Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


The Remembered Self: A Journey Into The Heart Of The Beast, by M.J. Payne (Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2014, 180 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

October 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - M.J. Payne, a graduate of the University of Kentucky Honors Program and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, has written a sordid story of human sexuality and trauma based on a true story; The Remembered Self: A Journey Into The Heart Of The Beast. If not for my numerous communications with her I would think it a work of fiction, for some of it is too graphic and traumatic beyond belief, but it did actually happen according to the author. Payne does not attempt to sugar-coat this story, and what happened to her starting as a child, and perhaps that is therapeutic for her.

The author sets the tone and theme for this book and story within the first few pages, as she states: “Remembrance flooded me. I saw a scene that happened many years before. It was a turning point. As I remembered, my mind went into the soul of the child I had been and I began to think as she did and feel her feelings. She was my remembered self, as much a stranger as an unknown person walking down the street.”

What Payne remembered was her father taking her to a mansion riddled with hidden rooms, staircases, secret places in the attic, basement, and areas far out in the woods where horrible activities took place. It was there where the author’s indoctrination into a world of sordid and deviant behavior began, aided and abetted by her father. She describes how her father would allow her to be drugged and indecent liberties taken with her, and the father would be paid by the owner of this mansion.

Payne further described how she was lulled into submission by an offer of pretty dresses and chocolate candies. There were other men at this mansion, and it was made obvious by the author that this was a pedophile ring. There was this particular exchange between Payne’s father and the German accented owner of this mansion that makes evident what was going on there: “Take this blond child to him and maybe you can have your Cherry Blossom. She has not been touched yet, only groomed by the women. I doubt if she is fifteen. But you have to pay your tab first.” Mind you, in the telling of this story, it is the author going back to her earliest remembrances.

There is a role that the author’s mother had to play in this as described by her, which seems to be that of denial. Upon coming back from one of these visits at the mansion with her father and complaining of hurt and pain around her genital area, the mother takes her to the doctor to be examined but never seemed to question her husband about what possibly could have happened, especially in the face of what the doctor revealed had actually occurred.

One can choose to ignore facts and circumstances right before our eyes for the sake of expediency, but when it comes to the psyche and future wellbeing of our children that is a different matter altogether. Clearly, from reading this book, the author was a defenseless and innocent child, put in a position by her parents that she seems to still be suffering from.

Almost in defense of her mother and father, Payne indicates that her mother had worked all the time, and that her father had been abused too, and that statistics show that men who have suffered abuse are more likely to be out of work and ill than the general population. Payne would later communicate this poignant statement that perhaps puts this book in perspective: "He was a terribly troubled man and a very dangerous man. My mother was afraid to leave him because he was violent." Of course, now of this excuses what transpired in this book and what the author was subjected to. 

This book is about the news that’s not fit to print. It deals frankly with issues that are unacceptable in polite society and some persons would deem do not even exist, according to Payne. Count me as one of those. It is about how one human being deals with torture, trauma, sexual abuse and desire and the shame and self-hatred buried memories evoke when they begin to spill out.

Payne indicated to me that she knows that her nervous system has been damaged from what she suffered and that a huge chunk of her life simply ripped out to take time to deal with it, which can be better reflected and understood by the embed "ACE" and "Chadwick" studies.

The Remembered Self indicates that suppressed trauma creates a debt that is always paid in some way. There is an individual price a person pays in trying to censor and muzzle unacceptable memories. It is like the old Chinese foot binding process that produced deformed feet that were historically considered beautiful but forced the bones into a painful and unnatural form with the breaking of their structure so the victim was no longer capable of walking independently. The process reduced their abilities. Abuse creates deformity of the spirit because agony and ordeal will out themselves in one way or another and take the greater part of a human being’s energy to repress.

This book reads like something out of The Twilight Zone or Dark Shadows, but it actually happened, according to Payne. She relies on dreams and a journal that she kept to tell this story. Included in her book are illustrations that are part and parcel to this nightmare of occurrences that she endured.

Payne would share these dreams and what she had written in her journal with a Canadian therapist that she was seeing, as well as the illustrations that she had drawn.

The author explained in an email to me two of these illustrations on pages 86 and 87 of her book thusly: “The significance is, I suppose the terror in creating them. The page 86 sacrifice was produced with no thought, it simply emerged. I think the drugs and brainwashing tactics used on me to prevent me from telling fragmented my memory so recovery was that much more difficult. The same figures emerged again and again in art work. I used the first person, present tense voice of a dissociating child of about four years of age because it came to me as if that child has an independent sort of existence within me and her ‘voice’ is readily accessible. There is really nothing unusual in the splitting off of intolerable experiences through dissociation and I am sure you are familiar with it.” I am really not so sure that I am! Payne further goes on to state in regard to her illustrations in the book and what she shared with her therapist: “The shrieking image on page 87 was created in the same way. Without thought, it exemplifies the horror I felt. The feelings of exhaustion, misery and shame and the wish to have evaded creation are all in that scream. The division of memory from feeling and the healing that came at great price from fusing memory with the feelings that had been split off from each other are the source of the healing. I was lucky in having a therapist who understood all about these sorts of experiences and in having God’s presence. Without Him I would not have recovered.”

Clearly, the author has been damaged by her father’s actions when she was a child, and her mother’s acquiescence, in my opinion through the reading of this book.      

