There seems to be a quest to 'stand against' abuse that is out there, in someone else's life. It isn't something you do in another person's life, but in your own.
People ask what can their community do or what the church can do, when most abuse happens within families and with people YOU know.
Standing against abuse means standing up to folks you know who are behaving in ways that are harmful.
It is about no longer tolerating abusive behavior and or those who do.
You don't have to go out into the community, you have work to do in each of your relationships.
How honest are you? What do you feel? How much do you pretend things are okay to get along. Ending tolerance for abuse, begins with you.
Between you and you.
How much integrity do bring to each relationship?
How often are you silent out of fear?
Fear is a sign, what is it saying?
Resentment is another sign, asking for you to see the imbalance or pain and it's waiting for a new response from you, while you are waiting for that person to change. For them to see you. You need to see you and how you are falsely participating.
Abuse flourishes because we allow it...because we don't change.
Many wait for the abusive person to change, when all it takes is for us to stop being with folks who are abusive.
We either allow abuse or we don't, there is no middle space that requires nothing of us. You are participating by your lack of disengaging.
You are either engaged with the abuser and disengaged with your honesty or visa versa.
The phrase 'gained the world but lost my savior' comes to mind.
You can't dance with abuse and your soul at the same time.
Your actions and movements are supporting only one agenda and it is up to you who you are with.
I marvel at not the strength of those doing the abuse, but of those who continue to be with them. Their lack of requirements...
You get what you settle for.
Sitting here 9 years into the future of the day that changed my life forever, I am grateful for seeing eyes.
What I know now, what I didn't know then is that not all have minds that change.
Many have minds that hold onto a belief even when reality is in complete opposition.
A strong mind is seen as a huge asset, when it is actually the key to keeping you in false beliefs and denial.
To live a life free of a mind that creates its own reality is breathtaking...both in the tragedy it fully embraces and the love, peace and joy.
Being able to fully embrace all of life in its perfection, isn't to just try and find good in all things, but to see all. The good, the bad and the ugly.
How tragic it is to live behind a mind that continually changes what is in reality. Theind that doesn't see reality, is a mind that grew out of abuse.
When you are capable of seeing all you are able to question the mind and your life and the choices are plenty.
If you haven't changed in the face of tragedy I feel you missed the portal out of the mind.
At first I felt offended when family thought I had lost my mind. But soon I realized it was a good thing. I was no longer a prisoner of my mind. I was free to challenge it and my life and a million beliefs that had taken my life from me.
My mind was flipped in the aftermath of abuse. When no on saw what I had seen in reality, when perhaps my telling fell on deaf ears. My mind helped me survive by deleting and changing reality.
That flipped mind matched my mother's.
Now we no longer see out of the same mind. Mine now walks after reality and no longer flips things around for my comfort.
And my changes are hard to be around if you are still in the clutches of a mind that is protecting you from the truth.
The greatest threat to an abused mind is the truth and it's job is to take the good and make it bad and the bad and make it good.
That is the only way they can accept and be with a pedophile and his accomplice and stay far far away from me.
Their mind tells them so.
Today is December 4th, the anniversary of discovering abuse in my life...the 9th anniversary to be exact.
Back then it was hard to imagine living with the reality of knowing your father was a pedophile and all that entailed, let alone envisioning life 9 years out.
In 2004, it seemed to be the end of my world and it instead was the first step towards uncovering who I was; a journey of finding the real me.
I haven't fully discovered me, but I am much clearer now and more honest with myself about myself than I ever was in 2004.
What I didn't know back then was not only who I was or how I felt about me. I knew what others needed and wanted much more than my own needs. I had never taken care of me.
For nine years now I have been living life bases on my truth, my feelings, my clarity or awareness and to walk my truth even if it doesn't appear kind...it is kind to me.
I can no longer say I haven't seen my mother in 9 years for she arrived at daughters wedding. .. I can still say we have not spoken.
