I heard this song almost a year ago, randomly on the radio after many years, and it inspired this entire blog. Now, with Garth coming back, and scoring tickets to the show...I'm finally brave enough to post the blog that has been rustling within me for a very long time...I wrote it a year ago.
"Feelings buried alive, never die."
All this talk over the years about "don't care what other people think! Be yourself!" has been a lie. At least that's what I'm being told these days. Instead I'm being told to stuff it, shut up. And most importantly keep it off social media.
It took me a few days to figure out why. It wasn't because "Facebook was an inappropriate place" to discuss my sexual violations, it was because they were embarrassed that what happened to me as a kid, under their roof, might reflect poorly on them as family. Or that someone might assume as to "who it was". The truth?
My step brother sexually violated me as a kid. There was some heated comments about word usage here.
So here's the definitions for clarifications sake (and I assure you both are accurate definitions in my case):
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent.
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.
And I don't believe he's stopped for a second.
So, about three years ago I finally got the courage to tell the family and "out" him as the pedophile I believed him to still be.
Again, the definition for clarification is:
Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.
Psychiatric. That means they don't get better without help. They don't just stop.
So I confronted my step "brother" and his reaction was to turtle. I gave him the option of seeking help, with the family's support, or I would begin writing letters. He chose the latter. So I began writing letters to his school (yes he's a teacher) and to the local police services. All were very thankful for the information, as they would have a nice red flag if anyone else came forward about him. I also began to hear stories of at least a half dozen more he did this to, including into his adult years.
The family was initially very supportive of me. One counselling session (which the whole family except one attended) was seen as good enough. Time to sweep this under the rug. With the exceptions of my grandparents (may the universe bless them) and my biological brother, everyone else continued to have a relationship with the perpetrator without his seeking intense therapy for his disorder.
This leads us to the place where I wanted to share my trauma by expressing that I had been a victim of sexual violations also, in a random Facebook post. All hell broke loose.
How dare I? Facebook was not the place! How could I reach out to others in such a public fashion? What nerve I had to share my story. Sounds kinda stupid when you put it that way doesn't it?
In the end, I chose to take the post down with the notion that if I deleted my personal story, they must delete him from their lives until he got help. Not forever, but until he got serious, intense help.
I didn't get supported. Instead, I basically got outted from the family. I tried to tell them to get real. This was the decision? That because of a few personal words I put on Facebook I was out? But they would continue to have a relationship with a molester? It still doesn't make sense in my head. In essence, I was told to just be quiet about it. Move on.
That's victim shaming at it's finest.
Victim shaming definition:
There isn't one. So I made mine up. When people shame people who are the victims of a crime, into silence in public forums because of how others might perceive their story.
This is how I'm moving on. Thank you to the dozens of people who sent messages of "me too". And the one person, because of my story, who had the courage to face their own family member. You're all brave and worthy. Your stories are allowed to be heard for as long as you need to heal. And to connect to others because of it. Don't you dare stay silent for the sake of a few. You may help hundreds.
My family are not bad people. They are just hurt, embarrassed and unsure how to cope themselves. I love them, but for my mental health, this is important too. I know that with this story I may lose more family, maybe some friends. But if blood is thicker than water, LOVE is thicker than blood. And those who stand beside me are the warriors I want in my corner anyways.
May you all find peace and love in whatever your struggle is.