THE HART: EVIDENCE THAT GOES TO 11
Hello, I’m Aleks Squeezd, and this is “The Hart.” Today we have a brand new documentary for you, “Evidence That Goes to 11.” Here is where I should insert a trigger warning. This documentary is about childhood sexual abuse, so if you have gone through something similar and want to be retraumatized, then have we got a show for ya, baby!
Originally, when “The Hart” conceived of doing a project on this subject, we were going to reach out to our audience. Much more childhood sexual abuse occurs than anyone wants to believe, and its believed only a small number of victims ever come forward. We thought we’d find one of those victims, someone who didn’t have a voice, and give them one. Then I lost a hair fight to my documentarian friend Kentucky Williams and decided to tell her story instead.
Kentucky Williams: Growing up in the Woodchip-Williams household was awesome. There were Che Guivera posters on every inch of bare wall, I was allowed to call my parents by their first names and we only ever went to protest marches with play areas.
My parents were on welfare because they both maintained that, as enlightened liberals, work was beneath them. They always told me, “If you see something, say something.”
Well, at the age of six, I definitely saw something because that something happened to me and the room had good lighting.
I first thought about coming forward as an adult one night at a dance party. My LGBT activist group and I had just returned from burning a church and we were throwin it down in celebration. Then, a song came on that I’d last heard in my gymnastics classes as a kid. I considered telling Rebecca, one of my then six current sexual partners, but decided against it.
Gymnastics classes were taught by a Colonel Nassir Isis. He went by Colonel because he said he liked Elvis, and also because of some things he’d done in his homeland he wouldn’t talk about.
Col. Isis said I was doing so well in gymnastics classes he wanted to give me private lessons. My Dad agreed to this because Col. Isis offered to let Dad use the gym free of charge while I had my lessons.
The gym was separate from the gymnastics area, and one day Col. Isis touched me. I told my Dad as soon as we got on the road back home that day, but he just said, “It doesn’t matter if he did. Col. Isis is an Arab-American. That means he is oppressed by the white majority and deserves sympathy and respect. Also, we are on welfare and I need to work on my abs.”
In Grade 2 we had the standard talk about good touches and bad touches. A classmate said someone had touched them in a bad way. All the rest of the class said they had been, too. The teacher believed them and various men in our town got sent to jail on the strength of what my schoolmates had said in class alone, but I just stayed silent.
When I was a teenager, I considered telling my mom about what Col. Isis had done, but Mom always said it was more important to her to have a career rather than be a mother so the thought passed.
Finally, recently, while paving over a Civil War battlefield in the dead of night with my fellow activist and one of my ten current sexual partners Adam, I tell him and he encourages me to come forward. I later learn he meant skootch forward on the seat so I could help him steer.
After learning Col. Isis is still operating his gymnastics facility, where he’s molested goodness knows how many girls by this time, I decide against going to the police.
Firstly, police officers are blue collar people who don’t make very much money and did not have the good fortune to become professional students like myself.
The second reason is that a lot of police officers are men and, thus, probably don’t even know what the word vagina means.
Instead, I decide to turn my experiences into several performance art pieces, tour the country and make a boatload of money. There’s the one where I perform gymnastics in a leotard and nothing else, the one were I dance completely naked, the one were I get guys to touch me while yelling and crying, “Go ahead, this is all I’m good for anyway”, and the one where I get rolled up in a carpet and kicked down a flight of stairs for some reason. The more money I make, the more healed I feel.
One day when I’m bored, I learn from the internet that bad things that happen to you in childhood can have long-term effects, even into adulthood . I think about this for a few minutes, just trying to absorb this new information. Then I order a pizza.
The next thing I consider doing is staging a silent sit-in at Col. Isis’ gym with my female friends. We’ll trespass his gym like he trespassed my body. Sure, he might just take this as an opportunity to rub all our asses for hours on end, but I feel it’s worth it. I ask my dad what he thinks of this plan.
Bill Williams: I think it’s bloody stupid. Now get me another beer.
Kentucky: Having abandoned that idea, my next plan is to interview Col. Isis. By the way, Col. Isis also works with children with developmental disabilities. Oh yeah, baby, waita up that cry factor.
I decide to pose as a journalist doing an interview with Col. Isis.
(Phone rings. Kentucky picks it up)
Col. Isis: Is this Miss Williams.
Kentucky: Look, you stupid paki, I already told you I’m not interested in whatever scam you and your telemarketing company are trying to pull on me today. Got that, sandnigger.
Col. Isis: This is Col. Isis from Isis Gym.
Kentucky: Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, about the interview.
Col. Isis: Yes, the interview. Here is what my schedule looks like for the next few days.
