Wednesday, September 25, 2013



By Phil Foley

We are suspending our blog for a couple of months while we are preparing to print Kathleen’s new book, Breaking Through Silence, A No-Nonsense Love Letter to Women.

Every one who has read the manuscript—including me—has had a powerful reaction to its contents.  Personally, it put me on a surprising path to seeing and understanding what I assumed had no explanation and no reason to be understood.  I certainly never fathomed that a book my wife wrote for silenced women would lead me to personal transformation.  The discoveries I made as a result of its words were difficult to confront.  Yet the truth written in its pages, along with my determination to grasp and respect the living damage of old wounds has opened up my life in ways I did not know were possible.  Other first readers have had similar experiences.

Breaking Through Silence, A No-Nonsense Love Letter to Women will be available soon in such an enticing manner, you may find yourself saying yes to the possibilities that await you within its pages.

In the mean time you may want to check out the works of powerful female writers like Mary Daly, Gloria Anzaldua, Andrea Dworkin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul just to name a few.

We will return to our blog after our work is finished.

Thursday, September 5, 2013



By Kathleen Hoy Foley

Some months ago I was interviewed by Inside Edition.  TV reporter, Les, rode into town on his high horse which, by the way, doesn’t mean much out here since we have our own celebrity who actually earned her prominence.  Robin, a local teen entrepreneur, established Hot Diggidy Dog over twenty years ago looking to earn money for college tuition.  In the years since, her little hot dog cart has become the destination for Jersey shore-goers trekking to the beach, and anyone else happening by the middle of nowhere on a sweltering summer day in need of refreshment.  Around here, Robin is an authentic celebrity.  Les with his upmarket, urban attitude and television cockiness?  Phony as they come.

As gentlemen go, Les wasn’t one.  No surprise there.  Five words: tabloid television, bottom feeder reporters.  Still, as a woman silenced by sexual abuse, my mission is to give voice to the truth and to make that truth available to as many people as possible.  Inside Edition showed up and created an opportunity. 

From his first words it was obvious that Les’s objective was to humiliate me into submitting to the standard adoption fairytales—the pitiful loss and longing fantasies that I’m so bored with I could spit—and to trivialize the trauma I’d experienced from both the rapist and the stalker adoptee.  Seems Les wanted rape and stalking to look like ordinary activities that most folks engage in from time to time.  Since I’m not a viewer of Inside Edition, I never intended to—and didn’t—watch the interview.  Good thing.  Les pulled more than a few malicious, bottom-feeder-reporter-tricks.   But Les’s conduct is not the point.  Les did what bottom feeders do.  He’s no different from any other abuser.  They are all in the business of violence.

Abusers like Les—a manicured, well-dressed, good looking guy—conceal their hostility and aggression in their restraint, in their swagger, in their arrogance, all too easily mistaken for self-confidence.  Abusers can always be identified by the misery they spread, by the harm they inflict, by their sly rhetoric and veiled prejudices, and by how they support their bigotry while justifying and encouraging the abuse of others.  Les-type abusers don’t flaunt their cruelty.  They dress it up as innocent and wholesome.  Who could see much less hear the whisper of truth beneath Les’s style and finesse?  So, withheld from viewers of Inside Edition—buried under Les’s attempt to degrade me with condemnation and shame—was the highest, unwavering truth that adoption is the divine connection of a real person to his/her real family.

* * *

The real family awaits, calling out to its ‘beloved’.  When the call is answered, the real family steps into the human crisis and brings its ‘beloved’ home.  The joy of that union, the elation of the newest family member coming home at last, transcends the path of anguish that ushered their ‘beloved’ safely into their arms, into their protection, and away from the menace of emotional and physical chaos.  The real family encircles their ‘beloved’, uniting him with his kin in the deeply personal love story of family. 

Long before the ‘beloved’ finally arrived, the real family already knew their ‘beloved’ as one of them.  The real family remained nearby, always ready, always waiting, always looking forward to the homecoming of their ‘beloved’.  And in a manifestation of the Divine, at long last the ‘beloved’ did come home.

* * *

To comprehend the reality, the power of such love and to even begin to grasp the profound concept and genuineness of real family, the ‘beloveds’ whose path to their destined families was circuitous, need to reject the typical, cultural lies and misteachings about adoption.  The ‘beloveds’ must refuse to abuse themselves with violent and soul-destroying terms like abandoned, thrown away, given away, bastard, unloved.  They have to pull upon their courage and conquer the seductive lie of ‘entitlement’ before it contaminates their lives and destroys all that retains profound and authentic value—the unconditional love that defines their real families.

Unfortunately bottom feeders like Les, who remain mired in self-hatred and trapped in the storm of their own anger, deny and ridicule the truth of real families.  Pile on opportunists looking to make a buck by feeding off pain and exploiting fear—adoption and all its related sub-categories are a gigantic money-making industry—and the truth disappears.  And ruthlessness rides free on the waves of rage.  Before you know it, victims of catastrophic pregnancies are being exposed like criminals; DNA samples are being demanded of private citizens; and hypothetical entitlements become law. 

