Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 16

My family's lack of anger at my abuser will be one of the great mysteries of my life. 

The grip of guilt and shame is so unbelievably strong. People are so busy trying to stay one step ahead of the guilt that's chasing them. They never realize if they just stopped and let the guilt catch them and overwhelm them for a moment, they could stop running from it forever. 

(originally posted February 13, 2012)

Do you know what really irritates me? Besides less than 13 ice cubes in my glass of Diet Pepsi, here's what irritates me to no end:

I've accepted that there are those in my family who still can't be angry at my sister's ex-husband for molesting me. While as a child that fact made me think those people didn't love me, as an adult I realize it's because those people either have personal issues that prevent them from experiencing normal emotions or have guilty consciences because they imagine my abuser holds something over them. 

Either way it's shitty, but it is what it is. I can accept that people who were supposed to love me and protect me as a 14 year old cared more about themselves than about me. I can accept that people feel the same way about the 38 year old me. I realize it's a reflection of THEM, not of me.

But here's what I have a harder time with. My ex-brother-in-law didn't just fuck with ME. He fucked with my entire family, INCLUDING HIS OWN KIDS. My abuser made it next to impossible for his kids to have complete relationships with their family. Before his kids knew the truth, there was always this huge secret between them and the rest of us. Now that the secret is out, the pain and hurt is between them and the rest of us. 

Their father caused that. He couldn't have cared less about his kids. For two years, when he was literally jacking off on me, he was figuratively jacking off on his kids. He didn't give his kids A SECOND THOUGHT all those nights. Even when he was molesting me in the same room his kids were sleeping in, that didn't trigger any thought to stop his sick behavior. At the same time he was trying to ruin my life, he was ruining theirs, caring about none of us. My opinion? Sociopathic.

Back in those days, my nieces and nephews were my whole life. My oldest brother Eric's kids and my sister's kids, they were everything. Other young teenage girls may have been going to movies with friends or thinking about boys or shopping for new clothes, but all I wanted to do was hang out with those kids. I babysat them whenever I could, Melissa and I played with them as much as we could. They were the best things in my life.

I remember around this time, my sister's middle son was very young, still a baby. I was head over heels for that kid, all I wanted to do was make him laugh. His laugh made everything better for me. I'd lay him in my lap and tickle him until I was afraid he'd throw up, just so I could hear that giggle. 

When my sister's ex-husband would creep away after finishing his business with me at night, I'd lay there and try not to cry. It never worked. I always ended up with hot tears drenching the pillowcase, but while I cried I'd say over and over to myself, "You CAN'T tell anyone about this, because Amy will divorce her husband and those kids will grow up in a broken home and that will be YOUR FAULT. So never tell never tell never tell never tell..." until I fell asleep.

Of course, what I was afraid would happen if I told didn't happen, so I shouldn't have worried, but that's besides the point.

For the rest of my life, it's been hard to get very close to my sister's kids. It's been hard for others in my family to get very close to them. There is so much sorrow and secrecy and guilt and pain between us. And that is so unfair, because it's not their fault. They did nothing but be the sweetest kids I ever knew. 

And I know they've felt it. They've felt the strangeness surrounding their family. At least now they can put a name to it. And right now they might be mad at me for naming it, but just remember I wouldn't have HAD to name it if it had never been done in the first place. 

It makes me so angry that some people in my family can't get angry at my abuser. Really??!?! Fine, you can't get angry at my ex-brother-in-law for molesting me; for some reason I was that kid that nobody really liked, but the nieces and nephews??!? You can't get angry at him for screwing with their relationships with us? I'M ANGRY ABOUT THAT! Almost as angry as I am about his screwing up my relationship with myself. 

I hate him for doing that to my nieces and nephews. If you can't be angry at him for doing that, I don't know that I want to know you.


Sunshine, Feb 13 11:23am: I think this would be a good indicator of repentance. Had the man shown candor and acknowldgement of guilt towards his children, we could have assumed that he understood the gravity of his crimes. That he continues to belittle what happened shows that he is capable of repeating it. Also, if people really did love your ex-brother-in-law, his children included, they would be more interested in getting him help. Fear keeps us quiet, but caring about people forces us to say something. Something like "Get some therapy you sick f*ck!" I love my father very much, which is why it's important for me to challenge him when I disagree with his behavior. And my father has never molested a child.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 15

There hasn't been one moment since I started blogging about my abuse that I've regretted the decision. While I've lost many family members, the emotional calmness and mental clarity I've found has been more than worth that high price tag. 

