Reports have been made of abuse by priests, abuse in residential boys’ schools, abuse in church-operated Magdalene laundries, abuse by pediatricians, abuse by police, abuse by politicians shielded by police, abuse by the committees formed to investigate abuse. The list goes on and on.
Abuse is widespread, generational; the number of victims, staggering.
It is essential that light be shed on this perverted behavior. It is not necessarily wise, however, that victims focus on the reports of abuse. The sheer numbers can be overwhelming.
We have enough reminders of our brush with evil. The scars of abuse may include perfectionism (and the reaction to it, workaholism), anxiety, depression, sexual difficulties, and weight issues. These pose challenges to many of us on a daily basis.
It is important that we learn to identify the scars of abuse, and trace them to their root. Too often, victims blame themselves not only for the abuse (for which they were, of course, not responsible), but for the long term effects of abuse…as if these scars were proof of victims’ “defective” nature.
This false reasoning can feel right simply because it fits with the excoriating self-criticism frequent among victims.
The process of discovering the truth requires a sometimes painful self-examination. The reports of abuse to which others were subjected can provide validation to victims. And a few victims may become advocates, in part, because of what befell others.
But the statistics surrounding abuse can be self-defeating, if victims do not focus first and foremost on their own recovery. That must be paramount.
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