When the ‘beloved’ is blind to the hidden agendas of bottom feeders and cannot see that self-created misery, misdirected anger, and emotional fear—not noble intentions—are what motivates bottom feeders, the ‘beloveds’ start trusting the abusers and the bonds of real family start breaking. 

To fully appreciate the unconditional love offered by his/her real family, the ‘beloved’ has to challenge the lies and fantasies promoted by bottom feeders, and recognize them as the abusers they are, responsible for eliciting and provoking false agony.  In order to experience profound love, the ‘beloved’ has to accept that the pinnacle of all there is, of all he is searching for is already present.  The ‘beloveds’ need to understand that the emotional wholeness they seek resides within them and is supported and enhanced by their real families.  Love does not exist in the excavation of the dark gutters of pain and violence—the playgrounds of abusers like Les who disguise lies and endorse the destruction of real human connections.    

Fantasy families are perfect.  Real families are not.  A misled ‘beloved’ needs to recognize what is authentic and cherish the reality of his real family and the divine connection that called him to his real home.  Every family is flawed.  All families harbor secrets and abuses.  Addictions and failures.  But the real family tries.  It is bound together with shared love and history, sorrows and joys.  And within its traditions and memories the real family holds every member in its forever heart.  That is transcendent.

Robin is real.  The oasis she created out here is real.  Gulping down an ice cold diet soda at Hot Diggidy Dog after a long walk on a blistering summer day is true bliss.  Les?  He rode out of town on the same high horse he rode in on.  And honestly?  He looked fine up there—like a strapping hero on horseback.  Too bad he was anything but. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



By Lisa Marie
Guest Blogger

I had to write you after reading your blog.  I too had a family member who drank the Kool-Aid and believed the fairy tale promoted by those supporting adoption reforms. 

My cousin, an adoptee, lived an ideal life just like Little Bill.  Her parents wanted her more than anything.  Just like Little Bill she was coddled, not just by her loving parents, but by aunts, uncles and cousins who were 10-15 years older than her.  She was the baby in our family that everyone loved.  She always had her original birth certificate.  It was a private adoption; the biological source sent the original copy to the lawyer who gave it to her parents.  My cousin was never interested.  No need, she had her family.  She married and had children.  It is a family story how much her oldest looks like and acts like his grandma despite no common DNA.  

Several years after my cousin's parents died, she became aware of the adoption reform movement and fell for the fairy tale they promote.  Her mother's sisters (who were very close) kept telling her, we are her family.  Most cousins told her the same thing.  Her elderly aunts warned her about the can of worms she was opening.  My cousin didn't want to hear it.  She believed the fairy tale.  Exactly as you said, she was looking to fill the vast emptiness she was told she was supposed to feel. 

My cousin was very excited to find out that her biological source had married and had children.  My cousin now had siblings!  After spending most of her inheritance traveling back and forth to another state, buying a trailer to be near her biological source for the purposes of convenient visits, while helping the biological stranger out financially, my cousin discovered that there was no warm and fuzzy connection. Though it took her a while to realize it.

Sadly, my cousin would not listen to reason from her family who opposed her choices.  She did everything she could to try and fit in with the biological strangers.  It cost my cousin in the end.  The elderly aunts were deeply hurt and their once-close relationship suffered.  

One aunt helped raise my cousin for her first 5 years while her mom worked.  They were extremely close.  My aunt felt that it was her job to look out for her niece when her parents died and she knew she failed.  My cousin had a new family now.  Those were the people she decided to listen to.  She ignored her real familythe ones who truly loved and cared about her.  

Eventually, my cousin lost the house her parents worked so hard for and most of the money they saved so she could have a good life after they died.  Ultimately my cousin came back to her real family.  It seemed she realized that talking about the stranger grandpa didn't have any meaning, not like reminiscing about her beloved grandpa who used to rock her on his knee and taught her how to drive. 

Hearing about the stranger grandma wasn't the same as remembering her beloved grandma making Easter cookies from the recipe she brought over from Italy

My cousin learned that no matter how blonde haired and blue eyed she is or how much Irish blood runs in her veins, she will always be Italian with all the mannerisms, sayings, and customs of her beloved Italian family.  She learned what family really means.  As far as relationships go, genes are unimportant.  People have many blood relations they don't know, don't need to know, or want to know, or will never know.  

Families are the people who love you, who have been there for you your entire life, for both the good and the bad.  At best, biological strangers are just acquaintances.  It was an expensive lesson for my cousin, drinking that Kool-Aid and wanting the fairy tale. 

Many people are drinking the Kool-Aid and believe the fairy tale that is being promoted by those in adoption reform, especially those in the legislature.  Only 11% of adoptees obtained a birth certificate in Oregon, 2.5% in Illinois, and less than 800 in RI obtained their birth certificates.   

We seldom see those numbers, though the public always hears about "the happy reunions" in the media.  You would think that the legislature would do a little research before voting on a bill to change adoption.  Instead they drink the Kool-Aid being served by those with the loudest voices, those who think they are entitledthe same voices, the same people that go around the country to promote adoption reform. 

I recently wrote to a journalist asking why he only told one side of the "adoption story" which included an Adam Pertman (a militant adoptee) interview, of course.  I gave your website out and a couple of other places where he can get the other side of the story along with the National Council for Adoption, which supports mutual consent.