I'd been suffocating for 25 years. Writing my story publicly was like finally getting oxygen to my lungs.

Do you please your family and suffocate? Or lose them and finally inhale? 

(originally posted February 10, 2012)

Over the past 10 years, it started becoming clear to me that I only had a handful of choices for how the rest of my life was going to go.

1. Kill myself
2. Continue holding it all in for as long as I could, maintaining unreal relationships with my family and others and feeling stifled
3. Get it out somehow, deal with the aftermath, and move on with clarity

10 years ago God brought a person into my life who loved me so obviously, so extravagantly and so completely that option number 1 seemed the most selfish choice I could ever make. Then God sent 3 smaller people into my life who were going to be so affected by who I was as a person that option number 2 wasn't going to be good for THEM.

So it became apparent that door number 3 was the way to go. As I said before, I started small, talking to isolated groups in my family. My husband, then my closest nieces, then my parents, then my siblings, and finally the police. While talking to my nuclear family was a good start, it was not enough. Some didn't really want to hear, and others had a hard time hearing it, which made it hard for me to say all I needed to say. Don't get me wrong, those discussions were all helpful and had to happen regardless of how they made me feel. The reactions of my family were all understandable and not surprising to me. 

But I couldn't wait until everyone else felt comfortable with the subject before I started making myself feel better. My children had waited long enough for me to figure this shit out. I knew I wasn't going to start breathing easier until I was able to say everything I needed to say, in my own way.  I've been writing this blog almost every day for 3 years, so it was a natural venue for my story. 

I'm a writer and an artist. I've been creating and performing and emoting through public expression since I was 6 years old. I spend way too much time in my own head, public expression has always been my outlet. 

I know there are some who don't agree, but personally I'm glad I went with door number 3.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 14

I've always left room for believing my abuser could change. But his actions as they relate to this issue have NEVER shown that he has.

If a child molester had truly taken responsibility for his crime, truly repented, truly tried to make amends and turn his life around, would he sue his victim for writing about what happened? Would he call her and her family liars? 

Does a repentant, changed man tell his children that it was true he molested his sister-in-law, and then turn around and sue that sister-in-law for telling the same story? 

Of course not. Of course he hasn't changed. He's the same conniving, sneaky, slimy guy who molested me 28 years ago.

A child molester's actions speak louder than his family's words.

(originally posted February 8, 2012)

I want to speak to an interesting comment from yesterday's post. Anonymous wrote:
I have been following your blogs and I am just curious... your friend above who goes to a church where there is a known child molester/sex offender, you mentioned a part where he served his time and now he has a chance to move on and turn his life around. Are you implying that without going to jail, your abuser can not in fact turn his life around? Because you are making it sound like because justice can not be served in the way you want it, he can not be changed or get help... And with sunshine's suggestion above.. that sounds spiteful to me. It doesnt sound like you are really concernced with him getting help which could lead to making it more safe for children around him. I feel as though you are more focused on the justice part and him being "raped in prison" (just harping on a comment you made in an earlier blog) part rather than being proactive about further instances.. Do you honestly believe that people cant/dont change after 25 years?
Great question. I have never been one to say there's only one way to skin a cat. I certainly do not think jail is the only way to turn your life around. But I do think that it takes a visible, tangible and monumental act on the part of the offender to show people there's even a chance they can turn their life around.
A lie lived over 25 years, and constructed into the foundation of the next generation, demands a confession of great architectural depth if repair is to avert demolition. - Eric Lewis
If my ex-brother-in-law hadn't been outed by a little 10 year old girl, he would have continued his felonious behavior for god only knows how long. Probably until I was old enough and ballsy enough to hide a knife under my pillow and stab him in the heart the next time he tiptoed into the room. (In essence, Melissa saved his life as well as mine.) His deviant actions over the course of those two years had only progressed, not declined. The frequency had increased, and the actual act had progressed from touching my breasts, to masturbating while touching me, to masturbating while touching me in front of his sleeping children. His boldness had increased, to the point of ripping my towels off in front of people and vaguely referencing the sexual abuse to my face in front of people. Progression in a sexual deviant is a scary thing.

