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Should we break through the veil of silence?

Posted by TinaL , 17 September 2013 · 95 views

While at work today, I found out that a lady I work with was also molested by her father. She told me that she was only 10/11 when it happened. (like me) She is now 42, a mother of two lovely girls and an accomplished scientist.

She found the courage to tell her brother what had happened. She told him quite a few years ago. Her motivation was very sincere, as she was concerned about any children they may have and she wanted to warn her brother to be vigilant with exposing any children to their father. Good on her!

Here is my dilemma. She hasn't confronted her father about the abuse and has not told her mother either. Her parents are still together and in their 60's. She still sees her parents and either stays at their place or they stay at hers. She is very cautious about not letting her daughters be alone with him. I applaud her for that.

The question I ask is....Should she tell her mother at least about what happened? Should she confront her father and let him know that she remembers what he did to her all those years ago?

I have found this situation numerous times as I hear about other people's abuse. I myself, didn't find the courage to confront my father for 34 years. So, I understand the reluctance to tell the truth. I am not judging her. But, is it better to get it all out in the open and let everyone be aware of what these men are capable of? That way everyone can make the choice from a position of truth as to whether this person has access to any potentially vulnerable victims. We did not cause any problem..they did! They are the ones who chose to molest their daughters and we are left with the agonizing decision about how we should handle it and who we should tell. Understandably, people don't want to 'cause waves' and tear apart families. But you know what....the family has already been torn apart by the abuser. The family is living a lie, pretending that everything is ok and all is normal. It's not. They are worried about how they will be perceived or believed. What a terrible burden this places on the already traumatised victims. As far as exposing our children to these people though, that is another matter.

My partner purchased a book last year "Allies in Healing" by Laura Davis. It is geared towards partners of people that are healing from SA. (great book..I highly recommend it) In it, there is a chapter that asks the question of whether or not we should let our children have any contact with our abusers. I will quote...

"In this situation, I have a definite opinion. Where children are concerned, it's always best to err on the side of caution. I have heard hundreds of stories from survivors who were certain they were the only victim, only to find out years later that their brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, and sometimes grandchildren had all been abused by the same perpetrator, an abuser systematically working his way through several generations of the same family. My grandfather started abusing me when he was 71. Age alone is not a deterrent.

Seriously ask yourself: "Would I let my child bond with a suspected child molester if he wasn't related to me?" If you found out that the local scoutmaster had a history of sexually abusing children, would you keep sending your son to scouting? If your babysitter was found guilty of molestation, would you keep paying her to take care of your baby girl? Why should your child's grandfather be treated differently?

We've all been raised with the commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother." But when people sexually abuse their children, they give up their right to be treated with respect and honour in the family. At the moment the survivor's father abused him, he gave up all the normal rights and privileges that go along with being a parent, including his right to have a relationship with his grandchildren." End quote....

I know this is a very difficult issue to address. As survivors we try so hard to be good parents because we know how bad our parents/other abusers can be. We try hard to protect our children. I guess the message here is that we cannot allow our children to have a relationship with the abuser. He/She forfeited that right a long time ago. That was their choice.

Let us make a choice that protects our kids. Yes, it may be awkward and uncomfortable to have to keep our kids away from the abuser. That is a small price to pay for keeping our kids safe. We don't want our kids to go through what we have.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this difficult issue.

Take care all.

Tina :)



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blondie2002
Sep 17 2013 12:20 PM
That's a tough question. I think it would be a good idea for her mom to know, so hopefully she can make the best possible choice for the children.
Where I live, if there is a known pedophile it is a legal responsibility (not to mention moral/ethical) to make others aware of the potential danger. However, not many people realize their legal obligation, until it's to late.

I just went through a situation last year where a lady that I have known for years had a high probability of knowing her husband was an abuser and did nothing. Several girls were abused, including my daughter. The lady came very close to losing her freedom, and being prosecuted right along side of her husband.

I look at it like this: If you are at work, and you know someone has potentially set a bomb in the building we all would be required to report it. A pedophile is a bomb waiting to be activated, and the moment the pedophile is near children a trigger/activation process has begun.

