look out ma-here comes the elephant boy

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


The title comes from a John Prine song.
What was in his head when he wrote it has not been explained to me-but what is in my head when I hear it is the story of an oddity-a kid with an odd something about himself.

Call me odd. It won’t matter-it truly does not matter. It is too late to change me to any other way,I have adjusted to living like this after so long. I might as well. My life has been this for so long that it is a callous. Just as if I was a hand that worked all of its life with pick axe or a shovel or some kind of hard work.

There is a movie by Werner Herzog-titled “Where the Green Ants Dream”. It is a strange story about an Australian mining operation that is disrupted by a group of Aborigine peoples protest of the destruction of a sacred ant species. The people end up in court to fight for the right to keep the land sacred-and the judge calls a man from the Aborigine group to testify. This guy rambles on in a language of his own and the judge asked for someone to interpret what was said. No one could-he was the last of his people,his tribe-his language. Only he spoke it-and he knew what was being said.

That is the odd part about me. I feel silenced and isolated. I feel like an elephant boy. I feel as if only I understand what is being said.

I spoke to a survivor yesterday. We have been talking about organizing to rally against the Veterans Administration for the civil rights of veterans who have suffered from MST contributing PTSD. My conversation was with another elephant boy…elephant man…elephant woman…elephant girl…elephant white…elephant black….elephant odd ass person-an oddity. An Aborigine with out a language-because no one can understand what the oddity has to say.

As I spoke to this veteran-a United States Army Viet Nam era veteran-a rape survivor…I heard me talking! I heard my language being spoken. It was almost as if I was on the telephone and listening to myself. The things that were being said could only have been understood by someone like me. That someone understands the pain of the loneliness of our lives-the secret we have to endure…the self hate and self destruction-all because of what happened at the hands of others.

It is such a confused life. The Military Sexual Trauma survivors life. My conversation was with a soul just like me-growing up in an age where defending our country and our Constitution was the important key to survival and freedom…we were raised on values to salute the flag of our nation and march against any that would cause us a threat-to teach other lands,not as free as ours,the rights and freedoms-a word called democracy is used….the rights and freedoms of our United States.

We are elephant boys now…elephant men…elephant woman…elephant black…elephant white…with out a language-except with in our own group,but-the group is so isolated by its silence. We are oddities! We are not like the rest-we are silenced. We have no rights.

Look out Ma here comes the elephant boy-all dressed up in his corduroy!

Military Sexual Trauma is just a title-it once upon a time was not even known as anything….unless perhaps it had a behavioral title-such as ‘sexual activity’ or ‘homosexual behavior’ but not as an injury.

Imagine what it is like to look up to heros from eras past-like the men of Iwo Jima…or the those captured during war time and kept as POW’s. Just imagine what it might be like to want to be like those-to be a hero,to fight the battles and defending what is right,believing in what is right….and then it is shut down,and shut away by the devience of another’s power over you. Everything is taken away-the desire…the belief…and the ability to defend. We no longer feel the honor of the duty we stepped forward to do-and feel the right to stand up next to the others who made it through-the true veterans…we feel the right is lost.


Look out Ma…

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20 Responses to “look out ma-here comes the elephant boy”

  1. Arlene Says:

    As both a survivor of sexual assault, and a friend to more men than I like to think about who are survivors, I applaud you for making sure your voice is heard.

    • jayherron Says:

      God Bless you Arlene for being the friend you are to other survivors-we need to share to others the gender lock on sexual assault has come open-we are all victims,men and woman-girl and boy…young and old…it is awful to settle our heads to say it just happens to woman. peace

  2. Arlene Says:

    I have seen the damage that such prejudice does. As a woman and a survivor, I can honestly say that I believe that men and boys have a much harder time in general, just because of attitudes and lack of support/help. Each story is individual, of course, and each person deals with his or her abuse/assault differently, but on the whole, it is SO difficult for men to get help.
    Many blessings and much healing, dear one.

    • jayherron Says:

      this is a blunt reply….but,six year old Christopher Barios and twelve year old Jessica Lunsford could sit and help society figure out the gender closet folks keep sexual assault in. Well-no they cannot. The man who kidnapped and raped Jessica buried her alive with her teddy bear-her body was found a week later. A mother and father and 35 year old adult son and his buddy kidnapped Christopher-all four assualted him. They tossed his body in a ditch next to a Georgia highway-the only decent thing they did was put him in a garbage bag…if anything could be considered decent. My heart is ripped in two for these kids and the many like them. Oddly,I feel the attackers did them a favor-in the long run,the torture of ‘sexual’ assault lives in our souls-and torture us. I feel strange weeping about myself-and thinking about the horror these two innocent kids went through. Gender is related to sexual assault? Age-and sexual appearences? White and Black…there are no guidelines. I greatly appreciate your comments-I wish many more would pick up the conversation! peace

      • bookwitchery Says:

        This made me cry. I know I have more to say…but I’m at a loss right now. Things like this make me so angry.

