Comments about ‘Secret shame: Lifelong impact — Victims, families, society cope with effects of abuse’

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Published: Tuesday, March 18 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Been There

It is not the state that's failing these children, it's the parents. It's the mothers who would rather sacrifice their children than give up the men who are abusing them. It's the parent who rationalizes away the behavior of the abuser or simply ignores it for family harmony. Parents who do not protect their children from abuse, or protect a child who is abusing, are beyond contempt. When I told my mother my brother had touched me inappropriately, she turned her back and said nothing. Did he abuse others. Yes. It was only my own sense of outrage that kept him at arm's length during my childhood.

Right on!

Depressing at 8:32 and Unprepared 5:34 said it well.
Life is not over, except maybe for the kids in environments that keep them reminded.
That being said, sometimes the environment is the perpetrator's so that is hard for the kid, unless the perp truly repents.

Yet we have seen instance after instance where the parents (who sometimes were also offenders) added the unconditional love, humility, forgiveness that the child could use to grow out of this problem just like outgrowing other problems.

Yes, there are more of the bad environments that continue to be victims of everything - the adversary of all mankind celebrates - but it is possible to choose repentance and forgiveness and keeping busy with other good things in life, and minimize the past. One of the choices is to help others who have been or might become abused. That'll keep ya too busy to dwell on your own!

Don't give up if you haven't seen this happen. Many of us have.

re: The Elephant in the Room

I am a divorced/remarried mother of two. I was molested when I was a child by MY NATURAL FATHER. Did you not see the article "They're all Nice Guys"??? You cannot blame divorce for sexual abuse. Anyone can be an offender. THERE IS NO PROFILE FOR A SEXUAL OFFENDER. Saying that most cases are where the offender is a step parent or step sibling or mothers new boyfriend... is a lie. I got divorced because my ex-husband was physically violent with me. It was a blessing when I left him and finally found the love of my life. You cannot say that by me getting divorced my children now have a higher chance of being molested because guess what... they are just as likely to be molested by the neighbor...the gardener...the teenage boy or girl down the street...their cousin...their physical education teacher...the list goes on and on. Come on!!!

Me too

Just like "Been There" in the early 1960's we had a trusted family friend/pervery who liked to come and visit and play tickle games with my sister and me. The games escalated and though I told my mother that I didn't like this man, and didn't like it when he came over, and she could see at least the tickling going on, she did nothing to stop it. I didn't tell her everything because I didn't know what to say or how to say it without getting in trouble myself.

Fortunately, it stopped after a while. I don't know why. Just lucky, I guess.

Foster home

We've had 20-25 young people stay in our home, anywhere from 2-3 days, to regular foster placement. In EVERY one of the situations, the child had been abused, usually sexually.
Most were from 'good' neighborhood families, or friends of our children. A few were temporarily unwanted by a step-parent or non-parent (read: Mom's latest live-in boyfriend).

We learned to expect that they were 'sexperts' far beyond their age level. Many had a vocabulary and experience in the 6th-7th-8th grades that most don't even know about until high school.

The biggest common denominator with each family was that sex was the accepted theme of the movies they watched, the rental videos, and the TV and cable shows. The children had no boundaries, no sense that what some adult or older sibling started doing to them was wrong, until after it happened.
Then everybody screamed bloody murder, and couldn't figure out 'how this happened.'

Slowly we figured out, to show/tell them in plain English the effects of watching today's soft-porn. They could connect the dots.
About half have mostly overcome their childhood problems.


I was abused by a much older girl in my neighborhood. I have told one person my whole life, and regret it. The person looks at me as a victim, which I hate. I don't want to be that, I refuse to be that. The only victim of sexual abuse, should be the perpetrator becoming the "victim of the system" they cry about so much. I advocate a zero tolerance approach to these psychos male/female.

Potential Offender

My dad went to prison when I was ten for molesting my sisters in my family. He also physically abused all of us, to keep us quiet. I think the reason I didn't become like him is that I saw clearly what the abuse had done to my sisters and to all of us. Mom became alcoholic and tried to kill herself several times. Some of my sisters took drugs or married child molesters. I became so full of empathy that I couldn't function, but at least I didn't become like my dad. For a long time I was afraid I would, but I could never have thought of destroying a child's wonderful innocence, even if I would have otherwise been tempted. I have often felt confused by sexuality (maybe most people do), but I can't imagine how a person could look at a child and willingly devastate their entire future.


One of my deepest concerns is that so often a clergy or other person of leadership does not often believe the victim when they come forward to voice the abuse.
We need more resources for the victims to get help and to be able to find a safe place.
Parents - trust your instincts! If something or someone feels creepy to be around - then for pete's sake...keep your children away from them!! Who cares if that person gets offended by your actions!!

Sadder but wiser

Last week I was talking with my mother, and she wondered why I don't like to talk about my childhood or look at pictures of my childhood, (I'm middle aged). I said, "I don't think you want to know, it has to do with problems that happened in childhood that you've never wanted me to talk about." She said, "What? Oh, that. You mean you haven't got over that yet? You need to learn to forgive and forget." Interesting that people assume if you remember the incident you haven't forgiven. Somehow everyone would like it if victims quickly forgot what happen--the victim is responsible to make everything better. I'm not angry or bitter any more, just really sad that I can't seem to make my family of origin work even now. In case you're wondering, it was my brothers who abused me for years--mom was just the person who saw it happen but ignored it--she wanted (still wants) to believe she raised the perfect family. In a way she's right--we look perfect from the outside.

