Some excellent and powerful stories about help that is not offered to victims of sexual abuse in big churches and other institutions. Check out, for example, a recent set of articles at HuffPost.
Let’s get more intimate. How does a family react to a member who has stated that he or she has been sexually abused? Answers vary, of course. The R.C. Church has gone through a long period of denial – which rubbed off on parents, that insists abusers are rare, that victims are mentally unstable, that priests should be forgiven, etc.
If a parent is the perpetrator and the child is the victim what recourse has she (or he)? First, there is lack of life experience (in other words, the abuse starts so early in life that he child doesn’t understand or cannot resist.) Second, sometimes the other parent is a Bystander, who is aware of abuse, but says nothing, does nothing, to help.
Media attention to some public perps has focused, it seems to me, on the frailty of the abuser, or his sinfulness. Doesn’t everyone know forgiveness is not free – you need to repent and “sin no more.” I shudder to think how children react during this period of inquiry, when they are scared; the assaults are somewhat predictable; and they believe they are to blame, and that there is no one who loves them enough to help.
Decades after a courageous survivor confronts those who committed or permitted the violations, they may be left off of the Thanksgiving invitation because their penchant for honesty is a bit intimidating.
This is “the tip of the iceberg,” is it not? I am open to discussion about this most critical area of family care. I condemn the victimization of children and mothers by sick people who have little incentive to change.
More to come.