Tuesday, 7 April 2020

My thoughts are with fellow child sexual abuse survivors


Entertaining a doubt
My heart cries out for those like me who lost our sexual innocence long before we knew what sex or innocence was. To some, it was someone trusted and known who found the opportunity and the importunity to impose themselves on us and left us without the courage to squeak about the how, the why and for what we were violated.
Early this morning in Australia, Cardinal George Pell had his conviction for child sexual abuse quashed and he walked away a free man. He needed to go to the highest court in the land having been found guilty through the justice system that the Australian High Court was his last chance. [The Independent]
In the end, the judges unanimously decided the jury “acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt.” That’s it; on the preponderance of the evidence before a jury of his peers, they were convinced that he was guilty, but on the consideration of law before the judges, they should have entertained a doubt.
Full justice is not ready for us
It made me wonder whether this supposed to be a doubt as to the veracity of the stories of the sexually abused, or the structure of reverence for authority that leads one to consider people in a particular office or of a certain stature cannot be thought to have committed such crimes. Either way, the jury believed the abused and were not cowed by the office.
Yet, what would it take for historic clerical child sexual abuse to run the course of a judicial system and deliver justice for the victims? How can our stories from childhood be believable today, if now we find the courage to speak up about the harm that was done to us as kids?
There are stories I have not shared with anyone of times when others found their sexual pleasures in me, the first from the age of 7. I reflect on it and appreciate that I am one of the survivors, with all the scars that came with the loss of innocence, the poor sexual choices that ensued and the inability to foster rewarding and lasting relationships of trust and commitment until recently.
Blog - My Sex Post
They don’t listen
There are only a few of us who have found an accommodation; not so much for what happened to us, but finding a new source of strength, hope and self-esteem that took us to another place where we could thrive and find some newness in purpose and relationships towards a fulfilling life.
Having seen attitudes and reactions to reports of child sexual abuse from the victims, I am sadly of the view that they will always have an uphill task convincing many of the facts of what happened to them.
Heck! I had a terrifying event that happened to me, everyone heard me scream in terror, our houseboy, my aunt, my parents, my mother’s best friend with her husband who were guests visiting and when I told them what I saw, it was dismissed out of hand by my father.
Boldly tell your story, anyways
What chance telling anyone long after the event, maybe decades on about how the people they entrusted our care to liberally took sexual favours? We all know what happened to us and by God, we can differentiate between reality and the figments of our imagination.
Was it the grooming, the entrapment, the threats, the smell, the location, the acts, the pain or hurt, the terror, and how our temperaments and composure changed with no one, especially our guardians or teachers noticing?
I concluded, whether I am believed or not, I will tell my story, it is mine to tell, in my own words, at my own convenience, in my own time. It is not to convince anyone, but to have it on record. Whether justice would be found after the revelation, one cannot tell because someone who matters in the quest for justice might entertain a doubt and with that dismiss my lived history.
It may be out of shame or embarrassment, the need to let bygones be bygones, the long passage of time, the statute of limitations, the desire to just carry on with one’s life or some other inexplicable factor, perpetrators of child sexual abuse will escape justice and accountability. What they cannot escape, no matter how much they plead their innocence is what they did to us.

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