Confessions of a Child Molester’s Wife

Mar 12th, 2011 | By | Category: All Posts, For Parents

Confessions of a Child Molester's Wifeby Christina Enevoldsen

When my daughter was eight years old, she spent the night at a friend’s house. She and her friend spent hours swimming in their community pool and Bethany came home with her face, arms and legs red and burning. I was irate that the girl’s mother allowed Bethany to be exposed to the sun for so long, especially without sunscreen. Arizona, where we lived at the time, had the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Bethany blistered and peeled for a week. That mother failed to provide her with basic protection and I was so angry that she was so careless with my daughter.

When I look back on that incident, I still feel awful for how much Bethany suffered that week. I eventually discovered far worse things touching my daughter than the sun’s rays and this time, I was the one who left her exposed.

When I was fifteen, my boyfriend told me we needed to talk. Sixteen year old boys don’t usually have conversation on their minds, so I took it seriously. We had been dating about six months or so and I couldn’t imagine what he would consider so important. My parents let me close my bedroom door so we could have some privacy.

We sat on my bed as he revealed that he had molested his female relative sometime before we met. When the abuse occurred, the girl told her mom so most of his family knew about it. My boyfriend thought it was behind him, but the girl was talking about it again and he was worried. The girl’s parents suspected he was molesting her again, but my boyfriend claimed she was just having nightmares. It caused a lot of division; some relatives tried to protect her, while others tried to protect him.

When I sensed that my boyfriend felt threatened and I heard that some of his own family members turned against him, I felt so sorry for him. I considered his confession an indication of his trust in me and thought of it as a test of my love. I wasn’t going to fail this test. If he needed my support, he would have it. He was charming, thoughtful, considerate, and generous and I wasn’t going to lose him over something that was in his past. In my mind, the gravity of the offense was irrelevant since it wasn’t happening again, either now or in the future. No one who really knew him would doubt that.

When my daughter, Bethany, was about one year old, I discovered blood in her diaper. I didn’t want to think about why my baby would be bleeding, but I guessed the source. My husband tearfully admitted that he had molested her but promised it would never happen again.

That incident strengthened my bond with my boyfriend. That kind of intimacy was what I craved and I was eager to escape my lonely-making family. When he seemed interested in marrying me, I was relieved. I finally belonged. We married soon after I turned seventeen when I got pregnant with my son. Our daughter was born the year after our son arrived.

When my daughter, Bethany, was about one year old, I discovered blood in her diaper. I didn’t want to think about why my baby would be bleeding, but I guessed the source. My husband tearfully admitted that he had molested her but promised it would never happen again. He seemed very remorseful and I thought that since I caught him, he wouldn’t feel safe repeating the abuse. He seemed afraid of losing his family so I thought that fear would stop him.

A few months or maybe a year passed and I had a sick feeling that I knew what was happening. I came home to find out that Bethany’s dad had molested her again. He’d bought her a little yellow outfit because he felt bad.

Something, But Not Enough

This time, I was angry. He thought he could make up for what he did by buying her something. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to stop without help, so I needed to do something.

I’d never read about sexual abuse and I’d only known one person who talked about her sexual abuse before this other than my husband. I didn’t know where to turn so we met with our pastor. He talked as though this was something that could be handled very easily. He said a prayer and told me to just focus on our marriage.

I accepted the pastor’s confident assurances that no further harm would come to Bethany. He gave me the assignment to focus on my marriage and to learn to trust my husband so I could save my daughter from his advances. According to him, any suspicion on my part would divide us and put Bethany in harm’s way. It was all up to me.

I tried to do everything I thought would help my relationship with my husband. I never said no to sex and I listened to everything he said.

The Truth Exposed

After twenty-one years of marriage, I was emotionally exhausted. In spite of my best efforts, my husband still wasn’t happy with me and I was done doing everything his way.

Shortly after the divorce, when Bethany was nineteen, she told me she wanted to talk. I already knew by her tone that she was going to tell me her dad molested her. All those years, I didn’t know if she would remember those things since she was so young. If she did remember, I wondered if she would be mad at me for staying with her father after the first time I discovered the abuse. I felt so guilty that I hadn’t stopped it from happening the second time.

As long as I put my issues aside so I could “put my daughter first”, I still acted out of my brokenness. Leaving Bethany in danger was the result of my unresolved pain from childhood sexual abuse and neglect. As long as I was still thinking and feeling like an abused little girl, I didn’t have any power to help my child.

I never expected to hear what Bethany told me. Her dad sexually abused her until she was eleven or twelve years old and then again when she was sixteen. She kept silent for fear of splitting up the family.

It hadn’t stopped. She wasn’t safe. I didn’t protect her. I was shocked.

I called my ex-husband. When I told him what Bethany told me, his defiant response was “Yeah, so?” My daughter confronted him after I did and he showed the same lack of remorse. He only offered the excuse that he was abused by his parents.

We discussed the possibility of reporting him to the police. Bethany was still adjusting to the divorce, so she decided to wait until she was certain she was making the right decision.

Confronted With My Denial

Over four years passed and Bethany called me around midnight. Something was weighing on her and she needed to talk. She was ready to report her dad. Since it was going to be a matter of public record, she wanted to tell me exactly what he did to her so I’d be emotionally prepared to hear her testimony.

The things Bethany revealed made me sick. When she disclosed her abuse to me after the divorce, my impression was that her dad had done his best to resist, but occasionally gave in to temptation. In reality, he abused her daily. On many occasions, he planned in advance to be alone with her.

I also imagined that all he did was fondle her. That’s bad enough, but how did I think a little fondling would leave blood in her diaper? I had minimized the abuse in my mind to protect myself from the truth—and the guilt that came with it.

First, I was nauseated by what her father did to her, then by what I had done—or rather, neglected to do. Denial, mixed with naiveté about abuse issues, kept me from delving deeper into the molestation of his female relative before I even married the man. I was in denial when he told me it had stopped. Both times. But even after Bethany told me about the years of abuse when she was nineteen, denial kept me from anything but surface acceptance.

I was disgusted with myself. Being a great mom was so important to me, but I was a failure. I made Bethany vulnerable by marrying a man I knew had abused another little girl. Then I had allowed him to stay after he abused Bethany. Yes, I had been fooled by my husband, but I had also fooled myself.

Bethany was facing one of the most difficult times in her life, so no matter how I felt about myself, I couldn’t focus on that. I had failed her in her childhood and I was desperate to do better.

Yet my feelings about myself were in the way of doing what was best for Bethany. To be available to her, I had to stop punishing myself through my sabotaging thoughts. “Who was I to help her when I wasn’t there for her as a child?” My guilt would never let me be a healthy support.

I couldn’t let anything I did in an effort to “help” be a way to “make up” for what I’d done. No matter what good things I did for Bethany now or in the future, I could never change the past. Forgiving myself was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but removing my offense toward myself freed me to support Bethany instead of digging myself out of my guilt-pit.

Facing My Past So I Could Be Present

I faced the hard feelings I had about myself, but I still hadn’t faced what led to the choices I’d made in the first place. As long as I put my issues aside so I could “put my daughter first”, I still acted out of my brokenness. Leaving Bethany in danger was the result of my unresolved pain from childhood sexual abuse and neglect. As long as I was still thinking and feeling like an abused little girl, I didn’t have any power to help my child.

My first abuse memory is when I was about one and a half years old. My uncle got me alone and starting touching me in a sexual way. Terrified and confused, I squirmed and kicked. He mercilessly grabbed my legs, held me down and threatened me. My pain didn’t matter; he would have his way and I was terrified.

I had many abusers after that—the primary one was my father—but the lesson I learned from my first abuse was that I had to comply OR ELSE! Resistance was dangerous and useless. After that, whenever I felt threatened, I froze. As I got older, I still carried the belief that I was at everyone’s mercy. I still felt like a powerless child.

When I discovered that Bethany had been abused, I vegetated on the couch for two days. Finding blood in her diaper was finding blood in my diaper. I was transported to my own abuse with the same feelings and response: I froze as though my only choice was to lie still and stay quiet.

I didn’t feel capable of making my own decisions or of taking care of myself. I looked like an adult, but I was a fraud. Part of my attraction to my husband was that he was a take-charge kind of guy. I didn’t have to make any decisions with him.

When we turned to our pastor and he took command, I was comforted not to have to decide the best course. My assignment to work on our marriage gave me a sense of control. It was the same illusion of control that I clung to in childhood. In my mind, the abuse was my fault. My dad wasn’t bad; I was. If I tried really hard to be good, I could stop him from hurting me. That belief kept me from being swallowed by hopelessness, rage and terror.

I disconnected from my body and emotions during my abuse. My numbness prevented me from grasping the physical or emotional injury that was thrust upon me. Feelings weren’t allowed in our home and there was no safe person to confide in. I grew into adulthood as an empty body.

Even motherhood didn’t awaken my feelings. I was cut off from Bethany’s pain, too. When she hurt herself, I’d order myself to scoop her up and soothe her. Comforting care didn’t come naturally. When I discovered her abuse, I was disconnected from it. I didn’t feel its gravity and I interpreted that to mean that it wasn’t very serious.

Believing those lies helped me survive my childhood, but they endangered my child. The truth freed me:

  • I was powerless when I was a child. Compliance was a smart response then, but I’m not a child anymore. I’m empowered to use my voice and actions to protect my life and anyone else who may be in danger.
  • I never had any control as a child and there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent my dad from hurting me. I didn’t do anything to bring it on myself and the abuse wasn’t my fault. Placating and appeasing abusers doesn’t stop them. I’m empowered as an adult to really affect change through direct actions instead of passive ones.
  • Shutting down my feelings during the trauma was the only way to help myself. There wasn’t any protection or refuge then, but there is now. It’s safe to feel. I listen to my feelings, express them and respond to them. Now, I feel compassion for myself and can empathize with others.

Continuing to work on my issues as they surfaced allowed me to provide healthy support through Bethany’s court ordeal with her dad, through her healing journey and beyond. I’m modeling healthy behavior to her and treating her with the respect and love that she always deserved.

My healing work resolved things within my heart, but it didn’t resolve anything in Bethany’s heart and it didn’t entitle me to a new relationship with her. She still needed to address her own pain, recognize my part in it and choose how that would affect our relationship.

Bethany diligently worked through her own healing and is doing very well. The effects of my past could have permanently wounded my daughter and damaged our relationship, but as we worked through our issues, we’ve become much closer than most mothers and daughters I know.

I went from being a child molester’s daughter to a child molester’s wife to a thriving survivor and supportive mother. As horrible as my past was, I’m creating a better future.


Bethany’s dad is now serving a fifteen year prison sentence.

Related Posts:
Straight Talk to Parents About Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse
Understanding My Abusive Parents Didn’t Heal Me
The Truth About Blame

Christina Enevoldsen

I’m Christina Enevoldsen and I’m the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. My passion is exploring new ways to express my empowered new life. I’ve recently discovered the joy of waterslides, the delightful scented lotion from Bath & Body Works, “Dark Kiss” and hosting princess tea parties for my granddaughters. My husband and I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

[read Christina’s story here]

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  1. Really great post! I cried when I read this because it was so vulnerable. Although you didn’t do things the right way to begin with, you have learned from your mistakes and are helping other parents to not repeat your mistakes. I’m so proud of you!

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing your story and your daughter’s story. How tragic for both of you. It’s too bad we have to carry our “secrets” for fear of breaking up the family or other reasons, when in truth the molestations are what break up the families, not our telling! So glad you and your daughter have gotten healing, and are in turn reaching out to others.

  3. Christina, only a survivor can understand the courage it took for you to write this article. Only a mom who expierenced the same things in not protecting their child will understand how significant this is. I have been there in your shoes. My daughter was abused by my step-father who was not even my abuser. I had this happen under my nose and felt so terrible that I could not detect what was happening. I was able to stop this but the ugly realization that I failed as a protector was all too real. I was still playing the dutiful daughter to my parents. It did not help that my own mother suspected something was happening and said nothing. The betrayal that a person feels is so hard but this betrayal forced me into action and into healing and protecting my child. i turned my back on my mother and step-father and sought help for my daughter and myself. Every survivor must work to heal themselves to help their children. Until we realize this important aspect and get over our shame to do the work, we risk our children’s well being too. It is a learned and unhealthy thing that can go on for generations until we stop it. Thank you for sharing what was a very hard and devastating reality in your life. Many will benefit from this and I haope and pray that your relationship with your daughter only gets stronger as a result of the work you both are doing for yourselves and others.

  4. You are a courageous woman, Christina. As Bethany’s 4th grade Sunday School teacher, I wish I would have had better discernment. This story really opens my eyes. Love to you Christina.

  5. Christina,

    Thank you so much for posting this! I can only imagine how hard it must have been to even acknowledge this, much less publicize it. I was in a similar marriage, although not for nearly as long, thank God. I suspect my husband molested our daughter when she was around age 3, although I have no proof and when I have asked her, she says no, but I know that just because she doesnt remember doesnt mean it didnt happen….he has been out of our lives for several years and she is now a preteen, and I dont know how its going to turn out for either of us, but I definitely recognized some of the emotions you shared in this post.

    The part about parenting and having to order yourself to be nurturing really rang true for me too. I always thought that made me a bad parent, and that meant that I didnt love my children, but now I dont think that so much anymore, I realize that if I was never given love in a healthy way, and never taught that love was anything other than sex, and since I knew sex with my children is wrong, how am I supposed to know what is ‘right’?

    So that realization has freed me up to try and do what they need from me, rather than what I am “supposed” to do….and some days Im really stuck in my own crap and fail miserably, but there are days when I feel like a great mom, and I try to remember those days and repeat them as much as I can, and just try my best, and let that be enough for me, and not worry about anything else than how my children feel about my parenting, unless its some serious issue, but Im pretty sure I havent done anything that severe.

    Anyways, I really appreciate you sharing so openly and I will keep you and Bethany in my prayers ?

  6. Christina,

    This is really brilliant. I am so touched and encouraged by your bravery and honesty. Your description of how “disconnect” works is perfect. As I was reading this post, it was as though I was right there with you, understanding what happened, seeing the progression right from when you were a broken teenager looking for a way out of your own situation, convinced that if you could “love him and support him enough” that he would be “okay” but then it wasn’t okay. And you DID something about it, but THEN you were convinced (by an “authority that you respected” that all you had to do was be a supportive wife, and you would be able to protect your daughter.

    I especially love how you were able to write this from the position of a survivor although you were also a victim, but you wrote it in such a way that you honour Bethany’s pain and experience and totally validate her by not making excuses for yourself about what happened while at the same time helping other “victim mothers” understand that just how this happens, how they get sucked into the fog of abuse, all the while promoting healing for everyone!

    I really admire the courage that it took to write this and I believe you are leading the way in this arena. Woman who have been abused by their fathers or grandfathers often marry a child abuser. It is way more common then anyone talks about. And it is so important that there is healing and understanding available for everyone who ever walked that road.

    This is truly inspirational! I love you my friend!

  7. Thank you so much Christina for being so courageous and forthright in telling your story. You are an amazing and empowered woman!

  8. Wow… I’m sitting here almost at a loss for words. I am so sorry for both of you. I’m sorry for the helpless little girls you were and for the courageous women that you are today. God bless you both and keep you together. I know you weren’t able to give her what she needed then, but you certainly are now and that cannot be emphasized enough. As an adult survivor of incest myself, I know the unending pain of a mother who disbelieved and didn’t support me in my healing. You believe her, you are helping her and you are truly remorseful. That in itself is a gift. May God bless you both as you continue on this journey of healing together!

  9. Only two days ago I told my daughter in law of an incident where my son’s father said something to me about my son that “made me sick to my stomach”. We were discussing whether they would ever let my ex-husband and his wife babysit their children. I knew it was my duty to speak up – even tho it made me sick to share with her. My instincts are to want to protect others from the pain of even “knowing”. In doing so – I tried to carry the pain myself – but if I kept silent – I could potentially be allowing an abuser to have access to young children through their parent’s lack of knowledge.
    It is sometimes hard to know what to do. At the time of the intial comments (where I knew my ex was displaying and sharing “voyeur” tendancies toward our own time) I went straight to my family doctor to report the incident. Sexual abuse comes in all shapes and forms. Not always touching. It can come through inappropriate leering; inappropriate comments and gestures. It can also come through witnessing abusive behavior (that you as a young witness become a victim yourself just by what you are encountering)

    It is overdue that people speak out against it (without shame) The shame is on the head of the abuser – no other. If it happened to them when they were young – then all the more reason for them not to pass such hurtful behavior forward.

    I am happy for the author of this article that she broke out of her paralysis. I know that is not an easy thing to do – but God Bless her for it! <3

  10. sorry – the above sentence should read (where I knew my ex was displaying and sharing “voyeur” tendancies toward our own son) it was a typo error

  11. Christina, you are so brave to share your story from a mother’s perspective and also as an abuse survivor. It sounds like it was a very delicate unraveling of such raw emotions. I know all is okay with you and Bethany now. If only we all could have had that one protective parent. The support you gave her after learning the truth was changing the course of your future for the better. None of us can go back. But you both have such hope and strength now. You have my respect and admiration and big huggggggggs.

  12. I have five adopted daughters of which I know for sure four were abused before the adoption. I Can see the effects in some areas of their lives but None has ever expressed a desire to talk about or deal with the abuse issues. I hope some day they will All seek proper healing. Articles like this are an encouragement to me that it will come to pass.

  13. Hi! What a wonderfully healing post! I was the daughter in a context like this…..but so was my Mom, and 20 years after he went to prison, the family is still peeling the layers of trauma back and back…I have learned to accept my Mom’s light heartedness, knowing it is her special brand of resistance to the horrible abuse done to her. Ubconsciously, I believe she did her best to protect me and her. We have such a loving connection today…and I used to be just horrible to her…never quite putting together her denial with her hurt, and how her own trauma interfered with her ability to see me or hear me. She denied my abuse for many years, even after his conviction…and so did I, because I have amnesia that has meant learning to accept not knowing. Thankyou for this piece of the healing puzzle!

  14. Bethany,
    Thank you! I’m proud of you, too! I’m so honored to work with you on something so important to both of us. There’s no way I could share so honestly if you didn’t give me permission to share those things. Thank you for being so vulnerable and for being such a caring and compassionate person to want to help others. I can’t imagine anything better than having a daughter like you.

    I agree about the secrets. Telling doesn’t destroy families—abuse does!

    I absolutely agree with you that, “every survivor must work to heal themselves to help their children.” I know a lot of mothers who want to put off their healing until their children are raised. They believe they are putting their children first. That’s admirable, but it’s dangerous. There’s no way to lead them to places we haven’t been. We can’t raise healthy children if we aren’t healthy. Thanks for sharing your painful past!

    You always impressed me with what a warm heart you have. I’m so glad that Bethany had such a loving influence, even if it was just for a little while. It’s great to hear from you!

  15. Hi, I had a really hard time coming to terms with this when I first read your daughters blog,I couldn’t understand why you didn’t leave your husband after the diaper incident, then on reading this website they were other warning signs as well , I do still find it hard to get my head around why you didn’t leave your boyfriend before he even became your husband but that is me thinking in my head, in my mind, I guess different negative experiences in life effect people differently, which makes people respond differently when negative situations arise.I do understand more now after reading this, I think its great that you have put this information out for others to read, hopefully others that will be in your past situation now can gain insight into their own negative behaviour patterns.I am happy you and your daughter are working through this and I wish you both all the happiness. god bless. xoxoxox

  16. Amira,
    I can really identify with equating love with sex and that becoming a problem with expressing love to my children. There are so many layers to unfold. It’s great that you are working on your own healing so you can model health to your daughter and be available to her in her own healing. Thanks for sharing!

    I really can’t thank you enough for all of your encouragement and support. I’ve had so many aha moments from hearing your experiences and how you’ve dealt with them. You share with such vulnerability, too, and I admire that so much. Love to you!

    Thanks! I truly believe that it’s only by looking at the truth that I’ve been set free. I’ve found that honesty with myself first and then with others is very healing.

