I have been harassed, assaulted, and battered every decade of my life. 

Most of the perpetrators were men, but some women who were complicit in enabling for this to happen. 

Most of the perpetrators and the enablers were religious; they professed to be Christians. Some were church administrators, pastors/wanna-be-pastors, and church members. 

Others were extended-family members. 

The three unrelated and unreligious were merchants and a music teacher, decades apart; my family and my neighbors knew one. Only one was a stranger. 

The perps and enablers were black and white.

So why am I writing about this now? I have planned on blogging again. My spiritual director and my therapists have suggested that I should. One of the main reasons is because of the toll of the assaults have had on my body. I’m losing my capacity to communicate. 

It’s difficult to talk and write. Anyone who has known me from 20 to 40 years ago, know that I’m a talker. I gave speeches and taught speech. I did reading theater in college and wrote plays. I was born as a writer and wrote professionally for most of my life. I was a careful listener. Now it is difficult to hear letters, numbers, and details.

Because of what I call my multi-system-dysfunction, some days it is difficult to get one word out of my mouth. Even if the words come out, you might not understand what I’m trying to say, in particular, if I’m tired. And on the phone—the automatic systems don’t comprehend my words.

Writing is difficult. I need to use three or four different grammar/spelling check apps. Even if I know what I want to say, sometimes it comes out as a word dump. I have to rearrange the words and delete some. It is not like editing and rewriting that I have done or taught students to do. Then sometimes I can’t find the words I want to use. I was a quick writer and editor. And now it can be a slog.

In short, I'm trying to hold on my capacity to communicate. I want to tell my story. I want to share the understanding that I’m receiving. I hope that it will help someone else. 

It will not be salacious. You will not get a lot of details. No one will be named—because they know who they are. 

I don’t want sympathy. I hope for a conversation and a connection. If you don’t understand what I’m writing, please ask questions or kindly tell me. No trolling is allowed.  

Thank you for reading.
Vikki Montgomery is a teacher, an Episcopal laywoman, and a spiritual director of color.
Image courtesy of William Stith.