Apologies for the title only I wanted to be sure to draw your attention. Now that I have your attention, relax, this is not an appeal to abusers but rather an appeal to all of us who have been and continue to be affected by sexual abuse. I noticed the comments that followed yesterday’s post, regarding sexual abusers. It was interesting to see how many comments this raised as most of our followers choose to remain silent regardless of the effort June puts into those posts.
The comments imply that not only were we reaching out to abusers but we are being told we do not have the right to do this on our own page, as some felt it’s not appropriate and certainly not the appropriate place for such an appeal. As June explained this was not an appeal to abusers but rather an attempt to draw attention to the damage caused by them.
For victims and survivors of this crime we thought this message was obvious, and we were not targeting the converted, but rather we were once again reaching out to the ignorant. We believe the ignorance is deliberate due to the discomfort of this subject. If we are appealing to anyone, it is to all those who struggle to move past the discomfort. If nothing else, we must all be aware that ignorance is not bliss and holding onto a belief that if you are not aware of an unpleasant fact or situation you cannot be troubled by it, will no longer work.
As uncomfortable as this message may be, we believe it is important that all people in the circle of abuse (abusers, victims and witnesses) need to be brought into the circle if this issue is ever to be dealt with and the crime eliminated.
We have spent so much time in a struggle to understand why so many people refuse to discuss this issue, and although we are aware of the discomfort caused by sexual abuse, we have come to believe that if we can’t move past the discomfort, we will never succeed in eliminating abuse from our communities and society in general.
Although I am aware that the main burden of this crime always falls on the wrong shoulders, e.g. victims, we see them as the strength behind getting this crime into a discussion around the right tables.
Discomfort is not an excuse to put the difficult things away, as all issues relating to sexual abuse must be given time and unfortunately that must include perpetrators. So many of us want them wiped from the planet, castrated, beaten or killed. Unfortunately, we are also aware that if we do any of these things, we will not get the outcome we desire. Instead we are the ones that will end up in jail serving time and wasting more of our life trying to heal from our abuse, and we will also have to face the fact that there are still so many abusers out there.
IS THERE JUSTICE?
Some abusers may never be identified, some will never ever pay for what they did. And due to the lack of understanding of abuse by our judicial system many of the abusers who have been caught will never serve time. The inconsistency in sentencing is laughable at times, yet, regardless of how many or how often this is expressed nothing changes. We must do something different.
Now the way I see it, I can waste more of my time wishing abusers dead, disowning them, planning how many ways I want them punished, and thus allowing them to continue to have space in my thoughts. Or I can bring the subject of abusers to the table and work towards eliminating sexual abuse from our culture and ensure no more children have to suffer like we did.
Unfortunately, this will require us to move through our discomfort, to work towards discussing all aspects of this crime as we would any other crime, and support those in power to do likewise. As uncomfortable as this is, we believe it is the way forward. We do believe abusers need to receive treatment, they need to learn how to own and understand their behaviour, they need to learn how to move towards making amends for their actions.
STAYING THE COURSE!
I do not believe it is our job to work out how this is done. Let that lie in the hands of those in power. I do know that what is happening now is not working, how the issue is being dealt with or ignored is not serving anyone. Oh yes, some of us will be considered lucky because our abuser was caught and jailed, but if we are honest the only part of that which helped us was knowing that we were believed.
It was still us that had to deal with the crap that followed, it was still us who had to live with the consequences of his actions, as he sat in jail with no pressure to stay in employment or worry about where his next meal would come from, or how he would meet his bills. So, on top of trying to heal when all we wanted to do was lie down and die, it always felt like we were left with the biggest burden.
I know we are stronger than that, we have moved past only wanting to deal with the issues that appeal to us. Our goal is to eliminate the world of this crime once and for all. So, thank you to all who took the time to comment or express your repulsion with this post as it made me realise, I was getting lazy. I was beginning to believe our goal could never be reached but I know we are stronger than that, bigger than our problems, and thank you so much for reminding me that through the power of togetherness, we can change things, and we can protect the children of this world.