UNDERprotected

Feb 26th, 2011 | By | Category: All Posts, Guest Blog

Bethany

by Bethany

I had to cover my eyes during kissing scenes in movies until my teens. I couldn’t ride my bike more than two blocks away. All of my friends had to be approved. My mom would check all of my essays to make sure they were perfect before I even turned in a rough draft. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was eighteen. I was overprotected in every area of my life except when it came to sexual abuse. I was left completely exposed to one of the most dangerous threats a child can face.

My mom told me she knew about my abuse. She discovered blood in my diaper when I was an infant. Knowing that he had molested another girl, she confronted my dad about it and he admitted to sexually abusing me. I was told that instead of going to the police, together they went to one of the people they esteemed the most, the senior pastor at our church. After one counseling session and a quick prayer, my dad was sent on his way like nothing had ever happened. The abuse continued until my teens.

I recently found out that a few other leaders at our church were asked to counsel with my father during that time, but nothing came of it. They were told by the senior pastor not to report it and they complied. When I found that out, I was flooded with emotions. I already knew that our senior pastor, his wife, and my mom knew about the abuse, but discovering that two more people knew, overwhelmed me. How many adults did it take to protect a little girl?

In the last few weeks I’ve experienced a variety of emotions. First, I felt abandoned. I didn’t understand how all of these people who supposedly loved me could do nothing while my abuser was free to keep hurting me. I began making excuses for them: My mom was abused herself and in denial that the abuse had continued. And even if it did, she felt powerless to do anything about it. The two leaders who were asked not to report it didn’t know the steps to take and were fearful of losing their jobs. I didn’t feel that they deserved me being mad at them. They were good people who did a stupid thing. I wanted to just erase it from my memory and go on with my life. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I couldn’t suppress those feelings anymore.

How many adults did it take to protect a little girl?

I was watching Desperate Housewives this week. Eva Longoria’s character, Gabby, was visiting her hometown and the nun at her old school was still there. As a child, Gabby had disclosed her sexual abuse by her step-father, but the nun dismissed her by saying Gabby had an active imagination. She confronted the nun, “I did not deserve what happened to me. I was a child. But you were a grown up and you did nothing. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Tears streamed down my face as I watched Gabby’s empowering moment. I finally identified with the emotion of anger towards those who didn’t come to my defense. I was under-protected and had feelings about it that were completely justified.

I wanted to scream in the faces of those who didn’t protect me, telling them, “What is your problem? Don’t you know that I was just a baby? I couldn’t defend myself, but you could have and you chose to do nothing! Isn’t allowing bad to happen the same as perpetrating it? The abuse could have stopped then, but instead I suffered for most of my childhood. Every day of my life was filled with pain. Why did you let me go through that? I didn’t get a childhood because you were cowards! My father stole my innocence and you let him do it!”

Anger was this big, scary emotion to me. I had always seen examples of anger that turned violent and I didn’t want to become that person. I didn’t want to act on the passion that I had, and I didn’t have to. I was angry that they betrayed me and it was okay. I had no plans of rubbing their noses’ in their wrongs. I wasn’t trying to hurt them back. I just wanted to express my feelings about it for the first time. Now, I’m now facing the pain that this brought. I was wronged by more than just my abuser, and have a right to the emotions that correspond with that.

I began this process by reasoning away my emotions before I even acknowledged them or expressed them. That kept me stuck. I had to feel those things and then I could sort it out. To reverse the order is to invalidate my feelings and my experience.

Although I’m not completely out of this stage, being angry at them is not a forever thing. And facing the truth about how I feel gets me one step closer to where I want to be: WHOLE.

Related Posts:
What Is My Anger Telling Me?
Confessions of a Child Molester’s Wife

Bethany is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Besides helping abuse survivors see the beauty within themselves, she enhances the beauty of others as a professional make-up artist and has worked in television, film and print.

[read Bethany's story here]

Does this resonate with you? Please join in by leaving your thoughts and feelings about this topic and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments.

Share
Subscribe
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

40 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. Wow, Bethany! I’m so proud of you for facing all of this. You’re one of the first people in our family to do that. I’m so impressed that you faced your anger toward me and talked with me about it. With so many other family members mad at you for standing up for yourself, I know that wasn’t easy. But none of this stuff is easy, is it? Yay, YOU!!!!
    Love, Mom

  2. Thank you, mom. It was really helpful to be able to talk about this with you. I knew you weren’t going to invalidate my feelings even though they were feelings directed at you. Thank you for that.