Without being too analytical and judgmental, and having written several other related book reviews with a sordid and/or sexual theme such as Lost Girls by Caitlin Rother, Murdering the Mom by Duff Brenna, Hurt Used to Live Here by Joyce Reed, The Straight-Up Truth About the Down Low by Joy Marie and The Franklin Scandal by Nick Bryant, it seems that our pre-occupation and/or mis-application of sex and sexuality has destroyed our moral fiber. Clearly, it is demonstrated in The Remembered Self.  As indicated by the author in Hurt Used to Live Here, having been sexually molested by her father at the age of 11-years old, and the ensuing lifetime of trauma and dysfunction brought about by it, Payne indicates similar discomfort in her life and adulthood brought about by what her father subjected her to. She indicates years of therapy, which is ongoing, due to what she was subjected to as a little girl being in the most vulnerable and defenseless position.

Significant in this well-written book, although disturbing at times due to the graphic depiction of deviant behavior involving children, is the author stating: “In remembering my buried past I realized how little I knew about myself. My soul was stretched and I found healing at the end of the episodes of terror and rage that went with combining my feelings with my recovered memories. I understand people better. I learned that boundaries are flexible in an emotionally resilient person and I got better at deciding where to place them on my personal continuum.” Payne actually bares here soul in this book in an unflinching manner, which seems to me therapeutic in and of itself.   

Dennis Moore is an Associate Editor with the East County Magazine and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. He is also the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.







"Heart Felt" To Wilson Carter from MJ Payne Re: Dennis Moore Rev

Dear Mr. Wilson Carter, thank you for your kind response to Dennis Moore's Review of my book, "The Remembered Self". I greatly appreciate the fact that a fellow writer has responded in such a sensitive and caring manner to a survivor of the epidemic of child abuse currently being dealt with. I must say that I wish more people realized what a pervasive and evil we, as a society, are fighting. I read two days ago in the excellent Google Alerts news service that a baby of nine months of age had been sexually abused and suffered death from it. This helpless tot had thirty bruises on his body and internal lacerations that horrified even hardened law enforcement personnel. Other incidents like this one are also documented. This very baby's older brother has also been abused. These things terrify decent people who often do not believe these crimes take place and do not want to deal with the fact that they are documented, printed in the news, though not fit to print as the saying goes, and will continue to plague persons rich and poor, of all races and social station, and no one is free of the possibility that they or someone they care about can be affected unless we bring this taboo topic out into the bright light of scrutiny and show some courage by dealing with it. Dennis Moore has shown great courage and caring by using this forum to be a force for good to bring these abominations to light and make the perpetrators accountable for destroying another human being who is unable to fight back. Every child saved from such a fate makes our country stronger and in a practical way, lifts an economic burden from the shoulders of all citizens. Every single child is a precious gift of God and deserves nurturance and caring. We can do better. We must do better. Thank you again, Mr. Carter. MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast


MJ, The fact that you and others are speaking out means that things are better. When silent, we all lose. When you, others, speak out, not only are you healing, you are doing better. My prayers are with you and all that has faced are facing any form of abuse. Wilson Carter Author

Heart Felt

I applaud M.J. Payne for sharing her story of betrayal by the ones (parents) who was supposed to love, cherish, and protect her. A story betray I'm sure many has faced and still privately, inwardly living, experiencing the hurt and pain. Dennis Moore review without having read M J's book, "The Remembered Self." I was able to imaging the hurt in the author's just from the selective terms he used. The story aso reminded me of my romance novel, "Closure, " where the heroic is determined to give her niece a life filled with love, balance, and structure, while at the same time bring Closure to her past so she could have a future. I am happy to know that M J Payne through prayers and therapy, is seeking, obtaining Closure to her past so she could move forward with a future.

Heart Felt

I applaud M J Payne for sharing her story of betrayal by the ones (Parents) who was supposed to Love, Protect, and Cherish her. Even though I grew up in a family where my parents every chance possible, demonstrated, express their love for me and my siblings, Dennis review without having read M J's book, "The Remembered Self," I felt as if I had because of some heart felt statments stated that pulled at my heart and touched my soul. The story also reminded me of my romance novel, "CLOSURE," where the heroic is determine to give her niece a life filled with love, balance, andstructure, while at the same time, stop her sister from using her niece as the debit card to her bank account. I am so happy to know that M J Payne is in a position through prayers and therapy, she is working toward Closure of her past so she canmove forward with a future.

Heart Felt

I applaud M J Payne for sharing her story of betrayal by the ones (Parents) who was supposed to Love, Protect, and Cherish her. Even though I grew up in a family where my parents every chance possible, demonstrated, express their love for me and my siblings, Dennis review without having read M J's book, "The Remembered Self," I felt as if I had because of some heart felt statments stated that pulled at my heart and touched my soul. The story also reminded me of my romance novel, "CLOSURE," where the heroic is determine to give her niece a life filled with love, balance, andstructure, while at the same time, stop her sister from using her niece as the debit card to her bank account. I am so happy to know that M J Payne is in a position through prayers and therapy, she is working toward Closure of her past so she canmove forward with a future.

Heart Felt

I applaud M J Payne for sharing her story of betrayal by the ones (Parents) who was supposed to Love, Protect, and Cherish her. Even though I grew up in a family where my parents every chance possible, demonstrated, express their love for me and my siblings, Dennis review without having read M J's book, "The Remembered Self," I felt as if I had because of some heart felt statments stated that pulled at my heart and touched my soul. The story also reminded me of my romance novel, "CLOSURE," where the heroic is determine to give her niece a life filled with love, balance, andstructure, while at the same time, stop her sister from using her niece as the debit card to her bank account. I am so happy to know that M J Payne is in a position through prayers and therapy, she is working toward Closure of her past so she canmove forward with a future.

