"I find it interesting that when you dare to tell the truth, people will come out of the woodwork to guilt you into silence. I will not be emotionally bullied into keeping my mouth shut." - Me, Facebook August 25, 2010
I must address something before I write another post on this blog. I knew this was going to come up because it's come up since day one.
Let me start by asking, do you know how to inflame a survivor of sexual abuse more than anything? You tell her that she is victimizing others by telling her story.
Yeah, that's just what I was told. A distant relative, who I've seen maybe a couple of times in my entire life, felt she needed to message me on facebook (we're not facebook friends, by the way) and tell me that I am hurting others and "creating more victims" with this blog. I am hurting my abuser's children because they read this and I am "publicly humiliating" their father. She said that it is too painful for them to read others' comments on here calling their father a monster. She also suggested I find another way to cope, like therapy, where I'm not hurting and victimizing others.
Where do I start? Well, first of all, let me say that while this distant relative is close friends with one of my perpetrator's daughters, I do not believe my abuser's children prompted her to put me in my place with this message. I love my abuser's children. They are my family. I have never blamed them for the abuse. I have never hated them for their association to their father. They are innocent. They did not have an easy childhood. My sister's marriage to their father was never solid, to say the least. She was always running back to my parents' home to leave her troubled husband. Those kids grew up in chaos and contention and instability. Though I was only a child myself when this was going on, I felt sorry for those kids. So, just to make things clear, I do not blame the kids for any of this.
Ok, now that I've made that crystal clear, I will express my outrage at that ridiculous message. I am not the one bringing pain to my abuser's kids. Their dad's pathetic and evil actions are what is causing them pain. He is the one who has made victims of them, by choosing to become a pedophile and molester to me. By his choices, he has brought untold pain to many, including his own children. Any heartache they receive from this blog is on his head, not mine.
I am speaking the truth. I am telling my story. That is not victimizing anyone. I don't use names (not even my own full name) on this blog to protect the innocent (i.e., his children). I have done what I could to protect them, while still remaining true to myself. How dare anyone tell me I'm victimizing anyone by telling the truth! To victimize is to abuse, and to abuse implies force. I am not forcing his children to read this blog, therefore I am not abusing or victimizing them. They are always welcome to read it, but if they can't take the pain of hearing what massive damage their father has caused by committing one of the worst crimes imaginable on an innocent child, then don't read it! I'm not forcing or expecting you to read this. Just stay away if you can't take it. If you choose to continue reading, just know that this has nothing to do with you. This is about charting my journey of seeking legal action in the crimes committed against me and this is also the place where I purge my soul through my writing. Maya Angelou said it best, when she said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
Hiding ugly secrets, denial, pretending - this is what causes pain. The truth can never hurt you. Shutting down this blog would send a message to the child I was, to my own children, and to everyone else that it is best to hide the truth when it makes others uncomfortable. I would be saying that it is better that I suffer all the pain, it is better that I stuff away all heartache deep inside me, so that others don't know the true ugliness that exists and they can live in ignorance. All sin, all secrets should be brought out into the light, not hidden in the deep and dark recesses of the cellar where they fester and grow like a consuming mold. There is a reason that adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are at far greater risk for cancer. It is because we are forced to keep secrets, and those secrets are toxic.
One of the main reasons I'm so outraged at the facebook message my relative sent me is because my abuser's children have always been used as pawns against me to keep me quiet. "Think about his innocent children" was a common refrain I heard from my father, my sister, and others in the family to get me to shut up and go along with the charade. I always felt tremendous guilt that I was hurting them when I didn't want to see their dad on holidays and my family would ask, "but what will his children think? They are innocent. They don't understand." Once when I travelled hundreds of miles to be with my family at Thanksgiving, my sister begged me to let her husband be a part of our celebration, and with tears in her eyes, she said, "what will I tell my kids?" For years, I had all this guilt heaped upon me, as if I was the one committing the crime. Why didn't anyone ask my abuser why he didn't think of his kids when he made his depraved choices? Why didn't he think of the damage he was doing to his children by being a pedophile? He obviously didn't care about his children when he was acting out his sick fantasies on me. Keeping his children innocent suddenly became my duty, even though it was their father who sullied my purity.
It took years for me to finally shake myself free from that burdensome straitjacket of responsibility and stand up for myself. His children's innocence wasn't my burden to bear. He had stolen that from them already the day he took my 9 year old flesh into this greedy hands and used it for his own selfish desires.
I will never let his children be used as pawns against me again! I have had the gospel of my religion and the innocence of his children used to control me and bind me for years. The weight of his financial responsibility to his family has also been used to stop me from doing the right thing and pursuing legal action. I would be responsible for the poverty of his family should he be put into prison. All of my life, from the age of 9, when my brother-in-law told me I would break up the family and hurt everyone if I told our little secret, into adulthood when the rest of my family told me to keep our little secret so no one would know of our shame, I have been told it is all my responsibility. It is my fault should anyone be hurt. No more! I will no longer take my abuser's responsibilities, burdens, and sins upon my head.
The moment I read the message from this relative of mine, I started drafting a response to her, but then I realized that I didn't need to justify myself to her. I would be casting my pearls before swine. Instead I blocked her from ever being able to message me again and I posted the facebook status I quoted at the top of this post.
I think that says it all.