Putting a face on abuse.

 

See this little girl? She was sexually abused. See that smile? See that innocence?

SEE HER.

I was on social media this morning and a picture of a man with the title of pedophile was glaring me in the face. Someone posted it with the caption “Keep a look out for this pedophile.” Under that caption I saw that it had been viewed 4 million times. There were thousands of comments under the picture. I looked through some of them. There were endless, “Just let me get my hands on him,” and ” Wait til I find him and there will be nothing left,” and ” They will put me away for a long time if he ever crosses my path.” As I read through all of these comments one thing kept popping into my head, one thought, “You aren’t going to do anything, because no one does.” It is so easy to share your rage in the community over a picture of a man with the details of him luring a 13 year old into his car , ONLY on Facebook. But how many of those people, if they ran into this man would actually do ANYTHING? I can only speculate, none.

How easy is it to jump on the bandwagon of hate over sexual abuse when you don’t actually have to do anything but type behind your computer screen. I will give you real statistics based on my real life. I wrote publically the details of the abuse that I endured as a child. No one did anything. There was no rage. My father and brother didn’t get together in their car and go confront this man. The hundreds of people who read my story in my little town didn’t  get together with their bats and go to his door. Now they may all send emails to each other and post on social media their outrage of sexual abuse but no one did anything. Why? Because words behind a computer screen are words of cowards. The real people fighting for justice don’t need to put idle threats on a Facebook picture. They actually DO something. There has yet to be ONE person who has done or said anything to the man who molested me my entire childhood.

Those who have suffered sexual abuse as children knew there was no one coming with their bat. We knew that the person whether man, woman, or teenager that  abusing us would most likely not suffer a day. We knew because as a society no one made it easy for us to come forward. We didn’t have a safe place to tell our secrets. We didn’t have a family, town, group of people, who we knew would rise up in the face of injustice to right this wrong. So we kept these secrets buried. Letting little bits slip out here and there in hopes someone would hear the whispers of our little souls begging to be saved. We wished someone would swoop in and scoop us up and whisk us away into the warm arms of what once was before it all started.  If that did not happen, then we were left to bear these scars while barely keeping our heads above water the whole while. Some of us nearly drowned. Then 20 or 30 years later we finally have the stability and love in the worlds we have created ourselves to finally speak our truths. Often these truths fall on deaf ears, or we end up being victimized all over again by their blame and doubt.

So I see these Facebook posts of these outraged random people swearing to kill pedophiles if they get the opportunity to cross their paths. And I laugh at the absurdity of these lies. Every little girl and every little boy who has had someone feel the hands of these pedophiles on them can’t even be HEARD yet somehow we are to believe  if our molester is found he will be crucified? NO. The molester gets to keep his family and his life. The child loses everything over and over and over again. Have you read in the paper lately a lynch mob who caught the man who raped one of their daughters and she was vindicated by her father’s rage? Yeah. No. If so it is very rare. Because we rarely speak. When we do, we don’t get what we need, not even broaching the subject of prosecution! Mind you, I am not advocating taking the law into your own hands or promoting violence. I am just pointing out some facts and getting to the point of steering you in the right direction of what you should be doing.

We are in a world now that has a lot of “fighters” behind their screen. We don’t need any more pretenders. No one came when we needed them to. So let’s start by just opening up the dialogue on what is really needed in these situations. Listen to the victim. Support the survivor. Spend energy away from the social media bandwagon and more on the side of those little children who are begging you to listen. While these people are planning a fake attack on Facebook of the pedophile, their own little girl is being molested and they have no idea.

The place they could be making a real difference is right in front of their faces.

Listen. Listen to the children. Let them be heard. Set them free. Give them justice by hearing them and saving them from the nightmare they are stuck in. Then maybe they will find the strength to prosecute the pedophile. They will find the strength to go on living and try to find peace in their hearts again.

Do you see the little girl in the pictures above.

Do you really see her?

Isn’t her life worth being heard? Isn’t her life, heart, childhood, worth EVERYTHING?

She deserved the world to stop for just a moment to hold her in an embrace that for even a moment gave her back the security she never thought she would find again. No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse. But IF they do, those little faces deserve to get those smiles back. They deserve to be loved unconditionally and feel that the world really WILL fight for them.

This is just one face of so many that got truly left behind. She deserved to be fought for. They all do.

See her.

She, is me. Only one face of one child who deserved to be fought for.

47 thoughts on “Putting a face on abuse.

  1. Bethany, this was so emotional to read. This was the cry of children everywhere, and of every person who ever was molested or raped. The one thing the majority of us have in common is that no one did anything! And even today it is hard to find anyone who will listen! If everyone could just find one person they know who has been abused and truly listen, they could make such a difference in the world. This was so well done and honest!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on A Broken Blue Sky and commented:
    The following post from Bethany at Not My Secret, is the cry of children everywhere, and of every person who ever was molested or raped. The one thing the majority of us have in common is that no one did anything! And even today it is hard to find anyone who will listen! If everyone could just find one person they know who has been abused and truly listen, they could make such a difference in the world. This was so well done and honest!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing this, it was very powerful. Yes, many people are keyboard warriors but are in denial about things that are happening in front of them.

