Thursday, July 30, 2015

As Mothers of sexually abused children, as Wives of Sex Offenders, as Mothers/ Families of sex Offenders We are judged Differently

 After we realize our betrayal, after our children tell us, once the police knock on the door WE are the ones who live in dread of  "exposure"   My mother experienced domestic violence but was so ashamed that my father abused her that she told no one. Sexually abused children are threatened with "foster care" if they tell, we are afraid f what the neighbors will think, afraid of how WE will be judged (After all you lived right there in the house and you claim you didn't know?) We worry about what our bosses at work will say if they find out we live/ed with a man on the Sex Offender Registry.

It's just all too much. To avoid being labeled and rejected, to protect our children we move to another state, we remarry  l in haste sometimes to another strangely familiar man... We try to be accepted as normal. We live in fear of "exposure" and we learn how to lie. We tell ourselves just don't think about it...

But No Problem is ever "Solved" when we tell ourselves  "Just don't think about it."   Sexual Abuse affects the entire  family so does Alcoholism, even Domestic Violence impose certain Strangely Familiar "patterns" upon wives, children  and  families struggling with each of these destructive  "issues" separately or in tandem.  

It is pretty well known that wives of alcoholics learn to behave in certain ways, in fact the  word "Enabler " was coined (by some "mental health professional" no doubt) to point out the part wives learn to play in their continuing attempts  to cover up "the Problem."

As "Wives" we  don't want our husbands exposed, fired from their jobs, we dread the loss of social standing. We don't want our  children pointed out, our  family ridiculed,  pitied or reported to the police. What ever the reason we make  Every effort  to avoid facing "the problem" in our relationship whatever we think "it" is.  To avoid having the family Exposed as "different." we minimize (He's not a drunk. He just drinks a little too much.) (or in the case of sexual abuse: "Pornography isn't really a sexual offense. etc. sexual  addiction is a disease and it's no bodies business if my husband just the drink. I'm not really the sole support of this family, he works when he can....They lied/ the child lied/ he says he didn't, he's not a drunk, a sex offender, unfathful etc etc )

For whatever "reasons"  wives and girlfriends (mothers) worry, excuse, attempt to cover up the extent of the damage that "Alcoholism" or(or the less mentionalbe "problems we may "imagine") are wrecking, have wrecked, upon our  marriage or relationship or children,  upon our  whole family. Even when "our alcoholic" "Our Offender" or til death do we part love of our life" goes to jail (for DUI or fighting ...or a Sex Offense)  Ever faithful Wives  keep on keeping on far longer than love, /marriage vows or even reason would seem to require. We Enable. We blame ourselves...

The   label "Enabler" is well earned. Yet we do not see that we have been conditioned as good wives and mothers to  put forth such efforts. And because we continue,  due to our efforts to fix to "love away" the problems the "Harm"  goes on much longer,  In the process the entire family which we as wives  and mothers try so hard to keep together becomes infected. Our children learn toxic patterns of behavior when they are abused, molested,  witness domestic violence and /or Alcoholism.  As  wives and mothers all too often we assume the role of fixer/enabeler. to minimize the guilt in not having "fixed" whatever problem infests our family. Even when we don't exactly know what the "problem is" it must be our fault because we have not "fixed" it...but never fea we will even if  our husband   who is in the process betraying and thereby   mentally, emotionally and even physically abusing us. But we "forgive" we continue to minimize, to believe the power of our love will make everything "All right." We even learn to feel Pride  in our own endurance in the strength of our love, in our faith which keeps us   keeping on. We are after all "good women" however we pride ourselves in being "good/faithful/forgiving. We ,at least, are/true to OUR vows.

Sound familiar?   We wives of sex offenders seem to behave in much the same way, before and after their  betrayals are exposed.. In much the same way, wives who don't even realize the harm being done to the children they love, continue to pride themselves, upon their continuing love for husbands who are betraying the very vows their wives once  imagined they both held  hold sacred. We all want to imagine that we can (unilaterally) "fix things" unilaterally love everything into perfection. (even if we don't quite yet know exactly what went wrong.)

