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Friday, February 11, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters

Neal Summers And Darrell Cloud -- Releasing Bottled-Up Rage

Some students, teachers and readers of The Times express difficulty comprehending how a long-term victim of childhood sexual abuse could be impelled by rage to kill his abuser.

I'm a state certified mental health counselor. For over 40 years I have worked with victims of childhood sexual abuse: teenagers, women and men. I have encountered murderous rage in several instances, and have worked with both a teenager in Seattle and a woman from Alaska who did attempt murder. The teenager caused serious injury but not death. The woman did kill with an ax. I worked with a client who had been sexually abused by her father for years, and then discovered that he had also sexually abused her daughter. When she got off work each day she sat in her car outside her father's house with a shotgun, ready to shoot to kill the instant he stepped out. Fortunately, she was able to talk out her rage before she got the father in her gun sight.

I gave three workshops for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse in a small town in Washington state. At the conclusion of the third, a woman who had not spoken throughout the workshops asked if she could walk me to my car. Alone with me she quietly said, "I want you to know that I have taken the loaded gun out of my purse. I've carried it for a long time."

For those who can't talk, can't get access to a therapist, the bottled-up rage becomes so intense that the victim is likely to attempt either suicide or murder.

Had Darrell Cloud gone to a therapist the murder of Neal Summers could have been averted. However, the action did clarify what I'm sure many students and probably others knew and kept secret: childhood sexual abuse. Vera Gallagher Seattle

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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