrator is flat-out telling them that, or because it’s easier than believing that the person they love and are supposed to be able to trust is a monster. If the abuse is my fault, they think, then there’s some way to control it. I can be better. I can be a sweet girl. I can be a strong boy. If I just don’t cry. If I just don’t tell. Maybe then it will stop. If you’re not the one to blame, on the other hand, then there is no control and you are completely at the mercy of this person. They have all the power, and you have no hope. Taking on the guilt, in a weird way, gives you hope that you have the power to change the situation. That’s the best way I can explain it when people ask why a child- who is obviously totally blameless- would take the blame for these crimes. Because no matter what, children just want to have hope.

Also, just to note, I wrote this when I really believed that the abuse I suffered was my fault. Thankfully, I have decided conclusively that this is not the case, and never was.


Tamar Pleads Insanity

When love means possession, a choice must be made

One has to decide what she’s willing to trade


How about innocence? That can’t be worth much

A valuable would be respected as such


So slip on the veil, prepare to pretend

Just don’t let your role and reality blend


It’s clear what he wants, so before he can ask

You play along and hop to the task


Who knows when you mutated, became a whore

Decided that you wouldn’t fight anymore


The entire world dimmed and this became love

A hard iron fist in a red velvet glove


The only attention you could guarantee

From Father, a person you wanted to see


So desperate for him to notice you there

You knew what would happen but just didn’t care


Questioning, Daddy, is it time to play?

Stupid to ask, you know what he’ll say


He leads you inside, pray with all your might

Please let Daddy be different tonight


But he never is, you idiot child

For the one millionth time you trusted that smile


And now you must own the decision you made

The amount that you bet, the price that you paid


© Sarah Henderson 2002