ENTERPRISE - Brockton, Massachusetts
Friday, April 22, 1994
For abused, the healing comes from the telling
By Amy Blotcher Guerrero
Enterprise Staff Writer
BROCKTON – Sharon Simone’s father was an FBI agent
and a nationally recognized authority on child abuse prevention
and intervention. At home, however, he physically abused her
three brothers and beat and sexually abused Simone and her
three sisters over a period of 30 years. “You never
knew what was going to happen,” Simone said. “I
don’t ever remember being relaxed in the family.”
In 1990, Simone and one of her sisters sued their father,
now 76, over he abuse and won a $2.3 million judgment against
him in Denver District Court. Her father never appeared in
court, but Simone was able to confront him when he was deposed.
Simone’s story was recently portrayed in the television
movie “Ultimate Betrayal.” Marlo Thomas played
the part of Simone.
Simone appeared at Christo’s II Thursday night to mark
Victim Rights Week, admission to “And Evening with Sharon
Simone,” was free and was attended by more that 100
people, most of whom either work with victims of abuse or
are themselves recovering from abusive pasts. The audience
was made up primarily of women, with about eight men present.
“Millions of people have seen my story,” she said.
“I want to talk with the real people who are sharing
During her talk, Simone responded to questions from members
of the audience. “I am definitely wanting to tell my
story,” Simone said at the conclusion of the event.
“It helps other people and it helps me.” The message
that she wants to bring to others is that “there is
hope. It can be dealt with. It takes a long time but people
can be healed and it’s worth it.”
Simone said that she has been in intensive psychotherapy to
deal with the pain caused by the abuse since 1986. After eight
years, “I feel whole. I don’t feel scared and
traumatized. I don’t feel like it’s with me every
minute anymore,” she said.
In her family, Simone, the eldest daughter, suffered physical
and sexual abuse from the age of 2 until she was 5. She then
somehow became her father’s “favorite,”
and was spared the abuse that continued for her brothers and
A day after graduating from college, she married. Simone has
six children and is a grandmother. In 1986, she began suffering
nightmares and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
as the deeply hidden memories of abuse slowly began to surface.
Once therapy helped her become reacquainted with the past
she had blotted out, Simone said she was motivated to undertake
her lawsuit after reading about an 8-year-old girl named Susan
from Beverly who had been digitally raped by her best friend’s
father on two occasions.
The man received a suspended sentence but Simone was enraged
when the judge in the case dismissed the gravity of the incidents.
“I was volcanic, ranting, raving and screaming,”
she said. The perpetrator, “doesn’t get to not
know what he’s done to her soul,” she said she
After the trial, she said, many repressed memories surfaced.
Winning the trial, was “very validating, very healing.”
Yet, she said, bringing an abuser to court, an option not
always available is not strictly necessary for healing. What
is important is that the victim holds the abuser accountable
for his or her actions.
Milestones along Simone’s path toward wholeness were
reached when she was able to accept that she was indeed a
victim, a label she had always resisted.
“It is an important step to admit that we were victimized,”
she said. “We have to own the victim status.”
Another big step was realizing the pain that she had caused
her children, three of whom became suicidal. “Everyone
who has been victimized ends up hurting other people,”
she said. “I hurt my kids really badly. I had to wake
up and see my denial and control as dangerous.”
Simone said that because there were no real boundaries in
her home growing up, she was unable to set appropriate limits
for her own children. At one point, she said, she even allowed
her 16-year-old daughter to date a 26-year-old man. She said
that her whole family has since benefited by her work to overcome
Simone said that victims of abuse who undergo counseling should
be aware of their level of pain during psychotherapy. It is
most helpful if a person recovering has a sense that they
are making progress. “I always did feel that I was moving,
that I was getting somewhere, I just knew it,” she said.
Simone urged those present to call their congressmen and ask
them to co-sponsor legislation HR 3964, the Child Abuse Accountability
Act which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Pat Schroeder, D-Col.,
on Simone’s behalf. The bill would allow victims to
attach the pensions of federal employees convicted of abuse
in trials similar to the one Simone fought against her father.