September 3, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: It is Not Only What Happened; It Is What Didn’t

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie speaks about speaking up!


I have a brother, Scott, who has the most amazing baritone voice. He’s always sung in the church choir and a group of Barber Shop Quartet singers who perform worldwide has repeatedly tried to get him to join them. He always declines. I have another brother, Brian, who is a talented artist. From when he was a kid he could bring to life just about anything with his drawings. When he was in the eighth grade, we were living in a house that had a blackboard, and while mom and dad were out shopping one day, he drew several female nudes on it. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea he was so talented. All the drawings were perfectly proportioned. Once I got over being stunned, especially at his subject matter, I told him he’d probably better erase it before mom and dad returned. An automobile accident took the life of my beloved baby sister, when she was 25. She was in the middle of writing a biography on the pirate, Jean Lafitte. My other younger sister had a lovely contralto voice and still does Karaoke.

One day my Scott made the comment, “Sis, can you imagine how our life would have been if we hadn’t lived in an abusive home with non-supportive parents? I had never thought of that. In my recovery and post recovery, I had been so busy thinking about the trauma and aftermath of pain and dysfunction that I had never considered what life could have been. Despite being a highly imaginative person who spins stories in her head on a daily basis I’ve never been keen on spending too much time reminiscing about what might have been. Interestingly enough, my favorite poem, Maud Muller, is by John Greenleaf Whittier and one of the last stanzas is:

“For of all sad words of tongue or
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been’.”

It is not just the excruciating mental, emotional and spiritual pain inherited by victims of child sexual abuse; it is not just the enormous cost in billions of dollars a year spent on their medical care, to say nothing of the cost to industry, it is the loss of what “might have been”. Brian might today be a world famous painter. Scott might be singing for the New York Metropolitan Opera, my younger sister might be a successful performer in nightclubs and I might be a world famous author. Jeanne……she’s another story for another day. 

How many musicians, writers, physicians, inventors, successful businesspersons, political figures, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and Nobel Peace prize recipients have been lost to the world because of child sexual abuse?  Think about that little four-year-old girl with the lovely curls who had such a lively imagination and was so entertaining until her uncle dragged her in to a closet one day.  What of the Cub Scout who dreamt of being President of the United States, until his father entered his bedroom in the middle of the night? Then there was the little boy who decided at the age of ten that he wanted to be a cardiologist when he grew up. His parents trampled his lofty goals when they made child pornography films their latest entertainment, with their son as the first star.

A young man who decides as a freshman in high school, when his mother dies of pancreatic cancer, that he is going to find a cure for this deadly disease.  He is determined in his quest. Then his father remarries unknowingly, a woman who finds her young stepson ripe for her unhealthy sexual desires.   His life is in ruins as his self-esteem and his dream disintegrate. Two already convicted and then released child perpetrators kidnap and gang rape a teenage girl, who wants to be a fashion designer. Her dreams have disappeared into thin air. The list is endless. So many perpetrators have desecrated potentially talented humans, people needed in a world that has so many needs…. and so many child molesters.

How long are we going to continue allowing lives to be destroyed, lives that might have made a huge positive difference in our own? We need to put perpetrators behind bars for good. It is a proven fact that you cannot rehabilitate sexual perpetrators. Pedophiles do not molest only one child; they molest a long line of victims.  You not only rob a child of their soul when you sexually molest them, you rob them of any potential they might have realized as adults.  How many souls are we going to destroy before we get it? Child sexual abuse is worse than murder.  Educate our children at a young age how to protect themselves from pedophiles. Common sense strategies and guidance are available to protect them. Kings County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Renton, WA has published a pamphlet titled, “He told me not to tell – A parents’ guide to talking to children about sexual assault.” I cannot recommend this pamphlet enough. Every parent should have a copy. If you call them at 425.226.5062, they will mail you, free of charge, a copy. What are you waiting for?


Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.
Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse,  REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.


  1. I'm starting to get the picture that there is a shamefully real subculture of us. I don't know if 'subculture' is the correct term. But certainly has the mental health system in a tailspin. They just don't know what to do... except, as I have been told by my psychiatrist to 'just put up with it' 'you are just feeling sorry for yourself' and a charged comment with explicit sexual content, he made I can't post here. This was a McGill University staff shrink.

  2. Thanks for your comment Gary, and I have to agree with you -- it's a huge factor in why I do the work I do! I'm sorry you had the experiences you had with an ill-prepared provider. I wish I could say this wasn't common, but I think it often is...


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