Letters To The Editor - The Girl Who Cried Wolf


Letters To The Editor

Dear Madam,

With reference to the article about me, "The Girl Who Cried Wolf" in your last issue, I would like, first of all, to thank Damian Corless for acknowledging that "a total wave of sordid revelations have provided total vindication" of my statement three years ago, that the Catholic Church was involved in child abuse, and therefore of my action in tearing up the Pope's picture on "Saturday Night Live." It's nice, for a change, to read something which is essentially supportive of my work for the last eight years as an artist who is chiefly concerned with giving a choice to the victims of child abuse in the world, and giving adult survivors of childhood violence hope that healing is possible. Child abuse thrives on silence. And its effects remain long into adulthood until silence is broken and a voice is put on the pain. The whole point of my music and my actions has been to provide this voice. I have used my voice in songs and in any other way I could, because I am one of those children and I understand that BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY silence must be broken. So, to suggest that I have done these things out of "untrammeled egotism" is ignorant in the truest sense of that word. It could only have been written by someone who comes from a "stable" family background and can therefore have no idea of the kind of suffering that adult survivors of childhood violence endure because of society's silence, denial and inability to face the horror of child abuse. To make such a suggestion is an insult not just to me but also the many, many millions of children who are, at this minute, being spiritually murdered in their own homes, and to the adult survivors who are trying to retrieve themselves now. An egotist is not someone who will stand up and risk losing everything so as to break silence. I risked everything, including material success, to do exactly that. I've suffered a lot over the last three years. What I have said and done to put a voice on child abuse has cost me EVERYTHING, including my family. When I said things which are now accepted by everybody, I was attacked and vilified, and as a result of this and the loss of my family, became very ill. I've been accused of "courting publicity." Why would I risk so much for publicity that I did not need? I was already as well-known as I needed to be. I have gained nothing, and lost everything, because of speaking out. But I HAD to speak out, because my own experience, in the midst of denial, made silence impossible. In other words, I had to do what I did because I (like any other adult survivor of childhood violence) could not bear the pain I was in. When I was a child, I prayed to "God." I said, "If you help me to get out of this situation, I will do anything when I become an adult to repay You and help other people." I believe that my voice is the answer that God gave me. It got me out of my house, out of Dublin, out of Ireland, and it gave me a life that I would never otherwise have had. I was given this voice to use to help other people. My feeling is that I would be going back on the promise I made as a child if I did not use my voice for right and for good and for truth, even taking into account all the risks and consequences involved. These words of Jesus Christ's have been the governing influence in my life: "What I tell you in the darkness, utter in the light. And what you hear whispered, proclaim from the rooftops. And have no fear of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. . . For nothing is kept secret that will not be made known, and nothing is hidden that will not be revealed." I did what I did not to indulge my ego, or to court publicity, but so that I could make known the truth about child abuse, which has been kept hidden in Ireland and all over the world. My voice belongs not just to me, but to all survivors of child abuse. To denigrate me and my work is to denigrate all the others as well. To dismiss my actions as "untrammeled egotism" is to dismiss us all and to say that we do not exist. Basically to call me an "EGOTIST" for speaking is to say I have no RIGHT to speak and I HAVE as much right as anyone else. I have only done what ANYONE else has the RIGHT to do. Some say "Why should we be interested?" But quite obviously, they are, or they wouldn't spend so much time talking about it. To call me an "Egotist" for speaking is to say "Shut up" to ALL survivors of abuse -- it's dangerous -- you're saying "Don't talk about it." "What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul."

Love, Sinead O'Connor