Page 10 - San Diego Woman interactive pdf
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Women of Distinction

                                                              I couldn’t maintain any long-
                                                              term friendships.
                                                                  At about age 12, I started
                                                              spending a lot of time with my
                                                              aunt Judi-my mother’s older
                                                              sister. She took me under her
                                                              wing and showed me what a
                                                              normal, loving family was like.
                                                              With my aunt’s help, I learned
                                                              about life, love and family. She
                                                              taught me everything I needed
                                                              to know.
                                                                  Without knowing it,
                Survivor to                                   and because of her- I am the   talking about my past, I started
                                                                                             Once I felt comfortable
                                                              person I am today. I owe her
                 THRIVER!                                     her about my abusive past. She   telling my co-workers-neigh-
                                                                  At age 28, I finally told
                                                                                          bors-and friends.
                                                              had no idea. We were both
                                                                                             And you know what? I
                                                              afraid and intimidated by my   started to hear about their sto-
                        By Kathy Picard                       abuser, so we kept quiet about   ries of abuse, and it didn’t take
                    Photos courtesy of Kathy Picard           it. But it felt so much better   me long to realize this dirty
                                                              to share that part of my life   little secret was widespread.
                                                              with her. She offered me all the   When her sweet aunt
            even-year-old little girls   said, shush don’t talk about   support I needed.  passed away at age 54, Kathy
            love their daddies. Kathy   that ever again”.         And when I met my future  took matters into her own
       Swas no exception, so           So of course I didn’t.   husband Gary, I had more   hands. She went public with
        when her daddy started paying   Back then kids did as they   support than I even thought   what happened to her, and
        “special” attention to her, she   were told.          possible.                   volunteered to tell her story,
        felt “special” in turn. Her dad-  Several years later, I dis-  After I met Gary, we   hoping it would help other
        dy loved her. What could be   covered sports and school ac-  talked about counseling and it   people understand more about
        better than that?          tivities that kept me busy and   took me years of looking but I   sexual abuse. As time went on,
           She was born to a teenage   out of that house of horrors   finally found a great counsel-  it helped her as well. She was
        mother and through a series   for as long as possible. I met a   or. It wasn’t easy re-living my   able to help other survivors
        of bad choices on her part; she   lot of classmates due to all my   past, but I knew I had to do it   come to terms with what hap-
        landed in the lap of the man   extra-curricular activities, but   if I wanted to start healing.  pened to them.
        that was supposed to nourish
        and protect her but instead he
        would brainwash, threaten,
        and sexually abuse her from
        the age of 7 to 17. She hasn’t
        been whole since she was six
        years old. Stating, “I don’t even
        remember what whole feels
        like. And more than 50 years
        later, I’m still not whole. And
        never will be.”
           “As a young child, I did
        not know what was being done
        to me was wrong. I was taught
        this is how love is expressed
        in a family, but it was a secret
        and as my abuser’s special girl
        I couldn’t tell anybody.
           But the secret bothered
        me and when I got a little
        older I told my Grammy, she

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