Monthly Archives: December 2013

5 Things Never to Say to a Survivor of Abuse

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I think that it’s very important for people from all corners understand how to approach others when they reveal that they have been abused.  Some people are well meaning but don’t understand how their comments can be very insensitive and sometimes also justify the actions of those that abused us.

  1. You need to forgive that person and move on with your life. The problem with this thinking is it’s not that easy and the “forgive and forget” mentality lets the perpetrator off the hook. Not all of our abusers have faced punishment and in my case, probably never will thanks to ridiculous laws. I don’t equate forgiveness to the idea of letting it go. Forgiveness gets rid of any punishment and life continues on as normal. Letting it go is something that happens after the victim is satisfied with the amount of therapy and release of  mental tormenting caused by the abuse. They are able to not allow the abuse control who they are as a person and don’t use it as an excuse to hurt others.
  2. Let it go (aka. Get over it). No. No. No. Don’t ever say this to someone that has been assaulted, abused, molested, raped, etc. This sort of thing doesn’t just happen on command and can take years and years for a victim to recover from. How about you just get over your grandma’s death? Oh, you’re still sad about that? Get the picture? Sexual abuse can seriously paralyze some people emotionally and sexually. They don’t just “get over it.”
  3. Why didn’t/don’t you call the police and turn that person in?
    The problem with sexual abuse and assault is that it’s not talked about enough. Most victims are terrified to say anything. In my case, I was plagued by guilt on so many levels. I also didn’t know that the clock was running out of me. The statute of limitations ran out in my state over 4 years ago. Back then, I was still trying to convince myself that everything was ok, but it was definitely not. In other cases, the victim feels like no one will believe him/her or perhaps they feel threatened. I recently found out that my stepfather molested and raped another family member for years. He had threatened her that he would kill the entire family if she told anyone. Given that a rapist or molester will only serve a relatively small sentence, any victim would be terrified of what could happen once that prison sentence is over or they are out on parole. In my case, I was told that my mother would be the one to kill everyone and herself. He played on her mental instability and knew exactly what he was doing. I still have that irrational fear. Others may lose their entire family in the process or even to greater lengths, their entire town could turn against them depending on who the abuser is. Just look at the Stubenville case.
  4. Gross. That was too much information! I got this once after revealing that I had been molested to a close friend. I was shocked. I expected a little more sympathy than that. Seriously, though, if child sexual abuse grosses you out consider the fact that one out of every seven kids you know is probably being abused. This statistic is only based on what is reported. It could be higher than that. So consider that there are victims that sit next to you at work or church and run the register at the grocery store. There are a lot of us. It’s too common. If you are going to be grossed out about it, then stand up and help do something to stop it. Apathy isn’t what we need and making you comfortable shouldn’t be our top priority.
  5. That person doesn’t LOOK like a child molester/rapist.  News Flash: just because a guy has a tan wind breaker and weird mustache does not make them an automatic candidate for sexual violence! There are people leading churches, schools, colleges, military, organized sports, etc. that have been convicted of sexually abusing children. These are people that the community looked up to and respected. Most of the time they have good taste in clothes and are very charismatic. If they aren’t leading, they are infiltrating organizations that have weaknesses so they have easy access to their victims. There have been attractive, young female teachers that sexually abused male students. This is just as wrong as a male teacher having sex with a 12 year old female student. They are still predators and manipulators. Looks can be deceiving. Don’t let yourself be fooled! Other predators are right under your nose. In my case it was my step-father. Most kids are abused by someone that has access to the living quarters like close friends or family members.

What does all of this amount to? When someone confides in you that they have been abused, the best thing you can do for that person is to believe them. If they are a minor and you feel that the abuse is ongoing, you have an obligation to report it. The other thing is to be genuinely there for that person. When I finally came out about my abuse earlier this year, I talked many ears off on top of writing this blog. It was the best thing for me. Knowing that others cared enough to listen and understand me and be a sounding board for my thoughts was such a gift!

