ARE NOT ALWAYS STRANGERS…
week we heard on the Israeli News that a four-year-old girl was
raped while wandering around on her own in her neighborhood.
our minds we would like to think that if we will be careful enough and
will not let the kids wander around by themselves outside of home –
they will not be harmed. In many cases it is true: It is simply a
matter of neglect. The parents are allowing their little kids to stay
outside alone, and this is what can happen.
Among these people there are some that have experienced sexual assault
are reading about rape cases as outside viewers. We are shocked for a
while and then turn back to our daily routine. While we turn to our
matters in different places around the world, a family member sexually
attacks someone else in their family. In one out of five families it
happens. It means that if we will invite a few friends over for
coffee, it will make sense to assume that: “a-aha.among these people
there are ones that have experienced a sexual assault.”
They drink coffee, talk politics and have a very nice time, but
it is only their appearance, their facade. They are crippled and their
handicap is invisible. They feel hurt, wounded and bleeding inside,
but no one sees. No one notices. Almost.
victims of sexual attack can identify people who have undergone the
same traumatic experience as they have. The rest - continue
to live their lives as usual, not noticing a thing.
Case of the “Smart Guy”
talk about a sexual abuse by a family member. For example: a
family with a dad, mom and kids of different ages. The dad: an
intelligent engineer, doctor or other prestigious occupation… The
mom: educated, busy with herself. There’s money in the family. They
listen to classical music, read lots of literature, and talk about
historical events. At night, they kiss their
kids goodnight, and at one point during the night the smart and
educated father sneaks into his kids’ bed.
the Case of a Woman who See Nothing
wife doesn’t see. She sleeps. She works all day…is busy cooking
and shopping, and now at night, it is time to sleep. She doesn’t see
when her husband sneaks into her son’s room. She doesn’t see the
first time, doesn’t see the second time and continues not to see for
years. She continues to be the “mom”. She cooks and bakes. Only
she avoids seeing what’s really going on. During the weekend, the
parents even invite their son to play in their bed, but the mom
doesn’t see that all sorts of “games” are played under the
covers. When the son gets older he goes to the police and complains
about his father. The police open a file to investigate the case. The
father denies everything. He holds a high-ranking position in the
security forces. The mom continues to support her husband: she
doesn’t see, she doesn’t hear a thing. Her son is begging her to
acknowledge what she knows. “It will give some peace to my soul”,
he says. “The truth will save my mind”, he says. “At least I
will feel that you did not neglect me forever”. But the mom denies
the accusations and continues to live with the father like nothing
happened. It is not a story. It happened. We read about it all over
Only Her Husband Was Alive… She Would Show Him…
another family, a little girl, a mom and dad. A regular family. The
mom works shifts. Every time the mom is not at home, the father
sexually abuses his little girl. For years the mom doesn’t see and doesn’t
know. When the father dies, the girl finally tells her secret, feeling
a lot of pressure and shame. She blames herself. She doesn’t have
normal life anymore. She gets married and gets divorced. The mom
believes her daughter, but insists that at the time that it happened,
she really didn’t see, didn’t hear and didn’t feel a thing, and
only if her husband was alive… She would show him. But now he is
dead and she cannot do a thing even if she wants to.
Hobbies the Father
good family; they meet every holiday with their extended family. The
father has many kinds of hobbies. He is very creative. He finds
creative ways to go into his daughter’s bed and attack her since she
was little girl, until age of seventeen. The mom doesn’t see and
doesn’t know. She is not noticing that her daughter is suffering.
The daughter gets older. She gets married and is very successful. She
is now a mother of two: she had marital relations with her husband
only so she will have kids. Now she has them. She doesn’t need a
husband. She chose a life without men.
Dilemma: Should a Family Hand the Attacker Over to the Police?
the cases mentioned here there is a violent father, because men do
most sexual attacks: A father, brother or uncle. The attacks do not
take place only in poor families. It can happen in a regular family
like yours or mine. These attacks put the members of the family in a
dilemma: Should they hand the person over to the police? And if it is
not true, they think, we totally destroyed his life. If it turns out
to be not true, the family could be destroyed. And if it happens only
once or twice, isn’t it better to send the man to a private
rehabilitation center and to save him and the family?
these dilemmas exist when there are people in the family, especially
the mom, that recognize that in their homes someone is sexually harass
a family member. But in most cases, the mom is a “missing mom”:
she is physically in the home, but doesn’t see and doesn’t hear
things that she chooses to ignore. She chooses this method of
ignorance and blindness because otherwise she will have to confront
the attacker, whoever he might be: her husband, her son, or other
relative. She prefers to be depended and humiliated by the men in her
home just so that she will not destroy “the family”. She chooses
to be a mom to a child or few children that were sexually abused,
that their soul is so hurt, and they continue to be hurt just because
she is so passive, and not protecting them, as she should. Or maybe
she has special benefits from this behavior of “not seeing”?
More Secrets. The Truth Is Floating…
kids do not trust a soul. Even the closest people to them hurt them,
don’t protect them and betray them. Why would they believe a
stranger who offers his help? Why should they trust anyone? They have
no reason to do so. Frequently people who were sexually abused hide
the actual events even from themselves. Many times they don’t
remember what happened to them, even if the abuse was in their adult
lives. At times, only after victims of sexual abuse have their own
families, and they are in their 40s-50s, they are allowing themselves
to remember bits and pieces until they discover the whole picture
about their past. Their secret is no more. The truth is discovered. If
they are lucky, they are being taken care of properly and can learn to
relax a bit. If they are not treated, their mix of old and new
memories are giving them hell.
The Victim’s Eyes, the Victim is Dirty and Impure…
time there is talk about sexual harassment in the radio, or the victim
reads an article about it in the newspaper, everything comes back to
him in flashbacks from the past. The victim is experiencing the abuse over and over again. He or she may be able to keep a job, to
be academically successful; but the flashbacks repeat. No matter how
good of treatment the victim receives, the flashback will always be
there. In the victim’s eyes, he or she is to blame. They agreed and
cooperated with the attacker. But at times, a victim is successful in
building a life for him or herself.
what about a victim who is not successful in living a normal life?
Because the victims blame themselves, they don’t appreciate
themselves. In their eyes, they are contaminated, impure. They don’t
deserve a moment of happiness. So they destroy their lives. They fight
against the whole world, destroying relationships and some times
become addicted to drugs and alcohol. If they build a family, they
might abuse their kids as they were abused, because this is what
they know about how to treat children.
International Day of The Fight Against Violence In The Family
November 25 was The
International Day of The Fight Against Violence In The Family.
I preferred to deal in this article only with one aspect of violence
in the family, the sexual abuse. This is the most horrific way of
violence in the family and people don’t talk about it and do not
imagine the possibility that it exists within families they know, who
carries this terrible secret and flashbacks with them.
if you recognized someone as a victim of sexual abuse, please believe
his or her story. In some cases the family member or whomever the
story is told to, does not believe the victim because that would mean
that they are as guilty as the offender because they knew and were
to victims and treat them with all the seriousness and respect.
Rarely, their story has neither truth nor foundation. In some
cases the “victim” lies because of other disorders that he or she
has, which in this case the person needs just as much help. You need
to know that they have a huge problem that needs to be treated.
need the support of friends and family. The lies show that this person
needs help NOW. All the other signs they gave in the past were not
enough for people to help them, so they fabricated a story. They need
urgent help. Please be there for the victims. Most of them are telling
the truth. Don’t be the “Missing Mom” (or dad, or friend).