I often think back to the days of my abuse and as I do, there’s always one haunting question: “What would have made me speak up while the abuse was happening or shortly after it ended?” If this could have happened, it would have saved much grief for the victims who came after me – including my own sister.
I do not live in regret nor blame myself, but I do wish I had spoken up.
I believe that knowing the answer to this question could unlock the door to preventing a floodgate of abuse that happens every day in our world. Each time I read of a young girl or guy who turns in their abuser, I clap my hands and with intrigue try to explore what made him or her speak up. I know for me, I was groomed spectacularly, taught to live in fear, and became quite brainwashed against anyone who might cause a problem. Most importantly, my parents were completely oblivious. My abuse often happened in an office less than 100 feet away from where my mom and dad were working. My abuser and his wife were invited over to my house on a consistent basis for dinner and game night. I spent the night at their house – routinely. I took many overnight trips with my abuser and his wife or other girls. Why? Because my parents never dreamed he could be one of the bad guys.
So, as I contemplate what could have made me “talk,” I have to think I would have surely opened up to my parents had they been alert, realized the dangers of the many hours spent with this man, and questioned me concerning the issue. We must be aware. We must communicate. We must never take for granted that someone is safe for our children just because they “seem” safe and look respectable. Our children’s safety is at issue here, and they are surely worth every ounce of effort we spend protecting them.