By, Jays Jewels
‘We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
. . . ‘What is unforgiveable is the adult who is afraid of the light.’
Concerned citizens’ blog, incorporate U-Tube & increasing numbers tweet. Millions of Americans’ (not necessarily supposed leaders), are informed; they genuinely care about the world we live in. NSA’s intrusion came to light; American’s reacted by confronting wrongdoing. Combat Vets ignored by legislator’s who’d put them in harm’s way - receive compassionate advocacy from ‘We the People.’
But behind locked doors, hidden by generations terrified of a reality they’re a part of
. . . is possibly the worst story no one wants to see, hear or address.
- Authors note: [The following contains deeply disturbing materials.]
The horrific crime denied by millions of Americans’ is the continued sexual abuse of children & adolescents by parents, caretakers, neighbors, teachers, clergy and other family members!
For most of my life I was ashamed of the secret hidden by my family. I’d greatly feared being beaten if I spoke out; by the man who’d molested me. But, I’m not a victim of abuse – I’m a survivor, & there’s a major difference. Decades passed before I realized - despite hideousness which took place before I could read, I’d lived as best I could; later, choosing to be part of the solution. Tragically, many cannot and go to their graves as victims, not survivors.
THAT, is the gruesome, unvarnished, hidden truth!
The result(s) of incest, & other repulsive childhood & adolescent sexual abuse too often goes untreated. Children & adolescents who’d endured a lifetime of emotional pain & psychological scarring turn to self-destructive escape causing early death. These individuals succumb to alcohol &/or drug abuse, unhealthy sexual behaviors, gravitate to abusive relationships as adults, or become abusers, (perpetrators) of innocent victims themselves. The cycle is often continued because those abused as children imitate the behavior they’d learned.
Immobilizing fear is faced by victims. Decades long familial, generational & societal rejection & scorn - by those closest to them. Like many adult victims of rape, victims of childhood or adolescent sexual abuse – are made out to be the offenders themselves; in order to hide the insidious nature of the real perpetrators.
A lifetime living with a proverbial Scarlet Letter as if to say,
. . . ‘It was I who freely invited the offender.
Many documented cases reveal a young child telling his parent or caretaker of ‘an incident’ is scolded & punished - for telling such an awful terrible lie! In the end, causing significant numbers of such individuals to choose suicide.’
More than fifteen years ago the Boston Globe uncovered years of sexual abuse of children by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese. Globe reporters received Pulitzer prizes. A North American organization called SNAP, (Survivors Network of Abuse by Priests) became known by the few citizens paying attention. But some survivors and empathetic individuals formed grass-roots organizations; non-profits sprung up, addressing this ignored societal disease.
In the US, survivors finally began coming forward. Millions of dollars in compensation has been paid out by the Catholic Church and numerous other denominations. The American public, (who’d turned a blind eye), seemed shocked by reports in newspapers, magazines & other media. We learned this familial & generational disease is NOT limited to any particular people(s). Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and agnostics were all found guilty of these heinous crimes in varying degrees. Race nor cultural background are barriers.
However, sexual abuse of children, [and adolescents] is a national disgrace which continues; remaining largely unaddressed!
Hushed whispers co-exist with out-right denial in vociferous terms, & remain preferable. Despite organizations offering information, education & support, (such as SNAP & the ptsd-alliance.org), reality disgracefully remains cloaked by darkness. Until this changes offenders continue to go unpunished; by burying our heads in the sand we provide offenders with their best defense.
Neighborhood posters depicting faces & names of sexual offenders, [read: predators] is not good enough! Failure to act on behalf of our children, ‘for fear of the light,’ [as Plato said], – is indeed unforgivable. It is despicable!
‘Who are more precious, yet vulnerable, than little girls & boys?’
Addressing this in earnest, “Lets’ turn on the light.”
- Jays Jewels is written by Jay H. Berman - a survivor & former Editor & Board Member for the ptsd-alliance.org He is disabled, but remains an occasional contributor to Daily Kos, sulia.com, buzzfeed.com, ronrambles.com, & the BHS Newsletter. His work has appeared on the PBS website & in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Follow him on twitter @BermanJ1
• The National Institute of Mental Health
• The Lancet
• The American Psychological Association
• NAMI, (National Alliance of Mental Illness)
• SNAP, (Survivors Network of Abuse by Priests)
• The Boston Globe
• The Associated Press
• The NY Times
Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 3:37 PM PT: Last June I wrote about sexual abuse, (molestation), of children & adolescents; despite my feeble abilities to communicate well. It was & is my sincere desire to engage the public. I failed.
Why isn't this most horrific "societal disease" an important part of our national conversations which seek progress &/or solutions? Either my scribbling is so poor - or - "We the people" don't care. Or, maybe we're just too damned afraid to be honest; maybe we're just too concerned with "self interest."
I don't know & cannot know the answers to those questions. The only thing I do know is that although my effort received a few tweets - no comments on these pages in this community whatsoever. And, that is sickeningly unfair, & terribly cruel to innocent vulnerable children so victimized. It saddens me beyond any ability to express my emotions. Jay