    I’m sorry your mother didn’t support you. I know how painful that is. My mother is the same way. She calls me a liar and has completely turned her back on me. I think that’s one of the reasons I was so determined to be there for Bethany. So my mom taught me what not to do, so she was helpful after all. LOL.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. That’s such a great point that not all sexual abuse involves touching. This is the definition that we use:
    “Sexual abuse is when someone with less power is tricked, trapped, coerced, or bribed into any type of sexual experience. Power imbalance may result from the perpetrator’s age, size, position, experience, or authority and includes kissing, fondling, being forced to touch the abuser’s genitals, anal, oral or vaginal sex, and non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism or sexual comments.”

    I can’t even remember how many times someone has told me they were never sexually abused, yet show all the effects. Then they find out the true definition and are blown away that something that seems so insignificant can be soooooo damaging. ALL abuse is serious.

    I’m so glad you spoke up to protect the children. I know a lot of people want to protect others from knowing such painful things, but it’s up to us to protect the children, not the adults. Adults can deal with that knowledge much better than children can deal with abuse. Thank you for telling!

  17. Grace,
    That’s so true that we can never go back. That’s why I think it’s so important to heal so we can get better at behaving in more healthy ways so we don’t have as many regrets. Thank you for sharing that!

    I’m so sorry for your daughters! It’s so great that you are educating yourself about these issues so you can be a support to them. I hope they do pursue their own healing. We’ll be here for them when they do.

    Denial is such a powerful thing. It’s meant as a protection, yet it can lead to great danger. I repressed my abuse memories, too, so I understand how unreal it can seem. Even when the memories surface, they seem more like dreams than reality. I’m glad you’re putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Thanks for sharing!

    I know you had a tough time understanding things when you read Bethany’s blog. I didn’t want to answer your questions there because I think it would have invalidated Bethany’s feelings. As far as Bethany is concerned, my reasons don’t matter. But as far as my healing is concerned, my reasons do matter because until I dealt with the root, I continued to exhibit the same behavior. To answer your other question about why I stayed with my boyfriend, I didn’t know anything about sexual abuse at the time so I didn’t understand that it doesn’t just stop. He was familiar since my family was abusive, so I felt very comfortable with him, though I didn’t understand why. I was desperate to escape my family home and it was a case of “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” There are so many other things that contributed to what I did or didn’t do, but there just isn’t enough space to cover everything and I’m still discovering sick patterns. It’s a continual learning curve.

  18. My daughter never talks to me, and she was never abused by her dad.
    Her reason for never talking to me anymore is something I really can’t get into here, but I can’t read about a mother/daughter relationship w/out thinking of it.
    I’ve tried calling her, but she must screen every call b/c the answering machine has picked it up every time. Not once has she ever been home, and this happens at all hours of the day on any given day.
    Another person has even talked to her about it; he’s one of the founders of the web site, Families of 9/11, which I found when I was desperately searching for a way to ease her never-ending pain over her dad’s ridiculous murder. Being killed by the fire from an airplane, that flew out of a clear blue sky while you’re at work, b/c they wanted to get laid by 77 virgins in the Afterlife-or some such nonsense-is a ridiculous way to die. That’s all there is to it.
    Anyway he talked to her, and she didn’t even listen to HIM. Which COULD be humorous if it weren’t so depressing.

    She WAS sexually abused about 4 months before her dad died, and she’d told us about it in July. We were still setting up for the court dates and pending trial when her dad was killed, and it sent her into a grief reaction so intense she hasn’t been able to reverse it.
    And really. What do you expect a high school freshman to do after watching her dad die that way?
    Besides, the fuckin’ fool who abused her wrote a letter saying her dad got what he deserved, which made everything worse. B/c even though I never gave her the letter, the fool found a way to make himself heard and she found out anyway.
    He was just mad b/c, when she first told her dad and me about it, the first thing her dad did was go find the guy and start punching him out. His brother, my daughter’s Uncle Frankie, had to pull him off the guy.
    I’m going through the litigation process w/ her now, which is the only time I get to talk to her. In the state of Pennsylvania, where this happened, she has until she’s 30 to file charges on him, and she’s not even in her mid-twenties yet.
    The judge had to say he would put a gag order on the defendant just to get the guy to shut up about my daughter’s dad. He keeps making horrendous remarks about the way her dad died, and the judge said he’s not going to do it at the trial and that’s as simple as that.
    I’m glad we have a few public officials who care about her-or seem to.

  19. I do have another thing to say. I think saying ‘Yeah, so?’ when confronted about something disgusting that you did is acting more than remorseless.
    I think it’s an animalistic response, that’s my opinion on the matter.

  20. Vicki,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to your daughter. How awful to face her abuser and lose her dad and then to have his death mocked like that. I hope she heals.

  21. Christina,
    Thank you.
    I keep telling her the guy’s just mad, b/c he got his butt kicked. Fortunately, she believes me, but it might help that her uncle agrees w/ me.

    There’s one question I have about your post though. I know the blood in your daughter’s diaper turned out to be the effect of sexual abuse, but I was wondering if you had checked other reasons along w/ that one.
    I mean babies can have blood in their diapers when they have a urinary infection, we treated a baby that had one, and at first glance, it could have looked like abuse. But she had no other bruises.
    I was sort of wondering how you knew what it was right away?
    Did your daughter have bruises on her too?
    I know it’s none of my business, but I really like doing health care, and that’s one thing I was reminded of while reading about the blood in the diaper.
    I don’t even know how I’d deal w/ the news that my daughter was molested by her dad. I think that’s one of the hardest things to have to deal with.
    Thanks for listening.

  22. Vicki,
    I didn’t know for sure why Bethany was bleeding, but I suspected sexual abuse because of my husband’s previous confession of molesting his relative. When I asked him about it, he confessed. After he confessed, I shut down. I wish I could say I took Bethany to be treated or checked, but it never occured to me. I didn’t think about anything physical being wrong with her or what would have produced blood, other than in very general terms. I don’t really know how to explain not making the connection that blood= something is wrong. Knowing my daughter was abused was as much information as I would allow myself to take in.

  23. Thank you for raising awareness of Sexual Abuse and the effects it has on the family as a whole. It is really sad and horrific that your daughter Bethany endured Sexual Abuse at the hands of her own father. I want to express my sympathy to her and let her know that I can relate to the abuse she suffered. The abuse I suffered was not at the hands of my father but an uncle. I do want to let you know that healing is possible and you can grow from this. I pray that you continue to raise awareness, remain strong, and receive your healing. To the mother of Bethany, healing is available to you as well!

  24. Zenovia,

    Thank you for your support. It’s much appreciated. I wish you the best in your own healing. 🙂


  25. This really hit home with me in so many ways and to be honest some hard emotions did hit the surface … the primary emotion that hit the surface for me when i read this was caused by the memories that surfaced .. memories of how I was blamed for the abuse that happened to me .. these emotions were so powerful tonight that I felt as though I wanted to be a turtle and crawl back into my shell. I realize that is just fear talking, truth is it is hard coming to terms with our own abuse and i can only image how hard it is to come to terms with the abuse of someone that we are suppose to protect. I just want to know why my mom was so ready to pack my things up and throw me out at 11 years old instead of seeing the reality of what my dad was doing? In my situation my dad wasn’t sexually abusing me but he was mentally, emotionally, verbally, and physically abusing me. Your post answered that for me because it is hard for us to see the truth when we are blinded by our loyalties and trust.. to be honest one of my greatest strengths and yet weaknesses is I try to look for the good in people .. often times I look so hard for the good that I ignore the whole concept of who and what that person is. I still have a tendency to trust like and i think this is where the root of my anger is, because I have allowed my child-like trust to blind me to the reality. And that is why I have a hard time dealing with myself..

    I had got to the point where I did not trust many people at all but after my nervous break down four years ago it was like I was reverted back to the child I was and I left myself wide open and ended up being severely devastated.. I am now in the process of letting these things go I have got to in order to live because the hurt, the anger, the bitterness, etc. is consuming me to the point that I can’t breathe…

    You are an inspiration my friend and a brave soul! Thank you for sharing this!

  26. Christina, thank you and Bethany both for sharing your stories of incest here. My uncle and my dad were my sexual abusers. The uncle was one of my mother’s older brothers. He was a grown man of 21 when my mother was born. My mother was emotionally shut down like you describe yourself as being. When I revealed the incest to my mother when I was in my 40’s, I asked if her brother had ever abused her and she said no. I didn’t believe her then. She had too many of the same characteristics of an incest survivor that I also had. When I finally told her about the abuse, she never asked me for any information about the abuse. She just didn’t want to know. I worked through about 4 years of anger before I confronted my mom because I didn’t want to say anything to her that I would later regret. My best friend/counselor who was also an incest survivor and recovering alcoholic went with me to tell my mom. It is good to see a mother and daughter working together and separately on their own issues and healing. Again, thank you for sharing.

  27. Christina, even though you failed to protect your daughter in the beginning, you support her now. I understand why you did what you had to do. You feel/felt guilt and shame, and you are working through it together. That is truely healing.

    Onto what I am feeling after reading this. I feel the love you have for your daughter spilling from your words. My husband was abused by his father physically and verbally, and his parents divorced when he was around 4 years old. She reamarried shorty after to this guy (I refuse to call him a “man”) who also went on to abuse him physically, mentally, verbally and this time sexually. It wasn’t touching, it was comments and things like that. I don’t really want to get too detailed because it’s his story to tell and not mine. I know that some people knew what was going on, but she didn’t, I hope. She went through many, many years of mental abuse from him as well.

    What makes me mad as hell is that after being unhealthy for years, my husband finally broke down after he left his mother for another woman, and was no longer in the picture. He told her what her ex did to him for all those years. Other family members confirmed it. I don’t even know if she ever expressed any remorse for what happened to him. She still continues to have a friendly relationship with her ex, even though she knows what he did to her son. He hasn’t changed at all. She even invites him to family gatherings, like there is no bad thing between them. We refuse to go when we know he will be there. She accepted what happened and thinks he should just get over it! It’s caused me to have a lot of resentment towards her. She put men before her son and it killed him on the inside, and she acts like it was no big deal.

    Thanks for sharing, it is thought provoking and sincere. I just hope one day that my husband will realize he can heal with or without his mother’s love. You are a true Mom :O) Thank you!

  28. Christina; thank you for so boldly talking about this issue. Hearing how you have addressed this issue with your daughter is so helpful; its something that no one ever talks about – being complicit in our children’s abuse. When my own daughter was sexually abused I’d turned to all the right resources including, like you, the church. I’d also confided in therapists, friends and family but instead of horror I was met with disbelief that I could be making up such lies. In the 1970’s no one talked about sexual abuse and if they did it was that the victim was to blame for it. Its taken time but its true that in order to begin to heal my relationship with my daughter from not protecting her, I’ve had to heal from my own abuse and the guilt of failing to protect her. Thank you for so courageously bringing up a subject that even those resources we turn to often don’t know how to address.

  29. wow! I congratulate you for your courage in writing this. I wanted to read it even though I am in the middle birthday festivities. I saw it yesterday but in between parties i did not have time. I am in the car on the way home now. I am sure I will comment later as I have to have time to digest this. It is intense. Bless you in you healing journey.

  30. Zenovia,
    I’m sorry that you were abused, too, but I’m glad you know healing is possible. That’s our passion—to offer the hope of healing. Thanks for sharing!

    I can really relate to only seeing the good in people and being hurt because of that. It seemed that the only person I could see bad in was me. Part of my healing has been to stop seeing things in black and white and to recognize that nobody is all good or all bad. That allows me to have much better discernment.

    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings here. I’m so glad we’re on this healing journey together! Hugs!

    I had a similar experience with my mom. When I told her about the abuse, she didn’t want to know anything. The first time, she acted as though she didn’t even hear me. Over the years, she never asked me who my abuser was. I’m sure she knew it was my dad. I’m sad that we weren’t able to work things through, but I’m thrilled that Bethany and I have. Hugs to you!

    Lisa Marie,
    That’s so sad how your mother-in-law is treating your husband. It’s hard enough to deal with the abuse without having other family members betray you. I hope he finds healing, too.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You’re right—it’s such a common occurrence for survivor’s children to be abused and for the survivor to be complicit. There’s so much shame surrounding sexual abuse in general and then the added shame of failing at parenthood makes it really hard to talk about. It’s especially hard if our mothers didn’t protect us. That was really hard for me to deal with. I was irate with my mother for her passivity, but I was a passive mother, too. I had to separate those issues and deal with them individually or I would have been stuck in self-hatred and bitterness toward my mother and me for a very, very long time.

    Thanks for taking the time on your birthday to respond. I hope your celebration is going well. Happy Birthday!

  31. I know you from facebook. I know it is not easy to share like this. You have alot of courage and strength.
    I realte in the way that I was abused and my mom abused me and a friend of hers a man. I grew up and was in denial so bad that I allowed my mom who abused me I let her raise my son. I was into drugs and alcohol and was messed up. My thoughts at that time was that she would do better then I would. I was in so much denial. So I know that deep anger insdie and hatred for self. I have been in recovery for over 15 years I started recovery on my childhodd abuse in 1995 so now I like myself today and I know the pain we put are self through while we are in denial but we do not no any better at that time. Now we know better so now we do better. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending Gods love and light.

  32. Great blog Christina!!

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your heart’s broken story. I am so happy to know that you both are working on the freedom of this terrible past. May God bless you both and bring about forgiveness in your hearts as you walk this road. This abuse on a child sure does effect the way we handle life as an adult child. But wow when freed from the past and it’s hold on you, is what God does we can not handle this on our own. Thank you for sharing your story as sad as it is there is so many more.
    I will say a special prayer for you and your daughter, and remember also the sin sickness of men and women who take away the childhood and sometimes the life from the abused child.
    May the Lord keep using you in the healing of many broken souls.

  34. Thanks, Krista!

    Karen, thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

  35. Christina, wow thanks again for posting. It took so much courage! You paint a clear picture of how a mom feels when abuse has been discovered. I know there was not room in this article but the thing that stands out to me is the struggle and grace it must have taken to forgive yourself! But without it you would be like many parents who turn a blind eye and never heal. I do not know much about my moms history. One day when I was a kid I told her she was acting like a martyr and why was she doing that when her life was so easy? She nearly killed me. We both ended up in the hospital. Her response was only that her dad had died at age 10 and she was molested by uncles after he died since my grandma had to work full time which was rare back then. She hated her mother my grandma who was a sweet woman and did not have any other choice but to work. She downed businesses and had to run them to support my mom. Anyway my mom when faced with abuse, She actually said to me she did not want to know because it was an inconvenience. Then she made it all about her mothering skills. I did not want to have kids of my own because of sexual abuse and the fears about my body. I was raped and it was painful and I did not think I could handle the pain of child birth. So I adopted a trouble boy with parents who both had aids. I made it my job to protect him and protect I did. I was fierce about it too. Since raising him I raised other children all together 3 girls and 5 boys. I did a great job with them. But with the first little boy I was very young and mistook love for a lack of discipline. I let him do what he wanted. He was already damaged when he came to me at age 10. But I thought my love would heal him. He ended up being a drug dealer and lying to me for 15 years about someone I thought who he told me was dead who is alive and also a drug dealer. I realize at this point that I just let him get away with anything to spare him what I went through. I know it is not my fault that he is a drug dealer with a life of lies. Mental illness runs in his family and so does drug dealing not genetically but they are all dug dealers and I realize he made the choice and it i not my fault on any level. I realize he played on my fantasy to be a great loving mother. The other children were all when I was older. So I did a much more balanced job of raising them and they are all happy healthy ad successful in their own ways. But with him I know I made the mistakes because I was not healed yet and though it was not the same scenario as you had the lack of discipline and boundaries damaged our relationship and him. I had to cut contact with him for my own safety. I I had been healed or at least working on my healing at the time (I was 20 and didnt start working on my healing until I was 28 or 29.) I woudl have set boundaries with him and when you set boundaries people cant cross them. My goal at the time was to prove unconditional love at any cost. I know it was because of my past. He knows I love him no matter what so he treated me like dirt. Well at least we both learned from our mistakes. He has 4 children of his own now. Like I said I cut contact with him but it could not have gotten so far out of hand to where he would lie to me for 14 or 15 years if I had set boundaries to begin with. Never the less at his age he made his choices and I did teach him right from wrong and went out of my way to help him recover from his past even at age 10 he was a traumatized boy but instead he made the choice to take advantage and that is a heart choice that I have no control over. I did right by him and my conscience is clear. My situation is not the same as yours but similar in that we acted out of brokenness and not out of a renewed mind. It takes grace to forgive yourself and that is an entirely separate topic but unless we forgive ourselves we end up like my mom in a fantasy world refusing to face reality. I feel whole and have forgiven myself and know I did my best. I think the key is not letting the past mistakes we have made control us. If we do we dont move forward. I can live life to the fullest. He still credits me with saving his life. What he does with his life now is his choice.

  36. Pinky,
    Thank you for sharing your parenting experiences. You’re right about how difficult it was to forgive myself. Once I knew that I had to deal with the guilt for Bethany’s sake, I still wrestled with that for days. I knew that forgiveness didn’t mean I was excusing what I had done, but it felt like that–or that I was letting myself off the hook. Either way, it felt wrong, wrong, wrong. I wanted to keep punishing myself. There was almost a relief in that. I don’t know how to explain it. Like if I suffered enough, I could pay for what I’d done. Yet I knew that was a lie. There’s no way I could ever pay for what I’d done and if I kept trying to punish myself, I wouldn’t be able to help Bethany and I’d just make matters worse. When the moment came that I actually decided to forgive myself, I KNEW what faith was. It was a defining moment in my life.

  37. Yes Christina, wow that was fast. For me it took years to forgive myself. Not for what i wrote about but for things that later I realized though I needed forgiveness for my actions I needed healing and it was because of what was done to me. I was married before my first marriage ended with him holding a gun to my head. He was abusive but I was dysfunctional it took me years to forgive myself for that and to heal and to realize his abuse towards me was not my fault. Years so what happened with you was God’s grace. I did not believe in God at all until I came to my late twenties. Thanks for sharing. I do think it would be helpful to write a post about forgiving yourself. I am healthy now but always blamed myself not for the original abuse but for just about everything else and it is something I think most survivors struggle with. I did not blame myself for the original abuse since they were rapes against my will. But I actually felt bad that I was popular and talented and socially gifted and felt in a way sorry for them that they were not as I was raped by 2 people one my brother a genius with no social skills or friends and the other guy a 359 pound man, I felt sorry for him for being fat. It is crazy what we think and how dysfunctional we can be. I dont think it any more but in reading your story
    I have a happy marriage now with unconditional love and I can not relate to who I used to be. But if I had read this then I am sure it would have opened my eyes and would help many who are struggling with false guilt.

  38. Christina-This is probably one of the most touching posts I’ve seen on here. I’m not implying that you or my mom are the same person, but the feelings you shared in your article gave me a glimpse at how my mom must be feeling. I strongly suspect my mom is a child sexual abuse survivor, but her pain isn’t healed or acknowledged. How can she feel my pain about being abused by her husband, if she can’t feel her own?

    In the end, I must say you’re a truly remarkable inspiration as a mom who helped support her daughter in her healing and advocating others to break the silence. Thanks again for writing this article.

  39. Pinky,
    I actually felt guilty for years, but I only wrestled with the forgiveness issue for a few days once I realized that it was necessary. I agree with you 100% that it was God’s grace that carried me through that. I don’t talk about God’s role in my healing very often, but he’s guided me every step of the way.

    I can identify with your need to forgive yourself for the choices you made as a result of your original abuse. There were many other things I did that sabotaged me and that was a whole other process of choosing to forgive myself and learning to have compassion instead of judgment.

    No Longer a Slave,
    Thanks! I’m glad you can see the possibility that your mom could still love you even if she didn’t protect you. It’s a difficult thing to sort out. Bethany knew that I loved her, but she also needed to process her emotions about my failure to protect her. Each of those are separate issues. She understood that I was a victim too, but it was important that she not rationalize her feelings away. There are so many things to sort out.

