Friday, July 14, 2017

Welcoming the Wives of Sex Offenders: Validating each other and Finding Courage to Break the Silence surrounding Sexual Abuse

Women, Wives, and Mothers seek out Not the Life I Chose so they (we) can share candidly about our lives, and maybe gain perspective on lives harmed by sexual abuse of one kind or another.  Men, (many of them male survivors), as well as women, wives, and mothers, girls and boys, need this safe space to speak openly about the pain and bewilderment we all feel but are too often afraid to express for fear of reprisal.

Almost more than the abuse itself, we need to be able to set aside shame, blame, and isolation to openly examine our pain in the company of trusted others who know what we are going through because they too felt the same way.

So long as we struggle on in silence, so long as the only sharing allowed  is to recount specific details, 'gory details,' police reports,  approved accounts of our 'victimization'  so we can be labeled the 'Forever victims' and the others labeled  forever 'perps' ("Once a sex offender always a perpetrator" is the line that energizes those same lynch mobs that isolate and silence every one of us)

So long as we allow fear to silence us, we deny ourselves perspective and fail to recognize the 'cycle' of training and belief which leaves each vulnerable to passing down the cycle of abuse to our children and our children's children. Male survivors are especially afraid to disclose their childhood abuse for fear they will be seen as 'sissy-boys.' Investigators, mothers, victims, all fail to broaden the perspective to include male survivors of child sexual abuse even if that Male Survivor is also a 'molester.' We don't believe Sex Offenders Recover. But then what SO dares speak out? Even if SO recidivism is below 3%, who dares openly speak of trusting in the recovery of a sex offender (except maybe here on Not the Life?)

Mired in the moment, dealing with the "Knock at the door" answering police questions about our husbands, our boyfriends, our sex-curious sons, we can't bear to look deeper. We can barely keep our own noses. Yet shame, blame, and the after-effects of sexual abuse don't magically disappear with divorce, or even with our decision to 'stay.'

I keep posting on Not the Life, hoping t keep this space open for myself and for others. Not the life is a place to unpack our (sometimes before ignored) real lives, a place to gain enough perspective to reorganize and go on. To find a "new life' we have to also unpack the traumas of childhood. Maybe not here exactly, maybe here we only find the courage to speak openly, but going on has to include unpacking the traumas and attitudes of childhood.  To do so we need to hear other voices from other rooms. We must reach out in real time so that not only our own children but our children's children can grow up safe from the cycle of sexual abuse.

To do that we must include the voices of the male survivors currently denied the right to speak right along with the rest of us dealing with the after effects of the "Knock on the Door".