Tag Archives: molestation

The Ride

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So, it’s been just over a year now since I sent that fateful letter and started this blog. In that year I have learned so much about myself and have really been forced to take an honest look at everything in my life. Sometimes the answers that I’m looking for hurt to the core when I find them but sometimes they set me free. It’s also been a bit of an emotional roller coaster but I think I’m about ready to get off of it.

One of the things that I have had to take a hard look at is my relationships and why I have them. The main reason why I kept my parents in my life for such a long and unnecessary amount of time was that I wanted them to be happy despite the lack of my happiness. I know, I know… that’s so screwed up, right? Why on earth would or should I ever care about the happiness of people that continued to rob me of my own? I dunno… Stockholm syndrome? Who knows! I realized that I’ve been this way with a lot of people. I was a doormat. I didn’t think that I was because I thought I was blunt and spoke my mind but I really didn’t. I mean, I did when I knew it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

The biggest blow that made me take a step back and look at my relationships from another angle was the utter lack of support from people that I thought cared about me. Some family members, some friends. My coming out about being abused and writing this blog has opened my eyes to those who give a shit and those who don’t. It surprised me. It surprised me a lot! On a positive note, some people have come out of the woodwork, in my list of friends, that I now have a deeper connection with so it’s not all bad. In fact, I take this awakening as a blessing in disguise: I now know what people I should invest my heart and soul into and those who don’t deserve it.

It does make me sad that so many people just don’t care or don’t want to know about the abuse that could be going on right under their noses. I realize, though, that people generally don’t care about things until it affects them directly. It’s like people who have never been anywhere near poor but think nothing of it to cut welfare programs. People who have never been to third world countries in person aren’t as inclined to give a rat’s ass about the starving, sick children drinking shit infested water. Sure, they might throw money or bibles at a good cause, but do they really care. No. They aren’t emotionally invested in those people or situations. They lack empathy toward anything outside of their little bubbles. As long as the money keeps rolling in and grocery stores are open and gas stations fill their giant SUV’s and their kids never suffer…. why bother? It doesn’t affect them.

I realized that most of the support that I have garnered from my story comes from other survivors and people that have been directly affected by child abuse and/or sexual assault. This is a good thing! We need to stick together! We need to let the next person know that they aren’t alone. The process of facing a lifetime of sexual abuse is HARD. It will make you question everything. I have questioned it all, right down to my marriage. What are the lies and what aren’t? Who wants the best for me and who wants to sabotage me? Who is going to be there for me when I need to figure it all out and who is conveniently going to be busy and not there?

I think I’ve figured it out and I’m ready to get off the ride. I’m also ready to face life as an adult that is confident and not lacking in meaningful relationships because she knows she is worth it. I’m worth it. You are worth it. Don’t let people dick you around because they don’t “get” you. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that your mac and cheese is way too cheesy. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. 🙂

 

 

 

Defrocked? Really, Vatican?

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Courtesy of ABC News

So what if Benedict “defrocked” these men? What is the Vatican doing to prevent these abuses or keeping these same 400 people from abusing now that they are just regular citizens. This is the equivalent of them getting fire from their jobs, not serving jail time. A pedophile is a pedophile is a pedophile. They cannot be rehabilitated and any rehabilitation cannot be trusted. This passive action isn’t protecting children whatsoever nor is it sending a message to the current clergy. Is there anything to suggest that the current pope will go about things differently and more ethically?

Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked 400 Priests in 2 Years

PHOTO: Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in Saint Peters square, at the Vatican, Oct. 24, 2012.

A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.

The statistics for 2011-12 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Prior to that, it had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.

The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s U.N. ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of oftentimes pointed criticism and questioning from the U.N. human rights committee.

The statistics were compiled from the Vatican’s own annual reports about the activities of its various offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex abuse cases. Although public, the annual reports are not readily available or sold outside Rome and are usually found in Vatican offices or Catholic university libraries.

An AP review of the reference books shows a remarkable evolution in the Holy See’s in-house procedures to discipline pedophiles since 2001, when the Vatican ordered bishops to send cases of all credibly accused priests to Rome for review.

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger took action after determining that bishops around the world weren’t following church law to put accused clerics on trial in church tribunals. Bishops routinely moved problem priests from parish to parish rather than subject them to canonical trials — or turn them into police.

For centuries, the church has had its own in-house procedures to deal with priests who sexually abuse children. One of the chief accusations from victims is that bishops put the church’s own procedures ahead of civil law enforcement by often suggesting victims not go to police and keep accusations quiet while they are dealt with internally.

The maximum penalty for a priest convicted by a church tribunal is essentially losing his job: being defrocked, or removed from the clerical state. There are no jail terms and nothing to prevent an offender from raping again.