    I hope your mom finds healing for her wounds and can be the kind of support for you that she hasn’t been. Hugs, Christina

  40. wow christina
    i wish my mother had somewhere like here to come when i was a child maybe she would have realised what she was letting herself in for. her father sexual abused her and her mother neglected her. she married a man whose father had been sent to jail for getting his step child pregnant and somehow in amongst al of that i am to blame for her life being so bad. she sent me on solo holidays to her fathre n 3rd wife. if my memories and blanks are to be interpertated(?) rught i was sexually abused by both my grandfathers, a babysitter and both brothers. all before i was 16. i think that an uncle inlaw also did something cos to this day he is one of the only men alive i am petrified of. gosh my birth family is so messed up. to have both grandfathers is something i am still struggling with as it happened at such an early age, and it wont come forward, though it has happened as i have been tod about conversations about details which i have reburied. i am getting there in some areas but emotionally i am still in a freezer, as the betrayal is still something i am not ready to face yet

  41. Carol,
    Some areas of healing are really tough ones! I recognize when I’m “hiding” something from myself because my thoughts will be going along at normal speed and then I seem to fast forward about something. But even when I notice an area I’m doing that with, I can’t get my mind to stop at that thing. So I understand not being able to deal with some things at the moment. The great thing is that you’re still progressing in those other areas. Good for you!
    Hugs, Christina

  42. Cristina,
    Although I sympathize with the fact that you were molested as a child and that you are brave for telling your story, it really angered me. You still seem very passive in this.
    This is my experience:
    In my father’s side of the family (he and my mother were divorced when I was a baby) there was a “perverted uncle”, you know the one your parents told you never to sit on his lap… Uncle D I remember disliking him intensely as he pinched and leered at us girls in the family at every family gathering. My cousin Meagan was molested by him at 13, he drugged her and raped her. When she told her grandmother, her and her aunt ordered her to take a shower and not to tell anyone, not even her own mother.
    When I was about the same age I was staying with my father for a few weeks and Uncle D showed up at the door and forced his way into the house and tried to molest me. When I told my mom and she told my dad he said: What am I supposed to do about it, he’s my brother!” I later found out that my Uncle D had molested nearly every young girl on that side of the family over the span of his lifetime, even his own daughters. His mother and sisters covered it up so he wouldn’t get arrested and so he kept molesting. Their inaction allowed a whole generation of women on my fathers side of the family to suffer incalculable damage!

    I have been molested by my stepfather (fondled) after my parents divorced when I was a teenager and when my mother found out she cut him our of our life. He later was imprisoned for molesting his own stepdaughter from another marriage and my sister and I never spoke to him again, and even before that, we never allowed our children to be alone with him. ever.

    When my own beautiful daughter was born I made a vow to her that I would never let that happen to her. It took a lot of vigilance on my part and there was a close call. But my daughter is whole, emotionally healthy, intelligent, strong and beautiful. I even monitored my own husband (at the time) to make sure nothing strange was going on. I felt that it was my duty to protect her from the kind of pain and anguish that I myself had to go through.

    It’s so very sad to me that in effect, you allowed this to happen to your daughter, and I realize that I couldn’t say anything to you that you haven’t already said to yourself. I would encourage both you and your daughter to seek counseling. I would encourage your daughter to press charges against her father. If you do nothing (as you’ve learned) he will continue to abuse and molest every chance he gets. Please do everything you can do to protect other people from his pedophilia. If you do nothing and say nothing, it will certainly happen to someone else. I do pray for you and your daughter, both of you have a lot of healing to do and you should be there for each other, after all both of you were victims. But you don’t always have to be. You have my empathy but where is your anger, and what will you do (positively) with it?

    “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak”.
    Audre Lord

  43. Angel,
    There’s not anything about my response to abuse that is still passive. It’s clear from your comment that you don’t know what I’m doing to support Bethany now or what I do to stop abuse. Together, Bethany and I reported her dad to the Mesa Police Dept. and he’s in prison now. I can’t change what happened to my daughter or my part in it but my life is dedicated to helping survivors heal and to end abuse. I understand that your judgment about me comes from your passion, which we share, but I find it unproductive toward the cause to criticize me.

  44. Christina, I just want to tell you back in a FB post a while back I do not remember the original subject but I told you I have a let peeve of people who think that all thoughts and words have to be positive and anything negative i bad and destructive. I only started thinking abotu this when I gto breast cancer. I am fully recovered from breast cancer but I read on the breast cancer sites people saying all the time if you are positive you wont get cancer and those who are negative do and if you get it being positive will heal you and it implies being negative will kill you. It is a lack of compassion and a lack of truth. I also have had Christians on my page read my posts to this or other similar blogs and say it is negative and means have not forgiven to talk about it. I remember on a blog I brought this up and you said you don’t separate your thoughts between positive and negative but between true and untrue. That was extremely helpful to me! I knew this intuitively and do it but did not know how to articulate it. I just had this conversation today with someone with a more traditional view of things that you cant be “negative” or talk about the past. It was helpful to me to be able to explain to her about true and untrue and not positive and negative which is helping her in her present marital problems.

  45. Pinky,
    I remember that discussion we had. That’s funny that you had a conversation with someone today about that because I was reading some blog comments today on another site and they were hashing out the same topic. There was only one person who brought up the truth issue. I’ve never heard anyone else say that, but it was great to see that someone else was drawing that conclusion too. I’m glad that resonated with you, too!

  46. Christina,

    I applaud you on the strength and courage you have shown in writing this article for all to read especially for your daughter. But starting with the title of this article it seems to me that you are still trying to defect some of your own responsibilities off on to your ex, your pastor and others from your childhood.
    I also agree with allot of what Audre said in her response to your post and in no way do I see her comments as condescending. Just honest and to the point. Have you looked into why you had such a strong response to her comments.
    To me the better friend is the one whom will honestly address our weaknesses as well as our strengths. For they are the ones who really help us to grow. Not the back patters.
    As survivors we have a tendency to forgive our abusers (especial those that we love) too quickly. Which in the long run never really helps either. For abuse is abuse whether the involvement was active (abuser)or passive(witness).
    I hope that both you and your daughter seeking help from a professional therapist who is experienced and knowledgeable in regards to childhood sexual abuse and the issues involved.


  47. Does not true forgiveness come when we own our mistakes(sins) and not try to justifying or excuse them.

  48. David,
    The purpose of this post is to encourage survivors to seek healing for their own abuse so they are in a better position to protect and defend against more abuse—especially abuse of their own children. I choose the title because so many mothers have this same experience and this post is written particularly to them. I’m not sure what other title would have been more appropriate.

    I wrote about the some of the specific ways of thinking that victims of abuse have that are disabling. Part of taking responsibility is to explore what led to these actions and decisions in the first place. That’s not justifying or excusing in any way. Since my motivation for writing this is to help survivors to see potentially dangerous thinking patterns, I don’t know how else I could have communicated those things.

    I agree that survivors tend to forgive their abusers too quickly. Bethany and I were aware of that tendency and we discussed it early on in her healing. I knew it would be especially hard for her to process her anger toward me since I was one of the only family members who stood by her once we reported her father to the police. It took a year and a half for her anger toward me to surface. We were both ready for it and she worked through it with me and by herself. She seems to have passed through that, but if more anger comes up again, that’s fine. But that’s part of her process. She has her process and I have mine. Part of how we have been able to move into a healthier place is by separating those.

    You asked if I looked into why I had a strong response to Audre’s comment (actually it’s Angel—Audre is the person she quoted). It’s because this way of thinking actually leads to more abuse, not less abuse. This attitude is the victim mentality that I was in that led to the continuation of Bethany’s abuse. My journey is about coming out of that. I faced my part and I worked extremely hard to change that. I don’t feel the need to hang my head low in shame. The contradiction is what upsets me. I can either wallow in the mud of my past mistakes or I can rise out of that so I can stand against abuse now. I can’t do both.

  49. Christina,

    I just wanted to write concerning some of the ‘negative’ or more ‘confrontational’ comments you have received here in regard to your story. Most of us in the survivor community are in various stages of our processes, many of them very raw, very hard stages. Some of us are just now coming to terms with our abuse histories and this includes the realization that not only were we abused by our abusers, but we were neglected, betrayed and abandoned by those who were supposed to love and protect us. It is a necessary part of our processes to get fully in touch with all of these things, these understandings of all the contributing factors that formed our emotional selves as children, and those same things that have affected us so profoundly as adults, so that we can work through the appropriate stages of rage and grief and eventual acceptance in order to find our healing. And this puts many of us in a position of not being able to both deal with our own processes and yet not judge someone else’s story, such as yours. It is nearly impossible to do both effectively. I have personally been struggling with this in an enormous way since I first read this post over the weekend! It cuts to the very core of my current, extremely painful process and I have been back and forth right up to this very moment, as I consider you a good friend and support in this healing process. So gut wrenching!

    I agree that it was with a great deal of courage that you have opened yourself up in this way, and it is unfortunate that you will inadvertently trigger great emotion in those of us who are struggling with this issue of neglect and betrayal and abandonment by our parents or caregivers. I can only hope that we can all find some sense of understanding of where we each are in our healing process. It is very hard, isn’t it? None of this is easy, no matter which way you look at it.

    Much love and peace to you!

  50. Carla,
    Thanks for your comment. I understand how difficult this is to sort out all of this. My mother has continued to protect and side with my father so I had to acknowledge and process how angry I was about that, all the while recognizing that I was a mother who didn’t protect my daughter. The only way I could process that was to separate that. I had to temporarily put aside what I did to Bethany so I could deal with myself as a daughter. I had to deal with my own anger and pain first. That doesn’t mean I was in any way discounting what I did to Bethany. I just couldn’t deal with them at the same time. Trying to do that kept me spinning in circles.

    I know it’s hard for people to separate what I did to Bethany from what their moms did to them. When I was dealing with my rage against my mother I felt the same way. I don’t know if you read Bethany’s blog about this process from her angle, but we both wanted to deal with this issue and discuss it from different perspectives. That’s vital to full healing. I’m not opposed to expression of emotions or opinions. That’s healthy. But I’m opposed to accepting the blame for what every other mother did to her child. The comment that I objected to accused me of still being passive. There are many other mothers who ARE still passive, but I’m not one of them. Angel also implied I wasn’t doing enough to prevent more abuse, “where is your anger, and what will you do (positively) with it?” I’ve given my life to this issue. I can’t do anything more than that.

    I appreciate the way you expressed your feelings. Thank you very much for your comment. Hugs, Christina

  51. Christina,
    The discussions we have been having today, both here and on FB have helped me understand some very important things in my own process, and will involve a confession concerning you and one thing that helped me was remembering the concept of transference. And what transference involves is taking unresolved feelings toward a person or situation, something that has caused a deep wound, and transferring those feelings onto another person or situation in order to have a place to put those feelings. And most of the time this happens in the way of a trigger. Something similar in the person or situation stirs the feelings and we transfer the whole lot of them onto this new situation, having no clue we are doing this.

    And my confession is that I have been doing this with you from the very beginning of OSA. And because I couldn’t exactly identify WHY I was having these feelings, I just became suspicious but then I decided to bury them, just as I have done with the original wound. And that wound is the neglect, betrayal and abandonment of my own parents during my childhood which was wrought with abuses of almost every nature. And this post brought all of that to a head just as I am in the process of facing these issues of my past and my emerging pain and emotions toward my parents, not yet resolved, not yet healed. And so the transference toward you in this blog post was immediate and very strong. And I was convinced it was legitimate, and it created a lot of turmoil for me because I have been such a follower of your site and have found so much support and a sense of community here. It has been rough!!!

    But I wanted to tell you of this, because I think that many survivors find themselves in this position and have a really hard time sorting through it all. And to be honest, it still makes my head swim, as I am right in the middle of high emotions concerning these kinds of issues and seeing this type of transference taking shape all over the place with me these days, not just with you! But it is an important part of the healing process for me to come to this understanding and to realize where all of these feelings really belong for me and to get on with that part of things.

    I just wanted to tell you of this and let you know how much this is helping me, even in a way that would not have been expected. 🙂


  52. I’ve read all thee emotional re-posts and yet I am not as outraged as I feel I should be. I re-read it thinking if I allowed myself to read it again I could be like that. As a survivor of emotional sexual and physical abuse from as early as my mind can remember and even before that you become emotionaly dead to things that would normaly envoke rage tears and anger. It isn’t because I don’t care or don’t think it is tragic and horrific, its because its “normal.” When all you know as a child is that its all your world becomes. Your coping mechanism becomes standard and you become an emotional retard. I becamee that cool friend that loves to party and have a good time, but no one ever really knew me or took the time because I didn’t let them. It took me over 26 years to even stop blaming myself for what happened to me. You get into a comfortable saftey zone and you take yourself out of it and focuse on something or someone else. The sad thing is child abuse happens everyday all day around the world and especially in your own neighborhood. I am so encouraged with all the new sites and storys trying to spread the word. Thank you to the both of you courageous woman for allowing survivors an outlet to read share and maybe not feel as alone. It is also amazing how much education you bring to the table. The more people know about abuse and how common or “normal” it is the faster we can combat it. Thank you again, and may your story be heard everywhere in hopes of saving a child from abuse.

  53. @angel and carla, you speak for me and countless others who feel the same way when reading this blog, angry.

    @christina, i sincerely would like to understand the following: “You asked if I looked into why I had a strong response to Audre’s comment (actually it’s Angel—Audre is the person she quoted). It’s because this way of thinking actually leads to more abuse, not less abuse. This attitude is the victim mentality that I was in that led to the continuation of Bethany’s abuse.”

    i am the first to say that the burden of shame and abuse lays on the shoulders of the abuser. but how can holding a mother accountable for her role( whether she knew of the abuse or not. or whether she was in denial about it, or not) lead to more abuse or continued abuse? you have to explain that one in detail to me because im just not getting it and would like to. why do you consider wanting to hold a mother accountable for her role in the abuse, whatever that role might be, as victim mentality? please explain.

    i tend to find all the supportive remarks above to be rather sad. it’s as if these hurt women are projecting their own desire for a mother who understands and supports them onto you. they say you shouldnt be ashamed when indeed you should be to some degree. we all should be when a child is damaged on our watch. it’s a mom’s duty to protect. and when we fail we need to own it and be very sad, ashamed and so, so sorry for what we allowed to happen. maybe i missed something, but i’m not getting that remorse from you. am i wrong?

    i am not interested in judging you, im just calling like i see it. i think you are brave to expose your story and lay yourself open to this kind of scrutiny. i dont think ive ever heard of another mom in your situation doing it publicly. so kudos for affronting a taboo subject.

    but i would really like you to answer my above questions because i really would like to understand as im sure others would as well.

  54. Claire,

    You say, “they say you shouldn’t be ashamed when indeed you should be to some degree.” What good will continuing to wallow in shame do? She failed to do something about the abuse when I was a child, but she has stepped up in my adulthood in a very big way. Now, that doesn’t undo the hurt. There were still issues to be dealt with. I had anger and feelings of betrayal for years about this. And she did feel shame and remorse and like a failure as a mother. But that doesn’t mean, once a bad mother, always a bad mother. How long is she supposed to feel shamed? Isn’t shame the very thing we want to undo from the abuse we’ve encountered? Shame continues to say, “I’m bad.” Well, she did something bad, but isn’t bad.

  55. Carla,
    Thank you so much for sharing that. I know from my own journey how powerful transference can be. I’m aware of it in big and small things. Sometimes, it serves as a warning so I can avoid more injury. Other times, it’s a reminder of my opportunity to address the original pain. Either way, it’s a valuable tool when we know how to use it.

    Since I’ve known you, I’ve had so much admiration for how you’re dealing with your healing journey. I can understand why you would have those feelings toward me. I’m so glad you used that for your benefit instead of discounting what you sensed just because you saw good things in me too. That’s not easy to sort out. I don’t know anything more painful than recognizing the truth about our parent’s role in our abuse. I’m so sorry for all the pain you’re in right now. Thank you for bringing your understanding to this discussion! As usual, your insights are very much appreciated!
    Love, Christina

    I can identify with what you said about “normal”. That’s so true that our coping methods become our normal. When we don’t know it’s not normal, we don’t know there’s anything to address. We just know something isn’t right because life is so screwed up. I always just thought it was me. I didn’t see that there was any other origin. So remembering my abuse and tracking back the source of the lies I learned and the ways I learned to cope was a huge relief. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad you’re on this healing journey with us!

  56. Claire,
    I’m glad you asked for clarification. You asked: “Why do you consider wanting to hold a mother accountable for her role in the abuse, whatever that role might be, as victim mentality?”
    First of all, holding mothers accountable isn’t what I have a problem with. I’m still accountable for my actions and I still hold my mother accountable for her actions. I don’t know where the idea that I’m opposed to that comes from. What is your definition of accountable? What are the implications? Do you believe that since I no longer have shame for what I did (shame isn’t the same as remorse or regret) that I’m not accountable? I said in my blog, “My healing work resolved things within my heart, but it didn’t resolve anything in Bethany’s heart and it didn’t entitle me to a new relationship with her. She still needed to address her own pain, recognize my part in it and choose how that would affect our relationship.”
    I acknowledged that there would be consequences for what I did and that nothing I did for my healing or growing or changing would erase that. What does accountability look like to you? What would you like to see happen to me?
    The very thing that you would require me to stay in is what led to me failing to protect Bethany in the first place. That’s what I meant in my response to David: “It’s because this way of thinking [keeping the victim in the victim role] actually leads to more abuse, not less abuse. This attitude is the victim mentality that I was in that led to the continuation of Bethany’s abuse. My journey is about coming out of that. I faced my part and I worked extremely hard to change that. I don’t feel the need to hang my head low in shame. The contradiction is what upsets me. I can either wallow in the mud of my past mistakes or I can rise out of that so I can stand against abuse now. I can’t do both.”
    I’ll try to explain why I believe that the best I can. My abuse imparted the belief that I was bad and powerless (among other things). Those were lies. But since I believed them, I lived by them. My actions—or inactions—sprung from those beliefs. I was bad (shame) so I wasn’t as valuable as my husband. I was inferior—to him and to everyone else in the world. Everyone else knew better than me and deserved better treatment than I did. I was at fault for anything that went wrong because I was the bad one. I knew my place and didn’t expect anything more. I was powerless to change things even if I thought I deserved better (which I didn’t). I was powerless to change the circumstances since I didn’t know as much as everyone else and wasn’t as capable. I was powerless to change myself from bad to good or from bad to anything else. I was just stuck with my badness. It was something I couldn’t escape from.
    That’s what I mean by thinking like a victim. Those lies are what rendered me powerless to help Bethany effectively. You want me to stay in the shame and powerlessness, which prevents me from doing anything to help Bethany or anyone else.
    I understand where your anger is coming from. It’s an important part of the process. As I’ve said before, I was irate with my mother for failing to protect me. I wanted to rip her face off for caring more about her image than she did about me. (I would never have actually hurt her or anyone else—those were feelings, not intentions.) Anger is the vitality of the healing process.
    Anger is meant as a protective force. It’s often used to destroy, but it’s meant to preserve and protect life and goodness. I’ll always be angry that abuse exists and that not enough is being done to stop it. That’s a good thing. I don’t ever want to discount my anger.
    While we’re sorting out the things that make us angry, it’s difficult to determine how to use the anger to protect and preserve. Anger is powerful and until we process the pain of the past, the force of it can be blinding. It can cause us to direct it in ways that aren’t effective. Facing the source of our anger and processing it properly helps to equip us to use it well.
    You also said: “I tend to find all the supportive remarks above to be rather sad. it’s as if these hurt women are projecting their own desire for a mother who understands and supports them onto you.”
    That’s incredibly invalidating to all those survivors who shared their feelings here. You have judged them and that is wrong. Whatever they feel and whatever they think is theirs. You’re making assumptions about the reasons for their emotions and that’s not for you to do. If they have unresolved issues with their own mothers, that’s for them to discover.

  57. Christina, I commend you for trying to clarify. But I really think that these people would not be thinking this way if they had at least started on their healing journey. I do think that unless a person begins to at least read a few books on sexual abuse that their reactions (notice I didn’t say responses) are going to be those that actually perpetuate abuse not expose it.