One question to Foster home

If movies, TV, and cable shows are causing sex abuse, then why are there so many rapes in Muslim countries where absolutely NONE of these things are allowed, and women are covered from head-to-toe in burkas?

Ten years ago when my then 10 year old son was charged with starting a fire, the officer at his required class asked if we allowed him to watch "The Simpsons". He then went on to say that at least 90% of the boys he had seen, who started fires, all watched "The Simpsons."

The next day, we read in the Deseret News that the favorite show of over 90% of 10 year old boys was "The Simpsons." So did watching "The Simpsons" really cause him to start that fire?

(BTW, he has never started another illegal fire.)

Steve - Re: Depressing...

"Depressing" got something right, I believe that alot of the trauma victims go through stems from the reactions of everyone around them. Imagine how different and better it would be for them if everyone in their life and the media as well didn't act as if the world had just ended, but rather quietly helped them cope with/overcome it and move on.

Also, is someone really a "victim" of a crime simply because the law tells them they are (whatever that crime may be)?

Once a victim

I am a college student and I can speak from experience that when a victim doesn't want therapy, they don't want it because they don't think it will help or for some other reason. But it's still a good idea to try it.
I was raped for 9 consecutive years as a child by a family member and the last thing I wanted was therapy. I went to therapy about a year after my last rape, and I went to a total of about 8 therapist and the last was a group therapy. I didn't think it would help but it does in the long run. It's been a year since I went to therapy and I have never felt happier and more content with my self and my life. It is something that takes time so we need to be patient but it's worth the effort in going.
I highly recommend victims to give it a chance.

good book

If more interest, read the book "toxic parents" by Susan Forward. It gives some good steps to help victims of sexual abuse to move on. Therapy is needed, a victim shouldn't try to do it on their own. Even if it is costly, the money is well spend for the rest of your life.

re: The elephant in the room

My father abused me and my parents had a "happy marriage". He pretended to be very religious and devoted to his family.

I would like to know from what report you obtained your information, who compiled the information and stats. I would like to research it myself because I feel what you are saying has more to do with belief instead of actual fact.


I think there needs to be harsher punishments. Put the fear of god into these sick perverts.


After reading this series, it was highly discouraging to me to see in yesterday's news (another paper) that a computer "spammer" was up for almost 30 years in prison...yet child molesters may only get a few years, if even that. I think that some of this problem stems that children are not as valued in the justice system - you never see a person who "only" killed a child up for the death penalty...and child rapist rarely gets as long as a sentence as someone who rapes an adult. If anything, I think crimes against children should get a HARSHER penalty. I agree with the ex-offender who said that offenders should pay for their victim's therapy - its the only way I see that they can truly have to take any responsibility for what they've done.

Re: Sad

Are you sure you have your facts right? Usually, sex offenders get very long sentences, (sometimes too severe) and then have a life sentence of the S.O. registry on top of that. They definitely get punished. In some instances they would get off lighter if they killed their victim than molesting them (and please don't think I'm trying to encourage that). I'm just stating that sentences are often very severe, and probably a big reason why more offenders don't come forward.

Innocently blamed

Yesterday I signed in as "Anonymous" on this series. The fact is I am being tried for "Sex Crime" I did not commit. Sadly if wrongly convicted I face five to life in prison, especially leaning more towards life if I do not "Conform" to the "Treatment" I will be given in the State Prison system. Yet if I "bear false witness" against myself eventually and "Conform" or basically admit to something I NEVER DID, I could get out of prison "If Convicted" of something I never did. Yet doing so could get one out of the prison system and back with my family within 5-7 years. We (My wife & I) are fighting this all the way and hope the truth will come out and this nightmare of nearly two years now will go away. Sadly I don't know if the so called "Victim" is lying or has false memories.

I will say I feel bad for the victims, and there is opportunities for them to work with Other perpetrators in this state for counciling both for them and the perpetrators. I think maybe Victim Reparations could collect from perpetrators the money for victim counciling.

To Steve

I agree. I was the victim of a 5 minute event that my Church and society turned into a life sentence. I was constantly told indirectly, that I should have fought harder, giving my life if necessary. It made me feel guilty for even being alive. Know how many times I thought about suicide?

I was told that I was now "damaged" and that no respectable young man would want me. Who wants a piece of chewed gum, or a licked cupcake?

I was also told that "men are different" and they simply can't control themselves. Maybe we need to remind men that they really CAN control themselves, even if a girl is standing stark naked in front of them!

Just wish these types of "lessons" could be replaced by something much more positive. And hopefully, they are.

Thinking about it

I suspect that most sexual misconduct is based in culture differences as well as driven by the hormones. For one family sex is part of life, acceptable, even expected. For the next door neighbor it is sacred and has very tight restrictions. Then there is the movie industry which has learned sex makes money. The children don't understand. In the absence of education in the home, they expect commonality of standards and are mixed up by the differences they encounter in school and in their neighborhood. Education by the parents which includes respect for other points of view which doesn't mean acceptance of another point of view is the only answer.

Again the problem is parents today have turned the responsibility for education of their children over to the public school system. And it's not their fault. Our society does not teach parents to be responsible parents. I think someone needs to start a national movement for responsible parenting in a culture of different standards. Marriage requires a legal certificate. That certificate should require a class on responsible parenting and voice concerns and needs from a child's point of view.

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