 

 

I’m Still Here!

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Hello world! I had to vanish for a while because this semester of school about did me in but I passed and all is well! im-still-here-me9-14-10After September I really didn’t have time to do any writing because my astronomy and algebra professors thought my time should be spent doing otherwise. Right before finals I had a bit of a panic attack and shut down my blog but I knew it would be only temporary. If you aren’t already aware, all names on this site have been changed in order to provide myself and my family anonymity. One of the big reasons was that I didn’t want my mother to find it. Well, I failed at that!

I also have a LinkedIn profile and am part of a memoir writer’s society there. I had a link to this blog there to promote my writing but didn’t think twice to set it to private. Call me a dumbass! So, one day I received an email from WordPress that my views were “through the roof!” I had to check and see what was going on because it had been a few months since I had posted anything. I checked my stats and it looked like the viewer came from LinkedIn, which was a first for me so I went over to my LinkedIn account to check it out. I went to my notifications and there it was: my mother’s name under “who has viewed your profile.” My heart sank and I was mad and sad and a whole myriad of emotions. This blog wasn’t ever for her to read. I tried to keep it that way.

The purpose of this blog was to get all of the negativity out of my head and heart and rid myself of the shame and nightmares that I had been carrying around with me all my life. It is my therapy. She won’t see it that way. I honestly can’t believe that she read all of it. There is so much dirty laundry about my family here and there are some really heavy posts about some of my emotions through the healing process. I can’t imagine that would have been easy to read for her. I felt guilty. I changed my privacy settings on LinkedIn and privatized my blog until I could figure out what my next move was.

I contemplated for a few days many different things. At first I figured I could just change the name to “Goodbye Yesterday” instead, fix a few things and call it good. My mother’s not an idiot. She’d still find it if she wanted to. Before that, I almost shut the whole damn thing down and stopped writing all together but I realized that wasn’t the answer either. Why should I keep hiding? Why do I need to keep running? If she wants to stalk me then so be it. I am doing what is right for me. I needed to get my story out there and connect with other survivors so that I could muddle through all the weird emotions that were coursing through my mind and body. I needed to find myself apart from her.

I’m sure that after reading every damn single post, she probably thinks that I hate her. I don’t. I’m over that. I needed to get that out of me too. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still angry as hell. The woman is still married to a child molester and chooses to wallow in her own self pity rather than doing something about it. Things weren’t always terrible and there are things that I miss terribly. She’s my mother for crying out loud! Who doesn’t want a healthy relationship with their mother? Healthy is the key, though and safety is of utmost importance for my own children.

Just in case she comes back, here are my last words for her. This will be the last and only time that I will ever direct a post to her.

I miss your cooking. The chicken paprikash and sharing recipes. I’m still not nearly as good of a cook as you. I know that you would have bent over backwards (in your own mind) to do anything for me or my family. I have no doubt in my mind that you love me, even though your idea of love is skewed. I imagine the pain that you must feel of never having contact with the two babies that you birthed and raised. That pains me in my heart. But, you made choices. Your husband should have been locked up for life. Not only is he a child molester (not just me) but he is a rapist. I know that you think that he is harmless now but you don’t know that for sure. Do you know where he is at all hours of the day? He may not be prowling the streets or playgrounds but he is unsafe for my children to be around and I absolutely cannot stand to be in his presence without the overwhelming feeling of crying and/or throwing up taking over me. I gave you over a decade to get away from him. I would have been there for you but you lied and never had any intention of leaving him. For that, I blame you. There is still hope, though. I can be a part of your life if you leave him, leave the state and get professional mental help and therapy. Don’t wait until he croaks from his diabetes or whatever will end up taking him because it will be too late then. At that point, you have already made your choice. I have conditions but you have to follow them 100%. No only will there be hope for us but there will be hope for healing for you and possibly a happy ending in your life. The ball is in your court.