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Survivor of Incest Adds Her Voice

August 11, 1993

Thank you for the excellent article on "Healing Power of VOICES" (July 27). I, too, am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I am so thankful for support groups such as VOICES. I am 38 years old; my daughter is 10, the same age I was when my father began coming into my bedroom at night. My daughter's turning the same age triggered the return of all the memories of my own sexual abuse.

Words can't describe the terror I felt as a little girl when the person I depended on for survival would do something to me that was so painful and confusing. A little girl does not even know what sex is; all she knows is that she loves her father and believes with all her heart that he loves her and would never do anything hurtful to her. Where is the protection for little girls who are violated by their fathers? She does not even know the words to describe what he does to her. She does not even know it is a crime.

Many incest survivors, like myself, repress the memories, until, as an adult, the memories come back in the form of "body memories," nightmares or depression.

I cannot change what happened to me, but I am responsible for how I treat others and what I do with my life now, as well as protecting my children from my father and not allowing this dysfunction to be passed to another generation. Being in individual therapy, as well as a support group for incest survivors, has helped me deal with the pain, betrayal and violation I experienced as a child. Just because a father provides food, shelter and clothing for his daughter, it does not give him the rights to her body.

Name withheld

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Well, finally! I'm so glad to read Dennis McLellan's article on Orange County's best writer, Bentley Little ("Asian Myth Adds New Blood to Vampire Story," July 15). This writer is so good and has such a future I'm a little surprised no one else has done a major story on him. My impression is that although he is a very popular writer in his field and writes so intelligently, it is his "horror genre" that keeps him from getting the press he so richly deserves. (Read some of his short stories in the small press, and you will see what I mean).

It is too bad more people don't know about the "horror writers" out there. Bentley and others like him may help out. Anyway, thanks for one of the few articles about this kind of writing.

And Bentley, if you read this, we need more novels out!

Paul Houghtaling, Yorba Linda

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I read with wry amusement Dianne Klein's column "How Men Tempt the Recline of Civilization" (July 25) and the male affection for the Barcalounger or La-Z-Boy recliners.

Let men, in this age of sweet feminism, have their Sunday afternoon delight with a snooze or two in their Barcalounger.

Or in fairness, let Ms. Klein on some lazy Sunday, write a sequel: "How Women Rescue the Cradle of Civilization (with the mother of all chairs): The Rocker."

To paraphrase one of America's great poets, Robert Frost, "Something there is that doesn't love a rocker." Like a shady porch, a fireplace, a golden retriever or a curled Cheshire cat.

Not to mention mothers from frontier times who have nurtured some of our finest statesmen, poets, and presidents in an old-fashioned rocking chair.

Think of young Abe's mother cradling America's greatest President in a plain rocker, or the devil in Daniel Webster carving his name into a pine rocker.

JFK was often photographed in his antique Boston rocker, nurturing his Celtic imagination and nursing a bad back.

When my first son, Daniel, was born 11 years ago, I drove in a hurry to Barker Brothers in downtown L.A., where I picked out the most comfy and solid rocker on the showroom floor. I was propelled by the memory of my own mother, who nursed 11 children in the family rocker. My wife was going to have that rocker for our infant son.

And now that my sons (are older), I usurp the family rocker, puffing contentedly on my pipe, scanning The Times, and tuned into MTV, where I hope the next generation will rock on.

Mike Nally, Anaheim

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