I told him that it is articles like his that promote the fairy tale.  He did not respond.   

Meanwhile people like my cousin and your uncle are destroying their families based on the lies they are toldthe lies they believe.  It's a sad story. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013



By Kathleen Hoy Foley

Occasionally I think of my uncle, Bill, a "paragon" of decency who founded a soup kitchen to feed the homeless, yet carried such a vast emptiness in his heart that he led himself and others to practice violence against my elderly mother, his invalid sister, and me, his niece.

My uncle was adopted as a little guy.  The story was pretty straight up.  An orphanage.  A kid.  And a family that wanted him.  And was he ever loved!  He was coddled, pampered, and as the youngest in his family, revered.  You know the saying: the sun rises and sets.  It was all there for Little Bill.  Too close to my age to call him uncle, to me he was just Little Bill, and I was taken with him.  Every time he said my name and pronounced it in that Evans’ way—Kath-ah-leen—I swooned.  Did I mention how much I loved him? 

He doesn’t sound like a guy who would ever practice violence.  Practicing violence sounds like swagger and fist fights—a gang on the street corner looking for trouble.  It conveys the ring of guns and blood, and bodies sprawled across the pavement.  That's the television version.  In reality, most violence is much more subtle.  In real life, practicing violence is an established art form so quiet, so acceptable it goes unnoticed except by those who are its target.

Somewhere between college, marriage, kids, carrying on the family business as a baker extraordinaire, and founding that soup kitchen for Ohio’s homeless, Bill decided that as an adopted person he was entitled to more.  He drank the cultural Kool-Aid, attracted a lot of destructive people who practice a lot of violence, and before long, Little Bill succumbed to practicing violence himself shrouding it in his sorrow and need and entitlement.

It is no surprise then that Bill attracted a predator—an experienced stalker well versed in practicing violence while pulling on heartstrings: the predator adoptee that had been stalking me and creating havoc in my life for years.  Bill knew this, but invited violence in anyway.  Which would have been fine if he’d kept all the aggression and cruelty they instigated together confined to his family, to his life. 

Except that’s not how violence works.  The rallying cry of violence is YOU OWE ME!  Violence feeds on anger and frustration and gains feverish strength and whirlwind power as it justifies its own destructive deeds.  It out-shouts internal alarm systems that point to dangerous and deplorable wrongdoings.  It plows through moral and civil boundaries fiercely defending its actions all the while producing terrible damage. 

Soon Bill and the predator adoptee were making plans to ambush my mother and trick her into a meeting with the adoptee—violent deception hidden beneath an “innocent family gathering.”  But who would ever admit that?  Anyway, what would it matter?  Thanks to dementia, his sister’s brain was gone anyway.  And how much fight could a frail old lady muster?  As it turned out, Little Bill and the predator adoptee were right.  My mother’s capability for decision making and energy to put up a fight had vanished.  Besides, she thought she was just being taken out for a ride.
Founding a charity does nothing to erase the practice of violence or repair its aftermath of destruction.  Adoption offers no excuse.  Heart pain grants no defense.  Practicing violence—dismissing, creating, and escalating others' agony for your own benefit—is an undertaking that unleashes powerful, destructive energy that ultimately returns to its source.  Practicing violence is like throwing a contaminated boomerang.  Don’t waste your time ducking, it won’t work.  It’s coming smack back at you. 

Whether you volunteer at a battered women’s shelter while planning an ambush, or run a website advocating the invasion of another's life under the lie of justice, or in any way promote coercing someone to bend to the will of another, you are practicing violence.  You may be loud.  You may be able to convince others with your arguments about entitlement.  You may be able to gain public sympathy with your sad story punctuated by a flood of tears.  But nothing can hide the underlying truth: you are promoting violence.  You are smart enough to know that.  But it takes tremendous courage to admit it.  And it takes even more courage and a dedicated commitment to self-respect to stop doing it.                     

Back to old Little Bill.  Maybe you think I hate him.  I don't.  Actually I have compassion for him—for anyone consumed by the delusion of vast emptiness, a phantom pain that insists the resolution to its obsession can only be gained through the practice of violence, by persistent stalking and the relentless pursuit of the very thing they already possess—the love that is right in front of them.

Little Bill was loved more than he recognized.  And he destroyed more than he knows.

Thursday, August 1, 2013




Woman In Hiding, A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets & Other Evil Deeds

By Kathleen Hoy Foley

Recently Phil and I went to see a psychic medium.  In the world of concrete thinking this sounds like a nutty thing to do, especially when you’re serious about it.  It’s right up there with seeking out snake charmers, sun worshipers, and an assorted array of belly-button contemplators in search of yourself, The Divine, and the path to wholeness, peace and happiness, which somehow always includes permanent weight loss for me.  The fact that I’ve already pulled off permanent weight loss somehow totally eludes me.  That I’ve achieved wholeness also escapes me when this quest to obtain what I clearly already have descends on me like a blinding snowstorm and propels me into the blizzard searching for shadows dancing on snowdrifts.  

What better place to go than the internet to dig up a psychic capable of divining my path as if I’d lost it, which I hadn’t, but occasionally my brain falls out of my head and I forget stuff.   

