After my last post, BJ and I were talking. He said something to the effect of, "But you understand the desire to protect abusers. You still do it yourself."
Oh yeah. I do.
I've had panic and anxiety for three days following sharing with my brothers that my uncles had molested my cousin. I should protect them (my uncles). They're good people. So, yeah they molested at least three little girls, but... it's okay. Just keep it quiet. Don't tell anyone. Think of how it will affect them, their kids, their wives, my grandma... Think about everyone else, keep the secret, even if it kills me. Maybe they've changed and repented, and isn't fair to bring up their past...Why do they deserve to hurt just because I am? Or just because my cousin is? Geez, Jen, don't you believe in change and forgiveness? When are you just going to get over it?? They hurt you, but you don't KNOW that anyone else is getting hurt. It gives you anxiety to watch their teenage sons with little girls, but that's just you being overreactionary. And around and around it goes in my head.
The truth is, they did what they did. Pretending that they didn't do it is silly.
Lying to protect them from the consequences won't heal or help anyone.Talking about it is the only way for things to change. (Which is why I wanted to tell my brothers so bad, and why I did tell them, even though it caused killer panic and anxiety ever since.)
The thing that makes ALL abuse possible is secrecy. As a child, I was sworn to secrecy. They said things like, "If you love me, you'll do this."
"This is what grownups do, and some people don't think you're big enough to do these things, so don't tell anyone. You want to be grownup don't you?"
"This is our little secret. Just between you and me, isn't this fun?"
"Don't tell your mommy and daddy. Think of how sad it will make your mom that you did this. And your dad will be so mad at both of us. You don't want him to be mad, do you?"
My mom remembers me trying to tell her "a secret", but I couldn't do it. She remembers me being so worked up, but in the end I didn't tell her, and we both forgot for the next twenty-five years.
As an adult, we keep abuse a secret for many different reasons.
"I love you, and this is just between us, so I won't tell my parents that the bruises I have came from you."
"Don't get anyone else involved."
"People will know I hit you because you deserve it."
I didn't share the horrible things that abusers have said to me. I haven't shared a lot of things that people have said to me, because I was worried that others would agree. If I told the bishop that my husband called me a "dirty whore", he'd agree. So I kept it secret to protect both the abuser and myself.
I understand why people protect abusers. I understand why abuse is kept secret. I understand why people blame the victim. I have done a lot to protect abusers. I have kept abuse a secret, and I have blamed the victim (me). Knowing all of that about myself, and knowing that there HAS to be a better way, I keep on writing and talking and searching and hoping.
My goal is still to heal ALL of us.