How to Bring a Dead Man to Justice
We set out to dance on the grave of the grandfather who molested us as children. We never got there, but what happened instead changed our lives
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”
When Mary Lovely and her cousin Laura Parrott-Perry were two little girls. They were both sexually abused by their grandfather from the time Mary was eight until she was fourteen and Laura was seven until she was nine.
Mary didn’t talk about it for 35 years.
She remembers being in the kitchen as a youngster around twelve and overhearing her parents talking with Laura’s dad. In the midst of a bitter divorce, he was angry because Laura had told her mother she had been molested by her grandfather. Her mother believed her. He didn’t.
It was the first time Mary spoke up. “I tried to communicate to my uncle and my parents that he had done that to me too, but the conversation didn’t go as I had thought it would,” she said. “They asked me why I hadn’t told them before and then they were silent. My story was buttoned up, never mentioned again and that was the end of it. Why wouldn’t they listen to me? I thought it was because I was bad.”
The two cousins were kept apart from each other from then on. Laura never had to see that side of the family again. Mary continued to suffer the abuse until she was 14. Both said their grandfather had stolen the child within them and referred to themselves as ‘ancient ruins’ before they were ten.
“As abuse victims, we all continue to carry this dark, dark shame,” said Laura. “We don’t want anyone to know about it. We are told it is ‘unspeakable.’ So, you don’t speak about it and you carry it around in this little pocket in your heart and it infects everything. You leave it alone and it’s toxic.”