To Linda Lee King Re: Dennis Moore Book Review The Remembered

Linda, after having read your book, Sticks & Stones and Broken Bones: What a Charmed Life I Lead, I am moved beyond words by what you have written here. You are a kind and deep person who has suffered many injustices and you read my book with such carefulness that your own spirit shines forth in that. Thank you for your comments and I consider you a trusted friend. We are all pulling together to end these terrible acts against children. Every voice raised is a strand in the chorus of the cry in the ear of God. He listens more closely than we can imagine. Again, thank you. MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast

God was wiping dried blood from my mouth

This book needs to be recognized as a true account of repressed memories, how often, they find a way out when the will of the spirit refuses to break. Violence and sexual perversions against children infects the future. After having to re-read, this honest and most - "telling it all" story, I found myself in her story - Feeling, the pain, the betrayal by the people in her family who should have protected her and not force MJ to be the object of their sick perversions or, to use her as a whipping post for what was wrong in their sick minds. It doesn't matter to me her father was raised to be as cruel as MJ's grandmother and uncle; he should have ended his misery long ago before he crossed the line with his own daughter. There was a line among many that caused me to pause and dwell in the bitter realism: "I felt like God was wiping dried blood from my mouth..." Powerful, as is. It only makes me want to hug my father even more, but I can only do so in spirit as he has passed on. MJ, you would have loved my daddy, never, never ever did he lay a hand on my mom or me. I say this because so many women don't hear about the "good ones" He would have killed any man that harmed me, and had I told him of my 'experience' (as you know) - the outcome would have been different for one family member I know. After years had passed, being an adult - my father realized I had resolve. Sadly, children rarely feel they have the right to speak out against an "adult or the family." It is a mistake to let it breed, when the adult stays silent. I grew-up as you, silent until the walls came crashing down - exposing the secrets. And, let me make another point. It isn't just children, but women and men, too feel shamed by their self-imposed stigma preventing them from revealing full disclosure. Then one day arrives and what "truth," we have buried from ourselves will come crawling out to save us from the silence we carried. In the news we are learning of many women claiming rape by Bill Cosby, so many upset because of the time that has pass. Well, as verified victims of sexual crimes you and I know. It doesn't come out until it starts to destroy us and then the spirit cries out! "Speak up , speak out, shout and scream it!" In your face I am not anyone's whipping post. Loved it when you bite that vile woman in the ankle. I almost had the nerve to bite "it" off, but the gun held at my head kinda deterred the intended action. Evil attacking a child viciously - then it robs them of innocence scarring them with unfounded shame is an experience; impossible for anyone to relate without having experienced evil at it's most vile moment, as MJ, had. It is a comfort to me, knowing, MJ has surrounded herself with a loving husband along with those who care and support her without judgement. And, not to forget the company of her loyal doberman and friend, Aly. Be well MJ, always in my thoughts you will be. PS The artwork was an added bonus - don't stop - the talent is raw and yet, so refined. Linda Lee King Author, Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead

Vengeance is Mine, I will repay To Cortina Re Dennis Moore Rev

Cortina, your comments are on the mark. Many people do not believe evil exists but any person who has been abused or battered for years knows differently. What concerns me is that people are "playing" with it and there is a growing trend of belief that incest should be legal and advocacy for lowering the age of consent. Sexual abuse of children is so pervasive that in the U.S. issue of The Guardian I read today in the Google Alerts a government adviser warns that it is a national health epidemic in the UK. There are at least eleven million people who have not disclosed to anyone what they have suffered. There are many studies that show the connection between abuse and illness in later life, joblessness, and recurring abuse patterns in rapes and battery in marriage as violence follows victims. England and Australia are attempting to deal with their enormous and long standing backlog of sexual abuse victims. When support and intervention are not provided the entire society pays for the crimes against children. People still remark that it is a woman's fault if a man victimizes her and she remains in the relationship. They do not understand that as you stated in your comment, Cortina, victims of violence often have very low self esteem and limited means to get away from the violator if he/she controls the finances or they have children and property together. It is actually quite dangerous to leave a violent man. Many women have lost their lives in such attempts. I am so happy for you, Cortina, that you have worked through your issues and written a book about it. I do believe that the perpetrators of violence against children and women will possibly get away with it during their lives but I also believe the spirit is eternal and there is a higher court that nobody can avoid, hence my title. I do not think it is coincidental that these vicious and sick attacks against children are being exposed. MJ Payne Author The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast

Re: MJ Payne

Thank you so much MJ Payne, you are such an inspiration to me, I am so glad that this forum has brought you into my life. Thank you for not being afraid to share. I think when other men and women see that it is ok to say something, they too will make a stand! You are wonderful, and I appreciate you, and I am so excited about your book! I hope and pray for nothing but the very best in your life!!! Cortina

Cortina's reply to Dennis Moore's review

Mr. Moore excellent review as always! You really bring light to such a subject that has always been kept in the dark! After experiencing sexual abuse as a child, I had to then carry that burden into my adulthood. With an already low self-esteem, I was then raped as an adult twice, and the extreme pain associated with this followed me into my marriage filled with domestic violence! Lots of pain and hurt, that would bring many people to an early grave! However, with a second chance in life, I am free, I am healing, and happy. I have written a book, that is associated with so much pain that people deal with in this capacity! "On Earth As It Is In Hell" starts out with a conversation going on in Hell between the demons, Satan, and unfortunate souls to go to the Earth and wreak havoc in people's lives, only to have them join the ranks later with the others in Hell! Thank God for second chances, God bless those that still go through, and I pray that for those who suffer in silence. "On Earth As it Is In Hell" by Cortina Jackson

"The Remembered Self"

Cortina, it is comments and books written by authors like you, as well as taking a principled position against this insidious illness of domestic and sexual abuse that is going to make all the difference in the world.

