Children are our most precious gifts. It is our duty to protect them from all harm, sometimes that includes protecting them from ourselves. Millions of children have unwanted and abusive sexual experiences.Many of them believe, that someone else knows or should know about their situation, but does little or nothing to protect them.Where is Mom? Dad? A few survivors tell adults what’s going on. They seek protection and help,however oftentimes they are met with disbelief, denial, blame, or even punishment.
How can that be?
It’s hard to imagine that there can be any “good reason” for failing to protect a vulnerable child.Kids may feel doubly betrayed by someone’s failure to help. They were in danger, someone should have protected them and chose not to…period. For this there is no excuse. There is no way to rationalize inaction.Surviving abuse is a long and arduous journey and although scars can heal, wounds can remain constant. Because I am trying to prove a point this article will be a little harsh and may offend a few. For this I ask your forgiveness but I am not sorry.
Recently I was introduced to a young girl that was being sexually assaulted by her mom’s boyfriend. The little girl was lost and afraid and did not know who to turn to. She described how this monster would meet her coming out of the shower and tell her to drop her towel. She cried as she talked about him touching her inappropriately and coming into her room.She was terrified and alone and worse she felt betrayed. Why? She was betrayed because her mother knew about the abuse but did not believe her. She was betrayed because no adult would listen to her. I wish her story was not common however since I began trying to reach young girls over the years, I hear tales of terror like this all the time. Including my own. I am a survivor of abuse and like this young girl, I remember having to double check the bathroom door and make sure it stayed locked, before jumping in the shower. I remember laying awake at night and praying that for once the door would remain shut and no one would enter. I remember the betrayal of family and friends. Her story was mine! I have a dozen other examples and that number keeps growing.
Do you see the pattern? Here 25 years difference and 2 different generations and yet our stories are similar. The common denominator aside from abuse was the betrayal, disbelief and indifference of adults. Being a mom is hard and being a single mom can be very challenging to say the least. It is a privilege so many enjoy but some (married or not), squander away. Daily there are news reports about moms that have harmed or allowed to be harmed their own children. Why? Is it because of men? Are some women so selfish and focused on what or who they want that they are willing to overlook their child to do it? Is having a man more important than making sure that your daughter/son is safe? Does your child not have value?
Put them first.
Understand that ALL claims of abuse must be investigated and believed until proven otherwise. If you are afraid of being alone, then imagine how lonely your child feels living with this nightmare. They depend on you to take care of them. When we made the choice to be mothers, we also chose to forgo self to a point. That means that if we have to let go of someone that is not a fit for our family then so be it. Tomorrow is a new day and eventually we will find love again. If you suspect a child is being abused, please for the love of all things good, call someone. DO something. ACT immediately. Be a champion for someone that needs you. Be that warrior mother and not an enabler.
When would you rather receive your flowers, while alive or dead?I know that is an unnerving statement but it needs to be said. Turn on the TV or internet and there will be some story related to Domestic Violence. It seems to be the one thing that is hard to escape, and yet we can change it. We CANNOT change the abuser but we CAN change ourselves. This piece will seem a little harsh, but, it is said with much love. It goes out to men and women alike, considering the way that a good many women are becoming just as violent as their male counterparts.STOP TRYING TO JUSTIFY ABUSE!!! I say this a thousand times. LOVE does not HURT! It does not hit. It does not stalk. It does not obsess. It does not burn clothes. None of those things are love, so why do we continuously say so when we try to defend our attacker?
Ask yourself why? Why do you stay? Don’t judge yourself and don’t think about how others may judge you. Just think of why you choose to stay. Is it really out of fear? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid to not have love? Are you perhaps blinded by the fear of failure that you, think staying will somehow make the situation different? None of these things make you a bad person. It really doesn’t but here is the deal. We are told all the time to just pray about a situation and it will change. But just like with the flowers, when do you want to receive your prayer answers, alive or dead?Continue to pray for the person that has harmed you but get OUT if you can.
STOP saying he/she loves me! Who are you really trying to convince? yourself or everyone else?An abuser may care about you but that doesn’t equal to love. Love doesn’t give you a black eye. If he loves you why does he isolate you… berate you…. beat you? Is that love, because if it is, then why do so many prisoners of war not see it as such? Stockholm’s Syndrome (a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser) can trick a lot of people into thinking that this horrendous treatment is love. This way of thinking is why so many of us go back.
STOP being afraid to be alone!If you are in an abusive relationship, isolated and afraid to trust then guess what? You are alone already. Now try being alone without having to walk on eggshells. Stop listening to lies. I listened to a friend talk about her abuser. She spoke about him with such love and affection that my heart went out to her. He talked to her about trust and that if he took her back he would need access to everything. He described how she would not be able to have friends and how she would basically be under his control. None of those things stood out to her as she was relaying his words. She chose to forget the black eyes. She only heard him talking about love. She desperately wants to be loved and he played on all of her feelings. Is that love? Sometimes Love really means loving the person in your mirror enough to be with them for a while.Get comfortable being alone. It doesn’t mean you will stay that way. Being alone is not a death sentence especially if you love the company you keep.
Love you enough to understand that you can not change anyone only you. Don’t be a victim of you. Staying or going back to an abusive relationship does not make you a martyr it makes you hurt.Love can be bittersweet but it is never physically or mentally painful. Stop confusing obsession and control with love. Stop allowing your own insecurities keep you in bondage. Just as victims with Stockholm’s can be treated and helped, so can you. You are never alone. Not really. There are those of us like myself that will always be there for you. Get help where you can. Make sure I can give your flowers to you while you can still smell them.