It didn’t take long to find Mrs. Psychic who, via a heartfelt post on her website, promised that I had connected with her not by coincidence, but had been drawn to her psychically and spiritually because there was something I needed to learn.  SOLD!  Did I bother to consider that ‘Mrs. Psychic From The Internet’ was not speaking personally and directly to me but to every Googler landing at her site?  No, of course not.  I simply anointed her an authority because she said nice things and I like to hear nice things.  Mrs. Psychic made me feel good. 

So there I was, arranging a reading at an hourly rate that should’ve included tickets to a Broadway play, but how could I concern myself with the material when I was going to interact with The Divine and everybody knows that interacting with The Divine is priceless? 

Never did I question the possibility that Mrs. Psychic who knew nothing about me other than what she would be able to glean from the air, would not be able to glean bupkis from the air.  Unless you count what I was blabbing on about from across the great divide of her massive desk with the NO HUGS sign glaring up at me from beneath the plate glass protecting its mahogany top, lest I should fall into a hypnotic trance and inadvertently try to pull her into a sweaty embrace.   

Never mind about ‘no hugs’ warnings.  I’d already stuffed the air with comments about our indie press, breaking the cardinal rule for visiting a psychic: DO NOT BE A BLABBERMOUTH.  Still I waited in great anticipation for Mrs. Psychic to unleash the storm of her paranormal gifts.  I waited for colossal woo-woo—a powwow with a consortium of master spirit guides; clairvoyant direction; paranormal confirmation of my karmic path; not to mention, a coherent, encouraging shout-out from a passed relative who’s since gained serious spirit status in the great beyond…Greetings Kathleen, you’re doing a fine job. 

After that I wanted Phil and I to go out to lunch and celebrate all that wacky woo-woo, because that’s what connecting with spirits is: wacky and woo-woo…   

Okay.  Admission time.  I know wacky and woo-woo…intimately.  As Phil says, why is it that the only relatives that talk to you are the dead ones?  Ahhh...because they want to tell their stories is my only answer.  And I just happen to be a story teller.  Certainly Mrs. Psychic would intuit this. 

Half an hour into the session I would’ve settled for being alerted that an evil spell had been cast upon my sorry self and I needed to grind up chicken bones and toss the dust over my left shoulder at midnight under the shine of a full moon.

Fifty seven minutes into the longest hour ever recorded, I was practically begging for any shred of woo-woo.  How about a prediction for tomorrow’s weather?  July in New Jersey is notoriously hot and humid.  Mrs. Psychic had fate on her side.   

There was no woo-woo.  Instead we got a dry, long-winded business plan that could’ve been typed up by a robot in a cubicle and delivered “To Occupant” by means of third class mail.  But there’s a good side to this saga.  There would be none of that emotional overload that accompanies woo-woo.  Whew.  I would escape this reading-turned-lecture without any mention of the dastardly abuses of the Woman In Hiding variety.  

Two minutes to go.  I’m reaching for my handbag watching the clock on the wall slog away the last seconds.  One minute and I’m out of here.   

“There’s something about births that’s not making sense,” Mrs. Psychic utters.   

Is she kidding?  She brings this up now; just as I’m about to execute my getaway?   

And so it is that the rush of tears that live always in the truth of Woman In Hiding surface instantly as I tell my story.  When Mrs. Psychic divulges that she too is a rape victim, the NO HUGS warning suddenly seems more like a heartbreaking symptom.   

As for the strange woo-woo.  Mrs. Psychic reveals that her very close friend is also a ‘woman in hiding’.  Her life devastated by being impregnated by rape.  By being hunted down and stalked by the predator adoptee when ‘no contact’ fell on deaf, arrogant ears. 

And there was Woman In Hiding, A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets & Other Evil Deeds reaching out its numinous hand in its unforeseen and inexplicable way to two women victimized by sexual violence. 

Woo. Woo. Woo.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Boo the Cat Taught Me About Trauma


                                                           By Philip Foley

A person can learn a lot about trauma from a feral cat. Boo is our cat. Boo has taught me much about trauma and how patience, love and respect for boundaries can transcend the crippling impact trauma has on someone.

We found Boo under our shed when she was just a very small Kitten. She was abandoned in the forest where we live and left to die. Boo wanted nothing to do with Kathleen and I at first; but she did accept the food and water we left out for her every day. Every time we would approach her she ran back under the shed. We did not force the issue. Eventually, she would allow us to get close to her but touching her was out of the question.

We gave her all the space she needed and after several months she allowed Kathleen to pet her. I would have to wait a while longer.

As Summer arrived we began sitting on our screened porch and Boo would approach the door and look in on us. In the beginning she would not enter. Gradually, Boo would come onto the porch through the door which we left ajar. After hanging out on the porch with us for about a month Boo would allow us both to pet her, but only on her terms. The slightest movement or unfamiliar noise would startle her and she would retreat to a place where she felt safe. Through patience and giving her all the space she needed Boo began to trust us more and more. Finally, Boo moved into the house with us.