The Remembered Self

Dear God, what is wrong with some people's minds? Just reading the review, I felt my neck muscles begin to tighten up. M.J. Payne is incredibly courageous to have written this book. My heart goes out to all children who suffer the heinous and atrocious acts done to them by the very people who are supposed to love, nurture, and protect them. I'm sure Dennis Moore found it tough to read this one, seeing as he is a father himself. But as usual, Mr. Moore has written a wonderful review.

From M.J.Pyne to Carole, Linda, KB Re: Dennis Moore's rReviews

Linda, Carole, KB, and "our Dennis", and Claudell, Thank you for the well written thoughts of all and for wishing me well. It did take all my courage to write "The Remembered Self". As you all know, writing a book is a tremendous undertaking, since you have done it. Each point of view is like a facet in a diamond. The whole tapestry of our viewpoints and experiences are a quilt that I hope will keep many warm on a cold night of fear caused by trauma and seeing others hurt. We cast our sparkling crystal gems onto that quilted tapestry of faces and through the difficulties we have each faced, the stones glitter with purity born of telling the truth. Each person's story is part of a sparkle string of diamonds around the neck of collective humanity, a piece of the gleam in every eye of every person of good will who has lived. Frozen tear drops they may also be, but they are our offering to make life better. Edmund Burke said it well as did Dante Alighieri, who said that "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." Letting an evil status quo continue when a voice or a helping hand could have been raised is equivalent to condoning the problem. I look at it as each of us having a little piece of a dirty mirror to buff. Just a piece, no one can do it all. I cast my little glimmer out there as each of you have done. In the end those are the things that matter and if some others don't like it, someone told me that the people who mind don't matter and the people who matter don't mind." Someone very dear encouraged me with that quote. The truth will set you free. M.J. Payne Author The Remembered Self

RE MJ's Resonse "Our Dennis"

MJ, it is special for me to be included in this group of women - we have beaten back the odds and no longer a victim lost in a crowd. We have thrived, despite what happened to us. We will continue to do so while helping other women. You Rock MJ! Linda Lee King, Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead

"The Remembered Self"

Yes Carole, it was difficult for me to read the book and write the review, as I am a father and continually thought of my children while reading it. I tried to be as objective as possible, but felt that this was a story that needed to be told.

The Remembered Self

Dear God, what is wrong with some people's minds? Just by reading the review my neck muscles tighten up. M.J. Payne is an incredibly courageous person to have written this book. My heart goes out to all children who suffer through heinous, atrocious acts brought on by those who are supposed to love and protect them. I'm sure it must have been tough for Dennis Moore to read the book, since he is a father himself. But once again, he has done a fine job in reviewing the book.

Re Carol McKee response to The Remembered Self.

Carol, you are so right. M.J., is a courageous woman who is helping not only herself, but so many others by speaking out, myself included. I cried reading the review Dennis Moore wrote. I also knew he was a champion for women's issues and we need more men like him to speak out. It does take a toll on him I am sure. Reading, one horrific story after another and yet, he does get to the heart of the story to help enlighten the world. Linda Lee King, Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead

Response to Michal Re: Review by Dennis Moore

Here's hoping that both you and your mom had an enjoyable day together, Michal. Re: your kind comment, I think women demonstrate unity when we as a group show solidarity in confronting such issues as you describe in "The Remembered Self". It is, after all, not only an issue to those who are victimized by sexual abuse, but a potential problem for women of all ages. Books such as yours, written by women with the courage to tell their stories, expose this diabolical issue that has been hidden and minimized for far too long. As for men (other than "our" Dennis) weighing in on this subject, I think I speak for all women when I challenge them to imagine their daughters, sisters, nieces and other women in their lives suffering the same abuse as those who are victimized by this evil.

Response to Linda re: Dennis Moore's Review of Remembered Self

Linda: There are few if any quotes that better sum how silence allows evil to triumph than Edmund Burke's. A copy of it hangs on my bookcase next to my computer. Had good men remained silent during World War II, it would have resulted in the genocide of many more of the world's people groups. I agree that it is past time for more of us to speak out against the worldwide abuse of women. This includes sharing our own stories, as you have courageously done, so that other women will know that they are not alone. Women also need and deserve to be assured that as victims, they should bear neither blame nor shame. Furthermore, I believe that it is important for abusive men to see the faces and hear the voices of those of their own gender speaking loudly and collectively to condemn these practices that are often deeply rooted in traditions, and the (sometimes subliminal) beliefs that it is okay to treat women as chattel. Too many times, the voices of women are marginalized, but a united front of women as well as men speaking with one voice will certainly be more clearly and loudly heard. KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World Winner, 2014 International Book Award, Women's Issues

Re: KB's response to Dennis Moore's Review of Remembered Self

KB, The more I tell my story I have discovered the number of men who are champions for women's issues are growing in support. Woman like M.J and I have dealt with long term abuses and it takes a special kind of person to get close to us. It is hard to find men who are not stuck in the old ways women are treated as a result of subliminal training during childhood, ironically, from their own mothers. Teaching women to retrain their thinking before they have children needs to be addressed as well. For the most part, many women unknowingly have added to the problem with little things like this e.g., "boys don't cry." I can get into this topic but not the forum. Women do have more power than realized, we are the mothers raising sons, we out number men and can vote them out if we united. We can make the changes by being verbal and united. Linda Lee KIng, Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead

"Women have the power, and they should use it!"