Progression usually doesn't just stop, does it... Can it? Of course. People do stop things cold turkey. But cold turkey takes a LOT of willpower. My sister's ex-husband certainly hadn't displayed that he was a man of great willpower. And remember, when confronted, my abuser lied about the extent of the abuse for three years. In that three years he was living as if he had confessed and repented when, in reality, he'd pulled a fast one on my family. That doesn't bode well for long term trust.

Let's say someone quits smoking cold turkey after years of a pack-a-day habit. If they fall off the wagon for 5 minutes once in 25 years, that doesn't matter a hill o' beans. They're only killing themselves, it has no effect on anyone (secondhand smoke notwithstanding). If that smoker never tells anyone he snuck one once, no one will care. If a child molester who's quit cold turkey falls off the wagon and molests a kid once for 5 minutes in 25 years, that's a much bigger deal. If he never tells anyone he "snuck one in once", there's a much bigger consequence. Those of us with young children can't afford a child molester falling off the wagon for one second.

I believe that God can change people. I've seen it happen. I also believe in statistics. God would not have given our brains the capability of seeing patterns if He didn't want us to see patterns. Based on the exhaustive research of criminal experts, patterns show the probability that my abuser did this to another girl is high. That does not mean it's a guarantee he touched another girl. But I have to go with the statistics because he's given me no reason to do otherwise. There has been no tangible monumental act to hang my hat on. So he has to fight against those statistics, that's a price you pay when you commit a felony.

Personally, it doesn't matter to me if my ex-brother-in-law has or hasn't become a better person, changed his life, whatever. I mean, come on. "Loving my enemies" to me means not killing them. This is as loving as I can get. What matters to me is that no other child has to live through my experience because of him. 

My abuser has done nothing to show anyone that he's dealt with his sick deviant inclinations. He needs to do something to make people feel a little bit more comfortable considering him a member of society. What is that something? I touched upon the answer in an earlier post, one that Anonymous referenced in his/her comment.  I also suggested in another post that perhaps there was another option for dealing with a child molester.

I listed a few "wants" that I had in regards to my abuser, and I said that they were just that. Wants. Based on my emotions.

There are plenty of things my ex-brother-in-law could do that would encourage people to accept he may have changed. Counseling would be one. Getting an unbiased, medical opinion on the state of his deviance. Prison would have been another. Some sort of statement of apology would be a start. Manning up and telling his children himself. Even just one of these actions might be something, but when you choose NONE OF THE ABOVE, you have to accept that people are going to question the legitimacy of your claims to change.

The onus is on the sex offender to show that he/she isn't going to continue being a sex offender. And unrelated evidences can't be used to prove change. "He's been a good father", "He helped me out financially a few times", "He helped his kid get out of trouble", "He prays before every meal", "He's memorized the entire book of Philippians", "He feeds the homeless and knits socks for soldiers and ties pretty little bows around stray kittens necks"...Apples and oranges. None of those things speak to SEXUALLY DEVIANT BEHAVIORS TOWARDS CHILDREN.

If you want me to buy your car and I know the transmission is shot, you can get the exterior waxed, get the brakes changed, get a new tailpipe, polish the rims....the transmission is still broken. You won't be able to sell that car to me, nor to anyone with a modicum of good sense. You may find a handful of idiots who say, "Oooh! Pretty rims!" and hand you cash without checking to see if the car drives, but most adults will say, "Stop showing me the rims and the tailpipe, let me test drive the damn thing." You need to show me that the specific problem has been spoken to in some way. You need to either prove the transmission has been fixed by showing me paperwork from the auto shop, give me an extended warranty on that specific problem, or drop the price of the car by a huge amount so I can afford to fix it myself.

Either way, if you want to sell ME on that car, you need to work hard. Or you can just take the car elsewhere, find some schmo who doesn't know the car's history. You have the freedom to do that.