  58. Pinky,
    I agree that we aren’t equipped to stop abuse until we have some degree of healing and we even perpetuate abuse out of our own false belief system and pain. I see that more clearly every day. But healed survivors are a force to be reckoned with. We have the compassion, passion, and understanding to BE the wholeness that we want to see in the world. Thanks for adding that!
    Hugs to you, Christina

  59. @christina, i think we will have to just agree to disagree. and you are wrong about judgement. i judge no one. i just express the way i see things, much like yourself. we just happen to see things differently. so i suppose it is convenient for you to call me judgemental. i dont know why you would, except that perhaps my questions bother you so you feel the need to label me. that’s fine. keep supporting your daughter as you have. she sounds lovely. she even defends you after all that she went through. she must be a very kind person. much kinder than myself, for sure. best wishes.

  60. @Claire – Claire, maybe we can word this a little differently, because I understand your anger, your sense of injustice, that is what is coming through. Sometimes we get stuck when we think someone is trying to ‘excuse’ their behavior, when in fact they have only, through their own process, uncovered some ‘reasons’, or contributing factors to the choices that were made by them, which in no way provides an excuse for not protecting their child, just sheds light.

    After re-reading Christina’s post again and again, I think the confusion comes in when she describes the contributing factors behind the choices she made or didn’t make, choices that were in and of themselves neglectful, even though she is not excusing or circumventing the neglect. It may appear this way to those of us who are very sensitive and are still struggling with a lot of anger and pain as survivors, but if you go back and read it again, thoughfully, you will see that Christina does not excuse her neglect. She just takes us through her own process as a survivor to shed light on what was going on inside her, never saying she should be given a pass on her failure to protect Bethany. There are two separate processes taking place in this story and maybe the title of the post does create some confusion here, as it doesn’t indicate she is going to take us through her own survivor story, or a dual process.

    I have struggled with all this as well, because if we gave everyone who had contributing factors a ‘pass’ at not doing the right thing by their children, then there would be very few people stepping up and doing the right thing. But Christina has admitted to her part in the neglect that failed Bethany as a parent and protector, and has accepted that responsibility. I had to unravel this myself. I, myself, may have reasons for certain feelings I carry around, but that doesn’t give me an excuse to behave badly or mistreat someone or be neglectful, we all have a choice when it comes down to it. And we all have a choice to go down the road to recovery or not. And I am thankful that both Christina and Bethany have done a lot of deep work and are healing and reaching out to other survivors on the road.

  61. I’ve been following these posts closely and I have not seen Christina trying to excuse anything. When you are abused and then you think something isn’t right and go to your pastor and they project it onto you, you think it’s you. Not everyone handles that the same way. Everyone makes mistakes, she owns hers. That’s why my post about MIL was about how she does make excuses and she doesn’t own any of it at all.

    Christina – thank you for your clarification, it really helped to explain things. I can see it from both sides, since I used to hold things against my mother for not doing more to keep me safe. She was very ill herself at the time, and it wasn’t her intention to hurt me. She did what she could at the time, even if it wasn’t enough for me. We aren’t super mom, and I hope that I have learned from other mother’s mistakes enough to not repeat them with my own children. That’s all we can hope for.

  62. I think maybe I’ve put my finger on why this has bothered me so much…and I think it’s a case of placing my expectations on someone else. As the title suggests this is a confession…by definition a confession is an acknowledgment or admission (in this case that Christina failed to protect her daughter). And for that she is very brave…especially to do it in a community full of survivors. I think that my discomfort truly does come from my own personal situation…in that, from my own mother or any mother in that situation, I incorrectly expected said confession to include other items that it didn’t. For example, in my own life and by transference, I was expecting to see the motive (ie why she chose not to protect her…fear of being alone, fear of lack of finances, fear of public humiliation, fear of loss of custody, fear of being blamed, not being believed…all the way to things Christina has said she believes to be motives of her mother…fear of losing a certain image). And by transference I expected to see a whole lot of sorrow. But my not having those expectations met is definitely my problem. Not just survivors, but all people, tend to set expectations and then get disappointed when they aren’t met…I did that with this… When I read that this blog was coming…it was with great interest that I was wondering if we would hear another story about victimization or if for the first time ever I would read/hear brutal honesty about how whatever was what held her back from leaving or turning him in after the initial discovery…so I’m not sure why I set my expectations any higher than just hearing a confession…I guess because sometimes I want to believe something…but as we all know and even supported by this particular blog…believing or wanting something to be a certain way does not make it true…and sets the stage for disappointment.

  63. Here is my story Wendi you wanted to read other stories. It is to long to post so here are the links.
    First link is about my childhood second link is about the relationship I had with my son.
    Hugs Angela

  64. I wish my Mom could own her part in my childhood sexual abuse. When I first told her I was 12, she didn’t want to believe ‘it’ (me) so she didn’t…When I told her again at age 18 she denied it even though he admitted it. Now 30 yrs later (so statute of limitation in Canada for these crimes) he has plead guilty and she still blames me. They are still together….

  65. I just read some of the other posts…for me when I read the article I believed that you have done tons of work and have gotten to a place of self forgiveness. A place you have earned. A place I don’t believe my Mother has earned…as she is still to this day unable to own her part. So it’s easy for me to want to transfer the feelings of self forgiveness not being ‘deserved’ but when I am doing that it’s not about Christina it’s about my own situation and my own Mother. Blessings Christina. Maybe one day my mother might enjoy the same ‘freedom’ and then and only then could we even begin to have some sort of relationship.

  66. I see Christina and Bethany as reaching out to others who can identify with their circumstances/struggles, which empowers others to be stronger than they would have been,

    not seeing WHO and What and Where the real problem was (without the vulnerable sharing).

    LOVE those stories about pastors’ advice! Can really identify with those!! And I am definitely stronger than I was when I was receiving that kind of “counsel”.

  67. I’m also a trauma survivor who still deals with post-traumatic stress disorder, though my trauma was not sexual abuse. I facilitate peer support and recovery education groups, and do research and train professionals on PTSD. Here’s my reaction to your powerful, courageous, valuable story:

    Your child is lucky to have you. As always in these things, she could do worse. At least you’re doing the right thing now. She will always have that, and her relationship with you, to help her deal with the lasting effects of the trauma.

    Your reaction to your own abuse that continued iwhile you were a parent, faced with an abused of your own child, are classic. They are not a mental illness, or e character weakness, or even your fault. They are normal human reactions to abnormal events.

    Even though the terrible things you’ve been through in two generations are not your fault, it’s your choice what you do next. I think you’ve made the best possible choice. I admire you for it, and you should admire yourself,..

    When my ex was 13, she had to get naked in school for a required medical exam. She ran away and hid. She got disciplined for it. Nobody guessed that she was being molested at home by her older brother.

    Today, I use that story when I teach child care givers and teachers. Nobody has ever come close to guessing what the problem was. When she talked to her mother about what was happening, her mother denied it, blamed the victim, protected her brother, the perpetrator, and shunned her.

    By the time my ex was 16, she was pregnant, alcoholic, and married to an abuser who broke her bones and abused the infant. Abused children often marry abusive spouses. She also had to divorce her entire family, except her father.

    Itt’s amazing how well she did in her adult life. She got sober and still is, put herself through college and sociial work school, and had a career as a licensed clinical social worker with the state.

    But when her son was 25, he went to prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Her ptsd crippled her to the point where the state awarded her disability retirement benefits, which are hard to get for an invisible disability. That was 4 years ago, and she is still unable to work, and practically unable to function.. She gets worse, and more isolated and alone, as time goes by.

    By supporting your daughter in recovery — and even making it a team effort as you recover yourself — you are probably saving your daughter and yourself from a future like my ex’s present and probably her future. Could I have your permission to use your story, without names, in my writing and teaching, as an example of a terrible case with a positive outcome?

    E-mail me your answer. If you put “trauma story” in the subject line, I’ll go to it right away. I get more e-mail every day than I can open on the day I get it, but I’ll read yours as soon as I get it, if I know what it is.

    All the best. You have my admiration and respect.

    Ken Braiterman

  68. Lisa Marie,
    I’m glad the clarification helped.

    You said, ” I used to hold things against my mother for not doing more to keep me safe. She was very ill herself at the time, and it wasn’t her intention to hurt me. She did what she could at the time, even if it wasn’t enough for me.”

    Sometimes understanding intentions helps because at least we know there was some degree of love there and that’s somewhat comforting. But at the same time, the intentions didn’t translate into action and it still left us vulnerable. The destruction still happened. The pain and anger still need a voice. Bethany, in an effort to “make it okay”, used to tell herself that I didn’t mean to abandon her or that I’m a good mom now. But that just covered up her pain instead of dealing with it. She’s at the point now where she processed her anger and she can accept the “reasons” without using them as excuses for what I did. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify for anyone reading who may think it has to be either/or. Really, it can be both. We can place the blame where it belongs AND understand the reason whys without discounting our own pain.
    Hugs to you, Christina

  69. Angela,
    I’m sorry I didn’t respond to you before now. Your comment was caught in the spam filter for some reason and even though I removed it from there days ago, I missed reading it here. Your comment, ” My thoughts at that time was that she would do better then I would.” Wow, I can so relate to that. The shame tells you that everyone else is more qualified, even if it makes no logical sense. I’m glad you invested in your recovery, too. Thanks for sharing so vulnerably!

    I’m sorry your mom continues to live in denial and fails to support you. I hope that one day, she sees the truth. I have a similar situation with my mom. She seems to have a truth filter that won’t let any in. I don’t have too much hope that she will ever change. I’ve been working on being a great Mom to myself so I can give myself the things I never got from her. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I’ve certainly learned the hard way not to trust authority figures just because they are in authority. My healing process has empowered me to trust my own decisions, even if I take council from outside sources. That allows me to have much better discernment. I think we’ve both learned the hard way, but I’m glad we’re in better places now! Thanks for your comment!

  70. Angela,

    I have to tell you at first I was confused as to why you thought I wanted to read other stories…but I went back and reread my post a couple times…it was poorly worded and I am sorry for miscommunicating. I was wanting to read this blog when her daughter’s previous blog said it was coming…I was wondering if it would be another story of victimization as a reason for allowing abuse. I did read your links, and I am so sorry for what you have been through…for what was done to you and your son. I keep you both in my prayers. I want to thank you for sharing with me…I found many similarities to my own past in yours as I do when I read most…but once in a while something smacks me right in the side of the head and I realize something…something someone else shared that hits home in an area that I needed. This happened with your first link about your childhood. Your sharing helped me tonight and I thank you for that 🙂 Hugs back to you. I will be praying for you and your son. I also found my birth father late summer last year…I sought him out…so hold onto hope….he said he had been waiting, too.


  71. Hi Wendi,

    Thank you for reading my childhood and about my son. Congratulations on finding your father, it does give hope thank you.. I am glad my story helped you. I know when I read other people’s story it helps me even if the abuse is not the exact same so much of the feelings are very similar so that is how I relate. It breaks my heart to hear other people who have been through it. Sorry you had to relate but at least we are not alone. I know for me it feels like I am alone some times so this is why I like this website here to read how others get through it. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.. Have a wonderful evening.

    Hugs Angela

  72. Christina,

    I am not interested in keeping you in any role but that which is not healthy for you But as a survivor myself I am learning to find my voice and to speak out when I find I need to. I am just giving you my gut reaction from what you wrote.In no way am I looking for acceptance of what my response to you by anyone. Just calling it as I see it. I know some of how I respond is about myself and where I am at in my own recovery process. Because it is the very issue of my own parents finding it easier to ignore the warning signs of my being sexually abuse. To abandon me to and blaming me for the behavioral problems that came up afterwards as a result of the abuse. Till the day of their deaths either of my parents were willing or capable of owning their neglect and abandonment of their parental responsibilities. As a parent myself I take these responsibilities seriously. As a adoptive parent of four children, two of whom were sexually abuse while in the L.A Co foster care system. My wife and I have had to deal with reporting this abuse to the police and dealing with Social services (whom were supposedly protecting them) when we became aware of it . To getting the proper counseling for our children which is still on going to this date. In spite of the fact that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. For me This is the every reason to step up to be there both for my children and myself.
    Rarely is dealing with recovery from sexual abuse a pretty or easy topic to discuss. We are all at different phases of recovery, have different opinions and views on how best to deal with and heal from our common issues of being abused. But one thing I have learned is that I got to be honest with myself and own my passed mistakes and learn from them. And not to place blame or responsibility for them onto others so that I don’t keep repeating them. The only way things will change is if we make these changes ourselves.
    Like your daughter I had to start and continue to addressing the issues of being sexually abused alone. But she is lucky that you have step up and are addressing your own issues now.
    I really appreciate your ability to be so vulnerable,honest and open on such a difficult personal issue.
    I hope that this site can continue to be a place for open dialog for all no matter what there prospective maybe. Because I interact and express my opinions here for my own healing and maybe to help others too.
    I am here to heal first and foremost. anything else is just gravy.

    Forgiveness is a free gift! We just have to be willing to accept this gift of grace.


  73. Even when you have college credits in English and Creative Writing, you end up “poorly” wording something if you write it online.
    Some people online have outright accused me of thinking stuff I’ve never considered, and I’M supposed to know all about tones, shadings, nuances and all the other tools of the trade for creating an impeccable piece of writing.
    But even Stephen King failed to explain himself in a clarified way, and this was in a book he wrote, not anything from online. It’s just that it’s harder to take from someone who’s as flipping arrogant about his “Masterful ability” as a writer that HE claims to be, but that’s probably TMI anyway.
    I gave up on thinking I’m going to get my meaning across via online writing, even though I still try to accomplish it better than I did the day before.

  74. Vixky –
    Stephen King, John Irving and I had the same fiction writing teacher at the UNH writer’s program.. His name was Thomas Williams. He wrote elegantly crafted fiction but could not handle big themes like his Jewish contemporaries: Roth, Malamud, Wouk, and Mailer. That’s why he came in 2nd two times for the Natonal Book Award. He thought writers had no control over themes; they’re either there, or not.

    He said King wanted to be taken seriously by university-type readers of “serious fiction,” but he did not labor overf sentences, which is what’s needed for those people. in fact, Tom said, all of King’s work contains sentences that are “black holes.”

    (I chose non-fiction as a career, using fiction devices to tell true stories — The New Journalism,, which is not new any more,.)

  75. Christina, Thank you for sharing your story. I too was the wife of a molester. The guilt, the anger for “unknowingly” allowing my childs father to molest her still gets to me at times. I grew up the middle of 3 girls, in what I always thought of as a “perfect” family. I was not molested or raped as a child, I was overly protected by my mother (who I later found out was molested as a child by her brother). I can look back now, and I realize that there was verbal abuse by my father (which at the time, we just took as normal). We were not “boys”, so he would not have anything to do with us (that was mom’s job). Dad was military, was gone alot and when he was home, we had to be quite so he could sleep. I was always the one who was told to be quiet when my sisters and I were fighting. I was trained to conform to everything and I had no voice. When I was 18, I had a boyfriend who told me he wanted to talk to me in my friends bedroom and he took my virginiy even tho I told him “no”. Was that rape? I could have fought him, I could have shouted (there were people in the other room) but I didn’t want to cause any problems (keeping quiet), I let it happen because I thought he loved me and this was what I was supposed to do…besides, my dad had accused me of being a lesbian, so this would prove dad wrong wouldn’t it ? (even tho dad never knew about this incident… I did). After this I had sex with every man I went out with, whether they were married or not or even one night stands (wasn’t this love? or so I thought). 4 years later I met “Scott”. He was still married but seperated. His wife’s family had kicked him out because he was so abusive. Scott told me about how he had hit his wife but he swore he was a changed man and would never hit anyone ever again. Being sheltered, having read “romance” novels from a young age and believeing that anyone could change (after all, in the romance novels, the guy always changed) I believed him. I had never known anyone that admitted ot being abused in anyway, no one ever talked about this kind of stuff, so this was all new to me. The day I met Scott, he was angry and I didn’t really like him, but I thought I would give him a chance (again the romance novels proved he could change). How wrong I was. The abuse actually started before we got married, but I believed him everytime he “said” he would change. He got really drunk one time and made a comment regarding his sister (he wanted to have sex with “Sandy”) which I thought at the time was very strange, and when I asked him about it, he quickly changed his story and said he was talking about one of my friends (with the same name). I let it go, but it stayed in the back of my mind to haunt me years later. 2 years later we were married, life was ok, but there were still a few instances and he began to drink a whole lot more, there was alot of verbal abuse, nothing I could do was good enough. I complained to my mother, but she would always tell me to forgive him and to pray for him and he would change,(she read romance novels too) so I did what she advised to do, afterall, she was mom, she knew better.

    Children’s names are withheld for their privacy…

    2 years we later had our first child, “son”…(that is when things started to really go down hill). He was extremely jealous of my attentions to son. I became pregnant with our second child ( “daughter”) when our son was 3 months old. When son was 6 months old, he was in his walker with me in the kitchen, I was fixing breakfast, getting ready for work. Scott came in with a shotgun and pointed it at son and threatened to shoot him… I got between him and son, he put the shotgun in my mouth and said he would blow both of us away….I pushed the gun away and he pulled me by my hair into the bed room to argue some more…then swore the gun was not loaded and that he would never have shot me… Scott’s step sister came over to watch the baby…. I told her to call the police… but father in laws family didn’t want to….. his probation offficer came over that same day, I told him about the incident…he did nothing (I don’t think he believed me)…. I went to Mom’s house that same day (that was always my place of escape) and used her phone to call the women’s shelter, a man answered and said that if I was not ready to leave everything behind and leave that instant then I was not really ready to leave scott, I did not feel any kind of encouragement from the women’s shelter…. all along…..I was screaming inside for someone to help me…and there was no help….I couldn’t move in with my parents, because they had a 2 bedroom trailer and my dad was very difficult to live with by myself…let alone with a baby too…

    Son could never do anything right in Scott’s eyes, daughter was perfect…. even Scott’s own mother treated “grand”daughter better than “grand” son…Scott’s own dad treated Scott’s sister “Sandy” better than Scott…..and Scott’s mother did the same thing with “Sandy”…
    so I just thought it was a learned parenting style and I would deal with it the best that I could….

    Scott would hold daughter, love on daughter and treat daughter so much better than son. Daughter could do no wrong. Anything Daughter wanted, Daughter got. Son was neglected and unloved, so I compensated by putting more energy into Son and not Daughter, because after all, daughter had attention. Son got blamed for everything and verbally abused by Scott, Son was put on restriction by Scott every chance he had…. Daughter could do no wrong. When arguments between Scott and son began, I would jump in and turn the argument around to myself, so that son would not be involved. Some times, Scott would verbally attack Daughter, but I protected my children when ever I was at home (where I was when ever I was not at work). my Children were with me pretty much every where I went… The only time I would leave them with Scott, was when he seemed to be in a “good” mood and I did not have to worry about him screaming at them or hitting son. Scott was drinking alot… he would come home from work and start in on me and the children….then we would argue and i would ask him to leave and he would go out to the bars (which was what he was going to do anyway)…then he would come home at 3 or 4 in the morning and start all over again…

    I had to work or my kids and I would do without. Scott would not give me enough money to buy food or have enough to get the kids anything else..there were times when I had to heat water on the stove so the kids could have a bath, because Scott did not pay the “gas” bill…or we would have to go take showers at my parents home, because Scott did not pay the water bill…etc… one time I got a job working 3rd shift…. I would usually come home in time to get the kids off to school…. but it didn’t always work out that way. I woke up one afternoon, when the kids came home off the school bus and my Son was bruised from his head to his feet. Scott had tried to wake him up that morning…and when son did not get up right away…. Scott took a belt to him and beat him all over his body….. Social Services got involved that day and Scott had to move out… which was a relief for us…we always liked it when Scott had to move out… it was like 3 or 4 days of fresh air…. The children were put into my custody and Scott never laid another hand on any of them….but the verabal and emotional abuse got worse from that time on…Every time I called the police on Scott…they would tell him to stay away for a while and we would once again enjoy peace a quiet for a few days….

