“I’m really proud of this,” tweets Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis. In his full-page cartoon essay, Stantis writes: “Growing up in an abusive home mangles the soul. You have been formed in an environment that guarantees you will forever see yourself hardened into a shameful, distorted lump. Unworthy of love or affection.”
I never talk about it. I keep it deep inside in a dark corner where it can’t be reached. On those rare occasions it comes into the dim light of memory you would see the bruised and battered child. A tear streaked face twisted in pain and confusion and fear. A child removed from his home for fear he would be seriously injured or worse.
Update – Stantis tells Romenesko readers: “The reaction to my cartoon essay has been overwhelming. It was a VERY tough piece for me to write. As I mentioned in the essay, I NEVER talk about this.
The piece surprised more than a few of my friends. Some very close. The outpouring of affection and support have, likewise, been gratifying. But the biggest, most surprising reaction has been from friends I have known for decades as well as people I barely know or don’t know at all. All had a story to tell of abuse in their lives. A reader called in tears. Emails revealing haunting stories of abuse have been pouring in and still are.
“The reason I decided to write the essay now versus a year from now or a year ago is, exactly as you noted, because of the NFL domestic violence scandals. I found myself getting madder and madder as these oafs and their supporters continued to offer up explanations and excuses for what I knew from first hand experience, were heinous crimes against those they were charged to nurture and protect. As a cartoonist and an artist I had an obvious avenue to express myself. I am very glad that I did.”