Letter of Support - Susan - The Kavanagh Sisters Skip to content

Letter of Support – Susan

Below we share this small excerpt from Why Go Back? 7 Steps to Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse – where Susan a mother of a young offender speaks about the devastation she has experienced as a secondary victim.

We are aware that there are always exceptions to the rule, but many mothers of victims and abusers can often be perceived as worse that the perpetrator themselves.

We know just how brave Susan has been in telling her story, which will go a long way to helping so many people to understand a mother’s perspective and demonstrate that the victim is not the only one affected by abuse.

We are asking others like Susan, to share their experience and join the campaign. The more real experiences read by politicians, the better understanding there will be. This hopefully will push them to bring about the necessary changes.

A Mother of a Young Offender Shares Her Story

It is hard to know where to start, it was very hard for me to write about this.  Not a day goes by that I do not think about what happened, and if I could make it that it never happened, then that is what I would do.

Life can throw some shit your way and some of it is so painful and in particular the mention of ‘it’ fills me with shame.  It is a shame that I have felt for almost five years and it will never go away.  ‘It’ is particularly more shameful when it happens within a family.  When it happens, there is a tsunami of hurt and anger that is beyond comprehension.  It is hard even to write the words ‘sexual abuse’ or, as in my family’s situation ‘sexualised behaviour’.  This was because the accused was almost seventeen and his victim was nine.  I am told by the professionals who deal with adolescence that this act is a common occurrence in that age group and young males.

Does that excuse it? Does that make it OK? When someone young fucks up, should they be labelled as a sex abuser, a pervert or a paedophile for the rest of their life?  Should I as the mother of the accused be made to feel shame for the rest of my life?

I talked to professionals and I talked to my son about what he did.  I took him to see a counsellor, should I have done more?  Should I have got a gun and shot him?  Should I have had him castrated? These are the things that I feel the mother of the little girl wanted me to do. 

When my son committed the offence of sexualised behaviour, I lost everything.  I also know that I completely and without malice admired my sister when she had to tell me about the awful thing that had happened to her little girl, to be told that my son was responsible for doing it broke my heart. 

I wanted to fix what had happened so badly, I wanted everything to be OK between me and my family.  I wanted somebody to explain that what my son had done was not OK, but that there are distinctions between ‘sexualised behaviour’, ‘sexual abuse’ and ‘paedophilia’. 

By talking to my son, taking him to counselling and talking about something that he was embarrassed about, I felt that I was making a good effort to stop the cycle of abuse.  Was this the right thing to do? I question myself every day. 

What my son did was not right – he fucked up, he made bad decisions – he was a teenager and I felt as his mother that I had to help him.  I had to try and educate him and to build a hope in myself that by doing this, he would never do it again.  The questions go over and over in my head and, to my dying day, I will wonder if I dealt with this in a proper manner. 

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