Linda, you are absolutely right; "Women do have more power than realized, you are the mothers raising sons, you out number men and can vote them out if united. You can make the changes by being verbal and united." You, MJ and KB can be at the forefront of a movement to empower women, and I would do all I can to help you, for I have a 21-year-old daughter and I want her to be empowered. We can write about and talk about the indecent liberties taken with women, and the physical and verbal abuse they are subjected to, but you women have the power to change all of that. Perhaps putting Hillary Clinton in the White House might make a difference, but you women can be that grassroots movement to bring about a change. I have gotten to know you ladies by reading and writing a review of each of your books, but I am more impressed with your strength and intellect, which I sincerely hope you band together and start utilizing it for the betterment of all women, and society in general. I don't think you ladies fully realize what power and strength you do have! We men should get behind you, mostly because we are products of women, our mothers, and we have daughters that we should want to be honored and respected. Get this movement started!

Re Dennis Moore's comments "Women have the power"

Dennis, it is always my intention to empower those who felt the sting from those who abide by "the rule of thumb." The women I look to help are standing in the grocery line or waiting at the DMV; Here, is where I look around and spot the woman or child afraid to look anyone in the eye, and I start a conversation with them. Sometimes, they are receptive other times; unresponsive or too embarrass to say, "Hello." These are the women and children I look for because I can guarantee, many are unaware how bad it is for them and equally unaware there is a world of women trying to do something to correct the problem. A movement indeed! Being a baby boomer, I can't help but feel the beat of a new revolution, a political movement lead by women to unite, take control of the house, the senate. Women need to take control of the vote. Perhaps, a Woman's Party may be in order. Women have been at the receiving end of politics far too long. Seriously, men took too long to give us voting rights. They may try to take it away, look what is happening over voter ID laws. How many poor women will not be able to vote? A voice left in the dark because of bad politics and sore losers. It is a movement that will require outreach programs to be effective, to help find the victims tucked away in a rural community where resources are limited and who may not be able to vote. This movement can bring organizations such as the Girls Scouts to the National Association of Women In Construction, all under one umbrella; educating, promoting and voting on women's issues. My passion is strong and, I always need guidance and feedback. Warm regards, Linda Lee King, Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a Charmed Life I Lead

A Native American's perspective on Dennis Moore's Review

What a story, M.J., and what courage in unearthing such pain in publishing it. Dennis Moore's statement that "Abuse creates deformity of the spirit..." just as the ancient Chinese custom of tightly binding women's feet to render them small and hoof-like to please men's warped sense of feminine beauty, is a perfect description of the cast of reprobate characters described on the stage of Michal's young life. Far too often newscasters report of sexual abuse of girls and young women like Michal that occur under a variety of circumstances. Often covered up and shushed, it has existed, and continues to exist, within families, communities, and organizations including schools, orphanages and foster care. Although female children have been the traditional victims, both genders are used as pleasure objects that are sometimes sold at a price to be used, abused, and discarded at will. And this pervasive evil is not limited to any particular race, culture, or ethnic group. One of the past "hotbeds" of such abuses took place during the Native American boarding school era, and many who were helpless victims still bear the resulting scars. Although the assimilationist concept began earlier, mandatory attendance of the schools began in earnest during the late 1800s and did not peak until the 1970s. During this era, tens of thousands of American Indian children attended these schools that were operated mostly by religious organizations run by government funds. Although there were positive aspects of the boarding schools, including the gaining of pan-Indian identities and the learning of skills that fostered tribal leadership, the greater motive was to "de-Indianize" Native American children and force their assimilation within mainstream society. Such required them to forsake all vestiges of their native languages, cultures, and in many cases, family ties. At their very worst, however, there are many documented cases of physical, sexual, manual, and psychological abuse. There was also the "1960s Baby scoop" era, mainly in Canada, but with U.S.A. overlap, wherein Indian babies and children were simply taken from their parents and placed in orphanages, foster homes, or adopted out to well-to-do white middle-class families to achieve the same assimilationist goals as the boarding schools. Some survivors of "The Scoop" report the same sexual and other abuses endured by those during the boarding school era. Even during the present 21st century, according to the Futures Without Violence website (formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund) federal government studies show that American Indian women are victims of sexual violence at higher levels than that of any other group of women in the U.S. Department of Justice database. Nicole Matthews, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition (whose profile appears in 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World), was one of five researchers who interviewed 105 Native American women used in prostitution and trafficking to prepare the report, "Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota". In summation, Michal's courage in sharing her story places another living, breathing face among a growing number who are unafraid to speak about their personal experiences with this issue. Along with them, her voice further brings this worldwide pandemic into society's consciousness where it belongs. This quotation from orator and political thinker Edmund Burke applies perfectly to the world-wide issues of sexual abuse not only of girls such as was Michal, but children and young women worldwide: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." KB Schaller, Author 100+ Native American Women Who Changed the World Winner, International Book Award, Women's Issues

Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) his quote says it all!