  3. Bethany,

    I’m so proud of you and stand in awe at the choices you have made toward healing. I love how you validated anger. It’s ok to be angry, but being angry doesn’t mean we have to hurt back and it doesn’t mean we have to stay angry. The picture of anger I was shown was always “getting even.” or anger was “hate.”

    Thanks for sharing such a powerful thing. ((hug)) Patty

  4. Hi, Hope you dont mind me asking but I dont understand when your mum found blood when you were a baby why she still stayed with your dad.. I relise the church told your mum it would be ok now but how could it be ok..am i missing something here?

  5. Patty, I had the same idea of anger for so long. I always thought of anger as being out of control or evil. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my perception of anger.

  6. I have learned of a number of dysfunctional reasons a mother “sees” or is told but doesn’t protect: the mother who is relieved she doesn’t have to have sex because her daughter is filling that role; the mother who is jealous the father is attracted to her and takes her anger out on the daughter; the mother who chooses not to see for fear of being alone. My mother was in the latter three. I was an adult when I woke up from the amnesia and feared for my niece and nephew. She told me she either had to believe she was married to a monster and be alone the rest of her life or believe I was making it up. Since I was an adult and could take care of myself, she chose not to be alone. I wonder what will happen now that she is alone by virtue of his death.

    Regardless of the reason for lack of protection, we still view it as abandonment and rejection. Anger is the appropriate response and indignation and feeling we are lacking value to be saved or believed. All painful feelings. Mine are mostly processed but recent father death has things all jumbled up again. I know it will settle down. You are so brave to be able to express yourself so well and I so wish my mother were like yours.

  7. Grace, I’m sorry you had to go through the a similar situation. It does feel like an abandonment and betrayal when no one comes to your defense.

  8. Bethany,
    Thank you for your courage and your ability to show your emotions to us all. i know what it feels like to be underprotected by a mother and in my case her responsibility was never acknowledged. When I threatened judicial action she ran away with my daughter’s abuser, and I never saw her alive again. I stopped the abuse of my daughter and helped her heal. I learned a lot about protection of me and my children. In the end I allowed myself to get angry enough to let go but I wish I could have had a healthy enough mother to still be there for me. I learned to mother myself. ((Hugs )) Linda

  9. Hi Sally,
    Bethany asked me to respond to your question about why I stayed with her dad after I found blood in her diaper. I could give you a lot of reasons why I made the choices I did, but I don’t think that would accomplish anything. It was important for me to examine my reasons, but expaining that to Bethany isn’t helpful. No matter my reasons, she was still hurt. That’s really what it gets down to: Bethany was horribly abused and I didn’t do enough to stop it.
    Christina

  10. Bethany you seem to be a private person and when you open up I know it will be something profound. You certainly have every right to be mad. Your mom is one of my favorite people in the world but reading this even makes me mad, so I know your anger must be tenfold. I’m just so glad that you are both healing together now. The best thing you can do for yourself is to express this anger and I’m sure it must be validating to have your mom admit she messed up and not try to cover it over with excuses. You have both come so far. Thanks for sharing this. It takes a lot of heart to open up to the world and you are helping so many people by being so candid.

  11. Bethany…

    there aren’t words to explain the emotion im having right now. im PROUD of you for being able to share about this…especially TO your mom….i am sorry that you went through this. i also am a “think about it first and feel about it later” kinda girl but that hasn’t worked out well for me either….

    Christina…i can’t imagine. but i AM incredibly impressed and moved that you are able to own the mistake you made and are supporting your daughter in her healing, while you are healing yourself.

    thank you for sharing this

  12. Jennifer & Maggie,

    It took me a very long time to acknowledge the anger I felt towards my mom. I always knew that it would come up some day, but I was dreading the day that would happen. Now, I’m glad it finally came out.

  13. Maggie,
    Thanks. The last thing I would want to do is to increase Bethany’s pain by discounting my part in it. My mom did that with me and I know how much that hurts. As I’ve healed my own pain, I’m a much better support to Bethany.
    Christina

  14. Bethany, One thing I did not clarify in my post, my daughter’s abuser was not my abuser. I felt so awful that I allowed my mother and step-father to stay in my home. I was being the dutiful daughter. I never dreamed that my stepfather would abuse my daughter. When i found out, my mother admitted that she suspected something as well as other things that happen in the family involving my stepfather. The rage and disblieif I felt was overwhelming. The guilt that I did not protect my daughter was devastating. I am glad for you that you and your mother have been able to heal from this.

