*Note: This is one of the many private responses I have received this week based on previous posts about sexual abuse. The writer has agreed to let me share their experience here. I will be posting additional stories all this week.
Honestly, I feel like 95% of my thoughts the past couple days have surrounded this conversation. When I first read your post, I felt attacked. Then, I took a step back and thought about what the real deep-seeded issues are here. The first being sexual abuse, and the second being the reporting (or lack thereof) of sexual abuse. And I realized this is so personal to me because I’ve been affected by both.
I have family members who have been violated. I won’t go into detail, because it’s not my story to tell, but knowing that it’s happened to people I love makes it incredibly difficult for me to say that I would protect a predator if I had knowledge of abuse.
That being said, my father was falsely accused of sexually abusing me. It was an incredibly painful experience, having investigators pry me for dirty details about him that simply were not there. It hurt me. I felt like my integrity was attacked. I love him to death, but I would not protect him over the others that I love if they were in harm’s way. It hurt my dad, knowing that this is what someone out there thought of him. It made my mom question him. That was one of the hardest things for me to see—my mom had to take us aside and be absolutely certain that nothing had happened behind her back.
But even during the investigation, I told the woman asking the questions that as angry as I was in that moment, I was thankful for her. I am thankful that there is someone out there willing to do that heartbreaking job, and to protect the kids out there who really do need protecting.
For these reasons, this issue isn’t so black and white to me. If I knew without a shadow of a doubt someone was being violated, if I saw it happen, if a victim told me personally, I would stop at nothing to report it. But it gets pretty hazy when it is hearsay. How much of the story got changed? Has it gone through the game of telephone, where only a few details remain true?
When you’ve been on the false accusation side of things, its not as easy to accept the story from someone removed from the incident.
I just ask that people be cautious before taking that jump. Consider the source. It’d be easy to say “Well, if there’s nothing there to find then there’s no damage done.” But that just simply isn’t the case.
If you would like to share any experiences or thoughts publicly, you can leave a regular blog comment down below, or post on my Facebook link. If you would like to submit an anonymous story, you may do so at this link.
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