Over the next several months Boo would begin to sit on our lap and let us comfort her. Boo, however, is like the legendary Jersey Devil who haunts the forest we live in. Everyone has heard about her, but no one, other than Kathleen and I ever see her. You see, trauma still rules Boo's emotional life. Although she has been living with us for two years now her trauma has not gone away, it is simply managed more effectively. We need to make Boo feel safe or she retreats into the furniture. Boo is a wonderful and affectionate cat. She reveals herself to us because we have created a safe environment and we respect her boundaries.

Trauma needs to be understood and embraced from the victim’s perspective; not from ours. It is a daily exercise. Boo taught me that. When we provide a safe environment, offer perspective, not advice, and recognize the world as seen through a victim's eyes, we will experience the joy of seeing them realize their fullest potential.

Perhaps we should all bring a feral cat into our lives. Thanks Boo!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013



 By Kathleen Hoy Foley


If you already see the parallels between the three—Paula Deen, Lance Armstrong and Kumbaya—call me because you should be writing this and I could be off somewhere contemplating important stuff like how to keep cat hair under control so I don’t ever have to vacuum again.  If you simply don’t get what Paula, Lance and Kumbaya have in common…well…you’re here, why not hang around for a few minutes?  Not that I’m promising any grand revelations, you understand.  And, oh, if you’re easily offended, leave now because I can’t promise to refrain from snarky.  In fact, I’m can’t promise anything.  No, that’s not exactly correct.  I’m promising eight hundred words, give or take.  And Paula, Lance, Kumbaya, and big fat lies are on my mind… 

Ohhh…Paula Deen…my fantasy of the perfect mama—squeezingly plump, ready with a full-on, enthusiastic bear hug, and hot-from-the-oven cinnamon buns.  Flip on the Food Network and there she was supplying emotional lard to the tired and downtrodden with a lick of sass and lots of butter.  And nobody needs butter and hot-from-the-oven cinnamon buns served up with a thick southern draw more than the tired and downtrodden.  Paula Deen had that southern coo thing down cold.  “Come sit down, darlin’.  Look what I made for y’all.” 

Sure, at any moment Paula Deen’s diabetes could’ve sent in the gangrene and pretty soon a surgeon high on sugar could’ve been sawing off one or two of her feet.  Oh, who cares about all that?  And never mind Ms. Deen’s dream of catering an antebellum wedding reception replete with strapping black men in starched shirts and pressed tuxedoes serving high southern cuisine to white guests.  It’s so romantic reminiscing how her great granddaddy’s slaves were treated just like family, isn’t it?  Except for the manacles…  Oh, don’t let’s think about that.  Pass the fried butter, sweetie pie.  We can’t bother ourselves with the truth…it’s so…so…unappetizing.  Yes, it took me some time to figure out that “best dishes” Paula Deen was just a big fat lie. 

Lance Armstrong…geez, if I hadn’t actually seen the words, I cheated, fall directly out of his mouth, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Even when I heard him confess, I still couldn’t believe it.  After all, I believed in Lance Armstrong.  He was a tenacious bulldog who not only bit cancer in the ass, but converted it into raw, honed muscle, hammered it into a titanium chariot, and harnessed its energy to conquer the Pyrenees, dehydration, cramps, and exhaustion to win the Tour de France over and over.  And while he was at it, damn, didn’t he spit in the eye of every naysayer who dared question his integrity?  What an inspiration!  Drag out the rusty Schwinn, peddle mile after miserable mile through headwinds and sweltering heat lugging an extra sixty five pounds of middle-age girth, and call me Blanche. 

But there he was, revealing himself as just another gazillionaire coward.  Lance Armstrong, the super star athlete, was no more than a fraud, a con artist.  He drugged, blood doped, cheated, threatened every living soul around him into silence, ruined the reputations of anyone who dared question him, and sued those who dared speak, while tallying up his mega fortunes.  Lance Armstrong was no hero.  He was an arrogant menace in spandex.  And he never gently cradled childhood cancer victims in his strong, brave arms after dismounting his bike, like I thought either.  Lance Armstrong: one big fat lie. 

So is Kumbaya—you probably already know this.  But I actually believed that we could all hold hands and sing the world into a better place.  Kumbaya is a big fat lie, I know that now.  But back in the days of folk music masses, Marriage Encounter, and the Charismatic Movement—raucous praising, speaking-in-tongues, and holy roller Catholics—holding hands, swaying and singing hymns was touted by ‘spiritual authorities’ as the path to all that was good.  And I bought it.  No!  I devoured it.  Kumbaya: Joy! Happiness! Peace!  Sing more.  Praise more.  Smile more.  Do more.  I hugged strangers.  I drank communion wine from chalices slobbered on by hundreds.  (Give me a moment while I cringe…eww…)  And, oh, that darkness that haunted me?  Easy as Praise Jesus it away.  Kumbaya didn’t fail.  I did.  Only that was just another big fat lie.    

Call me gullible, but I believed the big fat lies of Paula Deen, Lance Armstrong and Kumbaya.  I needed to be coddled in the embrace of fairytales: endless butter, endless energy, and endless soothing hymns to pamper the dream.  The luring offer of a straight, easy path to ‘feel-good’ was like an addictive drug.  I could skim along the surface of happy if I ignored disease, covert racism, and hid the dark agony of sexual abuse under pretty hymns and pure baloney.  It half worked for a long time.   