        Weep for yourself…I weep for all of us. Trauma has its own grieving process, and it is grief, for we have lost something very, very dear.

      • jayherron Says:

        I really wish more would cry…these are sad realities!

      • bookwitchery Says:

        I think the response I hate the most is “it’s not as bad as all that.”

      • jayherron Says:

        Yes…I have an aquaintance who is also a nurse-she insists that if I have sex with her I will be healed…her approaches over the years have become sickening and rude,she is too daft to know it and to know how much I hate it. I was told the morning the beginning of the rapes happened-“get used to it”-I never have. I will check out your blog-I found writing is healing-and it is honest to me! peace

      • bookwitchery Says:

        Things like that are sickening and extremely inappropriate; I would actually call that a form of emotional abuse.

        I can’t remember the exact wording, but there is a sort of victim’s bill of rights specific to sexual assault survivors that goes something like this:

        1. I have the right to choose my sexual partners.
        2. I have the right to be a sexual person and enjoy sex.
        3. Conversely, I also have the right to be asexual or nonsexual should I so choose.

        There is more…I’ll have to find the official wording. At any rate, there is nothing wrong with ANY of the above. There is no magic cure; believe me, if one is found I will shout it from the mountain tops.

        In addition, one of the WORST things a person can do, in trying to help someone heal, is to insist that they know what will work or what will make things better. When we were raped, choice was taken from us. If you take away choice in our healing, there is no healing.

      • bookwitchery Says:

        There was a story from a couple of years ago…I think it was Salisbury, NC…very near my neck of the woods…a young man was out at a bar just having fun with his friends when a predator slipped some ghp in his drink. Long story short, he was raped, spent the entire next day sleeping. When he woke up his parents asked him what was wrong, and to their credit they took him to the hospital when he told them. The attending nurse told him that they could not do a rape kit on him because “there probably won’t be evidence anyway”…and then proceeded to tell him that because he was male he could not have a victim’s advocate. To his credit, he fought for himself and was finally able to get proper care. The police never did anything about his assault, despite repeated queries, but he was at least able to get counseling and medical care. Still makes me angry though.

      • jayherron Says:

        I am angry as to how society has allowed this travesty to happen-our televisions are so full of sexual violence and we are expected to sit a feel entertained by it…and someone becomes seriously injured by sexual trauma-and we are expected to keep quiet about it. I am so movin towards raising my voice-yet more-because of how awful the way men are seen as full time letcherous deviants-and no understanding that men have been abused for years and years-and expected to stay silent. I really appreciate your comments.

      • bookwitchery Says:

        It angers me. It sickens me. It breaks my heart.
        You know, Buddhists believe that you have to watch what you feed your mind just as you watch what you feed your body. All the sexual violence on television and in movies….it can’t be good for us.

  3. jayherron Says:

    I rid my house of TV 11 years ago-only watching on DVD what I select-mostly true stuff,no Arnold or Bruce beat em ups!
    TV is a thief!

    • bookwitchery Says:

      We no longer have cable. Hell, after TV went digital last year, we don’t have TV at all, so our box is just for DVD’s and the occasional game (nephew got my daughter addicted to video games. Heh.)

      I mainly miss the cooking shows and the shows on TLC and the History Channel…love me some Egyptology. I really try to watch what I “feed my brain” and make it worthwhile.

    • bookwitchery Says:

      When I was in college, one of my scholarships required that I do volunteer service (the most enjoyable part, really.) One of the things I did was to visit this elderly woman in a local nursing home. She’d been in a wheelchair since she was 16, wasn’t able to finish school because of it, got her GED in her 80’S. Her limbs were terribly crippled with arthritis, among other things. One of the things I would do is take her to the center’s art room. The woman could paint the most beautiful pictures! Often, if I came to visit and she was already up in her wheelchair, she’d be sitting in the hall waiting for me and reading or working crossword puzzles. She told me that there were people in that nursing home 20 years younger than her, with minds completely gone, and she believed ( as do I) that it was because they did nothing but sit and watch television. Nothing to activate the mind. I’m telling you, this woman was INCREDIBLE. Mind sharp as a tack, had an incredible attitude. A real fighter.

      Er, anyway, sorry for taking up more comment space with my ramblings. hee.

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