There’s a book I come back to periodically throughout my life – a strange piece of Scottish literature called The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
I encountered this book when I was quite young. I didn’t completely understand it the first time I read it, but it stuck with me. The main character, Jean Brodie, and her charisma were seductive and enchanting. I was a child, and easily charmed by such people, even in fiction.
There’s a thing I found on Reddit. It’s been referenced in a few forums I tend to frequent because it just so beautifully describes the dynamic between enablers and abusers. The title of the post is “Don’t Rock the Boat,” and it’s a reflection on that phrase, and what it is that people are really saying when they use it.
I wish I knew who to credit this to, because it so well-articulates how abusers/people who behave badly don’t always act alone or in a void. There are often people around them who are aware of their bad behavior, but make it their duty to be the stabilizing presence. It also reflects on how “boat stabilizers,” as this author terms enablers, come into existence – often, it can be within a family environment where there are multiple family members who work together to try to minimize the rocking caused by one person.
It’s an eerie day in Colorado as we greeted the arrival of our second bomb cyclone. The day started rainy, gray, and foggy with an impending sense of doom and eventually turned to a heavy wet snow which is much more appropriate for a bleak midwinter than an early spring. The gloomy weather hanging over my home seems the appropriate time to reflect on events that occurred on March 26, 2018 on the northern coast of California, sometime in the early hours of the morning.
This is a story about abuse, neglect, and murder, and it’s been eating at me for quite some time. I had to collect my thoughts, and the point of posting them is to call attention to this case, to these kids, to what they experienced and why they experienced it, and to the forces that intertwined to create a situation in which they never got the help they desperately needed and were desperately seeking.
TW: Tough subject matter ahead. Read at your own discretion.