The problem is that even if we choose divorce we,(much like the wife of and alcoholic) because of our own conditioning to their unreasonable demands, we need to be needed. We ae all to prone to run our and marry another "Strangely Familiar" man wh offers us the opportunity to (this time) successfully "Fix" another "Strangely Familiar Relationship"

The wives of Alcoholics have a place to go, to listen and learn from others affected by alcoholism. It's called Alanon.  Adult children of Alcoholics attend (you guessed it) Adult Children Meetings.
AA has been active for nearly 100 years and meeting can be located n every town.

The wives of Alcoholics first recognized themselves as enablers needing each others support.
As the wives and children of sexual abusers, we could learn a lot Alanon.  In fact in Alanon, some women and children are able to see patterns patterns of "abuse" across all the spectrums of pain and harm injected into their own lives.  Some are even mentioning in meeting that they too were sexually abused in childhood, saw domestice abuse etc etc.

I am not suggesting that every pr=ornographer, every sexual abuser is in fact and alcoholic, nor am I suggesting every alcoholic is an abuser...

Just Saying, women and children trying to "fix" the situations, however dis-separate the "symptoms" may react in similar ways, in addition to the harm caused by chld sexual abuse...we may all feel the same guilt and learn similar patterns that we carry into our next "relationship?

Just saying.  After all

Monday, July 20, 2015

A little something a sex offender's wife CAN do...a Survey to help researchers understand what happened to us and to our families

From Sharon Denniston, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy and Administration
Walden University, College of Social and Behavioral Science
Filipek Scholar to Not The Life I Chose...via WAR

Dear Janet Mackie,
Your help is needed to participate in this research study.  If you are eligible, your participation by taking the survey is very important.  Whether you are eligible or not, please share this survey flyer with others that might be eligible, or that might know of eligible persons.

This research study examines mental health impacts of registering individuals as sex offenders for 1 or more offenses that occurred at less than 18 years of age.  Potential consequences of this policy after these individuals have reached adulthood are studied.   The survey is taken online and is anonymous.  (Person distributing the flyer do not provide any names of potential participants to the researcher, and they do not have to collect any data from the participant.)

Even though this study is called the “Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Impact Survey”, eligible participants must currently live in the United States, are currently between 21 and 39 years of age, and meet one of the following criteria:

1) they have never had to register as a sex offender (it doesn't matter if they have a criminal record or not--just as long as they have never had to register)

2) they are currently required to register as a sex offender for 1 or more offenses that occurred when they were less than 18 years old (the offenses may have been handled in juvenile or adult court)

3) they were previously required to register as a sex offender (but no longer have to register), for 1 or more offenses that occurred when they were less than 18 years old (the offenses may have been handled in juvenile or adult court)

This study gives participants a rare opportunity to contribute to scholarly research regarding the potential impacts of sex offender registration on juvenile offenders.  Please take this study if you qualify for it.  Also, share this with other persons who may qualify for this study or with other individuals that might know of persons that qualify.  The flyer about the study is attached.  I'm also including the link directly to the survey to make it easier to participate.  After the first few pages of information at the survey website, participants that qualify for the study should have about 70 - 80 questions.  You must press "Done" at the end for your study to be complete.  If you have 5 or less questions it means you did not qualify for the study.  If this occurs and you really do fit the criteria for the study, you may take the survey again, taking care to read the questions carefully, so you answer correctly (especially question #5).  

* 5. Are you currently, or have you in the past been required to register as a sex offender because of an offense that you committed when you were 18 years of age or older?  (For persons that have had to register, this is referring to your age when the act itself occurred or was alleged to have occurred--not your age when you were charged or convicted.  If you have never had to register, your answer should be "No".  Also, if you have had to register, but you committed the offense when you were less than 18 years old, your answer should be "No".) 
No or Yes
If you meet the criteria and are willing to take the quick survey a link is provided below. For those participating, WAR will enter you in a drawing for a $50 gift card after you complete the survey and click on "DONE" then send a screen print of that page to

We will have the drawing at 6 PM CT on July 31, 2015.  Now an important many on-line surveys can you participate in for a chance to win a $50 gift card for 20 minutes of your time while helping impact an important component of this issue.

You must press "DONE" below to complete the survey.  
Thank you for your participation in this very important study.
If you feel you need mental health assistance after completing this survey, please call or go on-line to:

The National Hopeline Center         1-800-442-HOPE or

Sharon Denniston, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy and Administration
Walden University, College of Social and Behavioral Science
Filipek Scholar

WAR Admin