  15. to Bethany and Christina,
    Tears came to my eyes reading this post and the comments that followed. I was not sexually abused, just other kinds. But I cried because you 2 share something special. There is a bond between you. I never had that with my own mother and likely never will. I will never have the chance to be close to her, to share with her. And because of the abuse in my family, I never will. Thanks for sharing and supporting. Keep it up.

  16. Kia, my mother and I have not always had a great relationship. We have had to work through a lot of issues and are still working on things. After being diconnected through my childhood and teen years, I wanted things fixed. It took both of us wanting a relationship. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.

  17. I don’t know you, Bethany, but I’m good friends with your mom, and I think that you are two of the bravest people that I know. However difficult it is, I hope you both follow through with bringing what happened to you into the light – I know you will! By doing so, it’s almost certain that others will be compelled to speak up, and who knows how many other children – ones who may be being abused at this very moment – will be rescued… You’re in my prayers!

  18. Kia,
    Just as Bethany said, we weren’t always close. Because of the emotional incest (which we learned about later), Bethany was very close to her dad, but not to me. Her dad’s grooming treatment drew her to him so he was the good parent and I was the bad parent. It was as though he had a spell on her. That spell started to break when I finally stood up to his abuse of me and divorced him. But it’s taken years of work on our relationship to get to the place we are.

    I was never close to my mom and always craved a better relationship with her. It’s not likely I’ll ever have that with her, either. It’s taken a long time to grieve that, but I’m so thankful that I have something special with Bethany.
    Christina

  19. I cried my eyes out too, seeing that bit from Gabby. I tried telling in so many ways. How are you supposed to tell something when you have neither words nor comprehension though. I don’t think I’ve addressed the anger yet.
    I wrote this quote in the OSA discussions ‘In some instances, young survivors of trauma experience difficulty in the areas of expressive language. They may literally “freeze” when they attempt to convey the experience for which they have limited (if any vocabulary). Furthermore, many victims do not possess an accurate baseline for what constitutes “normal” behaviour’’ ‘ I read this quote somewhere by a anonymous counsellor and it was such an apt description of something I’ve never been able to describe. I felt like this when I was in my early teens and knew what happened and needed to talk but I hit this wall immediately and have hit it again and again, the sorest (maybe youngest too) memories are in fact intact beneath this but verbalising and expressing them are really difficult – potentially I could act/sscream/mime/paint them I think if I had that aptitude.
    So we have that against us and then we have all the reasons we DON’T want to remember, and personally I think admitting that our nearest let us down is one of the hardest things yet the most healing as it involves letting out that ‘Why?’ anguish. Plus I can’t have that dialogue in my situation to address it directly. But I can appreciate the feeling I might have if I could. My rage was so huge as a child and the people around us who were our ‘safe’ people and yet who we are angry at – how can we let that out at our safe people? Will we be left alone? I think there’s a lot of reasons here too for our silence. Not just the threats of a perpetrator but the potential loss of those we could trust. And if the people I trusted had known and done nothing I would probably have self reflected that on myself too so as they were’nt the bad ones – to protect them and indirectly me… So fraught and that healing can happen in this situation… That space and dialogue can happen as you’ve written – wow! Gives me like an inner framework of possibility

  20. Dear Bethany,
    I was abused by a stepfather as a little girl. Reading all this is hard. I don’t think I ever really got the chance to deal with my anger over it. I love the way that you expressed yourself and have worked on your own healing and your relationship with your mom. Your mother’s support of you and your feelings is commendable.
    My mother was always in denile about it~even after I was an adult and he was dead~she still denied it. It was really painful that she seemed to think I made it up. Now in my 60′s I still hurt when I think about it, but the story you tell~really makes me sad. To go through what you did as a baby~I just don’t know what to say~I feel really angry at the monster who did that to you!
    Loving us,
    Debbie

  21. Wow. You are so strong.

    You know, I’m terrified of the day my anger will come out. It’s been hovering about for a while. I denied it for almost a decade, as long as I could manage, but it got to the point where I have to struggle to keep it in. I’m not sure if my mother actually knew her boyfriend was abusing me, but that does matter much, does it? How could she NOT know? How could she not realize her boyfriend was getting out of her room in the middle of the night and coming to mine? She was either too stupid to notice, or she just didn’t care enough to do anything about it. It kills me, that I was ten, eleven, twelve and no one did anything to help me. Not my parents, not my grandparents, not my aunt, not teachers, school counselors. NO ONE. I feel such deep anger toward them all, it scares me. And I feel really, really abandoned. How worthless I must have been, how unworthy of their love and care and attention, for them to miss all the bruises (I had lots of them), the fights at school, the desperate cries for attention and help.