But truth has this way of speaking—in my case, exploding.  It’s an intense force of nature that pushes through concrete, past closed eyes, into aching hearts, and eats away at carefully constructed, big fat lies—and an added plus for me, it chiseled away that extra sixty-five pounds.  Of course, truth doesn’t concern itself with time or gracious manners.  That was news to me.  I bet it was news to Paula Deen and Lance Armstrong too, who probably figured they could out run it, or at least, forever ignore it.  Which it turns out, is the biggest, fattest lie ever.  

As for Kumbaya?  It’s a nice song and all, but you won’t find me humming it while I’m praying away the cat hair.  Just hand me the damn vacuum cleaner.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Violence Against Women - World Health Organization Report

Violence against women has reached ‘epidemic proportions,’ WHO reports says
Women violated by their partners are twice as likely to face depression as women who have not experienced violence.      National Monitor, Fritzi R. Bodenheimer | June 21, 2013
A new report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) says violence against women has reached “epidemic proportions.”  More than one-third of women around the world will experience violence resulting in physical and mental harm.
The violence against women is most likely to come from an intimate partner.  It may include physical violence like hitting, kicking or beating; sexual coercion; emotional abuse like insults, humiliation, or threats of harm; or controlling behaviors like restricting access to a woman’s family, job, or medical care.
“The report findings show that violence greatly increases women’s vulnerability to range of short-and long-term health problems; it highlights the need for the health sector to take violence against women more seriously,” said Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, one of the authors of the report.
Women violated by their partners are twice as likely to face depression as women who have not experienced violence.
They are also more likely to contract HIV and sexual transmitted diseases and to experience unwanted pregnancies.
The study found that among women who are murdered, 38 percent were murdered by their intimate partner.  Forty-two percent of women who have been sexually or physically violated sustain injuries.
While violence is a global problem, women in southeast Asia, eastern Mediterranean countries and Africa had the highest incidences.  Still, the report shows 32 percent of violence against women occurs in high-income countries.  In the United States, about 5 million women are victims of domestic violence, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“This new data shows that violence against women is extremely common.  We urgently need to invest in prevention to address the underlying causes of this global women’s health problem,” said Professor Charlotte Watts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  The school was a partner to WHO in the research, along with the South African Medical Research Council.  The researchers looked at data from 81 countries.
Among the minimum standards WHO recommends to health care centers is training for providers in how to ask their patients about violence, a guarantee of confidentiality and a private setting for consultation, and the resources to treat the physical and mental health of the patient.
In an interview with Voice of America, Garcia-Moreno of WHO, said we need to prevent violence from happening in the first place.  “We know that children who are abused or who are exposed to their parents abusing each other are more likely to end up in an abusive relationship either as perpetrator or as victim,” she said.                               
If you need help, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Please use your voice to speak out against this outrage.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Compiled by

Kathleen Hoy Foley

Writing is dangerous because we are afraid of what the writing reveals: the fears, the angers, the strengths of a woman under a triple or quadruple oppression.  Yet in that very act lies our survival because a woman who writes has power.  And a woman with power is feared.

~~Gloria Anzaldua
We begin to find our voices.  We begin to see, hear…”I am talking about 5 thousand years of slavery—my slavery, my mother’s, her mother’s—all the women in the world for generations and generations.”  Nobody knows what to do, and yet we are doing it.  Millions of obscure women begin to dare to speak.  Our pens are dangerous weapons. 

~~Kady Vandeurs
In the transformation of silence into language and action, it is vitally necessary for each one of us to establish or examine her function in that transformation, and to recognize her role as vital.

~~Audre Lorde
It is not simply that the voices of working-class people and people of color have been stifled; they also have been unheard and rendered unhearable, aurally erased.  And the dominant group, too, has been damaged in the process, deprived of access to crucial experience and ways of seeing…

~~Toni Morrison
In addition to taboos against speaking and publishing what is regarded as unspeakable, the writer faces her audience’s resistance to hearing…  (the) work calls into question our ways of keeping at arm’s length what makes us uncomfortable.  At its most powerful, (the) work often impels us to in-corporate the pain of violation, to take it into our own bodies where it can force us to respond.  It implicates us…in the struggle to give voice to the horror and the determination to end it.

~~Deirdre Lashgari 

Whatever might exist that is completely outside of human language, that is completely other, can paradoxically be approached or approximated only through language.

~~Jane Hoogestraat

Why are so many more women silenced than men?

~~Tillie Olsen 

But woman is learning for herself that not self-sacrifice, but self-development, is her first duty in life; And this (is) not primarily for the sake of others, but that she may become fully herself.

~~Matilda Joslyn Gage

Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.

~~ Dr. Judith Herman 

I had an abortion.

~~Gloria Steinman

What if I tell you, you are not different

it’s the family albums that lie

~~Andrienne Rich 

Only women die one by one, attempting until the last minute to embody an ideal imposed upon them…  Only women die one by one, smiling up to the last minute, smile of the siren, smile of the coy girl, smile of the madwoman.  Only women die one by one, polished to perfection or unkempt behind locked doors too desperately ashamed to cry out.  Only women die one by one, still believing that if only they had been perfect…they would not have come to hate life so much, to find it so strangely difficult and empty, themselves so hopelessly confused and despairing.   