She tried...but my daughters wedding was not created for a estrangement intervention. She was up here for at least a month longer and never called.
I have nothing to say to her.
No words will penetrate the illusion she lives in, where I am the one at fault, to blame and one she has dirtied with her lies...lies not only she believes , but many siblings as well.
After 9 years there is no change in the way they see me. And there is nothing I can do to change their minds.
It is easier to change me into an asshole, than it is to give up on family.
Family that is steeped in dysfunction.
Much easier to make me wrong than to really see and feel your own life.
All I can say after 9 years is that I never expected to be the one outside, I truly believed that the one who did the wrongs would be.
How silly of me or naive to think they would set aside family roles for abuse.
Instead it seemed they made them stronger as to not focus on the after affects of abuse...that by being a 'good' sister you can leap over the damage abuse caused in you brain and psyche.
What has surprised me the most is how unchanged most are. How little it appears to have affected so many, while it totally flipped my world! And how hard and diligent they are to hold family together no matter what.
What ripped me apart, they have been sewing back together, okay to leave me out.
In fact they will tell you how wrong I am for family.
My biggest sin in their eyes is that I put me first...and will not put aside my past and move on, unchanged. What they fail to appreciate is that I did not change me, my father did.
It has taken me 9 years and counting to find the me I would have been...before my father changed me. He is the one I thought would be set out side of family for raping me. And my mother who turned away from me, her too I thought would have to go.
I was me.
I would have lost the bet in how this has turned out.
After nine years I am no longer holding out hope for things to be different. I have accepted that my past can be no different, that my family will act any different...
And I am beyond incredulous to see that I have survived being estranged from them all, in fact thrived.
That I have been able to find a life worth living and that I love me and my life.
I only miss what I had thought was there...
Our internet is down, it feels like I lost my voice and connection with the outside...or to be reduced to a whisper; my iPhone.
In a way it has been nice to be secluded, but it also shows the isolation or smallness we were raised in, where your daily contact was with folks you could see or hear.
I am on a selective island, with slight glimpses outside of my home.
I can fully appreciate how broader my world is with the internet. I can imagine how small my world shrinks without it... It feels like you are disconnected.
The circle of sharing grows very small and even the stream of incoming wisdom is reduced.
What a huge leap of expansion we all have come to rely upon. Without it I feel disconnected to the whole.
While it has freed me to do other things, I truly feel connection handicapped. Everything is slower, as I type this with one finger...
My voice would grow silent to the world beyond my physical presence, and for some a welcomed relief!
Perhaps it has shown me the value of connection!
"Love opens the doors into everything...including and perhaps most of all, the door into one's own secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self." May Sarton
What a great line.
I know this to be true.
I also know, that in dysfunctional families where secrets are kept, there is no love, for love opens the doors to secrets.
Love wants to know where the trouble lies, where problems are, what is wrong and what is causing pain. Love doesn't exist where secrets live.
If the other person isn't willing to pass through the door and sharing their real self, the relationship is not based on love...but fear. Fear of exposing their true self. Speaking their truth, sharing their feelings and expressing their emotions.
Mostly, if you were raised to keep secrets, you were raised to not be your self.
And, love opens the doors to everything....and if there are things you don't want exposed, then love is not there...
Fear of being yourself.
Fear of not being liked or accepted.
In dysfunctional families, especially dysfunctional ones who are also members of a strict religion where you must fit into their idea of what is right, if you don't go along, you will tossed out.
Being different is not okay.
Being transparent about secrets not okay. And, these are not secrets of surprises, but secrets of harmful actions, folks who are abusive and the abuse one suffered etc.
Keeping sweet a family that is layered in abuse...isn't love.
The greatest fear families of dysfunction subconsciously live with is, that when the doors are open, no love lives there.
When you add the secrets to the person, how do they change?
Will love be there?
What is the content of the person?
And, are they exposing their own secrets or trying to keep the lid on?
I love that love opens doors...often terrible and frightening...Real Self.
