Thursday, May 23, 2013

THE INFINITE CURSE OF #INCEST and #CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

While my husband and I were discussing titles for my upcoming book about incest the other  day, I shared with him some of the heartaches I hear coming from members of my private Facebook Group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN FAMILIES. 

Honestly, it is sometimes so painful to hear what victims of incest have suffered at the hands of fathers, brothers, mothers, uncles and others. What's even more painful is hearing how hard it is for them to now speak up, to name their abusers, primarily for fear of what friends, family and even loved ones say when they listen to their stories. They get everything from "I'm so sorry for you but you must move on and just forget about it" to "Don't! Don't dare disgrace our family by talking about this!" or even "I don't believe you. You're making it all up. Why would your father or brother do that! How could you let it happen?"

And so, victims of childhood sexual abuse are re-victimized over and over again by their friends and loved ones who care more about keeping everything hidden and quiet than about the victim or about  exposing someone who most likely has gone on to abuse others, or in some cases, is so high profile, no-one dares say anything for fear of reprisal. How fair is that? Worse yet, how can such victims heal when, even if they share their stories, they can't name their abusers? They know by not doing so, they are, as it were, assisting a criminal in continuing to hurt others. Their burden of guilt and shame for their past and now their present silence is doubled. Healing cannot ever really take place under such constraints.

So while I write and edit my book in the hopes it will help to encourage others to come and speak out from under childhood sexual abuse and incest, I realize how much easier it must seem for me to do this NOW. My abuser is long dead. So is his wife, my mom. I have no sisters or brothers or other living relatives on my side who can make me keep my mouth shut. There is, of course, my husband and my children, and my husband's extended family which is large. They could be uncomfortable by my revelation, but again, I'm lucky: they have encouraged me to do this and the extended family doesn't even live in the same country as we do. So one could say, "sure, it's easy for YOU to do now."

Well you know what? Not really. It's not easy at all because there's nothing easy about your friends and your children's friends knowing that you had sex with your father, your children's grandfather!  Even more, how do you explain that this wasn't a one-time thing? Rape is horrid, but it's usually a one-time thing and no-one can or should blame the victim. But incest that goes on for years and years? That's repeated rape but what's an outsider to think? Most will say, if it was that bad, how could you let him rape you year in and year out? Even my husband, who I know loves and believes me when I say this was not my idea or desire, said to me when we had that chat:

"Yes, how do you explain incest that goes for years, or, as in your case, incest that started when you were almost 12?"

When he said that, I couldn't help but wonder if there was doubt of my innocence even in his mind? Though he's never said it, I'm sure he's puzzled as to why I let it go on for so long, why I didn't up and run away, why I didn't turn my father in, etc etc. And those are very understandable questions to which, sadly, there are no easy or quick answers but which I hope will come clear in my book. Yes, it does look like somehow I might have condoned it, even possibly liked it to have let it go on for 12 years, and, yes, after all, I was old enough to understand what he was doing and how wrong it was when he began. No, I wasn't an infant, or even a 5 or 7-year-old who couldn't have invited the sexual abuse. I was nearly a woman myself! So then, now, I too must prepare myself for the non-believers, those who will accuse me of being as guilty as my father was, of enjoying it, of aiding and abetting him in his crime against me.

Perhaps I will live to regret that I told my story, but I'm willing to take that risk because my story must be told: only by doing so, can the non-believers, the accusers come just a little closer to understanding how something like this could go on for years, and how, I was, and still am, blameless.

To do that, my story must begin, as it does, at the beginning, with my childhood, so one can see and sense the growing fear a child develops of a controlling father who can cleverly manipulate your thoughts with his words and actions, a fear so strong that in the end you do whatever you are told to do for fear of your sanity and your life. That is the curse of incest and child sexual abuse, regardless of when it starts.

And that curse never fully goes away.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you, again for writing about things that so many of us think but can't speak. The fears that we share, in this "club"that none of us chose to join. So much I wish I could find the words to say, for now, just thanks - again XXX

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    1. Thanks Ripeka. It's hard for so many victims to put their pain into words. I'm just happy I was given that ability to speak for those who can't. Thanks for confirming that that is what I do.

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  2. Wow!!! well said Viga, It does never really go away. We move on, we heal, but it's always going to be inside of us. If only people understood that we didn't ask for this to happen, no matter what our age, it is NOT our fault..You did an outstanding write-up Viga, and yes your story does need to be told...<3

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    1. Thanks Mary. I don't think it's possible for anyone who hasn't experienced incest or child sexual abuse to understand how deeply it affects us, not just at the time, but forever. We are forever changed by it. Thanks for supporting my efforts to speak out for so many of us.

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  3. Wiping away tears. I understand this. Have had to write an entirely different book because I cannot name my accusers. I have to believe this is okay, but I grieve the constant re-victimizations we all go through. Love you Viga. Write it sister.

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    1. Thanks El. I know you understand and by your own writing, how hard you are trying to get the message out there: that what we suffered wasn't wanted and was never our faults. And yes, the crime of it all is not being able to get any justice or closure on it as long as that person is alive, or even after they're gone. They never apologize for what they did and for so many of us, that might be what we most need and will never get. Forge on El. We have a big job to do!

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  4. You may have some who refuse to believe your truth. Most disbelievers are in denial about incest so they can't stand to hear anyone else's story of abuse. Survivors will believe and understand.

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    1. Yes, Patricia, I know the victims get it. The others? Heads buried in sand. Like I've said elsewhere in this blog, incest is the last taboo and folks just don't want to believe it happens in their homes. They'd rather live in denial or treat it as something we made up. So cruel. So wrong!

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  5. Thank you my friend for speaking out when so many can't! I speak out even though my family denies any abuse and has me branded a trouble maker and crazy.

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    1. See, that's the part that kills me Shayla. You and others in our group are being branded crazy, trouble makers, creators of a fantasy. Who would want this hideous "fantasy"? What do we have to gain by telling untruths? Why do they so adamantly deny the possibility, let alone the reality? In the meantime, the abuser sits back untouched and untouchable, or worse yet, moves on to other victims. ARGHHH!

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  6. Oh my friend. I can feel your pain. I've often thought of my own incest at the hands of my father as a curse too. Even now as an adult I struggle with what the family and friends think about what happened to me. Yes, we are told to "Forget it. Move on." But how do we do that? Society won't even accept the truth of Incest and Child Sexual Abuse cases. We must continue to fight the good fight. Bless you, my friend, for your strength, wisdom, and your Voice. If it hadn't been for Out From Under, I wouldn't have found the courage to use my Voice. http://tomorrowsrainbow.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks Darling. I know how deeply you feel this. And even when we know others aren't condemning us, actually believe us, we still worry what they think deep down. We will never convince those who deny the exist of incest but together we can help those who have yet to find the courage to tell their stories, get it off their chests. Maybe friends and family won't believe them but we do because we know it exists. We've lived it and part of us has died with it. But we must continue to SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER!

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  7. Your blog helps me in so many ways you don't even know. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that. It's not an easy subject to talk about, let alone write about publicly. But it needs to be done. Incest has been and continues to be hidden by victims, abusers, friends and family and it will never stop if victims don't speak up. We are the only weapon against the abusers!

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