~~Andrea Dworkin 

Most harm that can befall victims through violence can come to them also through deceit.  But deceit controls more subtly, for it works on belief as well as action.

~~Sissela Bok 

“She feels alone, burdened by a weight she could never shake off.  Even today, she feels a knot in her stomach as she writes, finding it hard to put words together, preferring to forget and not be consumed anymore by memories.  She feels that by speaking of her father, and above all by speaking of the half-open door he never let her shut, she has in turn opened up a dangerous gap in her tale…” 

~~Sylvia Molloy 

When incest is covert (in cases of intrusive voyeurism, sexually colored ridicule of a child, and sexually motivated exposure), it does not involve physical contact.  However, the dynamic is always sexual misuse, both of the authoritative power and of the legitimate need for closeness over a child who is unable to resist.

~~Eileen Starzecpyzel 

my poems

strung like bloody beads across my throat,

my disembowelment, my seppuku—

scarlet entrails

twisting from the open wound

~~Janice Mirikitani

Rage is not a "stage."  It is not something to be gotten over.  It is transformative, focusing Force.  It is her broom, her Fire-breathing, winged mare.  It is her spiraling staircase leading her where she can find her own Kind, unbind her mind.

~~Mary Daly

How do you break out of a restrictive cultural milieu?  How to know you are in a bubble, and life—the real life you are meant to live—is taking place elsewhere?

~~Dr. Gayle Wurtz

But she had made art!

Somehow, sick or well, every day…

It’s me

who is having trouble

making art of this.

~~Bernice Rendrick

To anybody who asks me who I think I am to tell political bigwigs, captains of industry, and religious honchos where to get off, I answer: Who do I have to be?  I am the Domestic Goddess, you impertinent creature, you!

~~Roseanne Barr

I imagined the hostile response I’d get…  “Who does she think she is?”  …it turned out not to be like that…  The world…turned out to be much, much bigger...  …full of…sisters and brothers although we had never met, who were there to welcome me coming out of the shadows, and who wanted to throw off the shadows that obscured their own lives, too.  My small voice was answered by a rich chorus of voices: my voice, which had once had been mute!  Of all the places where my story might start…it started itself at a point in my life when I could not speak at all…

~~Nuala O’Faolain

All silence has meaning.

~~Andrienne Rich

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15

By Kathleen Hoy Foley


Elder abuse is what happens in shabby nursing homes at the hands of evil caregivers, or at the other end of a phone line when a lowlife bleeds an oldster’s bank account dry.  Once exposed, elder abuse gives rise to public fury and incites cries for political action and criminal prosecution.  There is something ugly to see when an elder’s arm is black and blue or when retirement savings have been siphoned away by a no-name loser and his computer.    

But what about elder abuse that is invisible to the eye?  What about elder abuse that is permitted?  Not only permitted, but encouraged and celebrated?  It is particularly sinister when abuse disguises itself as a noble cause and delivers its wounds from the shadows, especially to those unequipped to protect themselves.  Abuse, no matter what name it goes by or how it is concealed, always injures a body and damages a life. 

An elderly person subjected to abuse forgoes all hope for emotional recovery.  The impact is too great; the time to rebuild what has been destroyed too limited.  Abuse perpetuated against an elderly woman defines the rest of her life.  It is her final chapter.  For many of us, it was also our first chapter.

I am an old woman among thousands of old women across this country who, as juveniles, were brutally impregnated in a time when we did not own our own bodies, when sexual assault lacked description, and termination rights did not exist.  Rape was our offense.  And pregnancy was our punishment.  We hid out in maternity homes.  But the finger of public accusation found us anyway and pointed straight at our disgraced, swollen bellies.  Eventually we were rescued by the confidential adoption process that freed us from all connections to the assailant and returned us to our lives.  But we were permanently, catastrophically injured, and forever shamed.  We are shame—embodied and visceral.  Trauma is our permanent, screeching companion.    

Once again we stand accused.  We are elderly women hunted because of those secret, shameful pregnancies.  We are ghosts fabricated from delusions.  We are worn bodies hunted by younger aggressors manic with obsession, spewing anger the equivalent of road rage.  We are relics hunted for our names; our lineage; for the blood circulating in our veins.  We are fossils hunted for the bones and flesh that structure our images.  We are sideshow freaks hunted for our deformities and DNA.  We are little girls in wrinkled skin hunted to provide humiliating, ancient sexual details.  We were forced breeders, broodmares hunted now as mothers. 

We are invisible.  Young aggressors mock our trauma as fictional.  Yet we are in your family, among your friends.  We eat at your Thanksgiving table.  We are mute, unseen old women singed by the legacy of sexual violence.  Violence that never found justice or voice.  We could not seek justice because justice was not available to us.  We had no name for rape or sexual abuse.  No words for the unspeakable.  No reference for sexual violence committed by familiar faces.  Sexual assault was part of our lives.  It occurred in our homes.  In our schools.  In our churches.  At family gatherings.  We were invisible girls assaulted in plain sight.  It was what we endured and what we were blamed for.  It was a time when girls lived at the mercy of male aggressors—sexual predators who frolicked on wide-open playgrounds.  We were their free amusement. 

