Category Archives: sexual abuse

An Aspie Memoir: “Unforgiving” by Margaret Jean Adam.

I handed the ‘Life Writing’ assignment in to my professor.  It was entitled “The Fictional Story of My Life”.

He gave it a high grade, but asked me, “Why fictional?”

I told him, “because important factors have been left out.”  I didn’t say what.  Like not understanding how ‘social interaction’ worked. Or, like being repeatedly abused by a sexual predator.

“You should write the truth,” he told me.  His name was Roy Miki, it was to be his last class before retiring from a long and illustrious career at Simon Fraser University.  He knew all about hard truths.  As a young Canadian of Japanese ethnicity he and his family had been interned during the Second World War.  He had since fearlessly examined and written his own truths.

At that time I had in mind five books which I wanted to write.  My life story was not one of them.  But Miki’s words haunted me and I found I could not work on anything else. So, almost reluctantly, I began to recall and piece together my teen years.

“Focus upon an event or period of time that was pivotal, and write around it,” Miki advised.

So I did.  I wrote about the summer I auditioned for a part as the lead actress in a National Film Board production.  About the boys I loved and the numerous times I made an Aspie faux pas.

And about the humour and sometimes the horror of situations that arose as a result of not understanding the underlying messages in conversations or events, inferences that everyone else seemed to pick up on automatically.

The resulting book is not a fictional version, but the truth, or at least as much of it as I felt people could endure.  As much as I could remember.  As much as I could bear!

Unforgiving, Memoir of an Asperger Teen is a book that is not so much about what Asperger’s is, but instead one which intends to illustrate the naiveté and social disconnection characteristic of Asperger’s.

I wanted to express how the realization that one is excluded from socially contextual understanding leads to strong feelings of rejection.  And how this sense of isolation then denies a person those meaningful ties which would otherwise develop to allow a teen to have a sense of security within her immediate community: family, friends, peers and lovers. A social shelter without which, she is isolated and vulnerable.

Easy prey.

And I wanted to express how, as a teenager, when I recognized this abandonment, and the full force of my emotional aloneness in the world, I found myself to be unforgiving.

 

To order a copy of Unforgiving, Memoir of an Asperger Teen, go to:

https://www.amazon.ca/Unforgiving-Asperger-Margaret-Jean-Adam/dp/0973136421

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Asperger’s at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SIWC)

This weekend the SIWC takes over the Sheraton Guildford, with hundreds of writers, including Asperger me, swarming the premises.  A volunteer at the Federation of BC Writers’ table, I took the opportunity to promote my book, Unforgiving, the Memoir of an Asperger Teen.  

People were frank in expressing their curiosity about Asperger’s and I was delighted to be able to clarify about and advocate for Asperger’s and Autism.

Many people have heard about Asperger’s but aren’t sure what the term implies.  Not only did people want to know what behavioural anomalies were associated with Asperger’s, but also what that might look like in a person’s life.

I explained that Asperger’s kids generally are very honest, almost unable to lie.  Deceit and manipulation are usually beyond them.  They also go largely by spoken word, and are unable to pick up on tonal variations (sarcasm, innuendo) and facial expression.

This makes these children extremely vulnerable to bullying.

At the very least, Asperger’s kids are often socially challenged, not learning how to respond to others by observing others in a social setting.  They mostly need to be taught, step by step, with the how and why of each type of social encounter.  Even then, the child may get it wrong, either because of mistaking the type of social interaction he is responding to, or because of feeling “safe” in the situation having passed the first few minutes in acceptance, and then getting it wrong beyond that point.

In my book, Unforgiving,  I show some of the blunders I made, some of the vulnerability that comes from being unable to communicate in an appropriate way both with adults and peers.  Having Asperger’s can make one a target for bullying, for pedophiles, for all sorts of difficult situations.

Keeping the lines of communication open, and understanding the syndrome is crucial to keeping your Asperger’s child safe.

I was glad for the chance to talk to people at the SIWC about Asperger’s.  Hopefully, it will make a difference, however small, in someone’s life.

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Who’s Guilty At Penn State?

“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State,” Louis Freeh report.

Louis Freeh’s report on the Sandusky investigation brings to light yet again a truth as old as communal living:  those in positions of power attach to that power and will rarely risk losing it, regardless of who or what is at stake.

We have seen this over and over again, most recently in the Catholic Church in Ireland, where bishops and others covered up for priests abusing young boys.  We see it in schools, where predators like Harold Banks who molested over 100 children and diarized his deeds, was not fired but transferred from school to school until he was finally charged and convicted.

People in hierarchical power,  whether it’s in a religious, political or educational institution, tend to protect that power at the cost of all else.  Marx recognized this principle when he said that laws were created solely to maintain the power and position of the upper classes.

Paterno and his bunch, like the hierarchy of the  Catholic Church, and many private and public schools, claim they denied the victim and allowed the predator free rein in order to protect to the reputation of the institution that empowers them.

Think about that.  They allow predators free rein within their institution to protect the reputation of the institution?  I say no.

I say the real reason prominent people are willing to let helpless children be victimized is because they don’t want to lose the salary cap, the social position, the title that now precedes their name, the lifestyle they have finally achieved.

Any excuse is good enough to desist from risking that position.   That’s why they are easily convinced to keep quiet; to not step up and speak out and put a halt to acts that corrupt their programs and institutions at the deepest level.

The reputation of their institution is an excuse, not a reason, and any excuse is sufficient to convince these people to protect the privileged lifestyle they enjoy.  To do so, they must at some level, accept the social disenfranchisement of the children who are suffering.  They must accept the fact that the perpetrator knows that no-one in his social circle is ever going to do anything about it–that for all intents and purposes?  He operates with their approval.  With impunity.

Let’s take the kid gloves off and tell it like it is.  Sandusky’s a predator.  But he’s not the only guilty one at Penn State.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

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