    7 years after “daughter” was born… #2 daughter “surprised” us. This daughter was very afraid of Scott and would cling to me every chance she got and would not stay alone with Scott. Scott’s drinking, drugs and abusive ways continued…so when #2 daughter was 3 years old, I had taken more than I could take in the marriage and moved out with my 3 children. Suddnely scott was there all the time…. he was clean, sweet, and attentive to us… even asked for son to move back in with him…and son, desiring to have a relationship with his dad and dad’s attention…moved back in with dad…. I then saw very little of my son( he didn’t like where we had moved to)….during the time we were sperated, #1 daughter, was angry with dad, did not like the way he favored her over son and #2 one night, when dad was over visiting us, she called me upstairs and told me that she needed to tell me something… She said that dad had been abusing her since she was little until she turned 7 or 8 years old…. I was in such shock… where did this come from? Surely “I” would never marry someone like that…. I may have married someone who was mean and abusive…but certainly not a sexual abuser… so I questioned Daughter #1… are you sure it was not a dream? I asked her…. after all I had had “nasty” dreams about my dad and the prinicple of my school when I was a teenager. They were so real to me that I felt uncomfortable around both my dad and principle. So…in my “wisdom”… I had my daughter confront her dad (after all he was down stairs visiting us…again)…so we went down stairs….confronted him…and of course he denied it…and he went with my thoughts that it was just a dream…. When I asked daughter again if it was real… she said…no mom…it must have been a dream like you said…. (but in the back of my mind…. I always wondered if it had really happened). so…. when I lost my job a week later…..the girls and I moved back in with Scott and son. Life was good for a few weeks and then the emotional and verbal abuse started again … continued… 2 years later, I asked scott to move out…and he did… he moved in with a girl friend…that lasted a couple of months, and he moved back in with me and the children. All this time, I am talking to my mother…who is telling me each and every time to forgive and pray for him… (speak faith and he will change). I wanted so bad for someone to tell me what to do… to tell me to leave him ….. to help me. I said nothing to my church about this…because at least there, I felt “normal”… I didn’t want anyone to look down on me or to show me “pity”…so I kept quiet most of the time.

    When my children were 8, 15 and 16 years old, #1 daughter told my Niece about Scott abusing her when she was 7…. She came to me and told me that it was all true and that it was not a dream, that it had really happened…. Niece called the police, who in turn filed charges against Scott…by this time I had had more than I could stand with Scott (after all I had been with Scott for 21 years) The Police (My Hero’s) spoke to me and confirmed that Scott had signed #1 daughters complaint and in so doing had finally admitted to it all.

    2 days later, Scott committed suicide. He stood across the room from me, pulled a shotgun out of the closet and pointed it at his chest…. I hollered at him to stop and he pulled the trigger….daughter #1 did not get to confront her abuser…he left her with guilt regarding his suicide. 3 months after his suicide, I found out that he had molested his sister when she was 10 and he was 18 (remembering what he said when he was drunk, before we got married) So, yes, I made alot of mistakes in my life, I wanted the happy ever after family… I wanted the perfect family and did what I could to make that happen…. I wanted to make lemonade out of oranges…

    At times when my daughter #1 will tell me something her dad did to her…. I want to take his ashes and throw them out with the garbage (Daughter #2 and Son do not want me to get rid of ashes)… sometimes I still contemplate throwing Scott away with the trash (even just a little bit of ashes)…. but doing so would not change what has happened and will not change my daughter #1. I did this to my children…and I have to live with that. I still wonder if my son was sexually abused by Scott. I have asked him…but he doesn’t want to talk about it. My youngest daughter denies it as well. After Scott died, I took the kids in for counseling..It’s been 6 years now…but I have to admit that there were times when I “wondered” if he was a child molester…after all he liked hanging out with young people… he liked being with my daughters friends…. he admitted to me once that he was molested by his father when he was a kid…. I even wondered if he was a serial rapist… he had a collection of women’s watches that I found in his jeep after he died…and he had made a few comments.,… I would watch the news trying to figure out if he was at home on the nights when the news would announce a rape…. It will be very hard for me to ever marry again or to ever trust a man again.

  76. Liana, thank you so much for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to open up like that. Hugs to you! Christina

  77. Thank you Christian, telling my story actaully left me very “raw” for a few days. It was not easy going back into all of that “life” again, but I hope that my story will help someone out there, just as your story has helped me.
    Be Blessed,…Liana

  78. Christina, We as survivors grow up with a mixed up misconception of what love is. We think it means complying with what everyone wants,being the good little girl who keeps her mouth closed. What a beautiful and freeing experience it is when we decide to speak up. Yes,we go through any hard times,night mares,flash backs,etc,but,out of that darkness comes the light,healing!! We become braver. Less afraid. I am so proud of you for telling your story. You made the choice to help others,to break the cycle!! God bless you and your daughter. I am praying for you and her to be healed,comforted and given a peace that only God can provide. It is wonderful that through this horrible experience you two bonded,stronger than ever. I pray that no person is ever able to break that bond. You are changing the world. By writing this,one reader at a time will experience healing,understanding that they are not alone!! When I tell my story,I always leave the person with this: Never let someone else determine your future!! I thank God that you had the courage to stop the cycle,break the silence and help others by sharing this!! God bless you,keep you safe,give you peace and comfort, THANK YOU!!!!

  79. Michelle,
    Thank you so much for your comment. I agree that we can’t let others determine our future. By staying in the effects, our future is determined by what happened to us. But that doesn’t have to be! We don’t have to be defined by what someone ELSE did; we can live beyond that. It takes a lot of work, but healing is possible. I’m glad you’ve found that for yourself, too!

  80. I’m so glad that you’ve opened up to the abuse you lived through in order to face and better help you daughter. I read your story to try to understand my own mother. My father molested me as a child and raped me at thirteen. I developed anorexia and that saved me for awhile. No one noticed until I fell during track and broke my elbow. My parents had no choice but to act on it. I had to see a therapist and doctors once a week. I lied to all of them. My father wanted me gone. Sent to a hosital far away. Since he told everyone I was crazy, I was sure no one would believe me or care. My mother knew. I told her when I was ten and she told me to keep my father happy so he wouldn’t leave us. She knew what happened when I was thirteen and promised it would never happen again. She told me to put the memory in a little box inside me and bury it away. I did and at seventeen she betrayed me. She and I were going to go to William and Mary together to check out the school. It was an overnight trip. My mother canceled and sent me with my abusor. He got me drunk and raped me horribly everywhere that night. I lay in that bed covered in blood and in shock. Until he told me to go clean myself up. I never came back home. Not the young woman with dreams and hopes and plans for a future. I had wanted to be a Vet. I took the easy way and chose art school instead. My life was stolen from me by both of them. I became self destructive and an alcoholic. It took four years of therapy for me to face the truth. Once again I reached out to my mother only to have her protect him and leave me out in the cold. I know something is wrong with her. Maybe she was abused. Your words have helped me. Thank you. I don’t want to keep hating her like I have since I was thirteen.

  81. Ashley,
    That’s so horrible that your parents treated you that way!!! How awful to be betrayed by both parents! I know the how painful that is–my parents were the same. My mom threatened me with a lawsuit to try to shut me up and she tells people I’m making things up.

    Both my parents were abused. I used to feel more sorry for my dad than I ever was for myself. I excused a lot of what they did because I knew at least some of theiir histories. But there isn’t any excuse for what they did. And those excuses don’t help me heal those wounds anymore than the reasons that led to my failure as a parent heal my daughter’s wounds.

    I never wrote this to help survivors understand their parents/abusers better. I don’t think that’s helpful in the healing process. I tried to understand both my parents for years and in the process of searching for answers within them, I missed finding the answers within me. No matter their motivation or history, their actions devastated me. It wasn’t a misunderstanding and they weren’t a “product of their environments” as though they were robots “set” to destroy without their consent. Placing the blame on them and expressing my anger in healthy ways has been the only way out of the destructive cycle in my own life (that continued in my daughter’s life). I’ve made peace with the past, but it’s only come through warring through those ugly emotions.

    You deserve resolution in all of this.

  82. My girlfriend’s husband told her he had done something he was ashamed of 3 years ago. When relaying this to me she didn’t say she suspected he cheated on her with another adult. She said, “Do you think he’s been molesting my child?” Later she says the child had been cutting herself since 12 at the time she was 16. I’m printing this out and mailing it to her. It may not be anything, but I just feel in my soul it is and I hope your story releases her to tell the truth to whoever needs to hear it.

  83. TMH,
    I hope your friend turns out to be wrong about her husband. But if she’s right, I hope she takes action. I’m glad she has a friend like you who is supportive! Thank you for passing on the information to her.

  84. Well done for being so brave. I’m currently battling with my Mother at the moment, but hope is drifting away. The Dad I was bestowed is a sociopath and I think and he controls what she thinks….it’s such a mess! Have slipped back in my therapy, but it was never going to be plain sailing. I wish it was as easy as taking a tablet to heal :-/

  85. To B.P., I know what you mean about your mother not thinking for herself and your father’s mind control over her. That’s what believed was true of my parents for a long time. Don’t let her lack of caring about what happened to you or inability to take action set your therapy back. She has her life to live and she can make choices and has. My mother is as guilty as my father. After all she is my mother. I told her at nine and she knew at seventeen when she bailed out of taking me to a college out of town open house that having my father go with me meant I’d be in a hotel with him over night. She set me up then and betrayed me. At 27 I spoke to her openly after having a brake down and her response was “Well what do you want me to do”? She has covered for him for almost 20 years. She now lies to family members about me and still stays with him. So you know what? I tried. She made her choice. I don’t have parents anymore. My life goes on. I’m married and making my own family. You’ll be fine. Be strong and let go of anyone that doesn’t help you to step into the light. My heart goes out to you.

  86. Belle,
    I’m sorry that you’re in that situation. I’ve given up on my parents too and it’s so painful to realize the level of betrayal committed against you. I wish it was as easy as taking a pill to make it all go away too. It might not be that easy and it doesn’t go away, but it does get better and there is healing.

  87. I can’t imagine the courage it took to write this. I think it’s amazing that you and your daughter have begun working on your healing together. I am relieved that, even though you made some horrible mistakes when your daughter was little, that you managed to face what happened and not reject her for telling you. It also made me wonder if there is something more to why my mother beat me and blamed me for my father sexually abusing me. I wonder if she could have just been repeating patterns that she learned from childhood. Maybe she didn’t hate me a hundred percent.

    I am sorry to comment on so many of your posts, I just find this blog very insightful and helpful as I am beginning to work through what happened to me. I appreciate you putting your story out there.

  88. Jack,
    The things you think and feel are valuable, so there is no need to apologize for commenting. It’s wonderful that you’re speaking up. Most of us have been silent for far too long.

    I haven’t seen anybody who inflicts so much pain on others who isn’t in pain themselves. There are always reasons. Humans behave in very predictable patterns. Abusers were once victims, but I don’t think understanding that has been helpful to me concerning my healing. No matter the motive, no matter the reasons, my parents and many others abused me and the effects aren’t minimized if they “were doing the best they could”. My healing has come from looking at the things inside of me, not from examining things outside of me. Always looking outside of me was part of coping. I learned to survive in the abusive system through analyzing people and anticipating their next move so I could protect myself. As long as I kept doing that, I continued to stay in survivor mode and didn’t see the things I needed to see inside of me.

    This may seem contradictory, but at the same time, it WAS helpful to see that the way my parents treated me were a result of their issues. It was particularly painful to me that my mom treated me like I was invisible. I felt so much shame that my own mother didn’t love me. For years, I wondered what made me so defective that my own mother rejected me. It was important for me to recognize the lie that her treatment told me, “There is something wrong with me.” The truth is that when a mother mistreats a child, that has nothing to do with the child. It’s all about something being wrong with the mother. Seeing that relieved me of so much of the shame I’d been carrying.

    Thanks for sharing!

  89. I knew something was wrong; I just didn’t know what it was. My daughter at age 3 had the courage to tell me what daddy was doing. I was in shock. It is beyond my comprehension. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it was to get protection for my daughter. Too young to be a reliable witness in court. And divorce can be granted for several reasons. Incest is not. One of them. He played basketball with the child’s Dr. He was a well educated respected man in the community. How to obtain “evidence” for the courts was a challenge. He told everyone that I was making it all up. It was a living nightmare but we made it through somehow. The courts finally removed his parental rights and he left the state. It is now 20 years later and I am still very proud of KT. She is confident, proud, beautiful with wisdom beyond her years. I just wanted to share in case someone needed to know. It is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. But the system does work sometimes

  90. Rhonda,
    That’s so fantastic that you kept fighting to protect your daughter–exactly what a mother should do. It’s not easy going through the court system. I’ve heard some real horror stories, but I’m so glad you finally won. I’m glad your daughter is doing well. Thank you for sharing your story.

  91. Hi Christina!

    Thank you so so much for your story. The ugly truth heals!! The Lord has just recently opened my eyes in a huge way about my own sexual abuse. I am 30 years old now. I have been subjected to it for 15 years. I just recently wrote my story and would love to send it to you for you to read. I really want to expand on my story. Writing is helping me so much to understand myself better. It was, actually, a perversion within a “ministry” that I came to grips with the fact that all I need is Christ!! I do not need a church or a high priest or anything else to access His throne…All I need is Christ! I was so afraid to tell anyone but I confided in my sister in law and she encouraged me to go through the proper channels to expose this sexual predator. The Lord really sustained me in it all. The man eventually confessed to it ALL and his ministry (that targeted women) has been shut down completely. I am so amazed at how the Lord shed light on the dark places.
    I was convinced that all I can do to really move on and heal is tell my story and lay it down at my Lord’s feet. Matthew 18 teaches us that if a brother is offended that he goes to his brother and tells his offense. That is all I can do….I cannot make someone apologize, repent, or even acknowledge that they have hurt me. God sees everything. So that is what I do now…tell my story and lay it down. By telling my story someone else may be listening and find courage to come forth, as well.
    How can I send you my story? It is about 4 or 5 pages long. I really would love to share it with you.
    Thank you so much!
    Hang in there….people who speak harshly to you about things of the past simply do not understand.

  92. Hello Christina, Thank you for your story. There are many things I don’t understand about families and I have been reading these posts with tears. It is so sad. I am not sure whether something happened to me when I was a child but there was a male family member that I was scared of in a sexual way and I always felt unsafe and suspicious that I would not be safe sexually if left alone with him. Anyway, I am worried about my boyfriend. I have a 4 year old daughter from a marriage that ended due to fairly normal reasons. (my ex husband would never harm our child). My boyfriend is a very sexual man that has appeared to have been unlucky in love. He works very hard and is a high achiever. When he was single he was into pornography as a lot of men are (possibly still is as we don’t live together) and when we are out together, I notice him looking at women of all ages – which is something I don’t like but he doesn’t exactly leer at them and although my ex husband didn’t do that, it takes getting used to – besides, I suppose its something a lot of men do?? Anyway, He gets on very well with my daughter. She enjoys being tickled and most 4 year old play, she is a fun child to be around. One day I heard the 2 of them playing in the lounge – I was in the kitchen. I went through to ask a question about dinner and I noticed that he had an erection – I am pretty sure it was a full erection. I was stunned and I didn’t say anything. I have heard that sometimes men can be stimulated through play but they should quickly stop the play and realise for next time that they should not allow themselves to become stimulated in that way. But with a 4 year old girl??? I think there was another occasion where I thought he had an erection but again I did not say anything. He has a great sense of humour but sometimes if my daughter is playing and doing gymnastics he will say things to me like, ‘mmmmm, thats what I’d like to do to you’! obviously referring to sexual acts. We are not prudes as we have both had sex before so I don’t pretend I don’t know what he is talking about. I just think that should be far from his mind if my 4 year old is dancing/playing. Does it mean he is thinking of her in a sexual way?? my daughter is aware of correct and incorrect touching as I have taught her from early on about the privacy of her body without frightening her of course so I am sure she would tell me if he did something wrong. but a sly grope here and a fondle there may not be noticed particularly if she is being tickled perhaps???? I don’t think any touching has happened and I will not hang around to see if that is the next stage. I watch him like a hawk and I am just not sure about him at times. I feel that something is not right with him but I really don’t know whether that is something sexually or whether is is just the newness of being in a fairly new relationship. We have been together a year and generally it looks good -he wants to marry me and has been hinting that he will propose at Christmas this year. I am happy but I am also worried because of this situation. He has 2 sons that he gets along with (they are in their teens) and he has not had contact with little girls before as there are many boys in his family and his friends have sons too some of which I have met. This is new for him but I don’t want to discover too late that it is something new and sexually stimulating for him. after all, do people KNOW they are molesters or does it just happen by chance then continue from there? I don’t leave him alone with her even though he has offered to babysit as I don’t feel as though that is responsible – we don’t really know people do we? We just know what they allow us to see…I don’t want to lose a good man but of course I would rather live a single life for the rest of my days if that is what I need to do to protect my precious daughter. I’m sorry to burden this page but I am concerned…thank you very much for reading my post.

  93. Can I also add that he likes to take photos of us when we are out which is normal but he takes more of my daughter than me and if she is licking an ice-cream he takes a lot of pics of that…is that strange?? sorry for that addition but it popped into my head afterwards. Thanks again. X

  94. Hi Sheree,
    I can relate to being around someone who makes you feel unsafe. It’s sad that you were exposed to those things that threatened you. I consider that sexual abuse whether or not he actually touched you. It’s damaging to be violated with the sexual feelings of adults when you are a child, especially when the sexual feelings are directed toward you. No child should feel like a target in that way.

    The situation with your daughter doesn’t sound much different from your experience. The interactions between your daughter and your boyfriend sound extremely alarming. Even if she hasn’t actually been touched on her genitals (though it’s very likely that he did that already), she’s already been sexually abused if your boyfriend was aroused by the play.

    You mention not leaving her alone with him, but since you were in the other room, that was leaving her alone with him. It’s extremely common for abusers to molest right in the same room with other adults without the child reacting at all and without anyone suspecting anything. That makes it very hard for the child to trust that telling would accomplish anything since the act of doing it right under other’s noses tells the child that people won’t believe that it happened. That enforces the abuser’s power over the child.

    You are right in thinking that your daughter might not say anything if the touch happened during tickling or if it doesn’t seem like the situations you warned her about. The way that abusers groom their victims (and their victim’s families) is to gain trust and to be able to explain away the “accidental” touch. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard from survivors who were sexually abused during “tickling”. Just as you’ve had these feelings that something isn’t right, yet dismissed those feelings because you weren’t sure, your daughter could be likely to do the same. She may not understand what is happening and even if she does, children don’t always tell for a variety of reasons. Either way, it’s not up to her to protect herself from his sexual violations. Please, please, please get your daughter away from this man. You are suspicious for a reason.

  95. Sheree I agree with Christina it does not sound normal and the fact that you are afraid to leave her alone with him to me shows that your Gut feeling is telling you to get away from him. I for one would not be with him. Your daughter is presious and she cannot keep herself safe at her age. You would not be feeling these things if he was not doing anything to make you feel this way. Follow your instinct.

  96. Cara,
    I read your blog and it’s really great that you’re writing about your experience and sharing it. Writing has been so helpful in my healing process.

    I’m glad you’re finding comfort from the spiritual abuse that was intertwined with your sexual abuse. I was spiritually abused as well and one of the ways that I was spiritually abused was the way I was treated when I talked about my sexual abuse. Unlike you, being told to “put it in God’s hands” and to “lay it at the foot of the cross” was harmful to me and they interrupted my healing process. They took away permission to feel and express my emotions, which was a violation of my boundaries in the same way the sexual abuse was.

    I’m so glad you were supported and encouraged to come forward with your abuse and that you don’t have to live with that secret anymore.

  97. Hi Christina, thank you so much for your reply. Oh my God. I am stunned by what you said about me leaving him alone with her but you are right. I always thought that leaving her alone would mean I was out of the building and away for some time….I am really scared. I dont know how to approach the situation. I feel terrible. I can’t believe I have been such a neglectful mother to not even realise that he may have even touched her already. I thought I was so vigilant and protective. I just wanted us to find someone to ‘complete’ our family and live a happy life. Things aren’t so simple in life are they? Thank you so much for your post. I have some serious thinking to do and action to take. There is no point in asking him anything as he will deny any wrong doing won’t he? Should I tell him I have been concerned about his behaviour or perhaps just end the relationship outright with no explanation? I’m so confused. Sorry for the babbling, I don’t have much experience with men as I was married for 17 years and then I had one short term relationship before meeting my present partner…perhaps I’m easy prey….Thank you again. Thanks to Angela too.

  98. Sheree,
    I know how horrible it feels to discover you’ve neglected your child, but taking action as soon as you realize the danger goes a long way in helping your daughter to feel safe again and in beginning to heal.

