Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blaming the Victim

Supposedly child abuse is way out in the open now . As a result people have once again minimized it and shoved it under the carpet again. 'Isn't it awful?', they say.'Still, you are alright now aren't you? No? Oh well a couple of therapy sessions will fix you? No? Then grow up and stop complaining. Get Over It! Stop having it on show, put it away, I DON'T want to see it'.

Yes, we are not as caring as we like to think.

It isn't so much the physical violation that does the damage. It is the destroying of trust in oneself and others. It is the destroying of one's ability to form a reality.
THIS is what happens: you are abused. You are told that ; A) it was your fault B) it didn't happen C)that it wasn't abuse. THIS is what does the damage. Abusers know this and they use it to control their victims and justify themselves. It is very rare for any abuser to accept responsibility for their actions. They will deny forever usually.

So where does this leave their victim? Doubting. Forever. Imagine that if you will. Really try and imagine that. How will it feel to never be sure if what you see and sense and feel is real? How will it feel to have someone abuse you and leave you wondering if 1) they did abuse you 2) did you cause it 3) am I a bad person? It always comes down to that last one. Am I bad person? Imagine this: you are 9 years old. You are accosted in the jungle. You are frightened. Your abuser does what he does and blames you and threatens you. You have nowhere to turn, no safe place. Why? Because at home you also have abusers. Your head was smashed against an ornate table leg. Your mother cleans up the mess, soothing you with her voice but at same time telling it was your fault. And this happens not once but frequently. The next day you are told it never happened. When you finally have the courage to tell about the abuser in the jungle, because another child is hurt, you are punished. So you learn that to speak up is dangerous. So it happens again and again and again. And this time your abuse is recorded on film and you feel dirty and ashamed and afraid and no one protects you and you are told your feelings are not real, that you abuser is a nice man and you should be grateful he wants you and that you are appealing enough to be filmed anyway, you are 12 and really should know better, you could have gotten away if you wanted to.
So you then become an adult. An adult who believes everything is his fault. Who is unable to see the bad in others. Who doesn't understand boundaries or the word No. So the abuse continues. You hit me, I apologize. You want sex, I don't, who wins? You do. Sex becomes the only way of communicating. Sex becomes love. Abuse becomes love. And all the while, you live in a nightmare. A nightmare of confusion,. What is real, what is not, of tremendous fear, a nightmare you can't awake from. And on top of this, you are also told God hates you and you will burn in Hell for being you.

Until you discover booze or drugs and you are released from hell. For a while. The cruelty being that this friend is just another abuser. Makes you feel good at first and slowly but surely turns on you, bringing you even further down. And people turn their backs and blame you and judge you and forget all about the who's and wherefores. It is easier to blame the victim and always will be. Or at least it appears that way. In the long run the it costs us all. High crime rates. High suicide rates. High fear rates.
Burying our heads in the sand and blaming the victim has got the world where it is.

And as you crawl your way to peace, you learn to trust and you open up to some people who then use what they know to dismiss you, your feelings, your perceptions. You don't have anything valid to say any more., If you disagree with them it is because you are damaged and not because you have a valid argument.

It is very easy to isolate, stay in your hole, and it takes enormous effort, 24/7 to not to that, to continue to search and grow and find peace.


Anonymous said...

Dear me, so you have found it necessary to approve all comments. Getting some nasty ones are you Colin? Perhaps you should look to your own rather unpleasant, arrogant, stupid, blinkered, intolerant character to see why. Not that I suppose you will, you are far too smugha nd self-rightous to accept that you might just have some faults.

Unknown said...

dear anonymous - thank you for sharing your pain here. I am so sorry to read that you are suffering. You don't have to stay in your suffering, you can find the courage you need if you want it. It just takes small tiny steps. The day you can comment wihtout hiding will be one of those steps.

FuguesStateKnits said...

Colin, I have read your blog a few times and today I'm posting 2 comments! who knew? I just read this one and it tears my heart out. It is so true, though! The worst thing, as you said, even more than the physical or sexual violation, is the loss of trust in your perceptions.
I am an attorney in the States who represents children who have been abused. Sometimes I feel like I'm paddling a canoe into a tsunami, but I do sleep at night (sometimes).
Thanks so much for reminding us in the field what the reality is for you and others who have been there.
Hugs (if ok with you)

Annie said...

I cannot believe what I just read from the anonymous commenter. I have read your blog for a while now and whilst it sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading, I can only applaud you for having the courage to speak about the unspeakable. I think you are a very brave man, unlike the commenter who couldn't even leave his/her name.
Peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for telling the world how those of us who have been abused continue to suffer long after the abuse has ended.
Please don't let those who continue to verbally abuse you silence you.
You have more courage than I have. I have only ever told one person about what happened to me.