According to the 2001 norms Ratzinger pushed through, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reviews each case sent to Rome and then instructs bishops how to proceed, either by launching an administrative process against the priest if the evidence is overwhelming or a church trial. At every step of the way the priest is allowed to defend himself.

The Congregation started reporting numbers only in 2005, which is where Tomasi’s spreadsheet starts off. U.N. officials said Friday that the committee has not received the document.

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Heilprin reported from Geneva.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield and www.twitter.com/johnheilprin

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!

 

 

Pedophiles, Molesters and Incest- Oh My!!!

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dorothyThey are everywhere. You probably know some. They are friends, family, neighbors, fellow church members, church leaders, teachers, doctors… you name it, they have filled those shoes. Yes, Virginia, child molestation is a big problem in our country. It’s a bigger problem worldwide especially if you throw in child sex trafficking and child brides. It’s 2013, folks! Children are not worthless pieces of property anymore. I say all of this because I find it disheartening how little people give a shit about the subject. There has been interest in my story but sometimes I feel like it’s because it’s a sideshow for someone else’ entertainment. This is a serious topic that affects millions of people, not just me. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to talk about. It’s gross to hear. It’s sad when you find out that someone you know or love has been victimized. It’s also maddening when you find out that you know someone who was the perpetrator, especially when it’s someone you have been emotionally tied to in a good way. It’s hard to look at that person different or imagine that they should be in prison for the rest of their lives. I get that, I really do.

I know it’s a difficult subject. I understand that it’s a hard pill to swallow that you probably know a child that is being repeatedly violated by another person you know.  You want to know how we get them to stop? We start talking about it. We bring it up at the dinner table. We talk to our kids and other parents. We get the word out that we know how to spot a pedophile and we know what to look for in a child that is being abused. Turning a blind eye or a deaf ear is not the right thing to do. If you can put your energy into fighting for or against gay rights, abortion, the environment, animals, etc. then you can put a tiny bit of effort into this subject. The good news for you is that it doesn’t cost any money or time, just your attention.

Here’s what I want you to know. I want you to know how to spot a potential pedophile. They aren’t always that creepy looking guy with a pencil mustache and Coke-bottle-bottom glasses. They can be as good-looking as Brad Pitt, as successful as a top university’s football coach, a spiritual leader or even female. I also want you to know how to recognize that a child is being violated, especially your own children. We also need to understand how to protect our children without causing unnecessary fear or being a crazy helicopter parent.

The next few posts will address these three topics. It’s a sort of research project for me. If any of my readers would like to add their two cents on how to spot pedophiles, victims or how to talk to kids about it, please leave a comment or private message me and I’ll add your words with credit into these posts.

Statute of Limitations

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In the past, there were a few select people who I had told about my abuse. Most of the time they would ask if I would press charges against my step-father. I always convinced myself that I wouldn’t press charges because I didn’t want to go through the process of court dates and such. I also live in a different state which complicate that. Nobody ever really asked me that question until I was well into adulthood. I didn’t really start waking up from the emotional coma that I was in until recently. By the time I was asked about that, I had already gotten married and had my son. I was also playing pretend, just like my mother, trying to convince everybody that everything was fine. I basically told everyone that I didn’t believe that he was a threat to the public and that I was purely a matter of convenience since I lived with him. I figured that he only abused me because I lived in the same house as him but I really didn’t think that he was, or ever would, prey on anyone outside of the house. I  also was working on my relationship with my mother and giving her a clean slate and a second chance with me. This was all before I found out that I wasn’t his first victim and I began to “wake up.”

I beat myself up about this when I first came to terms with the abuse. I’m over that now but it is something worth discussing. I’m from Oklahoma. The statute of limitation used to be only 5 years but was extended to 7 years in 1990. Senator Debbie Leftwich (OKC-D) even said that 7 years was not enough time for most victims. In 2005 the statute was finally raised to 12 years after discovery. It’s really confusing though. Even at 12 years passed “discovery, ” the latest that I could have done anything would have been over 3 years ago. I’m not mad at myself anymore about it but I sure do wish that this law would be overturned in favor of no statute of limitations for victims like myself.

Sometimes I think, what if I lived in a state with no limitation? Would I go through with pressing charges at this point? Just the thought makes my stomach turn because I am still fighting with my own cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, I don’t want him to harm anyone else and justice must be served but on the other hand… he was my dad and even though I can’t stand him now, the little girl inside of me loved him at some point- for years. Logically, my mother should be charged as well for enabling the abuse and not reporting it. I still have mixed feelings about her as well. I feel like their lives are really shitty right now so do I really want to go and make it even worse? I think it all goes back to the fact that I think that I would feel horribly guilty of any punishment that was bestowed upon them. It’s all so conflicting!