Now we are elderly women terrified of exposure.  We have protected our loved ones from our sordid pasts even as we live trembling in dark, secret hiding from its pursuit.  We know that our families cannot protect us.  Caregivers won’t protect us.  Nursing homes, like the archaic maternity homes where once we cowered, can’t protect us.  No cop with a gun strapped to his hip can protect us from abuse that is permitted. 

As the clamor to unseal confidential adoption records grows steadily louder and increasingly hostile and the public imagines fairytale “reunions,” elderly women are silently absorbing the blows and sucker punches landed by aggressors advancing toward them in revenge.  Lawmakers are swayed by ignoble rhetoric from aggressors disguising themselves as champions for adoption reform and retroactive justice.  The public is influenced by delusions of sentimental, made-for-television, “mommy” moments, as the mental health community remains stonewall silent on the living damage of past sexual trauma in the elderly.  All the while, traumatized old women remain targets of strangers hunting them—aggressors enjoying public and legal support as they claim entitlement to elderly women’s lives, their beloved families, and their cherished homes during their final, fleeting chapters.

June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Abusing an elderly woman by invading her life, destroying her privacy, and exposing her past sexual wounds is indefensible.  Perverting that abuse into a righteous cause and celebrating it as a victory is not only contemptible, it is a call for political action and criminal prosecution.

 We are the mute old women sitting at your dinner table.  We are elderly women terrified of the aggressors chasing us because of a catastrophic, confidential pregnancy. 

We need your help. 


Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Planned Parenthood Poster Child

Planned Parenthood Poster Child




Planned Parenthood Poster Old Lady


By Kathleen Hoy Foley


Planned Parenthood needs to thank me for single-handedly increasing their business significantly in the last two months.  I understand there’s been a rush for services since my story and book, Woman In Hiding, has gotten some press.  Evidently, no girl impregnated against her will wants to be me.  I guess there are better things to look forward to then contending with giant, irate fifty-year-old babies looking for revenge.  Sticking needles in your eyes comes to mind.   
So I am officially offering Planned Parenthood my old lady mug to use in all future campaigns hawking services.  I don’t come cheap.  This is not only because of my star power, but owing to my powerful power in general, which evidently is quite powerful.  I wasn’t aware of this until the hate mail.  I did not know I possessed the power to make people fat.  It’s good to be informed.  Knowing of my powerful power gives me the upper hand in salary negations.  Thank you, haters. 

 As the official Planned Parenthood Poster Old Lady, I expect Planned Parenthood to fork over additional incentives for all the weaving and ducking I’ll have to do while promoting their services.  It’s a pain to constantly dodge giant babies chucking turds.  That’s tough, nasty work, right there.  Sure it comes with the job but, come on now, I have needs and entitlements besides cash.  Dry cleaning, for instance.  Plus massages; manicures; hair and makeup.  Botox to keep my smile frozen in place.

 Recently, Planned Parenthood has fallen into lethargy.  I’m disappointed about this.  I can’t be the only one doing their bidding.  They need a reality show.  Something like,

Un-Planned Parenthood, Damn It.  Drag out all the old ladies from the pre Roe v Wade days—the crones with live, buried bodies in their pasts—and pit them against giant adult babies wearing extra large diapers looking for mama.  Picture Grandma Moses battling Sumo wrestlers sporting huge Onesies. 

Using hand knitted shawls as masks to protect their identities, the old ladies will try to fend off the advancing giant adult babies with nothing but aluminum walkers and the occasional slice of homemade apple pie tossed into the bloodthirsty mob as a diversion.  Naturally, this will not deter the giant adult babies, but it will drum up business for Planned Parenthood.  Once a few sound bites hit You Tube, we’re talking going viral.  Do I have to think of everything?

Being the Planned Parenthood Poster Old Lady is a dream I never aspired to.  That proves my personal failing of shortsightedness.  All along I could have been exploiting the spectacle of my reproductive nightmare, conniving and scheming my way to the pinnacle of tawdry enterprise, for which I would have been very well paid.  Seedy is wasted on trailer parks and rent-by-the-week rooms in motels that believe sheets ruin the appearance of stained mattresses.  Tabloid TV would’ve made me rich white trash.  The sleaze is endless… 

I’m not just talking giant adult babies here.  I’m talking bashful teenage girls and run-of-the-mill housewives taken out by corrupt adoption agencies, diabolical social workers, and malicious, ob-gyn nurses.  I’m talking light-bulb-over-head style interrogations; smarmy detectives; stalking; and surveillance of invalids in nursing homes.  Throw in the questionable politicians and the jackbooted nuns...(sigh)…I could’ve been somebody.  Alas, it’s too late for regrets.      
But life does have its rewards.  I’ve proven that I have the power and the talent to drive new business right through the double doors of Planned Parenthood offices.  It is only fair then that Planned Parenthood upgrades my unofficial status and formally endorses me as THE Planned Parenthood Poster Old Lady.  I demand recognition and appropriate compensation, plus future employment as a reality TV icon. 

Call me, Planned Parenthood.