There are professionals out there who have spent their lives studying child molesters and learning how to help them. The average Joe cannot, I believe, speak to the change of a child molester. The average Joe cannot even comprehend the mind of a child molester, so how can Joe guarantee that child molester is fixed?  I'm not walking into a lion's cage unless a certified lion tamer tells me it's safe. And probably not even then. Siegfried and Roy proved that sometimes even experts get it wrong.

And how do you even test a child molester's change? Who's going to let their daughter be the guinea pig? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller...? Bueller....?  *chirp......*chirp.....

Exactly. If you have a daughter, or even a son, you're not letting your child spend time with a child molester, changed or otherwise. None of us are playing around with a fire this hot. I send my children into the world every day, knowing that they will probably come into contact with an unidentified child molester. That takes great faith, to not zip my kids up in a bubble. But to let them have contact with a KNOWN child molester, that's not faith. That's dead brain cells.

So what do you think? Do you just assume that because a long time has passed, my ex-brother-in-law has changed? Does time change all things for the better? Can you assume anything in a situation like this? Would you need to see some action to show that your child molester had dealt with his behaviors or would you be able to just accept that time had changed him?

My abuser is continuing to lie to this day. He knows that I haven't shared everything he did to me. I wonder if he'll ever be honest about it all. Someone who lies over and over and never tells the whole truth cannot be trusted by me.

But you can make your own call.


Anonymous, February 8 2:49pm: From reading your thought provoking posts I can tell you are searching for answers. You don't appear to be an unreasonable person. I have three small children and I know for a fact I would never knowingly allow them to be in the presence of a known child molester. Jail, Counseling, Born again Christian, or any other voodoo to try and heal, or mend this broken individual is a waste of time. Once the darkness is allowed in the soul it is ever present. In my opinion your ex-brother-in-law will never be a fixed, or healed, or rehabilitated. He is an addict and his addiction is power over a less than individual. Once an addict always an addict. I believe these desires, needs, can be curved over time with a "10 step" type program but that feeling, that desire to be in control will never leave him.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 13

My brother Eric, who has the unfortunate distinction of being the one who introduced my future abuser to my sister, was the first one in my family to really "get it". Once I started talking about the abuse and how the family handled the aftermath, he very quickly understood what I was saying. My assessment of the situation rang true for him. He was the first to realize the mistakes that everyone in my family made, as well as the mistakes that HE made. He was the first to take personal responsibility for his oversights, and took it upon himself to right the oversights of the entire family. 

He didn't have to do that, but he felt very strongly about the generational impact of my family's mistake. Eric also realized had my family handled my abuser properly, his own daughter, who was molested by a close family friend years later, would probably have been spared. This second abuser would have known my ex-brother-in-law was in jail or had gone to jail for molesting me, and that knowledge would most likely have led him to chose a victim from some other more forgiving Fundamentalist family.

Eric's strong convictions have led him down a slightly different path than I have chosen. Both paths equally authentic. Both paths equally personal. Both paths equally valid. Both paths equally legal. 

Both paths equally necessary.  

(originally posted February 7, 2012)

So what happens now?

The original goal was for my abuser, my ex-brother-in-law to be prosecuted and to spend some time in prison. If that had happened the way it was about to, his name would have been in the paper and he would have had to register as a sex offender after being released from jail. We all could have rested a little easier knowing that he would never have been able to coach another young girls' softball team, never again worked with kids in a church. We'd be comfortable knowing that parents who were so inclined could find out he had been a child molester and keep a close eye on him.

But now we don't have that peace.

While many child molesters walk among us unidentified, it's ridiculous not to tag the ones who we KNOW are. The Megan's Law concept is fantastic. It's a concept that I believe should be implemented in the way it seems my blog is doing right now. People who have been victims of sex offenders should tell everyone they know the name of the offender. Shared information.

One of my nieces goes to a church where a convicted child molester attends services. While it's uncomfortable for her to have to look at him and know what he is, she takes great comfort in KNOWING what he is. She can always turn her radar up to high when he's around. This man has served his time and now has a chance to turn his life around, but he has to do it in a controlled environment where those around him know what his crime was.

In biblical times, my sister's ex-husband might have been cast outside of the city walls, with no access to children. Or he might have been stoned. Or castrated. Unfortunately those specific options aren't available in these modern times.

