I woke up at 1:11 AM. I wondered at the significance of the time, often described as a divine sign. What did it mean? Something must be going on in the world, I thought. I am often struck by how something as simple as waking up and looking at the clock in the middle of the night has deeper meaning.
I was not surprised to read the news this morning that between the hour of 1 and 1:38 AM a woman was being executed on death row, and not just any woman but a woman who had suffered debilitating sexual abuse that had led her on a sadly devolving journey. She had committed a horrendous murder and was serving time in prison for that murder, but her story is an example of so many stories, stories that are never told, never exposed and never contemplated. Many people, women especially, have been sexually abused, but you would never know it because they will never mention it. In polite society, we prefer not to talk about sexual abuse.
One of the reasons I wrote The Recapitulation Diaries was to bring the topic to the table, in explicit detail, for how can we ever heal as a society if we do not talk about the dark side of society? How can we leave the children of sexual abuse to carry the dark secret but not deal with it ourselves?
As a child of sexual abuse, I know intimately some of the things that Lisa Montgomery endured and suffered. I have personally heard the stories of other people who have been sexually abused. There are as many stories as there are people, one story worse than the next. As a spiritual person, and after many years of work on myself to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse, I look for deeper meaning, in both a person’s life and a person’s soul journey.
We are all on a journey of the soul. I didn’t know this myself until I recapitulated what had happened to me in childhood and began to see a bigger picture, to understand that my journey through life was a learning process so that my soul could evolve. Some of us have come into this world with great challenges to face because we are prepared to take them on, because our soul decided that it could handle it. There is a part of me that always says, “I can handle anything!” I believe it’s that part of me that decided it could take on the life I am now living. Had I failed at the task I set for myself this time around, I’m sure I’d give it another go in the next life.
Perhaps Lisa Montgomery’s soul decided it could handle the life she lived too. Perhaps she learned great things in her lifetime that have advanced her on her soul’s journey; only she will know for sure. But if Lisa Montgomery’s life is to be an example for the rest of us, we have to ask the question: What are we to learn from the life of Lisa Montgomery?
Her story brings us back to the subject of sexual abuse. Her life story points out to us all that we have forgotten something, that we have let too many people suffer the consequences of a society that won’t face its dark side. We let others carry the burden of the dark secrets of our collective soul.
The tragic unfolding of Lisa Montgomery’s life spread a wide net, for it also had tragic repercussions for other’s, especially for the family of the young woman she murdered, the child she kidnapped, and all the members of that extended family. If we are to make sense of this tragedy we must look to ourselves for answers.
If we are to learn anything from Lisa Montgomery’s life it is that the subject of sexual abuse must not be put back under the table. Is her story even still news today? How many more children must suffer a lifetime of traumatic repercussions because their stories are not stories suitable to talk about?
Are we going to let the children of sexual abuse continue to bear the burden of the dark side of humanity? Are we going to face our own life challenges head on, with a bigger picture in mind, so that we may become contributing members of a society that refuses to sweep the disturbing parts of being human under the table?
May Lisa Montgomery’s journey show us a new path to healing, for all of us, but especially for those like her, the children of sexual abuse.
J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries