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

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Published: Tuesday, March 18 2008 12:40 a.m. MDT

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Tried to keep them safe

As a mother of several children, I tried to keep them safe. No playing behind closed doors, no sleep overs, no playing inside neighbor's homes, etc.

BUT it happened to my children with a neighbor boy who had a boy from school introduce it to him, who had an adult abuse him.

My energy to keep them safe came from the several times I was abused as a child. Because of the abuse I grew up thinking I couldn't say NO. I tried so hard to keep my children safe from the warped ideas you take on about intimacy.

I feel like I FAILED my children. And yet deep in my heart I know I TRIED with all my might to keep them safe!

I am thankful for the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Through HIM there is healing and peace!
I hope and pray all who have been affected by such evil will apply the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and be healed.

To tried to keep them safe

I'm sure you did all you reasonably could. No parent can be with a child 24/7 for 18 years. It simply isn't possible. We seem to put a LOT of blame on parents for things that are often out of their control.

Hopefully, articles like this will help us heal. They offer a place to exchange better ideas than what we've done in the past. Each group still needs more help--parents, victims, and even perpetrators.

We need to learn what helps and what doesn't, what makes a real difference, and what simply makes us "feel" safer.

Part of the problem is in our culture. Even labeling all abuse as "evil" and "perverted" as opposed to "illegal" and "damaging" or "hurtful" often adds fuel to the fire.

As a survivor of abuse, I know what my father did was traumatizing, but I hate having everyone label him as "an evil pervert."

If we can let go of the inflammatory words, perhaps some of the stigma will decrease, both for the victim and their assailant.

Anonymous

I think this is a profound article for all victims of crime. I was recently involved in something very horrific (I have never suffered sexual abuse, and I'm not going to pretend that I could even imagine what that is like) and I could really relate to this article

Sickened

As a society we need to accept the fact that sex crimes occur regardless of the character of the persons involved, regardless of their religiosity or lack thereof, regardless of their sex education or lack thereof, and regardless of whether they've seen pornography. We should treat each person involved as a human being capable of receiving and of giving forgiveness, capable of conquering their weaknesses and capable of accomplishing great things. I've read that the rate of recidivism is actually much lower than Sean Hannity or Dr. Laura would have us believe. But I also intimately understand the far-reaching and negative impacts of physical, mental and sexual abuse and think that we should do more to prevent it. I had a neice who was abused by her father and refuses to finger him to authorities because she doesn't want him in prison. Now she's in jail and has lost her kids because she continues to act inappropriately through the loss of self-esteem she suffered for decades. I have another neice who had adjusted fairly well after being abused by a neighbor, supposedly religious, who fled the state for good after he was accused and has never been caught.

Concerned

Since yesterday's article seemed to say that almost all abusers were at one time a victim, wouldn't our money be better spent helping the victims rather than the perpetrators? Maybe I'm naive but it seems to me that helping the victims would ultimately be like helping the abusers before they actually committed their crimes.

Concerned, again

Not to say in any way that all victims will end up abusing. It just seems like many who do abuse, were once victims themselves.

sue

THERE IS HOPE FOR US...THE ABUSE SURVIVOR.. WE CAN GET BETTER...NOT FEEL WE ARE FLAWED, or DEFECTIVE.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED DON'T GIVE UP....THERE IS HELP...THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND. PLEASE SOCIETY STOP TELLING US TO JUST GET OVER IT...WE CAN'T WITH OUT HELP! There is HOPE!!!

Teaching Kids

I have a lot of extended family that have dealt with sexual abuse issues. I agree with the comments that it becomes a parents responsibility to know our children and what is going on in their lives, and most importantly to teach them and to LISTEN to them. My son is 5 and we have taught him over and over again that no one is to touch him in certain areas. We don't preach this to him in a condescending or authoritarian way, but in just casual conversation as those topics arrive. We have taught him that if anyone ever does touch him in one of those areas, he is to tell them 'you aren't supposed to touch me there' and then come tell mommy or daddy about it as soon as possible. And I can promise this, if he ever even hints that something happened, even in jest, we would absolutely take it seriously and investigate it. A common denominator for sexual abuse that has occurred in our extended family is that when the child mentioned something, even very casually, it was ignored. People were just too naive to think it really happened. That attitude has to end.

re: sue

STOP YELLING

to Anon. @ 1:10

No, the Fear of God is not very effective in restraining the tempted ones, when the world surrounds them daily with messages of instant self-gratification.

What does work very effectively is the Love of God. He knows each one of us individually. It is the ONLY thing, in 36 years of working with these situations, that I have ever seen or heard that actually changed a perp, and is strengthens both offenders and victims to deal with the healing that is absolutely necessary.

Marie Devine

I have known the issue on many sides. I know that the abuser has a deep hurt in their lives that was not dealth with and forgiven. There have been great comments given here, experiences lived, lessons to pass on.

God warned us of many tragedies if we went outside His word. Little by little, we stepped away, we fought to keep alcohol, we fought for women to leave home for a career, we fought for freedom of speech to say whatever you want almost where-ever you want. We have not fought for godliness, yet we need to. The churches don't teach holiness "without which none will see God". We are in the world and of the world, but we think we are out of it.

God guides us to be modest, yet fashion has us scantily clad, I went through my time of it. We don't realize that modesty and morality are our protections so our society does not promote sexuality. Our culture is infused with sex in so many pictures. God commanded make no likeness of anything..(Exodus 20)... look where breaking that commandment has led.

In forgiveness and overcoming is where you win all.
That testimony helps others.

STOP THEM

When a brother in law that we knew for over 20 years tried to molest my daughter and my daughter came home and told me what he said and asked her to do, I tried to stay calm and let her tell me at her own pace with very few questions. She had just had the lecture of good touch bad touch at school and knew to come tell me. We prosecuted this brother in law and found out there were 12 other little girls. He did very little jail time because we were the only ones to prosecute. My family told us we were wrong to prosecute and should handle it in house. We felt like if we didn't prosecute that we would be partly responsible for future attacks on unknowing kids. We lost family members and have been told we need to be forgiving. We have peace knowing that a least most people around him now know exacly what he his.

ex offender

Tried to keep them Safe - Please don't fault yourself. When I was going through therapy if found that sex offenders are one of the best of con people. That is what makes it so hard to determine who will re-offend and who will not.

It's kind of like terrorism. All they have to be is lucky once. In our society we often are drawn to the friendly, funny, apparently compassionate person because they seem to embody hope. A predator will appear this way and use every opportunity to be 'helpful.'

If anyone ever pays too much attention to your family or child, don't jump to conclusions but be aware of when they are around and look for tale-tale signs. Secrets, whispering, if a child clings to you when they are around, lack of eating or sleeping, nightmares, as the post before said tickling and other overt displays of touching that seemingly is done in fun. Trust but verify that the person can be trusted.

93 to 97%, depending of the study, abuses are done by someone you or your child knows. Interview your children after they have been behind closed doors with anyone. Pray for discernment.

For ex offender

Thank you. Brilliantly stated. I have a son who abused his little sister. We were all devestated, but had no idea how to respond.

He has Asperger's syndrome, and while he's completely accountable for his behavior, his circumstances ought to mitigate somewhat the consequences.

Because the laws are so merciless, I didn't turn him over to the justice system. And I can't get him therapy, because the law mandates that therapists turn him over to the police. He needs help, not prison. Until the law gets to be more human, families will continue to hide their abusive children.

PS -- I did kick him out of the house to protect my daughter. He'll never be back under our roof, and he understands that if he ever goes near another child without adult supervision, it all hits the fan. It's been four years now, and so far, life ain't good, but he's expressed gratitude that he got caught, and has put himself into circumstances where he doesn't have access to children. It's horrible that it has to be this way -- no therapy, no hope for resolution -- but that's what the world has driven us to.

Gabi

May I add one more comment from a survivor? The LDS church hid my perpetrator's sins/crimes. He went on to molest over 150 children. I've made peace with him and the church within my own soul, but the church has NEVER repented, nor made changes for this to stop.