So is this blog enough? Or should something more be done? What if my abuser is attending a church right now? What if he's working with a youth group? What if he's still coaching girls' softball? Do I/we have a responsibility to do more than just this? If so, what would that "more" entail?

You as readers can certainly do your part by forwarding this story to every parent you know, maybe not specifically to warn them about MY abuser, but to inspire them to think about what they would do if this situation affected their own family.  

Prior preparation prevents poor performance.


Sunshine, February 7 10:13am: Perhaps we could print t-shirts and give them out to people in his neighborhood: "[abuser's name] is a Confessed Child Molestor" or "Beware the Child Molestor living in your town - [abuser's name]" We could create it as facebook status. There has to be another way to get information out that we're not thinking of. What about fliers? We could post them around his neighborhood. They could have a picture of you as a kid and a picture of him now and they could read "This is how old I was when my abuser sexually molested me. It took me 25 years to come to terms with it, please don't let it happen to your children." I'll help!

Anonymous, February 7 4:24pm: I have been following your blogs and I am just curious... your friend above who goes to a church where there is a known child molester/sex offender, you mentioned a part where he served his time and now he has a chance to move on and turn his life around. Are you implying that without going to jail, your abuser can not in fact turn his life around? Because you are making it sound like because justice can not be served in the way you want it, he can not be changed or get help... And with sunshine's suggestion above.. that sounds spiteful to me. It doesnt sound like you are really concernced with him getting help which could lead to making it more safe for children around him. I feel as though you are more focused on the justice part and him being "raped in prison" (just harping on a comment you made in an earlier blog) part rather than being proactive about further instances.. Do you honestly believe that people cant/dont change after 25 years?

Anonymous, February 7 9:50pm: After years of being submissive or supressing defensive thoughts/actions, I think it is normal to finally feel the anger and the defensiveness and lash out. Suzanne is doing this in a fairly subdued fashion. Yes, people can change. But do the majority? I'd be interested to know. Protecting other children who could endure years of pain is better than worrying about her abuser's feelings about now. I think he's had his respite.

Friday, May 30, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 12

There's really not much more to say about this post. I think I said it all in the last two paragraphs. 

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you perverts are thinking you can mess around with children and get away with it, well, you can. Just make sure you pick a child like I was, extremely introverted and introspective, good at hiding things away for long periods of time. A child who is very obedient, very quiet, a peacekeeper. Oh wait, those ARE the kinds of kids you creeps pick. You lowlifes aren't as dumb as you look.

But just remember. That introverted, introspective kid who is the perfect choice to become the victim of your felonious, deviant sexual behaviors is probably going to be the perfect choice to become something else, too.

A writer.

(originally posted February 6, 2012) 

Your comments have been very thoughtful and educational, not just for me but for others reading this story. Please keep them coming! Here's another question for you: Do you think there should be a statute of limitations on prosecuting child molesters? There's no SOL for murder, but there often is for rape and child molestation. 

After thorough interviews with key players in the family, and after setting up the details for a wiretapped phone call, the investigators informed me they'd had overlooked that my date of birth made it impossible for the state to prosecute my ex-brother-in-law for the felony he committed. The DA caught it and informed the investigators that there was nothing they could do at this point. The PA child molestation statute of limitations law changes depending upon your year of birth. It was a major disappointment for all of us. The investigators have compiled a file with all of the interviews and videotapes, so that will be on record at least.

Is there a part of me that's outrageously angry at my family for not turning my abuser in when this first happened and getting it taken care of right away, when it would have been easy? Of course. Is there a part of me that's hating myself up for not realizing all of this 8 years ago, when I would have been able to prosecute? Of course. But I'll get over all of that eventually. My ex-brother-in-law got off scot-free twice before, why should a third time surprise me?

The child molestation statute of limitations law in PA is pretty archaic, comparatively. The Sandusky Penn State mess is forcing the state to review the SOL laws, as a few of those boys are too old to prosecute as well, so there may be a time in the future when my abuser can be prosecuted. Every state has different SOL laws but many states have been revising theirs because it's becoming very clear that most child victims of sexual abuse don't start coming to grips with it until they're in their 30s or 40s.

