The Problems With Stuffing Away Sexual Abuse - And Response (3)

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Supreme Justice nomination and the presenting GOP argument for their support of his place on the Supreme Court is laudable but we have a mess that few choose not to understand or worse, dismiss. I speak about the allegations of victim sexual abuse years ago. The fact that the incident occurred years ago is dismissed by those that choose not to understand. For those that do understand the issue of telling goes to points missed by the ignorant. The mind of the child or the teen is not developed and it is known that events such as described by the abuser do happen; do make a mark and are "stuffed away."  Why is that so hard to understand or believe? It is men that do the abusing but in some cases it is the woman. Will briefly explain what I mean by saying some cases the abuser is a woman. In my case it was my mother; in my youngest son's case it was his mother. Both of these happenings are real; damaging to the individual and likely to be continued into the next generation. In this case, my son's daughters or son or in my case my children or life as an abuse victim in the larger context. 

Teen aged boys are so hormonally charged that sex is often thought, imagined and frankly wished for. The party atmosphere at the school is known now to be a bit "over the top."  Wealthy kids with no parental supervision living away from home and money available. All the earmarks of troubles. Robert Kennedy's son died because of a drug overdose at that school.  I was a teen once and though alcohol was not readily available probably saved many of us from similar experiences. 

The teen aged girl at the same party and drinking brings a whole host of challenges for her but for that mind again of a youngster. She knows not the hormones raging inside that teen aged boy. If something happens as is being described by the Ford case it is understood that she did something wrong. She cannot go to her parents. She cannot go to authorities. She cannot tell anyone. It is her fault that the incident happens. The incident at that party is "stuffed" never to appear again but for and here we go.

My abuse as a young child confused me. I was too young to know what was happening; why did my mother show me so much attention and "love"?  My brothers did not get that. Was I special?  That experience, just that, was "stuffed."  Never fully understanding what was do I dismissed it  Brett Kavanaugh dismissed it. To him, a medal. For her a life of a lie. She might, as I did, think of self as "whores."  Yes, you doubters, the sexual abuse of someone resides forever in that person and can make the life of the abused a mirror image of the guilt he or she feels.

Senator Hatch's comment that she was mistaken is the tried and true understanding of how ignorance can become policy for those that so fear coming forward. It is their fault it happened discounting the drunk trying to take her clothes off in front of an audience of teens drinking.  I honor for her the courage it took to come forward. The time differential is not an issue at all. She has a story to tell and I hope she tells it and people like Hatch and Trump hear. Their ignorance portends understanding but the voting public, made up of so many women that vote will make a difference. Every teen girl is a potential victim. Male society gives their powers the right to take and abuse without consequence but, again, a medal.

Robert Brooks

* * * 

Mr. Brooks, 

I believe that I understand what you are relating. Sexual abuse may be emotionally “stuffed” where is festers for long periods of time. Not just sexual abuse though. Pretty much any traumatic event may be suppressed and result in a plethora of problems for an individual.  

No one has denied Ms. Ford the opportunity to speak about her trauma. No one. The time lapse between her abuse and the revelation of the event publicly was up to her. Although she was 15 and drunk at the party, that does not mean that she could not have told someone. Underage drinking happens and it’s not an excuse for someone to be abused.

The problem with deciding the validity of the abuse is the time lapse. It has been suggested that perhaps Ms. Ford was confused about who it was that traumatized her. Is it possible that she is mistaken about the identity of the attacker? She cannot remember a lot of details about the event. That does mean that it did not happen, it simply makes it more difficult to verify.

The only information published so far is a newspaper article. There will be her letter and records from her counselor (if those can be released). Finally there will be her testimony.

By any legal standard she should testify first. Judge Kavanaugh has the right to know exactly, word for word, what he is accused of. That must come from the alleged victim directly, not through the media by any means.

The FBI would not do a criminal investigation in such a case—that’s not what they do. That is the responsibility of local authorities.

Ms. Ford began by trying to keep her name undisclosed. I understand that. However, no one can be accused of an act by an anonymous person. She was exposed by a politician after which she stated that she wanted to tell her story. Then Ms. Ford changed her mind about the situation. Her prerogative. Things just seemed to become more political after that point.

Ms. Ford has the right to tell her story. Judge Kavanaugh has the legal right to face his accuser (as painful as that would be for Ms. Ford), and hear her describe the alleged attack. After that, Judge Kavanaugh should have the opportunity to refute the accusation in his own words. The other condition set forth by Ms. Ford's lawyer is that Ms. Ford not be questioned by lawyers. Isn’t this issue a legal matter? Who usually conducts legal cases but lawyers and judges.

I sincerely hope that regardless of the outcome of this hearing, somehow it will help Ms. Ford divest herself of the secret she had carried for so long.

On a final note Mr. Brooks, my experience involved an older cousin. He went on to become a respected physician. I “stuffed” the events and never told anyone (not even counselors) for decades. I finally told my mother a few years before her death. The reason I told her was because the good doctor had allegedly inappropriately touched a male teenage patient within his medical practice. 

Ted Ladd 

* * *

If the passage of time is not an issue why then do we have statute of limitations? Yes, the time lapse is important. It’s important because evidence deteriorates and memories are not as accurate over time and the accused may not be able to provide evidence against a charge, especially one over 35 years old. Of course the passage of time is an issue.

Mike Lynn 
Cleveland 

* * * 

Trauma comes from all types of abuse: sexual, physical, verbal, emotional, psychology,  etc. Being an abuse survivor,  I can see the reasons for victims to bury that trauma. I finally found the strength to fight back after 10 years of verbal and mental abuse. I can't imagine what the ramifications of deeper and worsening abuse would have on someone. It's no wonder victims wait years and decades to be able to verbalize their traumas and speak their truths.

Why is it that when women, no matter what length of time has passed, are basically called liars, opportunists, and other worse names that are not suitable for print. Why are they scrutinized so badly? Why is it seeming like the norm from men in authority to make it worse on the victim that the accused abuser? 

More so, why are men that wait decades to come forward about abuse, like say abuse from priests for example, believed without a doubt and proclaimed heroes for finally being brave enough to come forward? 

Abuse is abuse regardless of gender. There is no time frame for being able to speak the horrors someone was subjected to. Women should not be crucified for waiting years when men aren't.  It's not right. All victims should be applauded for being able to find their voice.

Richard Smith 


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