    Just one thing – you write about “Those who have suffered sexual abuse as children….. we knew that the men abusing us…”
    If you make generalised statements about sexual abuse of children and assume that the abuser is a man, you are perpetuating a common myth about sexual abuse of children.

    Female abusers exist, they are mothers, babysitters, teachers, teenage girls, etc, but the public still sees sexual abuse as a problem created only by men.

    If people continue to believe that only men abuse kids, then female abusers will continue to get away with it because people will continue to look the other way, as you describe in your post. More children will end up being victimised and no-one will believe them, no-one will do anything, because that’s something that men do.

    I’ve spent decades minimising and denying my own abusive experience, and not getting the help I needed, because I believed it couldn’t have really been sexual abuse because it was a female. It couldn’t have been that bad, right? This has been the number one obstacle to my healing.

    Every time I read about “those awful men who abuse kids” it takes me back to thinking that my experience wasn’t really abuse, so I end up blaming myself for all my problems, again.

    Not meaning to lecture you, as I admire you for what you write, and I don’t want to get into “keyboard warrior” mode, this is not an attack. But the subject of child sexual abuse is highly charged, and people will get very emotional when reading about it. It’s a minefield. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you and I have addressed this in previous blog posts as I was also abused by a female when I was a child. Tonight’s blog post was focusing on a man only because that thought came up when I saw all the comments on a male abuser on Facebook and I related as I was also abused by men. Thank you for bringing attention to a very important issue that never needs to be overlooked! I completely acknowledge and validate what you have been through in the abuse a woman did to you and I am truly sorry you had to experience any abuse!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking…would you like me to make ammendments to this blog post to include women as abusers. If so, Where do you think I should add that. It is important to me that all voices are heard and if you feel yours was not I’d like to change that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If you changed it to “We knew that the people abusing us” in 3rd paragraph, that would make all the difference.
        Thanks so much for being understanding about this. I really shouldn’t make a habit of objecting to the wording of people’s blog posts, but I was feeling super sensitive the day I read it. WordPress is so much friendlier than twitter! Thank you.

        Like

      • How about ” We knew that the man or woman abusing us” I reread it and thought that would be more inclusive.
        It is 100% okay that you felt the way you did! You deserve to be heard and awareness needs to be brought to all abuse. I will pay more attention in my future blogs. I know of men who have been raped by women as children and I know of young girls assaulted by women. Everyone deserves to be heard, not one over the other. You are welcome. I don’t know how anyone could not be friendly. We are all on the same team and I value your suggestion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes but some people are abused by teenagers who aren’t really men or women yet. That’s why I suggested “people”.

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    • I hope you know now it’s not your fault and I wish with all my heart that you find peace and healing. Nothing in this world warrants one to have a disturbed life. Life is too short and I only hope you find happiness peace and content. Love, Durga

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, it has taken many years to understand that it was not my fault. It is hard looking at it as a child but as an adult I can look back and understand that children have no shame and no blame in what is inflicted upon them. I am working at finding peace. It is harder than I expected. Fortunately I have the love of a daughter, a husband, and I find peace in the unexpected ways such as nature and just breathing in a breeze!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s wonderful, I suppose you have the positivity going on with them I am sooo happy for you. 🙂 However , whenever or if ever you feel low remember you are stronger and a lot more wonderful to let the low take you down. Always keep smiling and life will smile back at you. All the best Love Durga

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Bethany, I agree with what you are writing in this post. A lot of things have gone and are still going terribly wrong!

    I think we have a big general problem, when it comes to taking action in helping others who are in need. Especially the behavior of people in a crowd has its own dynamics. I have observed that in a crowd, a large majority tends think somebody else is taking of problems that come up. I have witnessed this myself. A drunken guy lying helplessly on the ground massively bleeding from his face after having been beaten up. It was as on a very crowded street and a hundred people just passed by in ignorance, seeing him. Not a single person was taking care of him before we reached him. You can find hundreds of videos on youtube documenting such a behavior. You will also find that a majority of people will complain about what is wrong and blame others before they look at themselves and try to find out what they change in their behavior in their own actions to improve the situation. It sad to write this but this seems to be a human character fault

    I ask myself why that is so. Part of the explanation might be that we are raised in a society where we are not taught to take on responsibility for our own deeds, for our own lives. We are taught to believe in institutions, organizations, processes where we should trust in our own self only. It is time to become aware that we are ALWAYS responsible for our own actions without any possibility to “escape” this responsibility! What I mean is, that we are not only responsible for what we actively do, but also for what we signal others when we consent with what is going on by not taking actions. And that is a hard reality to face.