M.J. & KB - I sometimes feel like averting my eyes when I see another woman I know who has been abused but, I always remember this: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This is one of my favorite answers to anyone who says to me, "Why should I care about the rest of the world?" Why wouldn't I? Knowing the pain others are going through? Women worldwide have suffered greatly because of religious beliefs, and whose cultural background dictates what they can or cannot not do with their body. Then of course, the government - treats women like second-class citizens by keeping them below the pay scale they deserve. Women are often forced to stay with abusers because they have no where to go. There are not enough shelters for the victims of abuse, men included. e.g., my friend, entertainer Sir Monti Rock III, overcame a great deal of abuse and trauma (prostituted) as a child, but he made it and is a living icon in Las Vegas today. Sexual crimes are cruel to the spirit indeed, it soils the soul with unwanted guilt and undeserving shame. Ladies, rock on and sing out loud, scream if you must, but no more silent voices hiding in the shadows of guilt. Linda Lee King Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones What a charmed life I lead

To KB Schaller from MJ Payne re Dennis Moore Review

KB thank you for your most welcome and scholarly answer in your comment. It is so sad that the very people we depend upon to care for children are so often the abusers who find a home in such environments of caring. I have seen so much of this in my research. I am not surprised that Native American women have been victimized in this way as well. I cannot see any answer except that women not continue to be muzzled about the reality of being a woman in whatever form we appear. I think we must be able to write when we are writers about the subjects that have affected us. I also believe that men and institutionalized abuse are subjects that are actually separate and I would not want any man of any race who supports women to be made mute in these discussions. I am sorry that men are afraid to comment, (other than Mr. Moore who appears to have no fear). Your comments are so welcome and of such quality that I am blessed to receive them. Yesterday was my mother's birthday and I took a break or I would have answered earlier.

M.J. Payne to Dennis Moore

By the way, I do want to assure readers that "The Remembered Self" is an interesting read, has light moments, and is not a diatribe or sermon. The message is in the action and plot. The thoughts behind it are in these comments.

The Remembered Self

Even in today's society, the accuser still emerges as the accused. Society still turns the other way when these situations are brought to light. I admire your courage, M.J.Payne, in defying the norm and writing your story. Thank you, Dennis, for your review and exposing sin for what it is...sin. N.J., I pray that your book will open the eyes of the world to realize that these situations are real and have to be dealt with. God bless you both. Kay Baker Author

From M.J. Payne to Kay Baker Re: Dennis Moore Review

Thank you for your encouragement. Believe me when I say this book was hard to write. I put it all in there and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. So much of the information about abuse is easy to read because it is not personal. This is personal. I am aware that it is much like looking at a lynching photo. I did that on purpose so people would wake up and maybe be disgusted, but be forced to think about it. My experiences have forced me outside the norm and because I am a writer and my education prepared me to be a writer, it was natural for me to write. The many animal comforters in the book were so healing for me and their nonjudgmental love was more important than I can say. Animals love you no matter what has happened to you, and I have documented this. My walks and romping time with my dogs helped me greatly. Naturally, real healing involves God's unfathomable love for His creation and that was the basis for repair of the self. I do not care anymore what anyone thinks about me. If this book helps one other person in dire situations it will have been worth writing it. Bless you.

Innocent Victim in "The Remembered Self"

M.J., you are the innocent victim in all this, and certainly no one is or should be judging you. You need not have to say that "you do not care anymore what anyone thinks about you." I, for one, applaud you for taking a principled and courageous stand. You are a hero to so many people, and you will see in time, that so many people will benefit from what you have written. You had absolutely no control or say in what happened to you, so don't even think it!

M.J. Payne to Dennis Moore

To Dennis Moore, Thank you so much for your kind statement. As you know, writers often wrestle with themselves over their subject matter and I did a lot of worrying over writing this book. I worried over whether anyone could be hurt by my forthright narrative and struggled to find a point of view that would allow the truth to be told in an unflinching and stark manner that illustrated the hurt these types of behavior cause children,the most defenseless of world citizens. I have noticed that people play with evil for sheer entertainment and there are many books and television productions, etc. that are tending to celebrate incest. A judge in Australia, Gary Neilson, said that it should be allowed among consenting adults. My problem with that is the fact that an adult woman who is having such a relationship was probably coerced into it in the first place and never had a chance to develop an independent "self" or do the natural growing up and separating herself in a mature way, as an individual, from her family ties - not to break them, but to fulfill her promise as a human being. So if she is caught up in an incestuous relationship can she really actually be a consenting adult? I strongly doubt it. The same goes with the attempts to lower the age of consent. Young teenagers may be mature physically but they are not mature emotionally and not equipped to deal with the powerful feelings and responsibilities that "love" brings. I have read that the human mind is not fully mature until about twenty-five years of age. There is a movement in Germany to legalize incest. The only future I can see for this is more abuse of children and less possibility of positive litigation. There are no shades of grey in this situation. It is wrong and harmful and adds dubious "civil rights" to pedophiles while hurting more children. The problem with sex offenders is they tend strongly to continue their behavior. I know my father did with his second family, because my half sister told me. She and I had a discussion and admitted to each other that we had both suffered at his hands. She tried to run away when she was fifteen and my grandmother went to the police and said she was a liar and she was taken back home. I actually feel I had a moral obligation to write this book because I have the education and ability and opportunity to do it. Others may not have that. I greatly appreciate Mr. Moore providing a forum for discussion of difficult topics and feel it is a courageous thing to do and one more barrier against the corruption of the family unit.

Moral Obligation

M.J., the fact you felt it was a "moral obligation" to write your story, is the best answer. It brings insight to a caring person regardless the cruel injustice of others. I learned a long time ago, "kill 'em with kindness," be grateful to be alive and tell the world. Again, I thank you for speaking up. Linda Lee King Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones


My hats off to to you, MJ Payne. We are all so worthy, so, so worthy, and because of a few sick individuals we suffer. Today is a new day and it is time to stand up, expose the demons, and lay bare all that is hidden. Thank you, Dennis Moore... Thank you, thank you, thank you.