This can be very good or very bad, depending upon who you truly are.
If your secret self fears being exposed...you will pass on love.
It wasn't until I fully exposed and embraced all my secrets that I knew what love was.
A woman mentioned she was an advocate for Love. And, that led me to wonder what am I an advocate for? What is my intention and direction; just how would I classify my advocation?
I even looked up the word "advocate" to make sure I knew its true meaning.
"To speak, plead, or argue in favor of..."
What is it that I plead for or argue in favor of?
Most, and many think I am against family...and religion and perhaps even God and forgiveness...against human kindness. It often feels like many feel my agenda is the agenda of evil; when I believe its opposite.
I would say, that I am for love, peace and joy, and have found it by leaving all that isn't.
I would say that I argue for the rights of and love of, innocent children...and adults.
It is more impacting to say what you are For, than what you are against. Being against something is relatively easy, you just shun or turn away from it. But when you are for something, you have to explore it...experience it, live it...be with it; stand for it in all things.
I am for truth. Even when it is ugly and not kind, when it has the capability of shattering my world, I am still for truth.
I am for authentic living...even when it requires me to walk away from family.
I am for real relationships...for not pretending in order to keep 'peace'.
I am for integrity...especially when it is hard to stand in it.
I advocate self-worth, self-love...individual imperfections that make you perfect.
I advocate for reality and acceptance of all things...and our free will to respond as we wish.
I advocate for freedom...and love.
I advocate for the opposite of abuse.
Power, freedom and choice.
And yet, I am seen by those, I believe, still in abusive relationships as a threat or bad or evil....and I can see why.
The most powerful tool we have against abuse is to be free and empowered. I would be a threat to what you are holding dear, if what you are holding onto is abusive.
If what you are holding onto is power over someone.
If what you are clinging to requires no new choices.
If what you need is for others NOT to change.
I love that I can fully embrace and hold, that I am an advocate for change in abusive homes...changing the victims into powerful empowered beings...from living in fear to living for Love.
I do not believe that there is ever a Love option in abusive homes...fear is the only path. And, many who have only lived in fear are afraid of love...and its new choices and voices.
I can only recognize love as being free. If you aren't free to do and say and be; it isn't love...its fear. Fear leaves you with no choice. And no choice echoes abuse.
So, I agree with the woman, I too am an advocate for Love.
I love my pictures when I was little, I was always holding hands or babies...even if I had no clue as to the environment of our home, I cared and did my best to love.
When I was a young mom, I was not always so loving...or my love wasn't love but fear. I love that person too....for she didn't know what she didn't know.
I will no longer hold hands with those who want to keep the family together no matter what, for the 'matter what' is abuse. I can't hold hands with abuse...
I can't pretend to pretend that love is there; even for family.
I am an advocate for healthy families; where children are safe.
I am now able to be an advocate for love; for I know what love is not.
There is a cost for being a Leader for Change within dysfunctional families; it typically means you lose your place in the family. You will no longer be part of it, except to be on the outside.
Changes within families require you to go against your elders as well as family members, where the sentiment that "we are family no matter what" is destroyed.
It is to wreck all the typical safety nests...and to break the silence of compliance...to become the one who dares to question actions, words and motives...to not accept "they did the best they could".
To be the Leader for Change, you will have to see their short comings and make corrections NoT in their life, but in your own.
To see where their actions led and to course correct so you are not party to dysfunction continuing on.
A leader for Change is showing in words and deeds that they will not perpetuate the flow of dysfunction as usual; they will do the opposite and be shunned for it.
Leaders for Change will face persecution and criticism and be hated and hollered at, lied about...they will take the brunt of the family's derision; more so than the perpetrator of the abuse and his accomplice. Leaders for Change who dare to follow the choice to change, will suffer most from their family.
What makes this journey particularly hard is this alone. You knowingly do what is against the family's unwritten rules of cohesiveness....you pull and tear apart actions and words to carry the truth forward.
