not keeping the abuse a secret

a child-sexual-abuse survivor's blog


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be silent or be shunned

I found the following in an online stroll and, it really hit home:

“Learning that a relative was sexually abused in childhood can have profound effects on other family members. The disclosure can create a crisis even though the child victims are now adults. Family members who were not aware of the abuse are challenged to revise their perceptions of…the abuser, and relationships within the family. This can be disorienting, disruptive, and anxiety-provoking.” [1]

Shunned as I am by more family members than not, I sometimes feel akin to a disobedient member of an Amish community experiencing rituals of shaming.

Shunned (crop)My misdeed: I refuse to follow “the game plan” of concealing the family abuse. I will not, not talk about it. I will not “hide it” from generations coming up. I will, essentially, not box it and stuff it in an attic. It happens to be an essential part of my personal history — I made numerous suicide attempts because of it; had a nervous breakdown in my 40s because of it; and I have worked hard in therapy for decades now to overcome its damage — I have a right to speak of it! (Should a holocaust survivor be expected to, Be silent, be still, you’re embarrassing us?!)

My own siblings, step-siblings, nieces & nephews are guided? directed? manuevered? encouraged? in their complete-disbelief-of-the-abuse by some, “mere” denial-of-it by others, by one of my fellow abusees and sister, Elle. Like a sort of family Don, Elle — who I sincerely believe to be either a sociopath or to have a sociopath alter — uses her considerable influence to wave family reality away, going so far as to treat with revered status, a brother who sexually abused all three of us sisters plus at least one neighbor girl.

Being shunned for refusing to sweep my abuse under some hypothetical rug has been and, is, so mind-bogglingly incomprehensible to me that looking at photos of these family members recently made me feel physically ill, nauseous.

The quoted material above continues,

“Although the process whereby family members deal with sexual abuse of a family member can be distressing, painful, and sometimes divisive, it can be liberating and healing as well. This book is designed to help families have the latter experience, as it guides them through the crisis evoked by disclosure without denial, minimization, blaming, recrimination, or polarization within the family. The ideal is for family members to believe that the sexual abuse occurred and to support the victim’s right and need to integrate and resolve fear, anger, sadness, shame, guilt, and grief. Also, the family is helped to view the abuser as a multidimensional person who committed a serious offense that requires being accountable, but who also needs treatment.” [1]

I wish that my family were so evolved as to be able to comprehend the above and, of hearts big enough to act on it.

If wishes were fishes… :-/

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ENDNOTE

1 National Criminal Justice Reference Service online, abstract for D. B. Landry 1991 book, Family Fallout: A Handbook for Families of Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Safer Society Press, Brandon, VT, at https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=149686 , accessed July 26, 2015.

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