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you perverts are thinking you can fuck around with children and get away with it, well, you can. Just make sure you pick a child like I was, extremely introverted and introspective, good at hiding things away for long periods of time. A child who is very obedient, very quiet, a peacekeeper. Oh wait, those ARE the kinds of kids you creeps pick. You lowlifes aren't as dumb as you look.

But just remember. That introverted, introspective kid who is the perfect choice to become the victim of your felonious, deviant sexual behaviors is probably going to be the perfect choice to become something else, too.

A writer.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 11

I believe there are some criminals that cannot be understood or helped by regular Toms, Dicks, or Bobs. Even if those Toms, Dicks, and Bobs are counselors. Understanding the mind of a pedophile and knowing how best to deal with one is a specialty all its own. No church is equipped to counsel a pedophile and keep the congregation's children safe from such perversion. 

A pedophile's mind is incomprehensible to the everyday Tom, Dick, and Bob. Tom, Dick, and Bob have NEVER entertained touching a 12 year old girl, or an 8 year old boy, or a 2 year old baby, sexually. That thought COULDN'T enter their minds. So without extensive training by professionals on how to understand pedophilia, how can they even begin to properly monitor and counsel a child molester...

It's narcissistic and self-important to think YOU have to ability to counsel a pedophile. 

And let's remember in my case, there was NO plan put into place to deal with my abuser. No counseling, no monitoring, no weekly discussions, NOTHING.  He had to step down from the board of deacons at church the next week, for vague reasons of sexual impropriety. That's it. 

I received stronger punishments for not cleaning my room once a week.

(originally posted February 3, 2012)

Do you think it's possible to handle a child molester without getting the police involved?

At the time my abuser, my ex-brother-in-law, was found out, my father was against State involvement. He believed everything should be taken care of within the church family. I'm not one to ever say there is only ONE way to handle anything, but I certainly think a child molester needs more of a plan than just, "Confess, repent, we forgive you, and it's over".

Would it ever be an option, if the church is going to handle a child molester on their own, of putting a plan into place that includes:

  • long term counseling for both the offender and the victim
  • removal from any position of authority
  • pressure put on the offender to remove himself from any position that places the offender around children, with threats of police intervention if that doesn't happen
  • long term counseling for the spouse, the children, the extended family
  • full disclosure to the other families in the church
  • if the offender leaves that church, the police should be called, thereby forcing the offender to stay in a place where he's watched and held accountable
What do you think? It is possible that a plan like that could have some effect? My husband and I have been attending Christ's Church of the Valley for a few years now. Being a megachurch with a bazillion members, the feeling there might be a little different than at a 200 member traditional Baptist church in the late 80s, but I'd be curious to know. For those of you involved in leadership at a church, what would your plan of action be? Would you immediately call the police? Or would you try to handle it within the body of believers?


Pamela H, Feb 3 11:10am: Police always. Following your thread from the other post, that we would call the police if it was a murder. It would follow to always call the police if a child is molested. I know that teachers have a mandatory reporting "rule" if they hear of abuse. Did it not apply to clergy in the 80"s?

Nicole, Feb 3 1:00pm: Police. There is no question. Is this because I'm a mother? I don't know. I am not fanatical about any organization (church, school, football team, whatever) enough to protect it by keeping silent or hesitating once the truth is known. There is no allegiance that trumps a crime of that magnitude. I think you've shown a tremendous amount of grace and restraint in your posts. You obviously love your family very much. Let no one tell you otherwise.

Iya H, Feb 3 5:16pm: I have to agree. I know for a fact (from first hand experience), that any paid staff member of a church is a recognized "required reporter" by the state, for at least the last 15 years, and volunteers are encouraged to report even a suspicion of abuse. In a Utopia, perhaps accountability, reconciliation and healing could be managed by individuals in a group, but that is not reality. Humanity is broken, civilization requires laws and authorities for that very reason. Thank you, Suzanne, for allowing us to be a part of this journey, will continue to pray it brings you the healing you seek.

Anonymous, Feb 3 7:53pm: I don't think that any church is capable of providing careful and thorough counseling in most situations. I know that pastors can't fully evaluate whether or not they are ABLE to provide that counseling, so that leaves the weaker party in a difficult position of being unprotected, uncounseled and possibly not nurtured. Sounds like that is what happened despite good intentions. I know that it is what happened to me with abuse in a marriage. I trusted church leadership too much and pastors over the years were not able to diagnose the imbalance in the home, the abuse and my skewed view of submission.