So, I’d like to throw this question out there to other readers that have a similar past. Did you live in a state with the statutes or not? If your perpetrator is free because of these laws, how do you internally justify things without beating yourself up about it? All in all, I think that all citizens need to be made aware of these kinds of laws. Not everyone is completely aware. Even my own step-father was ill-informed way back when it was only 2 years. He thought that if he didn’t penetrate me, then it wasn’t illegal. He couldn’t have been more wrong. His ass would still be in jail right now or at least be on the sex offender registry.

Here is a list of state-by-state statutes for anyone interested from the NDAA.

 

 

Awkward Little Me

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I was an awkward kid… at least I felt that way. I’m sure some people thought that I was just downright weird. It makes sense now. I probably had a hard time functioning as a kid because of all the crap my parents were putting me through. On the one hand, I had my mother ridiculing me for merely being a child. I remember her always telling me, “children should be seen and not heard.” I guess she thought that I talked too much. She was still giving me shit about that as an adult. She had no inner child so it was very difficult for her to relate with me at all. Then there was Dave, exposing me to all things sexual. I was being taught that those things were normal. He even told me how kids did porn. I am so grateful that the internet wasn’t big back then because there is no telling what else he would have done.

There were a few instances that I remember giving a grown up reasons to be concerned but I don’t know if it crossed anyone’s mind what was going on. When I was 6, there was the babysitter’s son. She walked in on us showing each other our privates. That was my idea. As I write this a new memory just popped up. That babysitter did call DFS because when the case worker came to visit, she mentioned that I kissed that little boy and told him, “this is how my daddy kisses me.” I was trying to French kiss him. That made two people, so I guess it did cross her mind. She didn’t babysit me after that. Now I know why. My parents also moved rather abruptly from that neighborhood.

A few years later when we were in the apartment complex, there was another incident at a different babysitter’s house. This sitter had 3 of her own kids. She took care of my brother during the day and me after school and on breaks. One day I was playing with their tape recorder. We used to record ourselves singing and just saying silly things. I had been playing with her daughter who was a couple of years younger than me. She got up and left and I was alone under the bed. The recording that I left was my version of an orgasm. Yep, I panted and moaned just like I had seen in Dave’s videos. Luckily for me, the sitter didn’t tell my mother (at least I don’t think she did). Instead she spoke to me directly and told me that was inappropriate and never do it again or she would tell my mother.  I think this lady might have known something was amiss because I don’t think this was the only time that I acted out with them but I don’t think she made any call to DFS.

As I got older, I had a knack for drawing cartoons. One of the things that I would draw was pictures of Dolly Parton and her big boobs. I also drew a lot of boobs. Just random boobs. I did this at someone else’s house and was called out about it. I do believe that this time my mother chewed me out for this.  I didn’t know it wasn’t normal to draw those sorts of things. I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal to kiss that way and make those noises. I was only portraying the environment that I had been exposed to.

I kind of feel bad for the adults that did call. They did what they could but still had to live with the thought that they knew a child was being abused and they couldn’t do anything else about it. Tonight I just realized that there were 3 calls made not 2. How many phone calls does family services need to get before doing a deeper investigation?

Needless to say, the abuse on both ends made me a very awkward child and teenager. I had a hard time making friends and keeping the ones that I did make. I had a hard time understand why someone would want to be friends with me. I still struggle with this as an adult. I can’t explain why.  I felt that I couldn’t be a part of the groups of beautiful, popular girls so when any of them would speak to me I would get all weird. I made some friends but not a lot and they usually changed every year. I had absolutely no self-esteem or confidence so that contributed to the difficulty that I had functioning with other kids.

I still struggle with my awkwardness today. I have a habit of being a wallflower and not putting myself out there. I’m afraid of risk and notoriety. I don’t like to be the center of attention. I feel like crying when people look me in the eye. I hate confrontation. I get this weird pain, almost like a bolt of electricity, up my spine when I do have to face someone who is being confrontational. A few times it has brought me to my knees. I hyperventilate when I think I’m going to disappoint someone.

I’m getting better, though. One thing at a time. I have actually gotten better at confrontation. However, when I do stand up for myself I get called down that I’m being a bitch and having an attitude. I don’t get that. Society is so fucking confusing sometimes.

How sick is this?

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I had another memory sneak up on me today. Something triggered it. I don’t know what but it was something. This was when I was a little older. It might have been when I was 18 and came out to church officials about the molestation. I remember talking to my mother about it and her reaction was just bizarre. She tried to justify his actions by telling me, “Well, I guess he just loved you so much that he wanted to make you all his.”

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

That’s all I could think. I feel like this Jackie Chan meme:

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