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Letters to the Editor

From the week of July 8, 2004

GOP of the Heap

Petty is as petty does:What a pathetic potshot! Trashing our elected officials seems to be the prevalent summer sport, but Kenny Be's July 1 "Single and the City" portrayal of our governor as a leering, pipe-smoking, cravat-wearing, Hugh Hefneresque letch -- when Owens is dealing with a very personal, painful and public separation -- was petty, preposterous and just plain poppycock.

Eliza Castaneda
Greenwood Village

Power to the people:As a 29-year, hard-core Republican resident of Colorado, I am continually impressed with the quality, depth and reach of the articles in your rag. I often learn more by reading Westword than I do by reading the Rocky or the Post. Keep it comin'!

Adam Kuenne
Aurora


Missed America

Radio daze: "Crowning Achievement," in the June 24 issue, was an excellent article about Marilyn Van Derbur. Thanks to David Holthouse for writing it. I remember when Marilyn began to speak about her childhood: I dismissed her as another rich nutbag airing her stuff because her therapist told her to. My compassionate take on it came largely from the fact that her experiences resonated loudly with my own. Lifetimes later, that crushing silence has cost me health, relationships and sometimes the simple ability to be on my own side. In the facing of these secrets, one's life gets reduced to a series of constant repairs. It is a profoundly difficult road that truthfully does not end, but instead becomes more manageable with work. Marilyn's relentless courage is a gift to the rest of us.

I was infuriated by Gene Amole's words. Ironically, his morning show on KVOD in the '60s was often the soundtrack to my own abuse. My parents' clock radio would go off every morning at 6 a.m., and the first sound would be Gene's modulated tones. Then I would hear my father's furtive footsteps outside my bedroom door as he arrived for a visit. I was eight.

Apparently I was operating under (yet another) misconception: that the guy on the radio, at least, was wiser and gentler.

Name withheld on request

There she is:I am deeply disappointed and, frankly, disturbed by David Holthouse's article about Marilyn Van Derbur Atler. I kept thinking, "What is the point?" This story lacked continuity and was a haphazard portrayal of Marilyn and her genuine motivation to educate others about the long-term effects of sexual abuse. I have known Marilyn for nine years and I have read countless articles about her, and never have I read an article written so poorly.

Holthouse continued to perseverate on trivial things such as The Smile instead of focusing on who Marilyn really is and what she has accomplished. Marilyn is an award-winning author and accomplished public speaker who has been in contact with more survivors of sexual abuse than anyone else in America. Her dedication to educating others about the devastation of sexual abuse is unsurpassed. Personally, Marilyn worked endlessly to overcome the shame and pain of her past. Through her hard work, Marilyn has become an empowered, confident and emotionally healthy person. She has found her inner peace. These important aspects about Marilyn were left out. Rather than wasting paper and space by inserting an extremely rude and malicious column by the late Gene Amole, Holthouse could have used this opportunity to inspire others to face their past and triumph over the shame. He squandered this opportunity.

Mr. Holthouse, you were in the presence of an inspirational and courageous woman, and obviously you missed the point! Please be more conscientious and responsible in the future.

Annie Johnson Hughes
Denver

Last rites: Where is Francis Van Derbur buried? I'd like to piss on his grave.

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs

Arrested development:Hey, David Holthouse, good article on Marilyn Van Derbur. A lot of people owe her a big thanks. And I'm glad to see you are still going. Hope your legal troubles are disappearing. I think your arrest was bogus crap, but maybe it gives you a special platform: to get the interview with Marilyn, to write more stories about this subject, to gather an audience of people who have sexual abuse in common with you, and to help deliver a more rational consideration of this subject than has been afforded via the perps, who always seem to get everything they think into print. Nice to see such a change. Nice to read you. You will be getting my eyes again...and again...and again. And a lot of other people's eyes, too. Thanks for your courage. Please know a lot of people want to see you succeed and continue speaking openly about this curse.

Paula Hook
Denver

The perils of speaking up:Thank you, David Holthouse, for once again writing about sexual abuse and rape. Your public disclosure about being raped as a boy was so moving to me, as was your courage in confronting your rapist. Thank you for also mentioning how uncomfortable you were with two different coaches when you were eleven and thirteen. Sports Illustrated reports that "sexual abuse by coaches is pervasive." In Miss America By Day, I devote an entire chapter to "Beware of 'Friendly' Places." Being knowledgeable and aware of danger in your child's sports world is important.

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