Wednesday 20 April 2011

Ponderings of the heart . . .

There's a soap on the telly over here that I have been watching for years and years, called Coronation Street. I believe it's the oldest running serial on British Television, having been on the air since 1960, in fact they just celebrated the 50th Anniversary at the end of last year with all sorts of special programs on the television.

I have always liked it because it is quite realistic in a lot of ways. It's about a street in a North Western suburb of Manchester called Weatherfield. The people in it are very working class . . . oh, you may have a few toff's but for the most part very humble and ordinary folk. Most have the same day to day struggles as most people do . . . how they are going to pay their bills, family problems, etc. You feel as if you could just walk up to any door on the street and you would be knocking on the door of a much loved friend. The characters seem real to you and you care about them.

They often run story lines which touch on important issues that affect people in their own lives . . . for instance last year, a character, Sally Webster, had breast cancer . . . and the Windasse's son Gary did a stint with the army in Afghanistan and came home injured from a road bomb, having lost his best friend and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

One of the latest story lines they have had running (and there are usually 2 or 3 different ones at any given time) is about Maria, a long standing character, having been almost raped by a business colleague. She had been hired on by the owner of the knicker factory as Carla's (the owner and her ex sister in law) PA. With the downturn in the economic situation in the country this business has been really floundering and it's been touch and go for months now if it will make it through. They had the opportunity to get a big contract from this man named Frank. Carla could see that he had an eye for Maria and so has sent Maria over to his place to sweeten him up one night, under the guise of talking business. She tells Maria to really doll herself up and to flirt with him a little bit, which Maria does do . . . the end result being that she ends up having to fight him off as he won't take no for an answer and trys to rape her. She does manage to escape but the whole experience leaves her rather shaken. To make a long story short, he denies anything and Carla really is desparate to save her business, and so Maria ends up having to swallow her pride and put up with him. This happened months ago and it's been really difficult for Maria having to put up with him. He knows that he did it and she knows that he did it . . . he thinks he's gotten away with it and in the meantime Maria's confidence has gone right down the tube . . .

It came to a head the other night when Maria quite her job, and was finally forced to tell her partner what had happened. She had been keeping it from him and had been slowly pulling away from him because of all the emotional stress and upset. As she sat there and shared with him what she was feeling, I just started crying. She talked about how ashamed she was and about how it was all her fault and how dirty and stupid she felt . . .

When I was 16, I was not "almost" raped . . . I "was" raped by an older boy, of about 20 or so on a school exchange trip. I won't go into all the details about it, but it was a case of "date rape." I was in a French Speaking Province on a school exchange trip, where I could not speak the language, and this young man had been hanging around all of us kids, and was great friends with the kids that we were bileting with. He seemed like a really nice guy, and was very attentive towards me. I was flattered. He was older and not bad looking. Yes, I kissed him on several occasions and one day, when we were away from the rest of the crowd, he raped me. I couldn't stop him. I remember feeling so ashamed afterwards and afraid. Afraid that I was pregnant. Afraid that my parents would find out. I was convinced that it was my fault and that I had asked for it in some way. I felt dirty and stupid. It was just horrible.

The other night as we watched this show, all those horrible feelings came back to me and I cried. My heart broke for Maria and what she was going through . . . and my heart broke for the 16 year old me who was robbed of all my innocence and made to feel cheap and tarty and dirty. You often hear about people "growing up" overnight . . . I grew up in a most horrible way that night and it is something I have carried with me ever since and has probably affected me in a lot of negative ways since . . . I was only a girl. I was young and inexperienced. I was away from home for the first time in my life. I'd always been kept safe and protected. I as innocent and naieve. I was vulnerable . . . and he took it all away from me.

Nobody has the right to do that to another person. No man has the right to take something from a girl that is not freely offered. No means no . . . no matter how pretty the girl is, or how flirtatious . . . or however drunk, etc. It's just wrong. There is no right about it.

The end result for me was that he left all sorts of marks on my neck and the other kids on the trip ostracized me for the remainder of the trip, treating me like I was a slut. They didn't know what had happened, only that I had been flirting with this older good looking guy, and that I had hickies on ny neck. My parents did find out because he passed something on to me that needed medical treatment . . . I had a boyfriend at the time and we had never been intimate with each other. I ended up breaking it off with him because of everything that had happened, and I spent a very long time feeling responsible, and horrible about myself. I believe that the course of my life as changed forever . . .

The show ended the other night with Maria having called the police to report what had happened. I hope he gets done for it . . . coz he deserves to get done for it. Justice must be served . . . for Maria, and for every other girl who says no and gets ignored.

This probably isn't what you expected to read here this morning. I know it certainly isn't what I expected to write about when I first sat down here at my computer . . . but it is what was on my mind and heart. I hope I haven't offended anyone, but I suspect I am not alone in this. I think there are a lot of us out there who have been through similar situations, and I just wanted to say that it's not your fault. You are not cheap. You are not dirty and you are not stupid. And God loves you, and can help to make it better.

*Potatao Asparagus Frittata*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A quick and easy stove top supper that is filled with all the lovely tastes of Spring!

