Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mothers Finding Courage to speak out and throw light on the collateral damage caused to our families not only by "sex offending" but by a system that's not working to help our children

For me the "knock on my door" first announced my own betrayal several years ago. . (Unless of course you count the times various law enforcement entities knock and (still) come right in, dressed to kill,  intent upon  "supervision."

Anyway, I've  always felt afraid, terrified someone would find out something that would get me fired and would bring disaster or send "someone" back to prison. Until now. My father died and left me a box of photographs, letters and family history. I thought I'd write a bland  memoir about this and that (never thought I'd write about incest running down the generations.)   But I got started and wrote my first draft and sent hard copies out to my son and my two brothers (by then my daughter who was also molested had died of ovarian cancer so I couldn't send her a copy to read (even if her husband had "allowed" her read it.)

The memories and responses I got back from my two brothers and my son  opened my eyes to what the particular struggles men molested as children face all their lives.   It became very obvious that ALL OF US were dealing in one way or another with the after-effects of sexual abuse and we had never even spoken to each other about incest.We were still isolated, alone and ashamed to "tell." And to date there is no broad national discussion that lets us all know we are not alone in dealing with the collateral damage caused by incest. child sexual abuse and our husband's/father's  betrayal.

I searched on line for a "community of wives and mothers" who were going through the same things as mothers, wives and perhaps as children and found Not the Life. I started a blog, Wind harp Tree. My memoir became focused on what really happened / happens to famiies before and after the Knock on the Door that announces our future.

As. Mothers we are tasked with protecting our children and blamed and bullied by society almost as though we had intentionally participated in our child's molest. And I did, I  failed mine, much as my mother failed me and my brothers in spite of both her and my best intentions. "Outsiders"  who have critiqued my drafts have been shocked to think incest is a family problem. They want individual happy survivor stories I guess. Otherwise, "Too much information."

As I looked on line,  the "family" problem  fanned out, morphed into many families  dealing with the fall-our after the knock on the door (my father and my husband molested more than "just us" but their actions came a long time ago. Most of their victims are adults or, like my daughter, died before I started looking into the national problem)  Someone asked me if I thought my father was "gay" as though the words  "Gays" and "pervert were synonymous. Some still believe that   being molested as a child "treated like a girl" (my father's favorite term for "it") causes homosexuality?

Young boys fear that "being treated like a girl" means they can never be "real men."   (Believe me there is enough ignorance, malice and prejudice to go all around this topic that has been silenced and smothered for so long.) I said, "No,  I my father (molested as a child himself) was not homosexual, Instead, I think  my father was a sort of sexual omnivore. Addicted to risky sex of any kind, he got off on tricking/ fooling and betraying other adults while he was taking advantage of their and his own children. And he told tales of mistreatment as a child to justify the harm he himself visited upon helpless children but he felt no empathy for the children he took advantage of, just sorry for himself and the way he was mistreated (and he was mistreated.)

Anyway, It is amazing how little those of us with real experience regarding all sides of this "sex offender" issue (including "offenders" themselves) feel free to tell about what can happen to families when someone chooses to speak out and make their lives visible.  Men especially seem unable to discuss  how hard it has been for them growing up to become trustworthy good men after they were molested as children. And it is a fact that a certain percent of those who were molested as children but received no help, do seem to go on to molest and betray others when they grow up.

As mother's we are so afraid the system  will take away our children and so silenced and afraid of what the neighbors might think, that we don't seem to stop and realize we need to support and even demand  effective care and treatment for all the children who were  abused, all those children we still love and care about even while we too are reeling from the after effects of  betrayal,"the knock on the door " and a punitive disdainful "justice system."

And the other side of that same (silenced/ un-examined) coin, are the Juvenile Sex Offenders some of whom are our own children, our "own" juvenile sex offenders (sons? perhaps, grandsons?) who are adjudicated and thrown into adult prison and placed on the National Registry as though as minors, they too were already hardened sex offenders (Young Hannibal Lectors?) destined to compulsively repeat their crimes.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go on and on, but we as mothers and as the families of sex offenders should not forget we have a unique perspective and when possible for our own safety and the safety of our families we need to "make a difference' Our point of view is necessary and valuable. Throwing 180,000 names on the National Sex Offender registry and meting out punitive punishments and endless supervision is NOT working, not even for "our" adult sex offenders..

