I have been trying to avoid talking about the pedophile scandal being unearthed by the Operation Yewtree which came about once the authorities found out that the now-deceased British celebrity Jimmy Savile had grossly abused tons of girls and boys in his lifetime.
I am not sure what to think. I have a few ideas, but even going there is a bit hard for a victim/survivor of sexual abuse who is always thrown into my own memories when I hear news reports about Savile’s crimes.
Firstly, I think it’s good the media is having a heyday on this. Yes, it’s sick, and yes, it should have never ever happened to any of the victims, but it’s good that it has come out, and that abuse is on the national (international?) agenda. This hopefully makes more people aware of these issues and thus raises the profile of victims.
Secondly, I think it’s so sick that they concentrate on the perpetrator instead of the victims. It was their lives that were ruined, yet the media is alllll about Savile, and his pictures adorn websites and TV screens. What about the victims?? How do they feel??
I was discussing this with a fellow survivor and she said she’d heard news reports where so-called professionals would say well, the victims just need to forget about it and move on…WHAT?? Are you being SERIOUS??
— Dear “professionals” and people who comment on sexual abuse – PLEASE don’t ever tell us WHAT to think, HOW to think about it, or HOW to live our lives. Thanks. —
It makes me angry when people who have NOT been abused try to make it okay, try to make it something it isn’t, or try to tell us what we should do or think. Just stop. You do not have a fucking clue. So shut up.
Thirdly, it makes me sad and bitter and angry and frustrated that people group all abuse under one umbrella group of “abuse/sexual abuse” and don’t think that there are differences. Yes, it is ALL bad, horrible, inexplainable, disgusting, wrong, inexcusable, blah blah blah, BUT it is NOT all the same. Of course individuals should never compare their experience with others’, and no one should say well, I’m worse off than you, because everyone reacts to stimuli differently, and people heal differently as well, and everyone’s pain is valid but it doesn’t mean the consequences of different abuse are the same.
Let me explain through example scenarios.
A young woman of 16 with a stable family life, supportive people in her life, and no previous abuse gets verbally abused in sexual way on the road. This can scar the girl, but she might go home, tell someone, be supported and coached through her experience. It doesn’t define her.
Then take a 5-year-old female, in a violent home, with no emotional stability, where mom’s new boyfriend touches her inappropriately at night. She has no one to talk to, is afraid for her mom who is being physically abused, is lonely and isolated in her experience. The way she is treated becomes a blueprint for further behavior with men, and she feels she is at fault and deserves it all.
So. You still think all abuse is the same? It is not. Children being abused at home or by caregivers face such insurmountable obstacles in life with everything – relationships, mental health, addiction, behavior, that it is nothing like stranger-danger described in the first scenario.
So it does piss me off when people group it all together – not saying I’m any worse off than any of the Savile victims, but one-off inappropriate touching is nothing like living in fear at home with the abuser.
Of course there are people much more worse off than me. I am not claiming to be suffering as much as someone who was forced into prostitution aged 9 on the streets of Bangkok.
It is all relative, depending on situations and support network and existing instability in the home and illnesses and discrimination and all sorts of factors – some of us come out more normal and functioning than others. Abuse is a continuum of behaviors and incidents and it should be seen as such; yet similar support networks should be in place in ALL societies and communities for ALL survivors of sexual violence whether it be rape, childhood sexual abuse, or inappropriate touching.
Fourth, will anything change?
People are shocked, horrified, disgusted even, by the decades-long pattern of abuse by this sick fucker, but will things change in the society because of it? I am not sure. I for one would not come out publicly as a survivor, at least not now, because one can’t be sure of the world’s reaction…I would be shunned, and even when I have sometimes told people they act funny towards me after…It is a stain (like it’s my fault?!?!?!?!) and you are broken, weird, diseased, because of it.
So that’s my two cents on the topic. Please discuss.