Leaders for Change will see the truth where others don't...and will live it, and not just make it an exercise of the mind; but a way of life.
Leaders for Change are for those who have been victimized by the old system...and not see it as being a victim or a survivor, but that they can literally live to change the whole system...by being the change they want to see in the world.
Leaders for change will be a different mother, daughter, friend....
Leaders for change will do what their parents were unable to do.
Leaders for change will be FOR change and not just accept that abuse happened and life goes on....to forgive and forget, to find the positive among the garbage, but instead find how the garbage became this way and then do different.
I am hopeful that each family has Leaders for Change...and that we can slowly see the numbers begin to drop...so that the percentages of abuse no longer happens within families.
How can people not hear that. That it is the way these families live and how they are silent or compliant that promotes abuse to thrive....that it is not the laws of the land or even the insane preachings of the churches that is the biggest advocate for abuse; but the family units themselves.
Each individual within the dysfunctional family carries the burden or the virus of abuse. They will carry it forward, unless they are the Leader for Change.
It is the families that slowly slip back into the sameness after abuse who are the ones contributing to abuse. If you didn't change...abuse is still your friend.
The treatment that I have gotten, the way folks look at me IS how they should be looking at abuse...instead, they see me as delivering evil...while evil is literally destroying these families...from the inside out.
One child at a time....for generations.
When the evil doers are treated like I have been, then abuse will begin the downward spiral...until then, abuse flourishes while they direct all their anger and rage at me, a Leader for Change.
You are either with it or against it. Change will be the indicator....how much have you changed? (and, is it enough to stop abuse?)
A Marine that was sexually assaulted, said that she wasn't speaking as a victim or a survivor, but as a Leader for Change...I love how she sees herself as an instrument for change. Using her life experiences to help others, to make changes so others don't have to experience the awful way she was treated...not so much about the abusers - for that is a given, but from her commanding officers and how their response was felt as abuse, again and again.
I too want to be a leader for change in the way families deal with victims and the way victims themselves deal with families.
We need to teach others how to have healthier responses so as not to harm victims further. And to hold responsible adults who know and do nothing to the perpetrators...while demeaning and disbelieving the victims.
The only way we can start turning around and lowering the numbers of children being abused, is to be a leader of changing how we deal with abuse.
Instead of passively feeling as a survivor....I love the role "Leader for Change" inspires within me. It leaves me hopeful and inspired and to use my experiences to shed light upon a broken system...and ways towards healing and living that changes the patterns of abuse.
To be a leader of change, you have to be willing to lead the change in your own life....to make different choices and to walk different, talk different, be different...everything changes; when you are leader for change.
I love these two ladies, attached by a chain....we can't know who is changing who?
As I sat with the injustice of the justice system, it came to me that our solutions will not be with the same systems that are now creating the problems; but something totally different.
Changing a broken system with the same tools that created it, Is insane....so the answers will be far from what we have previously thought were the answers.
First of all, the court systems can't be the healing places....for they were built for justice.
And, I don't believe that Justice is healing for the victims...in fact, the purpose of our court systems is to remove harmful people from access to society; and they are failing where sexual abuse towards children are concerned...at least in our area.
The focus of society and family needs to be on the victims.
What do the victims need to heal from their encounter with sexual abuse?
What will restore their sense of safety and rightness with the world?
What kinds of groups and services are available for children and adult children of abuse? What works and what is not helpful?
Perhaps each story of a sexual predator escaping justice for what he actually did, needs to be followed with what kinds of help there is for his victims. What services will help towards recovery.
It seems to me that we naively believe that by getting the perpetrator off the streets our world will right itself, when there are actually two very separate pathways.
The journey of healing isn't co-dependent upon the long prison sentence...all it does is end the reign of abuse for this one man. The journey of healing and breaking the cycle begins when family and society pay attention to the victims and what they need.
Sadly, what the victim needs is for our attention to be on them...and society and the justice system gives more rights and leeway towards the perpetrator.