2 1/2 ounces of Swiss Cheese, grated
1 TBS butter
1/2 cup sliced spring onions
1 pound of Asparagus spears, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces*
1 1/2 cups of chopped cooked potato
1/2 cup milk
6 large free range eggs
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoniing
1/2 tsp salt
chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a 10 inch skillet until it begins to foam. Add the spring onions and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until crispy tender, some 2 to 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and give them a good stir. Reduce the heat to low.

Beat together the eggs, milk, lemon pepper and salt. Pour over the potato mixture. Cover and cook until the centre is almost set. This will take 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand in order to allow the cheese to melt for several minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Cut into wedges to serve. A tossed salad goes along very well with this. Makes a nice lunch or a lovely light supper.

*Note: to prepare asparagus, wash well and then take the spears and snap off the tough and woody ends by gently bending the lower third of the spear. It will break easily off in just the right spot. Discard these bits. I then like to take a sharp knife and remove the little spines all around the spear as they can be a bit bitter. Discard them as well and then cut your asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

Over in The English Kitchen today a delicious treat . . . Golden Syrup and Oatmeal Muffins!


  1. Morning dear Marie,
    I too watch Coronation Street..and I also hope forteh correct outcome for Marie. I know that folks say's only a story...but we know that there are many truths in that story and I am grateful and homoured that you have been able to share yourexperience with us
    Hope that you are enjoying thyis wonerful weather.
    Much Love Sybil xx

  2. Oh Marie! What a terrible thing to happen to a young girl and what a heartless, selfish boy he was to take advantage of the situation and inflict such hurt on you. I can imagine that the Coronation Street story line really hit a nerve with you as you watched another person struggling with her self esteem, trying to "carry on as normal" when feeling crushed inside. ((HUGS))

    I'm so glad that you have found peace and happiness in your life now.

  3. Your story is one many share. They say it happens more than we'd like to know. There are centers here set up for just that purpose, counseling women who have gone though just that. Sad but true. Your advice is one that many need to hear and I think you are very courageous to share the way you did.

  4. oh, Marie, I am so sorry that happened to you. I had a somewhat similar experience at a younger age as well. It was not until about 5 years ago that I figured out I had to forgive myself for what had happened. Experiences like that do indeed affect you for life. Much love to you my precious friend - Raquel XO

  5. Oh my gosh Marie,, how terrible for you!I wish I was closer because i could hug you,,what a horrible thing to have had happen to you.My heart goes out to you,,,

  6. What courage you have to share your story, dear Marie! My heart breaks that you had to endure such a terrible thing, and feel so bad for so long. I am glad you have come to a peace with this, even if a bit of the hurt must still be there. Some hurts don't completely go away, do they. But we can make peace. Bless you, dear friend. LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  7. I've watched Coronation St from the very beginning since I was a young child in Newfoundland. We're a little behind your very-up-to-date shows here. (But you didn't ruin it for me.)

    I too was a victim of rape by a friend's friend when I was in my 20's; my girlfriend was right in the next bedroom and didn't hear anything: therefore, according to her "It didn't happen." It's an awful stigma to carry around, and I guess I still have residual shame. But luckily for you and I, we know how much God loves us; we know that He was there with us, crying along with us; and we know that He cleanses and heals us from the filth of the world.

    You were very brave this morning, Marie. I know all your blog friends are very proud of you. Thank you for sharing.

  8. The statistics for rape would appall you Marie - they are ridiculously high. I used to be a counselor and I can't count the number of young women who came to me with a similar story. Even at your age it helps to talk about what happened with a trusted friend. We seem to need constant reassurance that it wasn't our fault. Women are the queens of guilt! blessings, marlene

  9. oh marie, my heart breaks for you :( i'm so so sorry you had to go through that. i think its awesome that you shared your experience here on your blog. its happened to so many innocent young girls, and i'm sure many out there needed to read this today. your words are courageous and inspiring. i'm so happy for you though that you now have a life of happiness and joy! thanks to sweet todd and mitzie(and you-for making good choices!) :)

  10. My Dear Marie, my heart goes out to you. As previously said, this is a more common occurance than most people realise. I have my own story, which I may share one day. I wasn't a young girl but still left feeling dirty and ashamed. As I believe every rape victim does.

    My worry these days is young children being dressed like young women. In this day and age, with so much publicity about paedophiles.It scares me seeing 9 and 10 year olds dressed up like jailbait.

    I admire your honesty and candor, you are a wonderful lady.

    See you soon

    Love and Hugs


  11. My dear Marie; thanks for being brave enough to post this. I am crying because I love you for doing this. You are such an awesome woman and I have loved following your posts. I have a granddaughter that has had some bad experiences and she doesn't feel good about herself at all. My heart bleeds for her. She has received counseling; but still her heart has been bruised.
    It is something that we grieve over when it happens and even years later; I know that to be true.
    Again, what would we do without the Atonement of Jesus Christ who can left this burden from our souls. I just wish she could know that.
    I loved the pictures of your flowers. I need some spring.
    As usual an awesome recipe too.
    Just know you are loved by me and I would love to meet you at some moment of time; you are an awesome sister in the gosple.
    Hug, Loves and blessings to you! LeAnn


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