Kentucky: I set up a time to meet with Col. Isis. I bring along my friend Sam. Sam is gender neutral, and will fit nicely into this story, I decide. Plus, Sam works the Friday night sshift on the counter at Gugliamo’s pizza, so you know they’re superawesome in a crisis.
After leaving Sam in the car, I go into Col. Isis’ gym. We walk to his office and he shuts the door. We chat about mundane things, and as the conversation goes on I inch closer and closer toward him. He starts touching me, then we end up having sex on his office floor.
Col. Isis: Thank you, come again.
(Kentucky exits Col. Isis’ office, exits the building, walks to her car, and opens the door.)
Kentucky: (To Sam) Boy, that was awkward.
Kentucky: After months of failing to sell the tape of the interview to cable sex channels, I decide I can’t deal with this anymore. I spend the next several months in a village in Maine that has the highest NPR listenership of any community of its size in the state. I fail at working a series of minimum wage jobs and steal other girls’ boyfriends.
Then, one day, I decide to try to take this to the police after all.
Surprisingly, I find out there are female police officers these days, and that, just because they make less money than actual people, they are actually kind of smart.
A female police officer and I try to get Col. Isis to admit to what he did over the phone, but he won’t. Then, the officer manages to convince the county prosecutor to take my case. Other victims are found, and slowly but surely, this case is headed to trial. The local TV station even sends one of its interns down to the gym after Col. Isis is arrested, and they show commercials no less.
One of Kentucky’s Current Sexual Partners: I don’ like courtrooms because all judges are white and the only people who ever get prosecuted be niggers who never done nothing.
Kentucky: As the trial date approaches, I feel nervous and excited. I also start to change my mind. At first, I wanted Col. Isis to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Now, I’m starting to think differently.
Finally, it’s the day of the trial.
Shift to a courtroom. Judge Sourmush is presiding.
Judge Sourmush: Colonel Nassir Isis, I find you guilty of pedophilia and sentence you to---
(Kentucky runs onto the stand)
Kentucky: Your Honour, a minute of the court’s time, please.
Judge Sourmush: Well, seeing as you are one of Col. Isis’ victims, I’ll grant it. Proceed.
Kentucky: Thank you, Your Honour. Ladies and gentlemen, over the past few months, I’ve thought a lot about what happened to me all those years ago, my role in this trial taking place here today, all the victims of sexual abuse who never come forward, maybe even victims of the very man about to be sentenced today. Ladies and gentlemen, though I did not like it when Col. Isis touched me at his gym when I was a little girl, I’ve come to a few conclusions. First, statistically speaking, Col. Isis was likely inappropriately touched as a little boy himself. Thus, he is a victim and thus disenfranchised. Second, if this is what Col. Isis is into, his alternative lifestyle if you will, then who are we who do not share in that lifestyle to say what he did was wrong. In fact, being a sexual minority makes Col. Isis a marginalized person. Thus, Your Honour, I urge you to let Colonel Nassir Isis go.
Judge Sourmush: Well, as you were starting to speak, I vehemently disagreed with what you were saying. But, over the course of your speech, I’ve gotten well into my third bottle of whisky for the day. Thus I find the defendant not guilty. You’re free to go, Colonel. Court is ajurned.
Aleks: Now for the best part of the program, the part when you get to hear from me again and I ask the subject of the documentary you’ve just viewed the kind of brilliant questions that only my mind could come up with. Welcome to the studio, Kentucky.
Kentucky: Nice to be here.
Aleks: Of course it is. Now, do you feel you’re ability to speak up about what happened to you for so long is largely a result of the fact you are female and thus not encouraged to speak up for or defend yourself in any way?
Kentucky: Yes I do, Aleks. We’re told that from the time we’re little girls.
Aleks: Then what about the fact many male victims of sexual abuse also don’t feel like they can speak up?
Kentucky: Facts like that aren’t relevant to my agenda so I don’t bother to pay attention to them.
Aleks: Now, those out there in radio land, first let me say I have permission to tell this story. One day while driving home from working with “The Hart” on this documentary, Kentucky decided to go get a massage. During the course of that massage, she was sexually assaulted. However, unlike many women, as soon as she left the massage parlour, she called the cops. You’re becoming such a strong, empowered woman, Kentucky.
Kentucky: Well, thanks, Aleks. I must say, though, I’d look like a right dicky- doo-dah if I got assaulted while making a documentary about having been violated previously and didn’t do anything about it for 25 years the second time.
Funding for this program has been made possible by the Ry Bread Fund for Non-white Non-male Journalists.
Based on podcast “The Heart” and its mini-season “Silent Evidence.”