    Yes, abusers typically deny it if they are asked and can be extremely convincing. Though my ex admitted to it, he realized he wasn’t in much danger of doing so since he had me so controlled.

    Are you willing to report this to the authorities? I know that you’ve struggled with being certain that abuse is really happening, but if you try to confront him yourself, you may compromise any chance of convicting him. He may already have been reported by someone else and another case may help to prevent this happening to someone else.

    Whether you report him or not, your daughter was wounded by this and needs help so she can heal. By the way, you deserve to heal from the abuse that was perpetrated against you, too. I hope you stick around and join us on this journey.

  99. Christina, I have been reading a lot of these posts and am wondering if I could get some feeback on the situation I am in….. I married my husband in ’97, we own a business together, we have had a very happy marriage… We do not have children, due to me having some medical issues….. In Oct. ’10, i left the house where we shared with my parents. We actually rented their entire basement… To make a long story short my husband was in our livingroom, I had left to go to a poker tournament and he thought he was by himself…. My husband had a terrible issue with pornography and would use it to release himself on many occasions.. Well my 4 yr old neice had snuck downstairs and he was startled when she saw what he was doing. He closed the laptop and went into our bathroom, he said a few mins later he came out and she wanted to play “her games” on the laptop, so he sat on the couch, she sat on his knee and then she played a couple of the games she liked…. During this he admits he exposed himself and had asked her if she wanted to touch him, and she said No, so he said he was overcome with distraught at the fact he would ever ask her such a thing… He then sent her upstairs where she was to be babysat by my mother, and her older brother….. Nothing was said that night, and I heard nothing about it until the next day when my neices’ father, my brother, called threatening if my husband didn’t go to the state police he was going to “blow his head off.”. We did! I took him, he confessed and has been going thru the legal system since… My concerns are; since that very night my husband has not lied about any of this, he has not been on an internet or computer, he burnt all his pornographic tapes, he is sincere in being so sorry, he has attended therapy every 2 weeks since Oct 10, he attends a weekly meeting for internet/sex addictions, he is willing to take whatever punishment is handed to him, but my family is being absolutely relentless ! They keep calling our DA, they are callling all of our customers, they are threatening ti go on news channels, and are still threatening to kill us ! I am, in NO way condoning his behavior!!!! I can’t even imagine how upset my brother and his wife is… None of my family has spoken to me in 14 months because I am still living with my husband. I left for a small amount of time because I needed to really see if he was willing to get help, and honestly since that day he has been! I know most people re-offend, but I guess I am reaching for any input on some who don’t !!! ; ( I believe my husbands issues began when he was a boy, and things are making more sense as he attends therapy, and in no way am i excusing this, but i think he should be given this chance!

  100. Hi April,
    I’m sorry that you’re in such a tough situation. You didn’t say what kind of a chance you think your husband should be given or why your family continues to call the DA or threatens going to the news channels.

    If you think he should be given a chance to be around children again, then I disagree. No matter how much therapy or what kind of help someone who has offended has been through, I don’t think it’s fair to any child to test the success of that treatment. The effects of abuse are too severe to justify any presumed rights an offending adult is thought to have. A child’s right to safety is much more important. However, I don’t think the death threats are at all appropriate or calling your customers unless your business involves working with children. Have you reported their threats and actions?

    Honestly, so many wives and families of offenders swear that their loved one is harmless. The truth is that most of those people are wrong. I hope that you are right about your husband and that he deserves your loyalty.


  101. Christina,
    Thank you for your feeback…. What I meant about him deserving another chance is just the chance to move on with his life-our life, and accept his punishment and continue his therapy. Our business doesn’t involve children at all. We install swimming pools, on a labor aspect… He’s always got people with him, and thru all this he’s had assessments that have showed it isn’t that he is interested in children, it is showing he was so deep into an internet addiction that almost seemed like a drug to him… They even took our laptop and there was NOT any child info on it, and in the beginning of this i believe the police thought there would be…. He is definitely not taking this lightly, we discuss it everday, he is finding thru therapy this was done to him as a young child but his mother chose to divorce his dad and ignore what happened to him, his sister and his brother! I am NOT justifying this in anyway, and will put in place the flags I have been taught but I just am holding onto some hope that someone who has a progressive illness who hits rock bottom can get the necessary help and live making up for it for the rest of his life! Thank God he didn’t touch her or threaten her! My parents have been in alcoholics anonymous for over 30 years and I guess in a way I am hoping they get some therapy and can see some-NOT ALL- offenders can retrain their thoughts and get to the bottom of their issues and begin to resolve them…

  102. I read your story and in know how you feel…except i am scared to death to have children. If i ever found out that my future husband was molesting my kid after all the pain i had already dealt with from my father. I would lose my mind…STAY STRONG! The worst part about it is being in a relationship with a guy that has an amazing family. He doesn’t understand or want to hear about my pain. SOMETIMES I THINK THAT HE IS A MOLESTER….because he doesn’t want to hear about my past makes me feel like he doesn’t care about people. BY THE WAY FUCK YOUR CHURCH FOR GIVING YOU THE ADVICE TO SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE! GOD DOESN’T WANT INNOCENT KIDS TO BE HURT. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY FIND A NEW CHURCH 🙂 I WISH YOU AND YOUR DAUGHTER SUCCESS IN HEALING <3

  103. Christina,

    Thank you for your story. I just discovered two weeks ago that my husband of 7 years has been molesting my daughter since she was 12. She is now 17. She went to a suicide help website and her identity was traced by her email address and Children’s Services reported it to me. I was in shock and denial…. the stepfather was at times very mean and verbally abusive to me, very controlling, but I always thought he was a good father. I would NEVER have suspected this. To make matters MUCH worse, this man stood by me and my daughter years ago when it was revealed that my older son had abused her. He went through the entire court process with me… seemed unflinchingly supportive…. he went to all the counseling sessions with both me and my older son at his rehab facility and my daughter with her counselor. He spoiled my daughter and treated her like a princess. This has been the nightmare of my life… I confronted him and he confessed to me… blaming it on being drunk and having “an altered perception of reality”. He then left the house and I don’t even know where he is. We are pressing charges and my poor daughter has been through a nightmare of tests, exams, and statements. I am in a fog of horror. I myself have been suicidal over the trauma of this , but I know I must help my daughter. I feel so much guilt at not having been able to see any of this… but I truly was totally blindsided. He was a master manipulator, and I trusted him completely. Your story has given me a little comfort that I am not entirely alone and that I can somehow get myself and my daughter through this and that we can eventually heal. Thank you.

  104. June,
    I’m glad you’re standing with your daughter. It will make it so much easier for her to work through this with your support and stability. The best thing I ever did to help Bethany was to work on my own healing.

  105. Marie,
    Yikes! You suspect the man you’re with is a molester? He doesn’t want to listen to your pain? He doesn’t seem to care about other people? Is that someone you want to build a life with? You deserve better.

    Yes, I left that church years ago. I found out that they have a long history of covering for abusers and my husband and I are working to stop them. The pastors only care about building a large organization since they love power, so innocent children don’t matter to them. They need to be stopped.

  106. I’ll say this, you handled it better than my mother. When I told my mother her husband molested me throughout my childhood she called me a lying slut. She didn’t believe me then and still doesn’t to this day. I was 15 then and that was the end of our relationship. She stayed with her husband and I was adopted by my grandparents. I still wonder if she is just in denial. She always seemed to have an excuse for him. He got a 13 year old girl pregnant with his first child when he was 18, my mother claimed he didn’t know how old the girl was. Shortly after my mother and her husband got married he was arrested for molesting his first child (it was also around this time that he started molesting me). There wasn’t enough evidence to put him away and of course she defended him the whole time claiming that his ex was just psychotic and jealous and had put their daughter up to it. Then when I was 10 or 11 he molested my bestfriend during a sleep over and my mother just like blocked the whole event out and claimed it never happened.My biological father said she mentioned being molested once when they’d dated, I’d be interested to know the answer to that to see if that is why she allowed me to be put in harms way.

  107. Jessica K,
    That’s so horrible that your mother betrayed you like that! No matter if she was sexual abused or not, you deserved to be protected and supported and she failed you. Prior abuse is no excuse for failing her daughter. I tried to understand how my parents could do the things they did to me by understanding their pasts, but in the end, found that it didn’t really help me. I wrote about it here:

    What did help me was in putting the responsibility on my parents and facing the anger and the pain. That’s what helped Bethany too. As long as Bethany made excuses for my negligence, she was stuck with all of it. That didn’t mean she needed to stay mad at me forever. She moved through that and we built a new relationship.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  108. Christina, I feel like I am in the same boat. I’ve never experienced molestation myself, so I don’t know what it feel like to go through that. I very sorry you and your daughter had to go through that. Your story has hit home with me because I think our stories are simular. Only thing, my husband won’t admit to it. He is so nice and just doing everything I want him to do since I found out. He doesnt get upset about anything. I see the guilt written all over his face. He use to go off if something wasn’t right around here, he thought he’d never get caught and would always have the upper hand.

    Like I said, your story hit home with me and I know I don’t want to go through that with my daughter. Thank God she forgave you and is willing to work on recovering with you.

    I thank you for your story Christina and it help me completely decide what to do. I have to get my child the help she need and move on with my life without him

  109. Kattie,
    I’m glad that you decided to get your daughter to safety. There’s no safety with a child molester. I wish you and your daughter well and hope that you can find her the healing help she needs.

  110. I was molested by my stepfather when I was 10. It was horrible. I cried every night. At first my mom was supportive but she quickly changed. She told me I had to testify in court that I had made up the whole abuse because I was mad at him and if I didn’t we would lose our home. Suddenly money became more important. I loved her so much that I lied. He came to live with us after being released from jail. The abuse coninued. She told me that he was really sorry for what he did and that God wants us to forgive. That all the sexual abuse was a test from God that I had to endure in order to go to heaven. After a suicidal attempt by me she finally left him when I was 17. It has been many years and she has still no remorse for ruining my life. I have scars that I have to live with while she lives her life free from pain. She told all my family that I was a big liar and being so sweet spoken, believed her. I am so proud of you for being a good mom and taking responsibility, I wish my mom would show me that kind of love, I would forgive her even today. Her denial hurts more than the abuse.

  111. This is for Gena, It always makes me so sad to hear that one more child has gone through this heart breaking and life scaring situation. I can’t help but wonder how different a person I would be today if my father had kept his sick desires to himself. Would I have made other choices in my life? I know the answer in my heart and to both the answer is yes. I agree with you that a mother’s betrail is more painful than the emotional pain of being molested and raped. My mother, whom I rather call Joanne hurt me more and continues to hurt me by doing nothing. She calls me liar and sleeps with the man she knows molested and raped her daughter. Unlike you I will never forgive my mother. I could have if she had done the right thing when as a child I told her or later at 27 after years of therapy when I cried in her arms and told her again. I know that she has her demons to live with. I know she is herself a victim but I need for my own mental health to step as far from her as possible. Be strong. Your life is important. Your story is important. Trying to forgive the unforgivable only hurt me. I send you good positive thoughts and wishes for in this pain you are my sister.

  112. I was molested by my father for 10years. I recently have a niece and am worried about her safety which I questioned with my mother yesterday. She replied he made a mistake when he molested me. I had thought up until this point she understood and was on my side. I feel so betrayed not only by my abuser but just as equally by my mother. Everyone on this site seems so strong, my best coping mechanism is alcohol.

  113. Gena,
    That’s heartbreaking what your mother did to you! It’s so horrible to be treated like nothing. I hope you know you deserve much better now and are giving yourself the love you didn’t get from your mother.

  114. Desuza,
    I can understand being so hurt by your mother’s response! What your father did to you was no “mistake” as though it was something he didn’t mean to do. I’m glad you found us. I hope you stick around and heal along side of us. You deserve a healed life!

  115. Desuza,
    We are strong and so are you. Drugs and alcohol are escapes that only lead us to be victims again and again. Even if you have no one on your side, you have yourself. You are important. You are worth standing up for. Anyone that doesn’t support you, has just helped you by dropping their mask. What happened to you was not a mistake. It was a horrible crime. Alcohol is a dangerous escape because it’s not. It will trap you. I know because I was drunk for almost eleven years of my life. I pretended nothing happened and that I had a great childhood. I couldn’t stop feeling like I was trash and that everyone was better than me. I found a great partner and I haven’t had a drink in almost two years. I faced it all. It still hurts , but I can live a good life. I will never speak to my mother again. And I am better for that. My heart goes out to you.

  116. Thank you so much for your replies. You have no idea how much your kind words have helped me. My mum made her comment on the day I posted my original message. She has not been in touch since. I am going through a very difficult moment as I thought she was the only person who understood and cared. Thank you I am still here and fighting. Will keep you updated on what happens. Again thank you I have read the replies so many times over, it really helps xx

  117. Christina, My heart goes out to you and Bethany! But it appears you both are turning all those horrible experiences into something positive. I have gained a lot of hope from your blogs and judging by all the comments you received on just this blog you have helped many, many people. You both are an inspiration to me. After being sexually abused for at least 12 years of my childhood sometimes weekly, sometimes daily, your blogs are ended my life at just the right time corresponding with my therapy and where I am now. Thank you and please keep up the great work you are doing for all of us!

  118. I meant “entered my life”. Auto speller is sometimes a real pain!

  119. C – thanks for sharing your story about bethany. Must be hard to write that about your own daughter. Shows how far you have come to just even be able to put all that in writing. Shows that you are not going to let the past define you and that you have worked through a ton of stuff.

    Only one person that i have shared with ever told me that “this is going to be a long, hard, painful journey” – my heart was frozen for 40 years. It has been thawing for the last 8. The depth of pain is at times excruciating. the loss of my family, my innocence, my childhood, my trust in my family has been devastating for me. Those i trusted are the ones that hurt me the most and i had no one to turn to for help or support. i just kept it all inside. Now its all coming to the surface. I cry every day from the abuse but never once have i ever thought about abusing someone else. No matter how much i hurt and suffer I never would hurt anyone else because i know how wrong it is and how much pain it has caused in my own life. Stopping the cycle of abuse is incredibly hard when there is very little support or people to turn to for help. I cant find men who are working through this issue to talk to about it. I know there are blogs and websites but i am trying to find someone i can actually sit down and have a conversation with. I have come up empty. I am glad you have managed to maintain a relationship with your daughter and that you are working together to get thru all the crap. You did the best you could christina. you were broken and you were in survival mode like we all were at that time. You sought wise counsel – unfortunately the counsel you got was wrong. I think that for those of us who have been abused the best counsel comes from others that have been through what we have been through and either have healed from it or are in the healing process and can share their own experiences. I have found that only people that have been through what i have been through can really relate and can really speak into my situation. My pastors dont understand. my friends dont understand. My family (non abusers) dont understand. the only people that understand are people like you and bethany and a couple of others i have found who are working on their issues.

    I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said “as long as i put my issues aside so i could put my daughter first, i still acted out of my own brokenness.” – for years i put everyone else first and i still struggle with that. I have really struggled to not try and help others, in which i put my stuff aside and focused on others. Much easier to focus on helping others than deal with my own pain and brokenness. I am just now really realizing that i cannot really help anyone else until i heal myself. Its a pattern i fall back into easily and has been hard to break. I see that in all areas of our society – almost everyone we know that has kids, put their children first so they avoid working on their own issues (not necessarily abuse but just issues in general) – we dont want to take the time to heal and get better (not you and I but society as a whole). I have found that people dont want to face their pain. they run from it. they dont want to talk about it. I am totally the opposite. I face it, i deal with it, I overcome it, i work through it every single day. Its the hardest work i have ever done but i see it as the way to get back my life and have a future that maybe one day will not be defined by my past and my pain from being abused. Thanks for sharing !



  120. Dear Dave,
    Check out Your not alone. There many men that have been abused and are healing. Male or female we are one family.
    Best regards,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  121. So much of what you said rings true for me, I don’t have any children, but I know that many of the choices I have made in my life are directly a result of the abuse I suffers as a child. Thank you for sharing.

  122. By you sharing your story, you show two things. One, that when you yourself haven’t confronted your own abuse you pass it on due to your lack of own personal truths. And two, you can change the pattern.

    In seeing your errors or denial allows you to then act consciously.

    Thanks for sharing. And it is never too late to do the right thing.


  123. Ashley – thank you. I have begun to check out that website just recently.I need more than just an internet site. i need face to face interaction. I need a support group that doesnt consist of a bunch of people that are just names on a screen. Its too impersonal for me.

    My mother betrayed me too Ashley. She accused me of ruining her marriage and lied to people and said i caused all the problems in her marriage. my mother is a pathological liar and a narcissistic psychopath who should have been institutionalized a long time ago. I cut off all ties with her about 7 years ago. Best decision i have ever made. She would have completely ruined my life if i had not done that. She destroyed our family unit. She ruined our family and my sisters life and ruined my childhood. I have learned that i cannot have relationship with anyone that has not either worked on their issues or at least is in the process of working on them. Otherwise its just not healthy.



  124. Hi Dave,
    Thank you for your reply. Your a sweet guy and a kindred spirit.
    The best thing I ever did besides facing my childhood abuse and later rape was closing the door on my relationship with my mother. Sadly not every mother is like Christina.
    I understand what you said about the need for real people to look at and interact with. For some of us it takes awhile to be able to talk about the abuse with anyone other than our therapist. I’m glad you’ve taken those steps already. Your also right about relationships. It’s pointless to try with someone that doesn’t understand or is still not working on their issues. Keep an open heart. Sadly there are so many of us out there.
    For me keeping myself from falling back into fantasy and denial is the big ticket. I wish I had parents that loved me the right way. I wish my childhood was what I pretended it was. So therapy is very important for me. I get depressed when facing it all and I think about alcohol,drugs and the stranger drunks I slept with when I felt worthless. Only to put away those memories with the memories of my fathers abuse and my mother part in it, but I work through it and I cry and then I can face another month or week or day. It gets better for me but like an alcoholic it’s on going.
    I hope you have a good therapist. If so ask then to recommend a group. Know that your not alone. Many blessings.
    Best regards,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  125. Ashley – thank you so much for your response. I did therapy for 15 years. I connect way better with people like you and christina who have been through what i have been through and can relate on a deep level to what i am going through and dealing with. Therapists never share their story so its all one sided. You pour out your heart to them and they sit and listen and offer advice. I never really felt deeply connected to any therapist the way i have felt connected here.

    I cry every day Ashley. I have cried for years and years. I am grieving what i never had and what i had to deal with as a child. I am grieving my lost childhood and all the brokenness and pain that it has caused me. Acceptance of what happened has been a key to my recovery. I finally accepted that i had terrible parents who were very abusive and that i had a lousy family with no support and no one to turn to for help. Once i fully accepted that i was able to let go of all those wishes and dreams of having a good family who loved me instead of an abusive one who broke my heart and then betrayed me in the end.

    There are no groups here where we live. I searched for 2 years. Neither male survivor or Rainn has any groups in my area. I know i am not alone. Sadly there are way too many of us going through this to ever feel alone.

    I am looking into going to a trauma recovery treatment program that i would like to give you information about but i dont want to post it here. I dont want to post something on here about a program without Christina’s consent. I am proud of you for the work you are doing. You are so worth it Ashley. – you deserve to get better. You deserve a good life after all that you have been through. You will make it ! We will stand with you and support you as you continue to recover.

    You can email me at and i will give you info about the trauma recovery program. I have a phone interview with them tomorrow.

    hugs and blessings,


  126. Ashley,
    My heart goes out to you I was abused and my mom let it happened she also brained washed my son. I let go of my family over 10 years ago. I have come to accept like Christina that I did not have a loving family and will never so I had to make my own family. I was adopted and did find my birth mom she never wanted kids and never had any more. She and I are not real close but I am glad I did find her. My prayers are with you and please know your not alone and you can contact me any time. I once of my pages about how I was abused if you choose to visit me. Hugs to you. Angela..