    I don’t know what will happen when it comes out. But it scares the heck out of me. I love my mother more than the world itself, but part of me hates her just as much. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to forgive her, to understand her, to even look at her face. I keep pushing off these feelings, but it’s getting harder to handle them. But I’m so scared. I can really identify with being overrotected with everything but this. I’d always wanted to be an exchange student as a teenager and my mom wouldn’t let me because I could “end up in the house of a molester”. I mean, really? Her boyfriend r*ped me and tortured me for years right under her roof and she was worried about that. Ugh!

    Gabby was always my favorite Desperate Housewife. I’m a season and a half behind, and it makes me want to catch up on all episodes just to see this scene.

    Sorry this is long.

  22. I remember being afraid to feel my own rage. It was way beyond anger. I was afraid of feeling it, letting it out because I was taught that rage was violent and dangerous. My dad was what I call a rageaholic for most of my life. I can’t count the number of times that I heard him threaten to shot someone when he was angry. He never did because someone was always around to calm him down but I lived with the threat which can be just as damaging to the person watching the event. I lived in fear so much of my life and was so shut down that I didn’t recognise that I was afraid until one terrible night when I was 19 years old. I left home shortly after that night. I had held the fear inside for so long that I was close to a nervous breakdown so I left to save my sanity.

    When I got into 12-Step meetings, I had to learn to feel and to safely let out my rage until finally I could feel angry without hurting myself or anybody else. It took about 4 years for me to learn to say “I am angry.” rather than stuffing the anger or exploding in outright rage. Today, usually, just saying that I am angry is enough to dissolve it before it can grow.

  23. B, reading your comment it sounds like you’re expressing your anger already. That’s great. Don’t be afraid of it.

    Patricia, I definitely identify with that. I didn’t want to be the same person as all those rageful people I had seen all these years. Anger is a healthy emotion. It’s what you do with the emotions that you have that make the difference between good and bad.

  24. Louise, thanks for sharing that quote. It is so true when pertaining to situations or emotions we have never had to face. I can definitely identify with that.

    Ryan, I so appriciate your support. My mom and Don speak so highly of you. It’s so good to know that we have a cheer leader like you. :)

    Debbie, I understand how it’s painful even thinking about it. I’ve dealt with the same thing in a number of areas. I hope you get to the place where you are able to face the anger you feel.

  25. As a survivor of sexual and physical abuse your story hits very close to home. I was also involved in separatist religion that protected pedophiles routinely by silencing the victim or laterally moving (church to church) the predator. Thank you for your voice. Anger is a necessity to empower social justice. God bless, melissa

  26. I find Bethany and Christina’s relationship inspiring. I didn’t know that it was possible for families to talk about such tough issues without the conversation turning ugly. My family is great in a lot of ways but are what I consider emotional children. They hide from life and anything hard. They would never hurt anyone on purpose but failed to protect me because they were hiding with their heads in the sand. I was angry with them about that earlier in my healing which is ok but I didn’t know how to express it to them. I didn’t know how to talk to them about ANYTHING for that matter. I’ve learned a lot about how to relate to my own family since I met Bethany and Christina, and having been bringing the lessons back home. It was a big step for me to have a conversation with my family about what steps I want to take to protect my children. In the past I would have been too scared to even bring up the subject of sexual abuse. We are making progress. Thanks to both of you for setting such a great example of how to heal, not just yourself, but your relationships to.

  27. Jennifer,
    Thanks! I’m glad that our relationship inspires you. Bethany and I have been through a lot in our relationship and she’s definitely one of my best friends now. We’re going to be posting an audio blog very soon contrasting our Mother/Daughter relationship vs. my (non-existent) relationship with my mom. We’ll be talking about the challenges we’ve had and how we’ve overcome them. I’m excited about that one!
    Hugs, Christina

  28. Jennifer, I too am glad your relationship was and inspiration to you. It has not always been great and we’ve had to work very hard at it, but it’s been so worth it. Sexual abuse used to be a taboo subject to talk about for us too, but that took a lot of getting used to and practicing being comfortable talking about it.

