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Posts Tagged ‘abuser and prison’

On my blog entry entitled Talking Very Fast When Triggered, a reader posted the following comment:

And to wrap things up: if these things you have said are indeed true, then I do not want to judge you too harshly. But I will say that it is sad that the victims of something like this would sit idly by simply because they were afraid of going to court, or just assumed that you’d lose. I give children more leeway, but you are a grown adult now, and who knows how many more children have been brutalized because no one stepped up? ~ Lagore

Lagore’s comment is very long and is questioning whether something as heinous as ritual abuse could actual happen. Lagore states that there is no recorded evidence of ritual abuse taking place and that, if it does happen, then we victims of ritual abuse should be prosecuting it. So, what I would like to address in this blog entry is whether child abuse survivors have an obligation to prosecute our abusers.

My answer to this is no. We certainly have the grounds to prosecute, but we also have the choice of how to live our lives. My entire childhood was dictated by the choices of others. My childhood is gone, never to be recovered. To say that I am obligated to make my adult life about prosecuting my abusers is to take away my choices in adulthood as well. At some point, my life needs to be about my choices and not in reaction to the evil choices of others.

I told my therapist that, after all of the hard work that I have done to heal, I wanted to help other child abuse survivors heal as well. He said that, while I could choose that path, I was under no obligation to do so. It is okay for me to live my life in any (legal) way I choose. I can spend it helping others heal, prosecuting my abusers, traveling the world, or as a recluse. This is my life to do with as I wish.

Let’s get back to the court system. I hold a law degree that I earned from a prestigious law school, so I am very knowledgeable about how the court system works. People are theoretically tried by a jury of their peers; however, a jury is just a group of people who live in your area who bring their own personal experiences and biases into the jury box. Most people in society reject the reality of ritual abuse for a number of reasons, so those people are not going to convict without overwhelming evidence – evidence which, in my case, is decades old.

At this point in my life, most of my abusers are either old or dead, so my role in stopping ritual abuse is not going to come through the court system. Instead, my role (in addition to helping other child abuse survivors heal, which is my primary goal) is to raise awareness that ritual abuse really does happen. As society comes to accept this reality, then they will be more likely to enter the jury box without assuming that the victim is lying or delusional.

I don’t think anyone who knows me offline or reads my blog would accuse me of “sitting idly by” when it comes to child abuse. I have raised awareness and talked about many issues that most people do not, such as animal rape, mother-daughter sexual abuse, and using masturbation as a form of self-injury. Many people have thanked me for speaking out about issues that they believed only applied to them.

Child abuse is an epidemic that affects a large percentage of our population. No one person is going to stop it, but each person filling his or her role is a step in the right direction. I am accomplishing much more societal good by writing this blog than I would by shifting focus to prosecuting my abusers. I want the focus of my life to be about healing, not retribution.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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