  127. Hi Angela,
    Thank you so much for your reply and for sharing some of your story. I’m glad you found your birth mother. Sadly my abusers were my biological parents. You can feel some comfort I hope in knowing you were biologically different. I hate that I carry their blood and their genes. My partner wants children some day, but I fear seeing Joanne or Chaz in them somehow. I hope there will be so much more of the two of us.
    I’m sorry to hear that your mother brain washed your son. I hope the two of you can work through that.
    Sooner or later the truth will get though. My mother worked hard on my little brother,Cy, to make him believe that I was a liar and that I was being controlled by my partner into saying those horrible things about Chaz, my father.
    It worked for a little bit then Cy and Tiffany, his wife came to visit us and met Morgan. My brother and I spent some time together and talked. I told him everything. Lots of things fell into place for him. We were very close until I turned 13. Now we’re close again. My mother’s lies didn’t work. He and his wife, whom I love more than my own sister have nothing to do with my parents. They closed that door to. For me it’s wonderful to have some family left. I also have good friends that have become my family members. My in laws are very loving and treat me like their own daughter.
    So many people I know have been abused by a family member. We are never alone.
    Thank you for reaching out.

  128. The abuse started at the age of 8 by my step father, well my mom’s boyfriend he gained her trust and mine. She worked all the time and i was already dealing with abandment issues because of my real father. I looked at him as a father figure he drove a race car he seemed like a cool guy. Then he moved in and he molasted me for the next 8 years,,at first i did not know how i should react to it i mean i kinda knew it was not right but at age 8 I really did not know what to do,,at age ten i started drinking because by this time i knew this was anything but normal. The abuse got worse as did my drinking by 13 i was addicted to drinking and attempted suicide for the first time. It seemed the only way out he said if i told anyone he would kill me which i was willing to do that myself at this point so i said do it,,he said i will kill your mom then.. By 15 I was cutting myself everyday had a shotgun pointed at face for trying to open up to someone, i had to jump out of a moving car on a graval road.. I was fed up had attepted suicide twice and both times I lived through it. At 16 i knew what had to be done I had to kill him before he killed me. At 4am my mom would leave for work at which point if he was going to molast me that night he would come in at that time and since it had not happened in awhile i expectet i had a rock that was about 5 pounds on my headborad so when he came to hurt me I waited for my chance then I smashed the rock into the top of his skull as hard as i could 3 times i hit him, blood squarted to the celing and i was coved in his blood smiling i turned the light on to see what i had done. He layed there not moving blood gushing from his open head wound I thought i had killed him. I left skipped school and went to a near by creek, to hide out..Turns out he was not dead just knocked out and fucked up, i realized i could be violent to protect myself and i could fight tooth and nail,,his threat of killing me was as emptiy as his heart I never got molasted after that I would use anything as a weapon to protect myself an unopened dr pepper made a good weapon. Then when he tryed i would use my fist and I truly could beat the shit out of him and he was twice my size but he did not have 1% of the rage I had. He left my mom after that, since then i learned he had molasted atleast 2 kids before me and atleast one after me. I was too weak to tell anyone and because of that another kid got hurt and that is harder to deal with then the abuse itself, I am in therapy and on meds. I have attempted suicide more times then i can count I think its 7 but possably 8. I got addicted to pain pills and i smoked weed everyday from 15 to 22 I am 28 now and been drug free for 2 years well mostly,,my mom still has no idea and i can not open up to her about because she would blame herself.

  129. Dear Justin,
    I wish I had been as strong and as brave as you were. You fought back. My father destroyed me by telling me that no one would believe me, that the whole family and everyone that knew us would hate me and blame me. You see it was all my fault. I brought out those feelings in him and he couldn’t help it. When I talked to my mother the first time she told me he was a good man and that we needed him to stay and not leave us. We would loose our home and the family would be split up. “Make him happy “.
    I understand your fear for your Mom and for your safety. Abusers know how to play us. That’s how they get away with so much.
    We are so many. I was thinking that a child or teenager today has the same lack of solutions or options for safety from a sexually abusive parent as when I needed help eleven years ago. If the child reports it they end up in foster care or juvenile detention. Does anyone know any other options if you don’t have a relative that can step up? I became an anorexic and the attendtion from doctors and my high school kept Chaz away from me. Fear that I would tell someone saved me for awhile. I did everything possible to look unatractive. My mother made sure that I was not able to tell anyone. Even the therapist was not to talk to me without her being right there looking at me. I was wondering with so many of us knowing first hand what this is like could we put our heads together and some how come up with an option that would really save some children from what we all carry within. Maybe a foundation ,or place,or program . I know I would feel better helping a child break free from what I could not save myself from.
    Justin, you are brave and strong. Use that always and feel proud that you fought back were so many of us have not been able. One of the hardest things is the questions of why didn’t I fight back? Why didn’t I just say No! The answer is fear.
    Best regards,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  130. Thank you Ashley I am glad you made a family for yourself friends make the best family. Justin Congrads on being clean for 2 years it is wonderful I used alcohol and drugs myself. I stopped and got clean and sober a little older then you are not I was 30 when I stopped drinking and using drugs. I hated who I was and wanted to die and tried to kill myself many times. Now I am 47 have not drink or used drugs since 1995 when I was 30 I left my ex who was abusive and a drug addict and I changed my life and went into therapy and started to talk about the abuse from childhood. You are brave like Ashley said. Also Ashley your brave also. You both are survivors. Be proud of who you are and know that no matter what you deserve the best in life. Sending you hugs and love and prayers.. Angela..

  131. To everyone who has been abused. If you click on my name it will take you to my story about my childhood I cut myself for years and I raged for years, I drank and drugged because I did not like who I am I became an alcoholic and I continued those actions until I was 30 years old. At 30 the pain inside of me hurt so bad I finally saw how I was killing myself because I hid the feelings inside of me. I then reached out and got help not just for drinking and drugs but got help to walk through the feelings, the pain I had inside of me from the abuse in childhood and spousal abuse. I marred and was abused and my ex almost killed me. I did not want to be me. Knowing my mom allowed me to be abused by a man who took me everywhere he started it when I was under 5 years old so it was normal to me. He did not do it with anger or violence so as I got older I felt it was normal and it became like an addiction hard to explain but I felt I loved him and wanted to be with him it went on until I was 17 years old. When I found a boy friend then it all hit me being with my boy friend and putting everything together I saw how bad it was. I hated myself as a child and new it was wrong but I never told anyone cause as I said I felt it was normal but at 14 I new it was wrong but felt I had to be with him. It was a sick situation any way I wrote about it and wrote about recovery how I got through it. My heart goes out to everyone who has been abused. It is not your fault it is the abusers fault. It is late and see I am tired so I will end here. But please know your not alone and it is not your fault you deserve the best in life. Today I am marred to a loving man today I am clean and sober over 16 years and today I love myself. I try to live life to the fullest.
    Hugs Angela

  132. Wow, Angela. 16 years clean is awesome. I’ve been sober and clean now for a little under two years. It feels good to hear that you’ve made it this long. I know I will never go back to the life I had. I don’t need to. I have my soul mate and I no longer carry those dark secrets that shamed me into hating myself. We have our struggles with money and life isn’t easy at times, but I never feel like I use to. I’m still in therapy and may be for a very long time. To Dave, my therapist does share. In fact she knows first hand and personal because she was abused herself. Find the right therapist for you. Ask questions. Therapist are human beings with different life experiences and different views on life and people. Find one that fits you. Interview them. Also talk to your partner and reach out to them. I know that mine is the rock I lean on in hard times and the arms I rest in when I’m over whelmed and need comfort.
    Blessings and love to all of you.
    Ashley Rathgeber

  133. Wonderful Ashley congrads on your sobriety it is wonderful. You Sound great it is a process recovery from child abuse and alcoholism it all is one day at a time. No one is perfect not even therapists. It is important to find people who you feel comfortable with. Therapist or who ever. Hugsss

  134. thanks for your continual feedback Ashley – i am looking at a trauma recovery program where i will go for two weeks and do nothing but trauma work. I can get away from everything and just focus on the trauma and abuse that occurred and do the work during the day and then rest at night. One or two hours a week just didnt cut it for me. Its not enough. One week of therapy at this place is equal to one year of therapy going for one hour a week. It will be intensive but i think it will be the best thing for me. I have wasted a lot of years going to therapists that were not very helpful. I cant afford to waste any more time searching for the right therapist. I am almost 50 years old and we are trying to adopt a child. I have to deal with this stuff head on. I wish i had known there was a different way than wasting so much time going from one therapist to another, trying to find a good fit and trying to find someone that actually understood what i am going through. I am done with that.

    I applaud you in your sobriety – my sister has been an alcoholic and drug addict for 40 years. she has ruined her life. She has completely wasted it and had two failed marriages all because she choose to be an addict instead of dealing with her issues. I know sobriety is not easy but you can do it Ashley ! I have overcome more than you can possibly imagine. I have been homeless, jobless, sick with a tumor that i thought would kill me, suicidally depressed several different times, been betrayed by my birth family, had most of my friends turn their backs on me during this time and have gotten very little support from the church. but i will make it. I am determined to make it. I am determined to get my life back. Even if no one is around to see me or support me i dont care. I will get my life back. I will endure until i get better. thats why i am going to go to the trauma treatment program so i can speed up the recovery process and restore much of what has been shattered and broken for so long. I still cry every day. I may cry every day for the rest of my life. It doesnt matter. I deal with the pain each day and then move on and go forward. You keep doing the same Ashley. I am praying for you !


  135. Hi Dave,
    Thank you for your kind words and blessings.
    I think it’s awesome that your going to this intensive trauma recovery program. I have a wonderful therapist and I went through a very intensive six day a week five hours a day treatment for two months before going back to twice weekly therapy with my therapist. It took me years to find the right therapist. To be honest some of it may have been me. I just wasn’t ready to face the truth about what happened to me and what I turned my life into in response. I became a superber liar, an alcoholic, drug user and lets face it, I was the drunk girl at the bar waiting to be picked up by any sadistic, brutal alcoholic or drug addict that wanted to get laid. I had to lie about that to everyone and mostly to myself. I found terrible people to call my friends. So I wasn’t in a state to be openly and honestly looking for real help. I wanted my problems to go away, but I didn’t want to face the truth. I still went home for the holidays every year. I still thought my mother and I were close. I feared my father and just sound of anger in his voice made me panic. The last call I ever got from my big sister was about how I needed to call my father because he was so pissed off at me about a creditor calling him. I was 27 and living across the country. Yet fear cut through me like a cold knife. Dave, I went to a lot of therapists. Some were garbage hacks and others were good. I just wasn’t ready.
    You sound like you are. Don’t leave the truma program even if you want to. The angrier you get, the more upset you get…. Remember me and stay because that my friend is when it’s working. That’s when everything is coming up and out. A lot of times sadly there is more we have to face.
    My prayers and thoughts will be with you. Be brave. Also talk to your partner. Let’s us all know how you are doing.
    Best regards and lots of love,
    Ashley Rathgeber
    P.S. Good luck with the adoption!

  136. Ashley – thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. Thank you for sharing so much with me. You have shared more with me than almost anyone else in my entire life. Its very refreshing to have such openness and truth. I really appreciate you sharing so much. Whats so important to me is that you are giving me perspective that is greatly needed. I need perspective from someone else who has been through what i am going through and dealing with. when the trauma treatment center told me that they thought i needed six weeks of therapy i thought they were nuts. I was thinking one week, two at the most. Lo and behold you come out and share that you did intensive therapy for 2 months ! Holy cow. I do have a lot of anger. I grew up deathly afraid of my father too. I hated the sound of his voice. i could not stand it when the phone would ring. i was always afraid it would be him. He was the most angry, hateful man i have ever known. He threatened to kill me and my wife a few times before he died. He threatened to kill a doctor before he died and was on 24 hour watch and put in a psychiatric unit and should never have been let out.

    anyway – fortunately i dont have any self destructive behavior. No drugs. Very little alcohol use. I have overcome my bulimia which i battled with for 11 or 12 years.No prescription drugs other than just an anti depressant and a sleeping pill at night. I have always been pretty up front and honest. I am waiting to hear back as the trauma center has been giving me mixed info on when i can come and how long i would be able to stay. I have the whole job thing and i dont exactly have a lot of $$ growing on the trees in the backyard, It costs $4,000 per week plus i have to provide lodging, food and transportation. I am in a state of flux. I want to go and feel like i am ready to go. How do you do want you want to do but you dont see a way to get there ? I am struggling in my relationship too. My wife is not working on her issues. She has a lot of anger from being verbally abused by her father and she was date raped in college which she told me she worked through before we got married. But there is still a LOT of anger there and it is coming out directed at me when its not warranted. She is a burned out special ed teacher and now realizes she cant save all the needy kids. she cant even teach them. All she does is behavior management. I have asked her for the past year and a half to get some help and go see a counselor but she wont. She denies that she is angry and frustrated. I live with it every day. Its affecting my recovery. I was sincere when i took my vows 10 years ago. I have been faithful but i am in a lot of pain and it looks like may not be able to get into the trauma center until late july or early august. thats a long time to wait. At first they told me they had openings in May but now i am getting pushed back for at least a couple of more months it looks like. I would appreciate you keeping in touch even if its just on here. I need support. I have no family besides my wife and i have very few friends left. Thanks again for sharing so much. I really, truly appreciate it. Thanks for your prayers – i need them !



  137. Dear Dave,
    How long have you been living with the pain of your abusive childhood? How long my friend have you been trying to find that special therapist or therapy that will take away the hurt,the pain and the broken feelings? I know it’s hard, but if you really believe this truma program will help you then you will stand strong and wait a month or two to get in.
    Dave please know that no matter how hard this program is it will not be magic. You’ll still have on going work to do. You will still need a therapist at the end of the day to help reinforce the steps you take there. You and your wife need couples therapy. Even if just to have a mediator between you. You both have a lot to work out before you think about adoption.
    Dave, sadly there is no magic pill, therapy that will make it go away in two weeks, or two months. It took me two months two face that my father abused me then raped me , or that my mother knew and even set me up.
    What are you expecting is going to happen in this program? What do you think you’ll be like when it’s over? There is no cure. Like a drug addict or alcoholic recovery is on going. It gets better but you will always be you. Your past will not change. Only how you live with it. How you keep yourself from passing it on.
    Anger is good when it keeps you strong. Self pity is not. Attacking yourself or others is not. Your wife needs your support as you need hers. My partner was abused also. It has helped us to share. My therapist was abused and shares during sessions. You said your wife is burnt out. Work together to help each other. Dave you have a partner. One that must understand the pain. Don’t let your marriage fall apart. Even if it means demanding that you both see a therapist for individual therapy and couples therapy. Once there pour out your feelings. Talk about the anger. Talk and talk. Be the proactive one. If you meant your vows then fight to mean it still and now.
    You have me as a friend, but I’m not the only one. There is a large group here. Reach out your not alone.
    Love, Ashley

  138. This past Christmas my 22 year old daughter in anger blurted out that my former common-law husband and father of my two youngest children, had raped her when she was 11 years old. She said it as before I even met him and that she had been afraid to tell me because his sister had threatened to kill her if she said bad things about him. I do remember when I first met him she tried to tell me something about him but was afraid of his sister. I chose at that time to no pressure her to tell me as I was in my addiction and didn’t want to deal with anymore drama. I like you as emotionally unavailable for her, and having trouble dealing with my own incest and sexual abuse issues. I went into the relationship with this man and had two more children who are no 7 and 9. After my older daughters disclosure, and being 6 years clean and sober and having spent lots of time healing and dealing with my past, I was able to deal with her much more effectively and keep my younger daughter safe. I immediately made an appointment for my 7 year old to see a children’s sexual abuse specialist who claims that she is fine and has not been harmed if touched at all.
    This past weekend however I discovered that there has been an investigation going on around him and that he is wanted on a Province wide warrant for Sexual Assault x4, Sexual Interference x2 and Gross Indecency x2. I was blown away, yet my heart tells me that this is true. My children are devastated, and my oldest is considering giving her statement as well. I am struggling with having empathy for him and hating him at the same time. I know what his childhood was like and he himself was a victim of severe sexual abuse, yet I was to and I am not a pedophile or rapist, so I know that is no excuse for what he has done. I find myself angry because I am my mother, the person I so swore I would never be. I didn’t listen to my child when she was 11, I did nothing. I know that I am there for all my children in a totally different way now than I was in the past, I know I need to forgive myself for not being able to put them first back then.
    So now I sit and wait to go through this court process with my child, and unlike my mother, I will be with her. I will support her because I love and understand her. I know how the court system works as I did manage to charge my father. I just so didn’t want this for her, or for my little two to have to live without a father in their life.
    Thank you for sharing your story with me, it is nice to know I am not totally evil or bad, that I was just broken and that the me I am now can and will do all I can for my children today and in the future.

  139. Pamela,
    I’m glad you’re healing and are able to be there for your children now. Thank you for sharing your story.

  140. Ashley – thank you from the bottom of my heart for your feedback. You have thrown me a life vest when i am sinking. the trauma program with not accept me until i do more intensive trauma treatment with a local therapist so i am trying to find one. I contacted two last week and one was full and the other hasnt responded yet. I may be able to go to the trauma treatment program in the fall but they will not accept me right now.

    i hear you ashley – i dont take my anger out on my wife (or my dog). I just bought a punching bag that i can use to work on my anger in a healthy way. I have been living with the pain for over 40 years Ashley. I had no one to turn to. when i have turned to men for support by and large its been a disaster. I am trying to find a survivors support group that i can attend in person. I know there isnt a magic pill. I just need a place where i can talk about my feelings with someone that can help me process the hurt and pain and anger. I need to find someone i can trust. Someone like you 🙂 We are also starting to look into couples therapy.

    You are a very strong and courageous woman. I applaud you for all the work that you have done and for the support you are providing on here. its very much needed and very helpful. You are not what you did. You are a wonderful loving and caring person and you are not defined by your past. You have tremendous insight and wisdom which i greatly value and appreciate. Please keep sharing Ashley – i really need to hear what you have to say. You are such a blessing !



  141. Hello Dave,
    Thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry that you can’t get into the truma program as soon as you wanted to. I am amazed and very proud of you in that your taking it very well. The punching bag idea is wonderful. I have been looking to buy one off of Craigslist myself. They can be rather pricey.

    Since I had not heard a peep I thought I had upset you with the honest things I said to you last. They were not meant to be hurtful. I’m glad you and your wife are seeking couples therapy. Empathy towards each others pain and understanding will help you both.
    Dave, keep in mind that you are the one choosing your therapist. Interview and ask questions. You need an understanding therapist that is strong enough to play a one up roll and not back down. You need to make a real commitment to stay at it no matter how painful or confrontational the therapy gets. My friend, just so you know… it hurts. It means reliving some of the most painful things from your past. It will feel like it’s happening now.
    I do care and I will be here if you need to talk. Be strong and be strong enough to expose everything.
    Love ,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  142. Thanks Ashley !!! The punching bag i bought has a bottom weighted stand that you put water or sand in to keep it from tipping over. Its basically on a pedestal with a small bag at the top. Its the type of bag that is normally called a speed bag that you see fighters use to rapid fire punch only its on a stand. I am setting it up in the basement. You dont need a full blown bag. Those are very weighty and heavy – unless you want something that you can kick also, then that one might be worth a try but you have to hang it from something or have a big stand to hook it up to which can be cumbersome. Mine is an “everlast reflex bag” The stand allows you to change the height of the bag up to 5 feet. I got it at dicks sporting goods for $69.

    You didnt upset me. I trust you immensely. I know you speak from your heart and i take your words and comments to heart. I know you have my best interest at heart so i read everything you say and process it slowly. Last week was my first week back to full time work so it was very busy and i didnt have as much time as i had the last two months to focus on recovery. You are such a blessing !



  143. Ashley – i dont think i have said yet how very sorry i am for what happened to you. I cant fathom how someone can do that to another person let alone their own flesh and blood. I am so glad you survived and that you are getting better. I am so PROUD of you Ashley for hanging in there and not giving up and for all of the encouragement and support you provide. You stopped drinking two years ago and i stopped being bulimic about the same time after about 11 or 12 years so we both have milestones that we have accomplished overcoming destructive behavior. I dont care anymore that i dont have a family. To me they never were family. Real families dont abuse and neglect their children. I had a man and a woman who i shared a house with who almost ruined my life. i wont even refer to them as a mother and father anymore. They dont deserve to be called that. They did nothing to deserve being called or referred to that way. They were not parents either. they were destructive, abusive and angry people who tore each other to shreds verbally and did the same to me and my sister.