None of us were ever offered any help, nor were our families. We have all had troublesome lives and troublesome marriages and divorces. The fallout was horrible. It took 12 years of therapy.

The other point that should be made regarding offender-focused treatment. According to the last statistics I saw, 80% of male perpetrators are also victims. A victim untreated is more likely to become an offender than a survivor.

The churches and state MUST stop concealing perpetrators in the name of the priesthood and start the healing at the earliest possible moment.

Get A Clue!

Why is it that we are all so worried about the convicted sex offenders? We know who they are, and if you are smart, you will keep an eye on them. It's the ones who HAVEN'T been convicted that you should worry about! Your husband, your dad, your uncle, your best buddy next door, your girlfriend's husband, your grandpa, your Elder's quorum president, etc. etc.!

I'm a registered sex offender - enticing a minor on the internet, no abuse ever occured because it was a police sting. I've NEVER abused anyone EVER! I am so tired of people worrying about me! I just want to take them by the shoulders and shake them and say, "I'M NOT THE ONE YOU NEED TO BE WORRIED ABOUT! I'VE DONE MY TIME AND I'VE GOT THE HELP I NEED AND I'M BETTER BECAUSE OF IT! WORRY ABOUT THE PEOPLE CLOSEST TO YOU WHEN THEY ARE AROUND YOUR CHILDREN!!!" I'm waiting for the day that one of the "finger pointers" in my neighborhood/ward is arrested for abusing some kid in the neighborhood. Sorry.

Wake up people and keep an eye on the friends/relatives closest to you and your kids. They are the real danger!

I'm Thinking About It Too

Hey Thinking About It: You're wrong about parents; right about our society. How many of us overspent at Christmas? How many of us have or had an interest only mortgage so they could spend more at Christmas? How many of us are struggling to pay down a credit card they lost control of? How many of us are living from payday to payday without a savings account? How many of us dropped out of high-school because we enjoyed TV and socialized but couldn't find the time to study? How many of us take the convenient gas guzzler in the garage to work everyday instead of the bus or carpool?

Should we be surprised teenagers can't sef-control their hormones when our society preaches lack of self-control? I think the future of our society depends on all of us learning self-control and I think the recession in the news is adaquate proof of my point. Widespread rape and abuse and teenage pregnancy and early marriage which results in divorce and single parents are all very unfortunate symptoms of the larger issue.

Our society needs to learn self-control!

stop it

The "Church" called the police and excommunticated my brother in law within a week of them finding out. The action goes on his permant church record.

I'm really annoyed by the self proclaimed "ex" offenders and their advice. My brother in law claims to be very helpful and reformed to, even as he fails to admit to more of the crimes he committed. Child molesters are huge con men so why would anyone believe a word they say? It's creepy if you ask me.

Anonymous

Forgiveness lessens the pain, but it DOES NOT take away the feelings, flash-backs, panic attacks, guilt...need I go on? What a simplistic thought--forgive and it will all go away. If you think this is true, you have never been sexually abused or you wouldn't say such a thing.

I am a 31-year-old mother of four children, happily married to a great guy and have a good life on the East Bench. However, I was raped (lured, enticed and sexually assaulted) by a nearly 18-year-old HS Senior when I was a 13-year-old HS Freshman. He absolutely knew what he was doing, his room was filled with porn, he was suave and cunning, and he took away my innocence in 5 minutes. I have images that I will never forget, that I literally have to FORCE out of my head to this day. I was young, naive, totally inexperienced sexually, and was assaulted by a guy who KNEW INEXPILICABLY what he was doing.

Help him (the perp) or me (the victim)? I would have appreciated some therapy. I will never abuse anyone. However, it is likely that HE is still abusing because it's so EASY to DO and HIDE.

Anonymous 2

What is the solution, then? Forgiveness is huge. Unfortunately for me, I was sent to the bishop to "repent." I feel resentful about that, but it does not lessen my testimony or rule my life. I have had a very successful life by those looking from the outside.

As a victim, it is difficult to tell anyone of your experiences because, at least for me, I don't want to be viewed as someone to pity or fear. I don't want anyone to wonder about my life or burdens I carry.

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