  29. Wow! This is such a sad story, yet it sounds so very familiar to me. I remember being “overprotected” also. I also blocked out the fact that as a little boy I was allowed to be around an unsafe person who sexually abused me. For years I couldn’t remember her name, or who she was, or how she knew me. All I knew was that she was my babysitter. That was all I knew until 2008 when I met her at a family funeral and she walked up to me and called out my name. I was instantly struck with fear and shame, and all I wanted to do was run (like a little boy) and hide from her. Yet I just stood there mortified and speechless. I knew then that it was her who abused me sexually so many years ago. And now, I know her name.

  30. Bethany, Excellent article!
    For me, Learning as an adult that all those whom were supposedly there to protect me( my parents and grandmother). Consciously choose to ignore my sexual abuse at the hands of my fourth grade teacher. To leave me in a world of total isolation. To blame me for behaviors that I developed in order to cope with what had happened. To make me feel as if I was somehow defective and responsible. All in order to protect their themselves and their dysfunctional world of illusions. To sacrifice their own child to save themselves. For me this is so much more a greater sense of betrayal and harm then any I felt at the hands of the man who chose to sexually abused me. Because With him at least I knew who was at fault. And in my eyes there was allot more honesty in his abuse of me. No shifting of responsibility of what he had or had not done. No emotional abuse of the one whom that was victimized by those whom to claimed to have loved him. For there is no greater abuse then those whom do it in the name of LOVE. Neglect just doesn’t leave the physical bruises.
    For me the death of those who lack the courage of responsibility in my youth is my only penance for their neglect. It has taken me many years just to see that their actions or lack of was even abuse of me. Much less to understand, start to address their abuse and it’s effect it has had upon my life.
    I understand the effects of their own abuse histories but does that absolve them of the responsibility of their own actions or lack of action? I think NOT!!

    David

  31. Wow, Chris. That’s a pretty uncomfortable place to meet your abuser again. Have you considered reporting her now that you know who it is?

    David, you’re right. Just because you understand their history and why they did the things they did does not magically make your problems go away and it doesn’t make them less abusive going forward either.

  32. Bethany and Christina; I wanted to say “thank you” for what you do here at OSA. This is so powerful. I admire your courage and appreciate the wisdom that you share. In much appreciation for what you are doing here; Susan:)

  33. Would it be in the “none of Vicki’s business” categories to ask why they didn’t act on it?
    My favorite person is someone who’s been through more than anybody here will ever have to see and has still come out the other side as a mostly noble person.
    I know he makes mistakes, people make mistakes, but he mostly noble and more so than I am.
    Some mistakes, in my not-so-humble opinion, are more than that.
    Then again, I’m sure it’s none of my business. But it’s hard to stifle feelings about it. That’s why I asked the reason.
    Anyway, I’ll stifle myself for now.

  34. Susan, I appriciate that. I’m glad you’re a part of it. :)

  35. For anyone asking the “why” questions, I’ve posted “Confessions of a Child Molester’s Wife”. It answers the questions about how I could “see” and still fail to protect my daughter. As I’ve said before, I don’t think knowing the reasons why does anything for Bethany’s healing or for any of us who were betrayed. There isn’t any reason that can be given that will heal us. Healing only comes from inside.

    I’ve shared my post in the hopes that other parents or parent-to-be will consider the importance of healing when they see how my unresolved abuse issues led to my daughter’s abuse.
    http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2011/03/12/confessions-of-a-child-molesters-wife/
    Christina

  36. You say that being angry isn’t a forever thing. Maybe not, but maybe it could be. I just don’t have the negative feeling about anger that some people have. I don’t think it’s something that needs to be banished. It is what it is. People are flawed and weak and because of that children suffer extreme pain for many, many years. I don’t think a time will come when that doesn’t make me feel grief and anger.