    I am really glad you have a good relationship with your brother. At least you have some family left that you can turn to for support. I promise that if I ever have an issue with something you say or write i will let you know. I wont just disappear !



  144. Hi Dave and everyone,
    I hope all is going well with you. Thank you for your ideas on the punching bag. I already have a hanging stand which I bought pretty cheaply all most a year ago. I’m still looking for a bag. I’m sure the right one will come. Still looking. 😉
    I don’t know if you or maybe someone else here is feeling the stress and depression of Mother’s day. I know I am. I feel sad that I don’t have the picture perfect Mom from the TV commercials. Mine was a fraud as a mother and a lie in every part of her life. My memory’s aren’t Hallmark materials. So deep inside I long for a loving, caring , sweet mother I could spend mother’s day with, or send flowers and a card to and call on Sunday.
    I thought about how down I’ve been feeling and I think that instead of being depressed because I don’t have a mother I’m going to celebrate life. I’ve had some wonderful people in my life. My mother in law is a peach. We have a dear older friend who had two sons that have passed. I’m going to enjoy the day and make sure they have a great Mother’s Day. I’m even going to look forward someday in the near future to being someone’s Mom.
    So hears to Dave and everyone out there. Keep your head up don’t dispair enjoy the day with those that have been there for you. Give of yourself. Touch the world positively with your actions. Don’t let what happened to you become you. We are not damaged people. We are tempered , wiser and stronger than most. We feel deeper than most. That’s why things hurt so much. Use that empathy to make a change.
    Happy Mother’s Day!
    Love always,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  145. Thank you Ashley for the reminder.

    I have found out through therapy and all these years since I started working on myself back in 1995 that I was a victim but I am not one any more. I have found out that it is up to me how long I allow my past the abuse to destroy my life. Once I got into recovery and talking about the abuse and doing something to help myself then I saw that I was the only person who was holding me back from living a good life. It was not our fault that we were abused but as we get further into recovery then I saw I had to stop allowing it to destroy my life. So for today I don’t allow it to destroy my life. I stay in the day because this way it is easier for me to deal and let go of my past. So for this day I am stronger and I am complete and whole child of the Universe. Mothers Day has not always been my favorite day so I treat it as any other day another gift to wake up and live. So I wish you all a wonderful gift of the day no matter what day it is. This day is your gift it is up to you how you accept and treat your gift. Love and Hugs and prayers to all.
    Hugs Angela..

  146. Thank you so much, Angela.
    Your so right about everyday being a gift from the universe.
    I’m very blessed in my life. I live in beautiful sunny Florida. I have the most wonderful partner in my life.
    My dogs are healthy. My plants are amazing. I have an awesome family of friends and animals.
    Thank you for reminding me of my blessings.
    I’m sending you and everyone else on here lots of positive energy and love.
    Thank you Christina for all that you have done for all of us. For giving us your story and letting us share ours.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you and all good mothers everywhere. I know it’s not easy to always do whats right, but some women manage to right their mistakes and shoulder and face so much for the love of their children.
    Ashley Rathgeber

  147. Thank you Ashley,
    Wishing you and every one who is a Mom Happy Mothers Day..
    Mothers Day is not always a happy time for some of us I know. It is not really my favorite day.
    But I think of it as any other day and knowing that I did my best being a mom even though my son has nothing to do with me and I choose to not have anything to do with him I am learning that we can choose are family we don’t have to be stuck with the family we have. We can choose who we want to allow in our lives today.

    Love and Hugss

  148. Ashley – i missed you the past couple of days. I have been praying for you and hoping that mothers day wolld not be too difficult. I dont connect with people in real life. I cant make connections with people that want to spend time with me. Its been years since i have made a new friend. almost all of our friends have gotten divorced the past two years and we hardly ever see any of them anymore. i am an island. My wife is very busy with school and she will not pursue counseling. She will not pursue anything. she wants to quit teaching and find another job but so far she has not applied for a single job. And we have been talking about it for weeks. I went to see one new therapist last thursday who specializes in trauma and i go see another new one tomorrow. I may just have to go this alone. I dont have any family to support me or care about me. They are all gone. My wife is too afraid of change and doesn’t want to do anything on her own.

    I am sorry you didnt have the best day. Holidays can be such a setup for disappointment especially for those of us who come from abusive home situations. I remember spending many Christmas and thansgiving days alone with no where to go. No invitations so i just stayed home alone or went out to eat by myself. I have spent most of my life in isolation because people dont make any effort to connect with me. Between my job and my home and my wife and dog and my healing work i dont have a lot of time and energy to try and connect with people.

    I am glad you have a good extended family. I wish i had that. I married into a very broken family who has not really acknowledged their issues or dealt with them. Plus almost all of them are far away so we almost never see them.

    I did a lot of anger work today so i am very tired and i see a new therapist tomorrow. I am so thankful you are alive Ashley and i pray for you every day.



  149. Dave I have been reading your posts and see Ashley helping you and I am one who does not like to inter-fear with others when sharing. It is great the work your doing and I just wanted to say I support you it is hard in healing it is a process lots of emotions come when in counseling. I relate with not having support I am with my husband and he is the only support I get except for on line support meaning most of my friends are on line not because I am scared to meet others but because I am ill and don’t get out of the house much. I am pretty much home bound now so it is hard to get out and be so called normal I don’t walk well and I have Lupus. So I do relate about not having a lot of friends. I hope you have a good week just wanted to pop in and say you have support

  150. Hi All,
    Please don’t think that I have forgotten anyone here because I have not been back in a while. It has been through no fault of my own. I keep you in my prayers and thoughts often. I hope you have gotten stronger and are able to face life every day with your head up high. I hope you never sink into denial, that you not hurt yourself or the people that love you because if what happened to you. I hope you reach out to help others and do what you can to protect any child from ever having to live through what we have.
    I wish you peace and love,

  151. i too have a daughter who has been abused by my ex-partner, her father. i ignored the signs thinking they couldn’t be true i couldn’t imagine sexual abuse but now i know. she is only 5 and i saw him with my own eyes abusing her. i have tried to talk to her about the abuse but she has blocked it out and gets agitated if i ask her. the worst thing, for me, is i realise the school she was at knew about it but didn’t tell me. why? i don’t know. the fact that all those parents knew (and they ALL knew) and didn’t tell me is awful. the one good thing that came out of it is i took her out of that school and went to stay with her father and that same night i saw it with my own eyes. she will never see him again, she will NEVER be abused again. i am very depressed and drinking heavily, i pray i will get through this for my daughter, but i think the actions of the school and the parents are unbelievable.

  152. Dear Shereen,
    You are a good loving mother. You stepped up and faced the truth. You took your child out of that school and away from her abuser. You have done more than most mothers do when faced with this horror.
    Do not let depressed pull you under. Get a grip on this situation. Do not hide. Your daughter needs you. Alcohol and drugs are tools of denial. Your daughter needs you now and will need you to deal with this in the future. Get therapy for you both. Stay strong! I wish my mother would have helped me. She is still with my father and she is still enabling him. My father plays Santa for his company’s Christmas pictures. How many innocent children sit on his lap while he gets his kicks touching them? My mother doesn’t care. Your daughter will need you as she gets older. Please be there. What these abusers do changes children. There are groups. You are not alone.
    I was once a little girl full of fear and shame. My father used me sexually and raped me at seventeen. My life could have been different had I had a mother like you.
    I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.
    Best regards always,
    Ashley Rathgeber

  153. This is a general comment. The pain never ends altogether. A few weeks ago I found a card in my mailbox. My aunt whom I have not seen or spoken to in year sent my partner and I a Thanksgiving invitation. She asked us to fly to Maryland and spend the holiday with her family. She also informed us that my parents would be there. The man that molested me and later raped me and his wife who knew and did everything to enable him to have me.
    All the hurt and pain came back. How many times do I have to tell this? Why ?
    My mother keeps getting relatives involved. She writes to me like she doesn’t know why I don’t want anything to do with them. Once again I feel like I want to run away from the truth, but I can’t because if I do I will go back to drinking and living the life in the gutter I lived for much to long.
    The Hoildays can be tough. Stay strong. Make a family out of the people that support you. Care and love yourself. Protect your children. I’m sending out a big hug to all of you.

  154. Hello, I just want to tell my story. Right now I am going through the worst time of my life. I have been married for 9 years, it is my second marriage. When I first married my husband, I had five children and he had three. He told me when we first got married that he used to,play a game with his oldest daughter where they would tickle each other and he would pinch her butt. I really didn’t think much about it, but when I asked his oldest daughter about it she was angry and didn’t want to talk about it. I let it go. After my first year of marriage I beams pregnant, ANSI was so excited to have a baby again! I noticed during this time that my husband started playing the tickling game with my daughter who was six. My daughter seemed to really enjoy it and I thought it was harmless. Then, one evening I was outside in our yard and I saw the light on in our room in the basement. I went over to the window to look through the blinds, I thought it would be funny to knock on the window and scare my husband. I saw my six year old daughter sitting on the bed with her back to me and my husband kneeling on the floor. I wasn’t sure of what I was seeing so I ran into the house and down to the basement. My daughter was walking upstairs and I asked my husband want she had been doing in our room. He told me he was buttoning her pants. I still felt uneasy and confused about it, but I put it in the back of my mind. How could this man that I loved possibly be sexually abusing my little girl? We had a great relationship and it just didn’t seem possible. I just let it go. Fast forward to many many years later. The baby I had been carrying was now born and he was six years old, this was just last year. On the forth of July, 2011, my daughter who was 9 told my older daughter who was 17 that my husband had been touching her inappropriately when I went to work at night. I was so upset and angry. I wanted to go straight to the DCFS and wrote down a plan of what to do. I made this plan because me and the children had also been suffering from emotional abuse. My husband found the plan and confronted me about it. Then he denied sexually abusing my daughter. Then, after asking my daughter about it she said no, that it had not happened and that she had lied. So, I let it go even though I felt uneasy about the whole thing. Now, over a year later I find myself alone. My husband has fled to another country because his daughter went to the police. I didn’t believe her at first and thought she was just trying to ruin our family. I went to visit my husband in the other country with our son, and left my other children with my mother. While I was there, my children confessed abuse to my family who then also called DCFS and the police. Then, they assumes I knew of the abuse and supported it. My ex sister-in-law got a protective order against me and my husband and they took the children away. I came back to the US to fight for my children. I want my children back, even when everyone is against me. I wish I had known or let myself see the abuse, but I was blind. My husband wants me to just leave the children and go live with him and our son in the other country, but I can’t do that. I love my children and know they need me as a part of their lives. I am devastated by everything that is happening. I don’t understand why my husband feels no remorse for the things he has done. I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to help the children to heal. I love my husband, but my children come first in this situation. I need prayers in my behalf to make it through all of this nightmare and recover my babies…

  155. Dear Carrie,
    I will say many prayers for your children. For them I will also pray for you. Your husband shows no remorse because he doesn’t feel any. He will never admit to anything unless cornered by the law. He ran. Don’t you get it?
    Get help for yourself. Find out why it took so much and yet your still going to visit the abuser of your children. He has manipulated you into not seeing the truth. Get help before you fight for your child. Your family is doing what they can to protect them. You closed your eyes and pretended it away.The damage of his abuse will mark your daughters for a very long time. They need protection, therapy and guidance. Seek help.
    I heart goes out to your children. Please do the right thing for them, all of them and yourself.
    Prayer is good, but without the right actions they become just words. Be strong for your children.

  156. I just read your story. I know you posted years ago but you are so courageous for sharing. I just found out a family member of mine was molested by another family member. It sickens me and I was so close to this man my whole life and I never knew. But it makes sense now. I kind of feel like you, in a sense, I feel like I failed my loved one. But you know, you just have to pick up with life and do the best you can now. So sorry you dealt with this as a child and so so sorry it repeated with your daughter. Love to you and yours.

  157. What a brave and amazing person you are. It takes huge strength to work through what you have worked through and even greater strength to speak so openly about it. Bravo to you.


  158. This is one of the reasons that I fear most for my child if I every find someone new. I too was sexually abuse and neglected. around 1 or 2 as well. I didn’t had any power or knew what was done to me. But as I grew a little older I knew I had to protect myself from such things every happening. At age 5 I incounter about three possible sexual molestation from kids my age. one was in the kindergarden bathroom, in class, and relative home. I literally slap and beat them boys when I see them about to touch me inapporpriately or talk to me inappropriately. I never told my teachers or anyone since I felt that I had to rely on myself because the ADULTs can’t do it for me. I was also close to being kipnapped and probably prosituted when I was out all night no cerfew and my parents did even know I was gone. but thank god for my speed. I was a fast girl my age and running was always a hobby for me. It helpe saved me that day.
    sure I was strong but as I grew older I became a good person with a low self-etseem. I was the daughter most parents want. I go to school had good grades, scholarship, and awards come home do homework everyday and go to church. I never ones went to the mall nor hang out with friends my age or do naughty things. But then I became weak with the low self esteem. I tend to just let guys say what they want to me to even not say anything if I been touched by the hair or poked by the tits I also surcome to not loveing myself about my self worth and value. I stop taking care of myself because I didn’t want to be a hit on girl all the time. I did made a lot of bad choices about running away and getting pregnant on my first year of college But I don’t regret some of it otherwise I wouldn’t have the lovers of my like; my two babies. Life is tough and it seem to be getting better for me. I am trying to be a better parents than my parents and seek new knowledge and use it.

    As a mother I am not you and have not lived through what you have with your daughter. So I may not know what your going through. Everyone respond to differently to situations.

    I first I felt very upset and disapointment in you to have already known and let molestation continue. I know how it feels being powerless. I was there as a child seeing my father molest my older sister. I pretended like nothing happen. but I am older now and things change. I just don’t get you that is all unless I lived it. I am sorry but I am not happy with what you did and its also because I am not you so I don’t know. Forgive me. The only thing that you are is brave enough is confess so that other mothers like me may be aware of such things like this ever happening. I thank you for that. I hope that you and your daughter become closer and stronger every day.

  159. no one really understand what an epidemic child molestation really is

  160. Hi Perdido,
    Don’t believe that the world doesn’t realize what a huge epidemic child molestion is. They know. Ask your friends and relatives if they know anyone that was molested as a child. It’s a horrible thing and most people don’t want to talk about it or face it. The pain and damage are lasting. One of the reasons that mother’s do nothing sometimes is because they just don’t want to face the truth. Facing the truth is the first step in healing.
    I know Perdido means lost. Don’t be. Speak up and find help. Tell your story. Let it out. You are not alone.
    Big hug,
    Ashley Rathgeber (Yeah, that’s my real name.)

  161. This is a very helpful testimony, my daughter is 7 she came out with her story with her dad at 6, the DA said not enough evidence to charge, but dss substantiated it between the pending dss case and pending criminal case my ex signed over his rights, I was in a whirl wind I find my self so mad at him and so distrusting now, ty for this post and the coments, before reading this I felt like we were the only family that has gone through it. Your part about the pastor hits home because I felt our church react the same, focus on keeping the marriage, you spoke of being disconnected, and having to put away your own personal feelings, I went through those same emotions and still do every day. I feel its impossibe to trust men around the children now, I am still angry I vould go on and on but atleast now I know we are not alone in our feelings.

  162. You should of went to police not a pastor.your daughters more knew what he was doing was wrong .n just let it keep happening ur just as bad as him.ur poor daughter suffered because of ur blind eye. I wouldnt let it happen to eny of my kids ..i have to protect them make sure they dont get hurt…there again if I was in ur situation id be doing more then phone police id be phoning ambulance for the person .

  163. I don’t mean to be harsh but, as a mother, I simply can’t wrap my head around your choices…

    I’m 32 years old now, long history of sexual abuse starting with my father, as damaged as they come, mother of an 8 year old boy,

    I live my life by these…

    It’s better to distrust every potential partner than to risk bringing home an abuser.
    I would rather be single than to put my child in that kind of danger.
    If you have the slightest suspicion, walk away.
    If there are past accusations of sexual abuse, true or false, walk away.
    Child sex abusers don’t just do it once “by mistake”, and they certainly don’t stop.
    I’m a firm believer that men, are naturally sexual predators.

    It’s one thing to let myself get sexually abused, it’s another thing to let my child be sexual abuse.

    This blog and the comments, basically tells women who may be in this situation that “it’s ok, because you haven’t dealt with your own childhood abuse, we will excuse you if you ignore signs of sex abuse”. I don’t think this line of reasoning should be encouraged.

    The problem I see here is that your child’s safety was not your first priority. I don’t know anything, but in every situation, my child’s safety comes first, not my marriage, not my own feelings.

    I have crippling social anxiety, but…I’m acutely aware of the fact that i hold another human being’s life in my hand. The profundity of that never escapes me…

    Ladies, your child’s life is too precious to risk.

  164. Hi Patience,

    I’m just as passionate about protecting children so I understand where you’re coming from. First, I wrote this for the purpose of motivating parents to explore the lies that they might not be aware of. The false messages of abuse are carried throughout our lives until they are confronted through the healing process. My intent in writing this post was to protect children from future abuse, not to excuse survivor-parents.

    There is no excuse for abuse or neglect, but there are reasons that the abuse cycle continues. I believe that understanding the reasons for what I did (or failed to do) are helpful in addressing the dangers that we expose our children to when we don’t heal.

    When I explored the reasons for my failure, I was able to correct those things. I haven’t found anyone else who is willing to talk about this issue from this perspective. By bringing these things to the light, my hope is that other parents will recognize some residue from their own abuse that may be influencing their parenting, even if it’s not as overt as mine.

    I agree with most of your list that you live by:

    I would rather be single than to put my child in that kind of danger.
    If you have the slightest suspicion, walk away.
    If there are past accusations of sexual abuse, true or false, walk away.
    Child sex abusers don’t just do it once “by mistake”, and they certainly don’t stop.

    But even in your list, you expose some beliefs that could be harmful to your child:

    “I’m a firm believer that men are naturally sexual predators.”

    I don’t agree with that at all. Yes, there are more male sexual abusers than female sexual abusers, but men aren’t born sexual predators.

    It seems likely that you learned that from your abuse experience. When we are harmed, we are meant to learn from that experience to avoid that harm. But how can a child make sense of avoiding a danger like sexual abuse? Children see things in black and white. Since they aren’t able to discern grey areas, they cope by seeing people—or types of people—as either all good or all bad.

    However, that belief isn’t based on truth. It may be your “reality” based on your experience but it’s not how the world really is. Have you thought about how that belief impacts your son? Do you believe that your son is a sexual predator or is destined to be one? Can you imagine how invalidating and hopeless it would feel to be a boy who is raised by someone who believes that males can’t be trusted?

    Also, do you have any idea how many women are sexual abusers? Not as many as men, but by singling out men as predators, you may not consider potential abusers in females. That type of belief may expose you son to female abusers.

    You also said:

    “It’s better to distrust every potential partner than to risk bringing home an abuser.”

    If there is any doubt, I absolutely agree that it’s better not to risk it. However, did you know that part of healing from abuse is learning to trust what you see and how you feel about people and circumstances? Learning to trust yourself is very useful in discerning safe and unsafe. The harm that comes from the all or nothing approach is that it denies you and your son the benefit of healthy male relationships.

    The truth is that as good as a mother you might be, you can’t model to him what it means to be a man. In my own life, my (second) husband has restored a lot of what was missing for my daughter and me. He’s added so much to our healing and in our faith in men. It would have been a real loss not to have him in our lives.

    Also, in my first marriage, I modeled awful dynamics to both of my children. My second marriage is a wonderful example to show them the way a healthy husband/wife relationship looks like.

    Again, I agree that if in doubt, it’s better not to risk putting a child in danger, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing (again with the black and white thinking).

    I hope you don’t feel attacked in what I said. I only wanted to show that it’s not enough to be passionate about protecting our children. Our passion has to be supported by our own emotional health. And when we’ve been abused, our emotional health is compromised. Abuse survivors can be excellent parents, but as long as we are parenting out of our fears and dysfunction, we aren’t living up to our parenting potential.

    Thanks for your comment! By the way, did you know that this site is all about the healing process? You’re welcome to continue to join us for the journey.


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