Police, yes with child abuse. Even with a little church in a small town, how can monitoring be total? Too risky for other children. And most of all, very detrimental to the victim who NEEDS professional counseling.

Anonymous, Feb 4 12:16am: I am not so sure that the police are the best course of action for rehabilitation for your ex-brother-in-law, if I can focus on the here and now for a second. Would the police be best for punishment? Sure. Absolutely. There is really no better (legal and ethical) way for him to be punished than to have the law do its work, from public trials to public incarceration for his terribly shameful acts.

But this brings up another question - would YOU be more satisfied if he were to punished in that manner versus being sent through a rehabilitation program? I know if some dude messed with me as kid (and I'm a dude) I would want to hunt his sorry butt down and make him pay dearly in a shawshank kind of way. But the Christian me would know that I need to forgive too. Wow. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through now Suzanne. I'm praying for you.

Anonymous, Feb 4 9:40am: I agree with 2/3, 9:16pm Anonymous, but I see the priorities as: 1. Healing for Suzanne 2. Stopping this from happening ever again by perpetrator 3. Help for her ex-brother-in-law to not do again. #2 comes before #3 in my mind. And #1, at this late date, is paramount.

Anonymous, Feb 5 9:06am: I think not involving the police in handling sex abuse cases is how the Catholic Church got into such a mess with its own sexual abuse situation.

Anonymous, Feb 5 2:34pm: God instituted government in Gen 9:6 to administer the death penalty in the preservation of the dignity of man as an image bearer of God. Paul also identifies the human government is a God given instrument to maintaining righteous, healthy community order. So, the government is God's instrument for maintaining good and righteous order in society. It should be called in play its rightful role in maintaining safe, righteous and healthy society.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Childhood Sexual Abuse Story, Part 10

This post brought up one of the main questions that was running through my mind at the time. Why was my family so opposed to calling the police? I realize now that the main reason probably had to do with my Dad's extreme distrust of the government. The "dogs of Caesar", as he says to this day... To invite the "dogs" in was the last thing you'd want to do. So again, because the police weren't called, I thought what happened to me must not have been that serious. No emergency, move along. Nothing to see here, folks. False alarm.

My father chose to handle the situation in his own way. To ultimately disastrous results.

(originally posted February 2, 2012)

Why do some people react the way they do upon hearing a horrifying story, like one of child molestation?

Why is it so hard for some to just call the police? If your house was robbed, you'd call the police immediately, with no thought of the robber's family, their children, their spouses, their livelihood, their spiritual status.

If you walked into your home and found your wife and 3 children stabbed to death, you'd immediately call the police. You wouldn't stop to consider the murderer's family, their children, their spouses, their livelihood, their spiritual status.

If your child was kidnapped, you'd immediately call the police. You wouldn't stop to consider the kidnapper's family, their children, their spouses, their livelihood, their spiritual status.

Why is this different? Why do some people get stuck when it comes to child molestation? In my case, I'm sure the fact that the abuse was intrafamilial played a huge part. If I'd been molested by a stranger, I can't imagine my family wouldn't have called the police immediately. But because the molester's spouse was my sister, his children were my parents' grandchildren, the line became blurry.

Joe Paterno was told by Mike McQueary in the Penn State scandal that McQueary SAW Sandusky having anal intercourse with a boy he estimated to be 10 years old. Joe Paterno did not call the police, he reported the incident up the chain of command. Why were both of their reactions so skewed?

You could argue that the Penn State situation was intrafamilial too. That football organization was so longstanding, and the leaders so respected (especially the criminal), that even in the face of IRREFUTABLE evidence, the bystanders couldn't have an unbiased reaction.

McQueary SAW a boy being raped by Sandusky. My ex-brother-in-law CONFESSED to molesting me. Yet these evidences weren't enough to spur people to action. It makes you believe that the influence of the leaders was so strong and the atmosphere of the organizations so thick that people second guessed their own instincts.

Families are organizations. Football teams are organizations. Maybe what we're seeing is the danger of organized groups and their leaders?