With the seemingly overwhelming reports of sexual abuse coming out nearly every single day, it’s often wondered at by many people, who doubt the reports of abuse and often question the motives, the timing and the reports as being of doubtful authenticity or even real.
The questions the doubters often ask and state are these:
“After so many years, how come they’re coming out now?”
“So what, it was so many years ago-it doesn’t do any good now, does it?”
“If they’d really been abused, they would have said so then. They’re just looking for publicity.”
“Oh, they’re all alike, looking to shame this or that person. They’re jealous..they want money.”
“They could have reported it then. They’re lying now.”
It’s hard for any abuse survivor to come out and state that they have been abused, if not downright dangerous-to their lives, reputation and jobs.
It’s not a question of timing-because many abused people don’t want to ever come forward-and it’s true, they just plain scared of what will happen-because the results are often devastating for them.
They’re terrified that their families will be shamed, targeted and humiliated for having such a person in their midst.
They’ll be hounded day and night by defenders of the abusers, being called liars, and greed driven.
They’ll be fired from their jobs, and deprived of any way to survive,should they dare name those who abused them.
Naming an abuser is an especially dangerous thing-because most abusers hold that power over their victims. Whether or not they’re rich, famous or well-connected, the abuser holds sway over the victim in a most intimate and savage manner.
The victim has been violated-physically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically. The abuser knows it-and depends on it to keep their dirty little secret just that.
Because there’s a set of threats implied in every case of abuse:
“If you tell anyone, I’ll hurt you, your family and your friends.”
“Nobody will ever believe you. I’m too powerful/rich/connected.”
“You will never work in this town/field/job again. I’ll make sure of it.”
“You’re nobody. I’m somebody. You’re powerless.”
“I’ll have you arrested.”
“I’ll sue you for slander.”
With every threat, the abuser digs their claws into the psyche of the victim, who believes all those threats-because they’re real.
Victims have been fired, sued, and mercilessly attacked by media, strangers and family for having dared do the unthinkable-calling out their abuser.
Some don’t survive the onslaught of vilification-they often are suicides. Others do survive, but only by retreating into their safe space where silence is preferable to coming out of the iron closet of victimization.
It’s a very dangerous thing to name your abuser, because often the results are just often too much to deal with.
It takes real courage to stand up and take names-and those who are now coming out to state their abuse should be rewarded with at least respect for having dared to come forward.
They’re braver than their abusers, because they don’t hide behind the facade of being too powerful or rich to stay silent.
Abusers count on that silence to continue their abuse. They hope their victims never speak up because their crimes will never come to light. They’ll never be punished for something they had the power to stop, if only they had not been so monstrous.
So now the tide is slowly turning-and more people are daring the unthinkable: naming the names that others hold so high as being more important.
And of course, I must now name mine. Long dead, but never dead enough for my taste:
May he rot in hell. He victimized me repeatedly at his place of business. He was too powerful and rich to be named when I was younger.
Nobody would have believed me. I was just too young and powerless .
Of course others knew about him, but they didn’t speak up, either.
He was a sexual predator.
It doesn’t matter now, does it?
He got away with it.
Don’t let anyone else get away with it.
Don’t let your abuser have the last word.
Don’t let them destroy your life.
Take the power of the truth back.
Reclaim your life.