Shouldn't we  demanding and supporting programs that help molested little girls  and boys "treated like girls" when they are still youngsters ( those who have "offended" are far too young to throw on the national trash pile and find themselves Raised on the Registry)  Sticking up for our kids and the kids of other mothers maybe we culd begin  healing the next generation and  help to slow down what seems to be our national obsession with imprisoning and cataloging and "supervising" and Googling and throwing rocks at the families of sex offenders.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being there.

Monday, September 7, 2015

And By the Way, Yesterday I spoke to one of the "good guys" we all pray are still out there, a womanwho told me yesterday....

I spoke to a woman yesterday she too heard a knock on her door it was a Public Safety Officer come to warn her, a Police Officer who handed the woman a SEX OFFENDER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD FLIER emblazoned with the picture of a young boy (maybe 16) who was adjudicated, sent to adult prison. A young Sex OFFENDER who had just moved in to live with relatives  across the street for the woman I spoke to.

The woman told me she had never met her neighbors but...

She said she took the Sex Offender WARNING flier and went across the street and knocked on her neighbor's door.(which she said was covered with screws and nails and locks and dead bolt key hols) and after knocking a couple of times and waiting while all the bolts were slid back and un-bolted) a woman answered the door. and asked "how can I help you?"

The woman tell me the story said, she asked to see the young man pictured on the flier. After a few moments he came and stood behind his mother (or grandmother or aunt or sister?) in the doorway.

The Woman held up the flier and said to the young man, "I just want to welcome you to the neighbor hood." And the boy answered? The boy said, "Thank you. No one ever said that to me that before"

This story isn't apocryphal. She isn't one of us. She knows of no SO in her family. But she is just one of the good guys we all hope will meet us when we too share our stories, overcome our fears  and become  VISIBLE.

I hope to open a discussion about molested children and about Juvenile Sex Offenders on Wind harp Tree, soon. One of the things this woman told me, almost in passing was that she was shocked at the contrast between the picture on the flier of a young sex offender (before his imprisonment) and the way the boy looked standing behind his mother. She said the boy standing before her in the door way looked afraid and discouraged and a hundred years older, all covered with tattoos and  undoubtedly used and abused and un-healed himself by the system we all deal with (especially because some of us are  also not only the mothers to abused children but to children who have abused and harmed other children in our wom families or in others) Believe me there is enough "HURT" in this "hurt locker" to go all around. And still if we can't some how find a way to heal the hurt done to oueselves, to our children and to "our abusers/offenders" how will we ever manage to take the loks off our own door and welcome others into a community of  survivors who all know our duty is to use power to protect ALL of those made vulnerable among us???

Sunday, September 6, 2015

MOTHERS Becoming VISIBLE to EACH OTHER: AFTER THE KNOCK ON THE DOOR: when we are deciding what to do next, Whether to cut and run, who to stick with (and whether and how) When we are beginning to realize that WE too will be swept up in the Collateral Damage of shame and blame and ignorance..

