POINT LAST SEEN
Point Last Seen is an intensely personal work. This is a true story of one woman's odyssey through three complex issues of childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence and mental illness.
All too often we hear or read horrific stories of children being abducted by pedophiles and shudder at the thought of what these innocent victims must have experienced. Rarely, if ever, do we hear how the terrifying experiences affect these victims as they journey through their lives. Ricky Hunter tells her story of being abducted at age five and how this terrifying ordeal shaped her life from childhood through to early womanhood and beyond.
Feelings of powerlessness, deadness, states of depression and post traumatic stress all placed Ricky in a precarious and vulnerable position. All too often we hear or read stories of domestic violence, vicious physical, mental and emotional attacks on defenseless women and children and shudder at the thought of what these victims must endure during and after their horrendous ordeal. Rarely, if ever, do we hear anything about how these victims survive their traumatic experiences. How do they cope with their day to day lives? How deep do their scars run? How fierce are their recurring images? Just what does the future hold?
Here Ricky Hunter tells her unabridged story. Her seemingly endless struggle to gain insight into how to process the images and emotions tied in with the horrifying events that happened to her are paying off. Having the tools to handle a melange of personal conundrums, in the face of overwhelming odds has enabled Ricky to gain control of her life.
Ricky's success in taking back her life one day at a time started with coming out of denial and facing her abuse issues head-on. For one person to survive such traumatic events and come out the other side is testimony to the human spirit.
A five-year-old child was abducted by a pedophile one sunny afternoon in 1953. She managed to escape and now tells the story some fifty years later. All those years with a secret tied up so tight inside her, unable to find its way out into the light for fear of shame and rejection Oh how she would rather have not remembered that day when she lost her identity, her innocence, her chance of living a normal life. Definitely not a topic to be dragged out over dinner or discussed lightheartedly by a book reading club, this is not fiction, far from it; these are the cold hard facts as it happened to me!
The narrative follows this little girl's life through her formative years right into adulthood and her quest to release her inner-self. She lives life locked in a continuous macabre dance of illegitimate shame which colour her every move and thought. Jean-Paul Sartre describes shame as a hemorrhage of the soul. The struggle with illegitimate shame is momentous for anyone who has been abused. Illegitimate shame is poisonous and corrosive.
Years later she revisits the scenes of the crimes, acknowledging herself as the central victim. This harrowing odyssey which she alone chooses to do, gives her empowerment, understanding and a profound sense of accomplishment. Hearing the global statistics in 2005 that one in three women are victims of domestic violence and catch-cries that "violence begins at home" is stark testimony to the times in which we live.
How does a child feel after being taken away from her home by deception, sexually abused - then successfully escapes? What are the long-term consequences for the children who survive such an attempt? How do their lives pan out as adults? What steps should parents take to minimise the trauma caused by such a horrific act? Why don't women in violent situations just leave? These are common questions with complex answers. It is not for us to judge another because a woman decides to stay and try to make her marriage work. You see, no one quite understands the circumstances of another person.
Unbeknownst to me my prospective husband, my knight in shining armour, was an abuser seeking a victim. I didn't realise I had an invisible sign stamped on my forehead - "victim". For six years I tried to keep my marriage together and protect my son from abuse. In the end after a suicide attempt, I took the frightening decision to flee the country with just $200 in my pocket. For the next fifteen years I struggled to raise a disabled son with multiple medical problems, as well as deal with my increasing bouts of depression and hold down a full time job.
After many admissions to psychiatric hospitals and dealing with the increasingly aggressive behaviour from my special needs son, I burnt out. I had to give up my career in the Software Industry and was bedridden for six months due to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and major depression/anxiety disorder. I suffered post traumatic stress disorder and terrifying flashbacks.
Closing the Gate
I was a victim of abuse and I had denied it all my life. I was in such emotional and psychological pain I couldn't function. I was afloat on a raft of despair. As Providence would have it, I found a therapist who handed me a book that held the key to unlocking my pain. I finally found a reason to step out of denial and face my reality with hope and courage.
I want other women to know that they can find the courage to step out of denial, choosing feeling instead of a life of numbness by facing the truth of their abuse and confronting the demons in their heads. We can skill ourselves in techniques of self empowerment and lead calmer and more mindful lives by facing our deepest fears and tackling them head on. We can move past our emotional scars and start to feel again.
It is not a fight for the fainthearted. It takes enormous courage and stamina and assistance from a much higher source than us. I believe that true courage becomes a searchlight inside of us for the rest of our lives. Each woman's path is different and each one has a valuable message. My way of achieving empowerment may not be yours and it isn't the only way. Not everyone could do what I chose to do. Other women fight their personal battles in their own unique way.
If I can touch one person's heart and move one person to fight their feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness, my job has been done. But you can't fight it alone. I had a support team of loving friends, a fantastic doctor and a skilled therapist to help me with my expedition. I also received assistance from my Heavenly Father, my True North.
On your journey, I wish you success, I wish you courage but most of all I wish you peace.
The Author - October 2006
About the Ttile
Tracking (also known as sign cutting) is a very useful and effective search tool. Every time you take a step you leave sign, or evidence of your passage. Trackers are also known as sign cutters. They follow sign which can include anything from tracks, footprints to any other subtle clues. Tracking begins from the Point Last Seen (PLS). If the sign has not been trampled, it is easier for the tracker to begin. If the sign is trampled, which is often the case, things get more difficult. The trackers have to identify the lost person's tracks and be able to sort them out from all other tracks. They then must be able to follow that trail to the person. In this story, the term Point Last Seen is used in the metaphorical sense.
Tracking Terminology used by kind permission Kim A. Cabrera