All the maneuvering that happens between the lawyers on both sides to reduce and eliminate each charge is detrimental to the spirits of the victims.
It is to reduce sexual abuse to a sorta bad touch....but, not the devastating event that it actually is.
Also families carry a huge burden in the responsibility in how the child heals. For the majority of abuse cases happen within families or with close friends....how then do the adults in the family respond to sexual abuse aligations and or court appearances and the knowledge of abuse? Does life go on as usual? Are new boundaries set?
Each of us carry the same burden as do our court systems.
My father was released back into society...by the Justice System.
My father was released back to being a father by his family.
In that, they did not estrange themselves from him...for they could not flip the tile that said "father" into "Pedophile" and treat him as such. It isn't easy; but it is what is needed.
The family system that allowed sexual abuse to happen, has to be destroyed in order for healing to begin.
When we say we are against abuse, when it happens within our family, we have to be against the family structure that was in place when abuse happened. All avenues and beliefs and structures have to be examined.
As I see the Justice system failing the perpetrators, I also see the family units failing the victims, time and time again. Mostly what I see are victims having to leave the family unit in order to heal; for the family unit is broken and useless in guiding them towards healthy boundaries.
It's brokenness is that abuse is within the family.
Members are sexually abusing members...and there is silence and shame.
How can you keep the family together, when it is broken, and believe that you are against abuse? When abuse doesn't shatter the family structure, it is the clearest sign that it is built upon abuse...it is the 'normal' ingredient in your family.
Each of us has to look openly and honestly as to how do we support negative treatment within our lives and homes. This isn't just the responsibility of the Justice System, this is the responsibility of each of us...we all play a part of stopping it or letting it go free into the life of another child.
On the front page of the paper is another man 'convicted' of sexual assault, but only received 1 year, with consideration for the 195 days already served...although it was due to the fact he failed to register as a sex offender....so, it is like he is double serving time...and in the end, when his time is up, he has to move to Wisconsin.
This is the punishment for sexually abusing a child. He was able to plea bargain away the other children....and since it wasn't his first time, (failed to register as a sexual predator) it is insane that he will be set free in 6 months.
How serious are we, as a society, about sexual abuse of children?
What is the role of court systems and whose side are they truly on?
What affects do these light sentences have on victims of abuse?
It appears to minimalize their pain and suffering, almost making it a 'joke' to even report for all the dude will get is a slap on the hand.
Seeing this through a victims eyes changes how we feel about the adults who are supposedly there to help us. If this is help, no thank you.
Somehow the courts in the land have to take serious these offenses against children. I even wonder, is it because it is children that they are so lenient...that there are no big voices in a big body outraged at these light sentences.
The joke is on society. We are allowing these predators to roam freely, repeatedly...and how insane, making them sign a register, like that is a restraint. We are letting them destroy innocence and create more wounded...whose pain will bleed into the world.
Hurt people hurt people.
Somehow we have to change the way these guys are dealt with, as well as find resources and places for their victims to go to undo the damage.
The courts used to be the place to seek revenge or at least justice....this doesn't happen with sexual abuse on kids.
These kids now feel like the courts abused them too, by not taking serious, the offenses against them. Who is standing by these children? What are they doing to undo the damage? How many children did this one man affect? And, his punishment or the consequence...."a year in jail"...well half a year, since he already served 195 days.
So, for half a year he can't abuse children. But, as soon as he gets out, the cycle begins again...oh, but in a new state...this time Wisconsin.
Isn't the Court Systems looking like the Catholic Church....just pass them on to another congregation or population, get them out of my court.
Not only is no one really looking at what he did, no one is looking at the children. It is like society is doing its best to not really see what is going on in reality.
Perhaps we will have to find solutions to this problem outside of the courts. We will have to empower the children, enlighten the adults. We will have to approach this problem from the angle of the child.
They can't depend on the adults for help...at least not in the court system.
At the very least can't we as adults no longer pretend to pretend, this is justice!