  • The important thing, I think, from my own sad experience and from listening to others here on Not The Life I Chose, is not to get on the pitty-pot about "How badly the IN-Justice System is treating us and our children and "Our" sex offender (adjudicated, Registered, guilty innocent or not)  because then we start to think all our present suffering somehow makes the harm done to others OK we have forgotten this this is not tit-for-tat suffering. Every one needs to change and heal and end up better in spite of undergoing this truly horrendous experience . 
  • He "hit me first" is not an excuse we would accept from quarreling children and this situation abouve all requires us to be (or become) adults bent on using our power as adults to protect children from future harm and to protect the vulnerable and betrayed among us (including ourselves) 
  • Two wrongs don't end up making anybody "Right." No matter how bad we ourselves feel/felt we were hurt as children ourselves, or as adults by the "unfair" the seemingly endless parade of social workers, police, neighbors etc etc that seem to blame us as mothers as much as they blame and shame and pillory "offenders/ fathers/ friendly strangers and  "our" child pornographers), No  matter how unfair all this seems or even  IS,  we ALL have to find some way to get through this, to Recover, to invent the new normal, not just flee back to an old normal and hope it "New" only to find ourselves repeating the toxic patterns we learned about our role in marriage and a woman's "place" in support of our husbands (and sons and ourselves and our own molested children). Just Keeping Silent and Hiding , just trying to hang on to our former place in society (and not fall among "those People" Those families on the Sex Ofgfender registry is herculean and requires we retink our own attitudes and expectations going forward. 
  • Just managing to "get through THIS"  might tear us all down even more than "outsiders" ever could,  if we choose to climb onto the pitty pot and feel so sorry for ourselves that we forget to reach out to each other, "our" offender and yes, even to the persons who were harmed and haven't had a fair chance to heal from their own wound either. 
  • The Point of NOT THE LIFE I CHOSE is to discover that there are indeed a lot of "US" out here. To discover that although we may all be very different personalities with very different points of view Our only Real hope is to find each other, to start a discussion, to share and join hands and in so doing Lift the BURDEN of SILENCE we all struggle with, lighten the burden by sharing our lives and by RESPECTING  each other no matter what collateral damage we struggle under. 
  • Getting stuck on self pity only retards our own growth, our acceotance of our own responsibility to become people who exercise our power as grown-ups to protect children by healing and changing (Post Traumatic Growth is not ony Possible but required of all of us involved in the "situation" after THE KNOCK ON THE DOOR. 
  • Any thoughts on the subject? Please share. Please comment. NOT THE LIFE I CHOSE was created by all of us for all of us (for you and me to find community and sanctuary and (perhaps discover and mark some ways forward for all of us ) 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"The In-Between Time" Between the Knock on the Door, the Police, the realization of Betrayal and our "next life" with or without "our" Sex Offender.

I found this discussion on Daily Strength (Families of sex Offenders,under the thread  "The In Between Time"  I just recently "found" this resource because a friend of mine whose husband is on the Sex Offender Registry told me about Daily Strength. I wanted to share it with you. Not because I don't hope that Not the Life I Chose won't continue to feel like your "Home Group" so to speak but because we all need each other every day and in sharing, in Breaking the Silence, Overcoming our Fears, we gather courage to become Visible  once again...(I'd even say finding strength to lift the Burdens of Silence and shame from our shoulders and from the shoulders of other women after the Knock on the door is empowering!) When I find more resources I'll share them also and please share your own thoughts, resources etc with the rest of us here on Not The Life I Chose. Please. 

Any way here is reply #7 from the thread

"The "in between" time

The initial shock in any tragic situation is always the hardest. There are many unfamiliar stumbling blocks, and it makes the grieving process (Yes, it is a grieving process) difficult to move forward with, especially if each time you think you are getting a handle on things, something else is thrown at you. 

  • I cannot speak from the aspect of a child going through something like this with a parent. My situation is as a parent grieving the actions of an adult child, but some things are sort of the same.

    Going forward you can count on your life being different from what you have known in the past. People will go out of their way to ‘advice’ you on how you ‘should’ handle things. Many will make claims to know what is best for you and your son. So called friends may turn their backs on you, and you will be judged by proxy. (Associaton)

    On the other hand, you may have different experiences. Go with what feels right for you. If you don’t want to talk about it…..don’t. Make decisions in a manner that will make the process easier for you and your son to handle. Don’t let well meaning people push you into doing something that doesn’t feel right to you.

    I believe one things most of us going through this type of situation have in common is that we have had to grow a pretty thick skin to protect ourselves from the petty gossip that arises, and have had to be willing to accept changes as they come in order to keep our heads above water. You do what you have to do for yourself and your son.

    Keeping busy is a key factor. You will need to distract your mind or you will go nuts thinking about things. I myself probably have the cleanest house in 3 states. Movement and physical activity helps me. I reveal close to the bone events openly to only one person, as most of the people I used to call friends and family are not around by their choice or mine.

    The limbo phase is truly the hardest. Hang in there, eventually things will start to smooth out some. Come back and let us know how you are. We do care. "
I second the motion. Please do come back and let us know how you are. We do care here on Not the Life I Chose, also.