To ensure secrecy, predators may threaten a child’s life or the lives of those she loves.
More often, shame and confusion at whether she “deserves” to complain about so foreign an act as sexual violation complicate the picture for the child. If the predator is a family member or similar trusted adult, the child may actually wish to protect him or her.
Add to this the reluctance of some adults to believe that evil exists. Confronted by it, they ignore evidence which should be obvious. Easier to formulate alternate explanations for the unthinkable than do something about it.
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25 responses to “Predators”
Anna, I protected my mother even nearly until it killed me. But now she has gone and I am able to start speaking. But a lifetime of hiding takes a long time to overcome. It is such a complicated emotional issue isn’t it especially in the family. Even now I cannot get my head around it. I value your thoughts on this …. you write in a way that is so clear and I understand it. Thanks Anna. Love jacqui x
I did the same, Jacqui. As a child, I even thought I was protecting my assailant. So I fully agree that disclosure is a complicated issue. Remember that we were children attempting to deal with violation of the most fundamental kind — something incomprehensible to us.
The trouble is abuse has long-term consequences, whether we choose to reveal it or not. Families have been destroyed by it. Destroyed by abuse…not disclosure.
Make no mistake. Disclosure can easily divide a family of origin, and often does. Whether to pursue it is a highly personal decision. But the harm to the family was done long before the disclosure occurred. After all, victims were members of the same family, entitled to the same protection. Infidelity is not excused simply because it is hidden.
When families are “spared” the knowledge of abuse, the burden on victims only increases. Complimentary remarks about the assailant — for instance, that he so loved children — must go unchallenged. What to other family members may be objects of affection or happy events can call up painful memories for victims, yet require silence on their part. Perhaps the abuse regularly took place in Daddy’s favorite chair. Perhaps it was initiated at a birthday party or Christmas.
As adults, we have greater judgment at our disposal regarding disclosure. Chances are what we want from disclosure (since, as adults, we no longer need rescue) is release and validation. The first can be achieved once the secret is out. The second is more problematic.
If we do choose to reveal the abuse secret to our families of origin, we must be prepared for rejection. Some family members will prefer denial. That can feel like another violation. Some may remain forever ambivalent, uncertain about our credibility (even our sanity). That, too, can be extremely painful. A few will grieve with us.
Validation is more likely to come from our current family and friends. But, ultimately, we know the truth of what took place…whether we are validated by others or not.
I am tremendously glad that you like my writing. I write in the hope of helping others but, also, because I need to write.
Thank you for sharing this, Jacqui. You are in my prayers.
“If we do choose to reveal the abuse secret to our families of origin, we must be prepared for rejection. Some family members will prefer denial. That can feel like another violation. Some may remain forever ambivalent, uncertain about our credibility (even our sanity). That, too, can be extremely painful. A few will grieve with us.”
I’ve known this was true, but I need to be reminded of it often. My expectations of my family of origin vacillate wildly across a spectrum: sometimes I’m angry that they don’t already know, other times I’m determined to never talk about it with certain persons. I don’t know what will happen at the next Holiday.
Thank you for your validating words. It is like cool water on a sunburn. ❤
I’m glad to have been of some small assistance, Chloe. There is no hard and fast rule regarding disclosure to our families of origin. You don’t have to disclose to everyone or to anyone at all. Do what feels right to you, but try and keep your expectations low. Some people who will believe you in the end may need a little time to digest the information. Lining up emotional support beforehand from a trusted friend, therapist, or partner can be helpful. You’re in my prayers. ❤
This comment is so relevant to me right now. Thank you for your wisdom! My mom has chosen denial or forgiveness over the years and it is so hurtful.
Though it may not feel like it at the moment, you may well be stronger than your mother. ❤
I thank God with tears even as I type this that there is an advocate… One who sees … and watches and is willing to be a voice on behalf of those who have one, yet one too quiet to be heard as they should.
Thank you. I will be praying for you.
Your humble brother,
You give me far too much credit, David. But I would be grateful for your prayers.
Your humble sister,
You have them 🙂
You have quite a powerful ministry going on over here. I have to keep coming back to take tiny bites and then let it sit. Thank you for being here!
I’m immensely glad to be of some help. God, of course, deserves the credit. ❤
Such great points to consider and remember. I am sorry you have been the victim of abuse, but how wonderful it is that God can use ALL things for the good of those who love Him, and here is a wonderful example. Although you have suffered so much, here you are using this as a platform to share, encourage and inspire others who have walked this difficult path. Wow! How awesome is that! ❤️
Thank you for the encouragement and support! Just bringing abuse out into the light is a step in the right the direction.
Evil does exist. I have seen the wake of its destruction in the lives of innocent people. Just when I believe I have seen or heard it all I get knocked down to the reality of yet another victims testimony.
If we know it exists, we can combat it. Good exists, too. You and I belong in that camp. There are alot more of us. And we are NOT helpless children any longer. ❤
Have I suggested a website entitled “secretangelps911.wordpress.com?” She deals with abuse and “broken” people of all ages and circumstances. You may enjoy looking her up.
A very informative post, Anna. People don’t want to see some of the things which are right in front of them…
Thank you, Steve. Yes, I know Secret Angel’s website and would highly recommend it to readers. God bless.
It is very difficult to break through the families belief and expectations of the abuser. Often the abuser is liked. When you call that person it to question you are not only asking them to disbelieve the false self this person has created, but you are asking them to rethink their judge of character, to rethink their loyalty to that person and their current relationship with them. Often the abuser has already discredited you at some point so it is very difficult to smash the façade. Thank you for sharing this post.
You make a crucial point. Abuse victims attempting to come to terms with their past often expect that disclosure of the abuse secret will vindicate them. While it can be a great relief to reveal the truth, abuse can, also, divide a family. It is important to remember that the abuser — NOT the victim — is ultimately the one responsible for whatever pain, upheaval, and division may follow.
So true!! I’ve been in a situation where a victim told me it would be better to stay quiet because speaking out would hurt other people’s feelings. I explained that it was the abuser that was hurting everyone, not her. It isn’t easy though.
Every situation is unique. Yes, the abuser initiates (and is morally responsible for) the chain of events flowing from abuse. However, a victim may not feel strong enough to deal with the confrontation that can sometimes follow disclosure.
Anna, greatly enjoying your exceptionally written and articulate articles!
Thank you! I very much appreciate the compliment.
You’re sincerely welcome, Anna.