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cut for child rape; running away; living on streets; incest;… 
20th-Sep-2007 02:45 am
cut for child rape; running away; living on streets; incest; prostitution; death of abuser -- hope I got them all

I am on an email list which is usually light-hearted and makes me smile. There is no specific discussion topic; it is a small list and we just have fun on it. The list members are from all over the country, but some of us have met face-to-face.

Today someone whom I have met, and who is from my home-town area posted a link to an obituary. It caused me to flashback quite a bit. It took me a while to process it all, and then to respond. Below is the link and my response. The one who posted this didn't make any personal commentary beyond a subject line which said, "Too sad."

I wanted to be respectful of the one who posted it, but yet stay true to myself, my old friend, and my message. I think I succeeded.

I didn't mention it in my post, really by neglect not purposeful ommission, but when this story happened I was only seventeen years old. I left my parent's home when I was 16-years-old. I am now 51; this all seems like so long ago, yet parts of it also seem fairly fresh.


I remember him; my story is not so uplifting as some of those on the site.

I was a local hippie in 1973, hanging out with the street people. I
had a friend whom asked to stay with me. Prior to coming to stay with
me she had been staying with Shakey Jake. I asked why she needed a
different place to stay because his home seemed safe. She told me he
had sexually assaulted her. While she told everyone she was fifteen,
I found out that she was really only thirteen years old. She was
treated a bit special by many of the street people, because we knew
she was younger, we just didn't know how young. We thought she would
be safe with Shakey Jake, and were very surprised she was not. But, I
did believe what she told me. She seemed even more traumatized than
usual when she came to me for help; I was one of the few who actually
had an apartment to call home. Eventually, she ended up as a hooker,
traveling the interstate, and that is the last I ever heard of her.

Once I saw a poem she wrote:

What am I looking for; what will I find?
I wonder if I'll call it peace of mind?

Shakey Jake had a good reputation locally but, at least during one
part of his life, he made a habit of preying on the young street
people who were too traumatized and abused to have a home to return
to. This was before the days of massive "child protective services"
involvement in cases of incest and abuse. This was before incest was
even in the feminist mind, yet alone the public eye.

Sorry my story might pop someone's idealism balloon but, yea, I knew
Shakey Jake. I just knew a different side of him.
20th-Sep-2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
So sorry to hear both about what your friend experienced and that this obituary triggered these memories. To have that come up so unexpectedly on a usually light-hearted e-mail list must have been really tough.

I do have a question, though. Was this girl a relative of Shakey Jake's? Because you mention she was a fellow streetperson who had been staying with him, but incest is sexual abuse amongst family members, so I think I'm missing a piece of the picture.
20th-Sep-2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
She was on the street due to incest -- she didn't have a safe home to go to, nor were there social service networks avialable to help her; child abuse was not taken seriously in 1973. Most of the ones I knew who were on the streets were there due to incest and child abuse. I suspect it is the same today, although more services are now available.

Also, if one wants to take this issue in a radical direction -- Shakey Jake was viewed as a father-figure by many, including the young girl he abused. It was a huge betrayal of trust.

20th-Sep-2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Okay, that unravels the wrinkles in my head - thanks for the clarification. Thanks for explaining it :)

Totally - that poor girl got abused by someone who was a father figure to her, and at that point, it's like salt in the wound, to be betrayed on that level.
20th-Sep-2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
i'm sorry about your shock. similarly, my 1st rapist is a well-known wrestling coach. there are tons of websites saying how wonderful he is, how caring he is, how you can trust him, how there's no one out there that shouldn't like him. i don't.
20th-Sep-2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
I am sorry about you having to deal with your rapist being so publically liked.

I did want to say that I felt a *tremendous* feeling of satisfaction to post my words to the list where the email originally came from. I haven't received any response back, but I don't really expect one. But, it sure felt good to be able to tell the story and short-circuit the praise for this guy.

... wondering if I have the courage to post it to the public message boards where Shakey-Jake is getting praised ???
20th-Sep-2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry. It sucks when abusers are well known locally and appreciated by a part of the community, but no one knows the wrong things they did. I know because I have something similar going on (except the abuser is still alive in my case). I hope writing about it made you feel better.
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