The issue is most of us are dealing with pain from 30 years ago, so how do we go out and tell the world at that point??? I know this is easier said than done, because for years I didn't tell because it was family that was involved. I completely understand from a survivor point of view. However, now as a mother I have a totally different belief. My child, and any other child that could be placed in harms way comes first and foremost.

It is my understanding that not sharing information that could save a child from harm is walking a very fine line, especially if suspicion is high that the pedophile is on the hunt or is actively placing themselves near kids, such as with the case of the lady that I know.

Now whether or not someone chooses to be near a pedophile that has abused them it is their choice in their journey.

That's a tough question. I think it would be a good idea for her mom to know, so hopefully she can make the best possible choice for the children.

Hi,

Sorry I haven't replied to your comments. Thank you for replying. I didn't know anyone had until today.

I agree with you about her Mum knowing. It is only the truth. Her Mum is still living with a man who molested HER daughter. She has also told me that her mum has told her before that she was thinking of leaving the father, even this late in life. So, obviously there are other problems in their relationship apart from this horrible past behaviour. I do think that telling the truth will let everyone in the family make an informed decision about who has contact with this man. And, hopefully this will safeguard other children who may have any possible contact with him.

Tina :)

Where I live, if there is a known pedophile it is a legal responsibility (not to mention moral/ethical) to make others aware of the potential danger. However, not many people realize their legal obligation, until it's to late.I just went through a situation last year where a lady that I have known for years had a high probability of knowing her husband was an abuser and did nothing. Several girls were abused, including my daughter. The lady came very close to losing her freedom, and being prosecuted right along side of her husband.I look at it like this: If you are at work, and you know someone has potentially set a bomb in the building we all would be required to report it. A pedophile is a bomb waiting to be activated, and the moment the pedophile is near children a trigger/activation process has begun. The issue is most of us are dealing with pain from 30 years ago, so how do we go out and tell the world at that point??? I know this is easier said than done, because for years I didn't tell because it was family that was involved. I completely understand from a survivor point of view. However, now as a mother I have a totally different belief. My child, and any other child that could be placed in harms way comes first and foremost. It is my understanding that not sharing information that could save a child from harm is walking a very fine line, especially if suspicion is high that the pedophile is on the hunt or is actively placing themselves near kids, such as with the case of the lady that I know.Now whether or not someone chooses to be near a pedophile that has abused them it is their choice in their journey.

Hi,

Sorry I haven't replied to your comment until now. And, thank you for doing that. I didn't know anyone had replied until today. :(

I am so sorry your daughter was molested by this person.

I am glad that where you live, it is a legal obligation to inform if any molestation has been made aware by those close to the molester (or should I say monster?) And you know what? That is EXACTLY how is should be! None of this burying your head in the sand because it is just too hard to deal with or it may upset your life/financial situation. In my situation, (and also my step sister's...my step mother confided in me that some inappropriate situations had occurred. But, she never left him. She never removed her daughter from harm..let alone me! That is so unforgivable. She neglected her responsibility as an adult to protect any children who came in contact with this molester..my father.)

I agree with your analogy of the pedophile being a bomb...with the possibility of exacting definite harm. As you said, if we were aware that someone had planted a bomb in a building with the definite possibility of someone being harmed, wouldn't we be blamed for not warning of this danger? As a society, we need to remove our heads from the sand and stand up, be strong and decent, and prevent/curtail any further damage. I have no respect for women who are aware or even 'suspect' that something inappropriate is going on with their partners. Female intuition is very strong, and even if there is only a 'feeling' that something is wrong, chances are, something is.

As far as I am concerned, if someone has exhibited pedophile tendancies, even from 30 something years ago, that person is not fit to be near children. Period. Some survivors get molested by creeps who are in their 70's. Age is not a barrier. Once a pedophile, always a pedophile.

Until this subject is taken seriously and not suppressed by people who are too weak to take action, it will continue. That can be either in family situations, neighbourhood associates or institutional abuse.

You and I know the ramifications of CSA and how devastating that can be.

I hope your daughter is going ok and I am sure she is getting all the help she need to overcome such horrible experiences.

All the best.

T :)

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