    We need to understand that each one of us is individually responsible for his choices and deeds in life. To give an example: If you become a soldier and go to war and get the order to kill people and you do, it is you who is personally in charge of the human beings you killed … It is not your army or your country. Whatever the external reason that caused you to this, you are the one who killed and not some anonymous crowd or someone who gave you the order. How does that relate to abuse?If you see an abuse taking place and you don’t take any actions against it, you are the one who consents with the perpetrator. You are giving him allowance to continue with his abuse. You become a perpetrator yourself. Whatever your countries laws, or social norms and rules are allowing you to do or not to do, whatever your own actions are your own personal, individual responsibility. This might seem a bit theoretical but this is the basis of my thoughts.

    In practice I think we would be astonished about how little it takes to make this world a much better place for us all. We do not need to become super-heros. We all just need to go through life with our eyes open and see what is there. And when we see something is wrong we should not turn away but address it. With respect to sexual abuse it starts with us (men and women) not accepting degrading remarks or jokes on women. If people realize there is resistance to such a mindset right from the beginning it will make a big change in our society in the long run. Potential perpetrators will no longer feel save and “accepted”.

    The child abuse you have gone through and that probably millions of children have to go through right now, this very second that you read this sentence, is a catastrophy. Child abuse is a life sentence for the victim and society should treat the perpetrators accordingly. Whatever the needs of the victim are towards healing , society should make sure that they get everything at ease without asking. And society should also make sure that all expenses for this are reclaimed back from the perpetrator for as long as he/she lives. It is the perpetrators responsibility what happened and thus all “costs” should be left with him. We have to ask ourselves why this is not so. Why is society (= the consenting majority) not taking this problem seriously? Why are we accepting the high risk of our children being abused? Why are we creating an oversexualized environment where even young girls are used in advertisements with the clear intent that their “sex sells”. We (as a society) are creating the environment for such a disrespectful, abusive climate for children (and women) … and the message we are sending out to the ones who have the potential to become abusive and to the victims is another huge catastrophy.

    Children and their families should be informed about abuse and its effects and they should know about institutions they can turn to get help and feel save. This should be a task of society to make such an institution available and provide them with an abundance of money and resources.

    As always, people should not be judged by their words but by their actions. Just imaging, everybody leaving a “heroic” comment on a social media platform would also donate $100 to an organization taking care of victims.

    I am very sorry that your community and especially your parents don’t not take responsibility of their inactivity (and thus their consent with your perpetrators deeds). What you have experienced by the abuse is one of the worst crimes that one human being can do to another. Your life sentence of having to deal with the awful aftermath of this abuse is terrible.

    It is great that you are blogging about this so openly! If this blog indirectly results in one child less to be abused or one more victim to find a way of healing, it is worth it.
    Jens

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    • This was so deep and real on so many levels. I so agree with everyone donating $100 to take care of the victims. What about the young girls whose mother stays with the abuser and they have nowhere to go. There should be homes everywhere for any boy or girl who is being abused to go to and feel safe. …The sex in commercials is unacceptable I agree! Nothing seems off limits and how are young minds to know that these behaviors are not ok when it is pushed in their faces that it is ok.And so true that no one is accountable anymore for anything. There is a lot going on that is very wrong in our society. I just saw a picture on Facebook, a cartoon, a group of men telling a nursing woman that she should not be doing that in public where a half naked woman is being advertised right behind her. It is very sad. Thank you for your posting your thoughts. I have read it multiple times now.

      Like

  5. This post is the best thing I’ve read in such a long time! Well done girl!!!! I echo what you’ve said one hundred percent…I was wondering if I could have your permission to reblog? Though I understand it has yoir photographs on it so I fully understand if you want to keep it just to your blog. This is fantastic hun and this message needs to get out there to the world! How do you feel after writing it? It was so emotional for the reader so I can imagine so difficult for you. My heart is with you. Survivors understand and stick together 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. People who talk about being violent in comments need to realise one thing. Love will save the world, not hate.
    Rather than insisting on hating the abuser, they should concentrate on loving and protecting the victim.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when people find it easier to say (and lie about) how much they’d like to physically hurt or even kill somebody, but can’t say something as simple as “my heart goes out to this victim and I’m here for them if they need me”.
    A great and thought provoking post!

    Like

    • Had I been loved and protected I would not be here and having to deal with the aftermath as severely as I am now. Loving the victim is THE most important thing. Making them feel heard, validated and SAFE. It is what I needed and what I did not get.
      Justice is also important as we do not want these child molesters to continue to damage other children. But we do not always get justice. Like in my case I was very broken, unable to speak all of the words needed to get him in jail at the time. I understand outrage someone feels when a child is molested or abused. Hearing others rage towards the abuser can give the victim validation of the magnitude of what happened to them. Others can be a voice the victim never had.
      I hear your words and I do agree that had I felt surrounded by love and support, I wouldn’t be suffering still….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anger is a very natural response to anything bad, but it’s such a shame that we seem to veer straight towards that rather than the well-being of the sufferer.
        I’ve seen the effect child abuse can have on a person (luckily not firsthand) and I’ve seen how much it hurts them every day of their lives.
        Showing support to the victim is infinitely more important than wishing harm on the abuser. Not that I don’t hope any and all abusers meet a slow and painful end of course!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Already did the face trend | NOT MY SECRET…overcoming the shame of sexual abuse

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