As a friend, I can vouch for Ms Payne's courage, intellect and integrity. TRS will open the hearts and minds of America to an insiduous problem and provide much needed help to abuse survivors in their struggle to move on with life.

"The Remembered Self"

Stacy, actually the credit should all go to M.J. Payne, for having the courage and strength to share this part of her hidden past with us.

To Jacqueline C.

Jacqueline thank you for your kind comments and concern. The main problem I see with most of the abuse people have suffered, and it includes boys, some of whom attended Catholic schools where abuse has gone on for generations and is just coming out, is that people are afraid to speak out and that people have to be faced with things akin to pictures of lynching of African Americans to get their attention so I put it all in there. It is not more sordid than a lynching. My mother worked all the time because yes, my father had been abused too, and the statistics show that men who have suffered abuse are more likely to be out of work and ill than the general population. He was a terribly troubled man and a very dangerous one. My mother was afraid to leave him because he was violent. She herself had many problems, and I am writing her story in a book I am currently working on. As to whether she knew, I think in some part of her being she knew, but as Dostoevsky said "There are things which a (person) is afraid to tell even (him/herself), and every decent (person) has a number of such things stored away in (their) mind." I have dealt with the boundary problems troubled families have in their relationships in the book rather extensively, and it was one of the main things I had to overcome. I had to feel it was OK to put a stop to relationships that were hurting me. That it was OK to put an end to bad relationships. As to when the abuse occurred, it was decades ago and I am now a middle aged woman with most of my life behind me. This is a recurring pattern in abuse survivors = that of not remembering until adulthood. I am much better or I could not have written the book. Thank you again for your support and caring comment.

M.J. Thank you for

M.J. Thank you for responding. I am happy that you had the courage the to write the book. I think that doing so allowed you to shed some light on a very ugly subject. I am hopeful that the book will help and/or encourage other abuse victims to speak out and seek help. Thanks once again for sharing such a difficult story. I am sure that writing the book was very therapeutic for you. I wish you well going forward. Peace and Blessings. Jacqueline C.

The Remembered Self: A Journey Into The Heart Of The Beast, by M

Hello, All I say is "wow", and not in a good way. This story sounds surreal. If a biological father allowed this to happen to his daughter, then I will take the liberty to say that he himself was fraught with problems and inner turmoil. I believed that he was an abused child or witnessed abuse at a tender age. Mr. Moore, thanks once again for bringing this subject to light. There are far too many people who are suffering from childhood issues (abuse, neglect etc.) that are affecting them in their adulthood. I am not sure what year the abuse took place, don't think that it was mentioned or if it was then I probably missed it, however, I am curious as to what year this took place because I certainly don't understand the mother's action. I am not so sure it was denial, or whether she herself was a victim of abuse, and was fearful to speak out. She could have also been a dependent woman, a woman with no job etc. and whose livelihood was totally dependent on her husband. I am thinking and making these assumptions because I can't fathom that someone in their right mind will allow this mistreatment of a child. I thought that the illustrations were poignant. I am also happy that MJ is in therapy, and I hope for her sake that she continues to go because this type experience will remain with her for the rest of her life. She will definitely need coping skills and all the help that she can get from a good therapist. I think the book review was done well; personally, it was difficult for me absorb everything because the top was "hard". M.J. I wish you all the best, and thank you for bringing your story to light. I am sure that you will be able to help other people who have experienced and who probably are going through similar experiences. Keep writing, and thanks for sharing your story. Jacqueline C

Dennis Moore Book Review "The Remembered Self"

My compliments to Dennis Moore for caring about the pervasive topic of the abuse of children and women which is a worldwide phenomenon. His response is that of a kind and caring man who feels deep sympathy for the suffering of other human beings and whose compassion appears boundless. After I finished writing "The Remembered Self" I did research on the subject of child abuse. I realize this appears to put the cart before the horse, but whenever I tried to delve into the subject as it affected others I was flooded with more of the intractable fear and panic attacks that I was already dealing with on a daily basis While writing the book I had some distance from the subject because I concentrated on producing a well written book that I had the education in creative writing and literature to produce. When I began research I was appalled at the magnitude of the problem as I ran across stories of person after person in the US and abroad who had suffered the same debilitating and sordid treatment. Marilyn VanDerbur, a former Miss America has an excellent site and video and book about her wealthy father abusing her nightly from the time she was a small child and how she "forgot" it during the day and how the memories finally emerged as an adult just as had happened to me. Marilyn was hospitalized and desperately ill during her recovery. Her mother never believed her. I looked at the site of Yvonne Ellis, a black British woman who wrote, " My Journey from Devastation to Restoration After Sexual Abuse". She had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized and is the founder of Daughter Arise, an organization that supports women and men in the aftermath of Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. She says "what God has done for me he can also do for you". Fiona Simpson, a Canadian lawyer is executive director of Equality Effect, a human rights organization working to advance the rights of women and girls in Kenya. Sexual abuses are known as defilement under Kenyan law. Mercy Chidi is founder of Ripples International's Girls' Rescue Centre in Meru, Kenya and she has provided shelter to survivors of sexual abuse, Female genital mutilation, and child marriage. Muthumi Thiankolu is a constitutional lawyer and lead counsel the a 160 girl case that won a huge civil rights victory for the girls. Ghana is dealing with problems in this area. A cutting edge program in Louisville, KY has a sexual assault program that is expanded to help domestic violence victims by partnering with the University of Louisville hospital funded to have a sexual assault forensic evidence kit that nurse examiners can use with special cameras that can see and document injuries that cannot be seen by the naked eye Choking leaves bruises deep beneath the skin but not always visible marks Marta Miriam, CEO, Center for Women and Families is involved in this. I read about a sex trafficking ring in England that has been brutally abusing white school girls handing them off from man to man with the authorities inactive and turning a blind eye for some 16 years. These stories go on and on and on and I was further saddened to discover that the most abused group are children four years of age and under. This research was done courtesy of Google Alerts which posts daily items including one about three girls who were gang raped and hanged and left swinging in the breeze. After this research I no longer feel alone in having endured sordid experiences, and am glad that I had the courage to tell. Someone said "agitate, agitate, agitate" in order for things to change. Women are used to being muzzled and mute, but I will not be one of them. Again, thanks to Dennis Moore for being a kind and generous host, and to Miriam Raftery, founder of this magazine.

