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Why I Was Mean - From Eckerd Review

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

My goal, in this nonfiction essay, was to provide a first-hand report on what Russ Douthat described in The New York Times as the 1970s culture of statutory rape, which infused my childhood and adolescence. He should have been arrested. #MeToo


Atlanta, Georgia, circa 1965. From left to right: Ginger, Carrie, mom Caroline, Maggie. Katie had not yet been born.

By the time my brother John was born, I was sixteen and recently released from a mental hospital, where my mother, fighting off tears, had checked me in. I had run away from home. I had punched out a window, slicing my arm, realizing David didn’t really love me.


Or did he? Was he mean, or just confused? Maybe he had been hurt, as a kid, and it left him sick. I still don’t know.


In the hospital, my roommate huffed spray-deodorant through a wet towel. I was sent home with medication. In my hospital records, years later, I found only one reference to David. “Patient feels guilty about having sex with her brother,” the psychiatrist’s handwritten note said.


Maybe it didn’t get reported because it was the 1970s in the South. Maybe they thought I was a bad girl, as I believed. Maybe I told them I was in love.


Read more at Eckerd Review.

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