  37. Cassandra: Good point! I think it’s helpful, too, to differentiate between “sinful anger” and “righteous anger”. Jesus had anger, and He showed it: to the money changers in the Temple, to the Pharisees, even to His Disciples and followers at times. The difference between sinful and righteous anger is this: Sinful anger is anger that is self-serving, that seeks to defend oneself (inappropriately) or that seeks gain of some kind, that is based in fear and pride; righteous anger seeks to defend and protect others from various evils. I think that feeling angry – even “permanently” – about a child being harmed by a predator definitely fits into the latter category…

  38. I also relate to what you said below:

    “I began this process by reasoning away my emotions before I even acknowledged them or expressed them. That kept me stuck. I had to feel those things and then I could sort it out. To reverse the order is to invalidate my
    feelings and my experience”

    It’s somehow easier to have a logical understanding of your feelings but it’s far more difficult to actually feel the emotions. It’s only now as I’m in therapy that I’m learning to feel emotions rather than reasoning them away as you put it.

  39. Wow, I’ve read both Mother and daughter’s story and it answered a question I wondered about. How can a Mother knowingly allow her daughter to be molested by her husband/boyfriend and continue to stay in the relationship? Someone very close to me admitted she had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was four years old. Her mother knew and actively participated in feeding the attraction and making her daughter responsible for her own abuse. I listened as she told me her story. The funny thing is I had noticed a strange family dynamic once exposed to the family because the step-father exhibited inappropriate comments and subtle intimate embraces meant to the outsider to be family hugs towards the daughter. It wasn’t the same with his biological daughter. As far as the Mother, I noticed a bond towards her daughter that seemed to be more competitive than loving. Sort of how you would have with a woman who was a little flirty with your husband or boyfriend. (The daughter in no way elicits this behavior from him, she tries to still have a daughter/father relationship with him) that same behavior was not evident with the biological daughter of her husband. She is still fending off sexual advances from him even now and the family is putting up the image as tho everything is normal when this dynamic is the undercurrent of the relationship as a family unit. Her young daughter has recently informed her that he has made inappropriate gestures towards her. As someone she has come to confide in and trust what can I do to help her through this difficult transition? I did inform her that counseling would help her, but she cannot afford it. I can understand her feelings and hardships in dealing with the situation because although I haven’t experienced sexual abuse I did grow up in a household where there was physical/verbal abuse towards my Mother and I have and continue to struggle with the dynamics in dealing with my Father. My mother finally left my father six years ago after almost 50 years of verbal and physical abuse that included infidelity that resulted in another child. I live with the very real fear that if given the opportunity my Father would kill my mother, he continues to try and play us against each other and he feels we are responsible for the break up and doing everything we can to keep them apart. I love my Father and despite his questionable love for me, I continue to try and have a relationship with him, which at time can be stressful, but I am better able to control how I respond and when I talk to him. But I had to learn to do that. So I highly sympathize with her and would like to help any way I can, especially since she is finally talking about it. I can see she is in a lot of pain, she is dealing with shame & guilt…but she is beginning to acknowledge and talk about it….Personally, I know that is the first step to healing. I have to give props to Bethany for having the courage to speak up and begin the healing process for herself and equally give a thumbs up to Christina for having the courage to support her daughter and recognize that it isn’t about her feelings but doing the necessary thing to help her daughter get through this difficult time. So many parents tend to focus on their own plight and leave the child out in the cold to fend for themselves making the child responsible for their poor choices and neglectful decisions….I commend you both. I know that as adult children of abuse, we have to heal ourselves for the sake of breaking the chain when it comes to our own children. I have done that and I am a much better parent and grandparent because of it!
    I have learned in situations where there is any kind of abuse, the reasons this continues to go on is
    the person being abused stays silent, whether it is guilt, shame or the need to protect the family. It is a conditioned response.
    The choice is taken away when the victim feels there is no one they can trust or that they will be judged in a negative light. As a society, we need to be less judgmental and more empathetic to people who are suffering in this silent epidemic and make it possible for the victims to seek professional help.

    K

  40. Cassandra, I think there are different levels of anger that we experience. At that time I was feeling pretty rageful. But it died down. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being angry with my abuser and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I’m not enraged about it everyday, but I still have feeling of anger about what he did to me.

    Lizzie, I’m so glad you were able to relate. :)

    K, it’s so great that you want to be a support to your friend. I had the same issue with not being able to afford counseling. But counseling doesn’t have to be the answer. There are a lot of books that helped me that we mention in the Resources section of the website. Also, on the OSA facebook page and the OSA Discussions Forum we other survivors sharing and encouraging others through their journey. We’d love to have her be a part of it. :)