"The Remembered Self" by M.J. Payne

The thanks really should go to the author, M.J. Payne, for having the strength and courage to bring this to our attention. Through my own writing and research I have found that this blight on humanity is more pervasive than we may have imagined. To all men that have daughters, or women that they care for, including me, we should take a stand against this illness. An illness and sin is just what it is, to degrade and take advantage of God's gift to mankind! Women, and especially young women, should be cherished, not debased. I applaud M.J. Payne for bringing this to our attention, and to endure and overcome being defiled. She is a champion for all other little girls that may have been subjected to such sinful and inhuman behavior.

Even today, the victim stands

Even today, the victim stands accused by a segment of society who believe it is in the way the dress. More and more I find women like me, tired of living a victim's role because family and friends do not want to face the truth that a crime stemming from a sickness is destroying the lives and the future of those violated. Be well and thrive M.J. Linda Lee King Author Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones

Re: Blame the Victim, to Linda Lee King

Dear Linda Lee King, you have a very good point in that the victim is usually blamed. There is growing awareness of the toll on society the crimes against children and women cost. It is an ongoing price that is paid in that each family who has an abuse sufferer experiences a lowered economic welfare. The children who are removed from abusive households go into the foster care system and are often abused again and end up with less college degrees, which means lost income, substance abuse problems that are socially expensive, relationship problems that move like a wave through the community as they affect the children of victims. Many think there is no hope for a person who has been traumatized by abuse and shake their heads and move on. This is absolutely not the case. The earlier there is intervention and therapy is provided the better the outcome. If people know that a child has been or is being hurt, the time is NOW to get help and therapy and give the child support. When people are so shamed and in denial and do not speak out the process simply snowballs. It is time to come out of the closet with these vicious crimes. I see more action dealing with this subject. The Royal Commission on Child Abuse in Australia has a 3,000 case backlog of persons needing to give evidence and their timeframe for collection has been extended two years. The inquiries opened a floodgate and a comparable Irish commission took nine years to conduct its inquiry. As Claire Moore says, "All abuse is about power - the powerful against the powerless. In "Bitter Chocolate", Pinki Virani discusses child abuse in India, and according to Abinav Agarwal "International networks of pedophiles work together and share information on the safest places to visit in the world India and other South Asian countries are slowly replacing South East Asia as the venue of choice for the tourist sex industry..." African authorities are not kind to sex offenders. An article in the Times of Zambia by Sylvia Mweetwa states that a Chibombo farmer was sentenced to 25 years for incest with his 13 year old niece. Judge Chalwe Mchenga said it was "saddening that Coasty Mizinga acted wickedly by sleeping with his own niece who he was supposed to protect". The judge further stated that he was sending him to prison to reflect. Half of abuse victims are under seven years old. Dr. Jack Coyne, a pediatrician with office in Batavia established the Child Advocacy Center in Erie County and said only in 3 -5 % of cases of child abuse are there physical proof of lesions. Sex acts can be performed without leaving physical clues and studies show that orifices of the body are very vascular and can bleed lightly but then heal very quickly without scarring. There are so many cases of litigation ongoing in the United States regarding child abuse that it would take a long article to list them. British Airways has been sued in a pilot sex abuse allegation A London law firm is representing 16 girls in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with allegations that a pilot abused the girls. The pilot committed suicide prior to the trial. SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says that the Catholic church should be held accountable for crimes against humanity. They say that "survivors of sexual abuse inspire others to speak up". The Catholic church has its assets tied up in property trusts that make it almost impossible for the enormous numbers of victims to collect damages so they would have funds to undergo therapy and augment education and generally recover from priest related trauma. Priests are simply recycled to other parishes when there are allegations against them and a church official stated that simply being convicted of a sexual offence should not cause them to be defrocked. It is time to speak up. I am glad you are doing that Ms. King.

RE: Blaming the victim

It is an honor M.J., to stand with women such as yourself in this campaign to change the mindset of our human conditioning. Thank you for recognizing my efforts to speak up. Anytime I am in doubt, I will think of your plight and mission. May all the Gods - speed the need for the winds of change to hear us all! And, rock on! It's a beautiful world when we respect all living things.

To Dennis Moore

Mr. Moore is always a champion for civil rights and an advocate to help others in all of their struggles. His forums are interesting, challenging, intellectually stimulating, and a general place to safely discuss difficult issues. For that he is to be applauded and I do so. Life is filled with intricate problems, but it is also filled with a timeless beauty that makes most of us want to continue our lives.

From my Pastor and Therapist

Hi M.J. My encouragement to you is to stand firm in what you have written. The Lord directed and empowered you to do it! Trust that it is now in His hands and don’t second guess. The truth is shocking! I hope it shocks the world out of apathy and deception. I’m proud of you and pray God’s blessing and protection over you, Cook and this book! I believe in you! From my Pastor and Therapist