Outing Your Abuser

What I’m about to say is probably going to make a lot of people angry or upset, but as a sexual abuse survivor myself, I think I’ve earned the right to form strong opinions on this subject. Believe me, having this particular opinion makes even me uncomfortable. Nevertheless, here it is.

I have known many people in my life who have been abused in one way or another. The first thing I try to tell these people is that the abuse was not their fault. I point that out because no one bothered to tell me that. I had to figure it out on my own, and it was a good decade before I reached that point. A decade of thinking I had done something wrong, something to deserve such horrible treatment. That’s way too long. Even one day is way too long to have that kind of thought in your head. No one deserves that.

If you have been, or are being abused, you don’t deserve it. You didn’t ask for it, you don’t want it, and you shouldn’t have to experience it. But here’s where it gets controversial. Here’s my upsetting opinion. Even though you never wanted this role, even though it was thrust upon you completely against your will, you now, unfortunately, have a huge responsibility. You have to speak up. You have to out your abuser.

The reason I say this is that I know several people who experienced abuse and kept relatively quiet about it. It’s painful. It’s humiliating. It’s awkward. Speaking up can break apart families or even cause jail time. Speaking up means being publicly outed yourself, for something you didn’t do. You will be judged harshly by many.

But here’s the thing. Abusers aren’t going to stop abusing just because you’ve “aged out” of their emotional prison. They’ll most likely move on to someone else. And whether you like it or not, your silence enables them to do just that.

From an adult perspective, putting several puzzle pieces together, I am fairly certain that my stepfather must have abused his own daughter before he abused me. If she had spoken up, my life would be much different. I wouldn’t bear the scars that I bear.

Fortunately, that man has long since slithered off to hell where he can no longer hurt anyone, but when he was alive, I spoke up. I spoke loud and I spoke clear. Because one day I saw my two year old niece toddling over to his outstretched arms, and I wanted to make sure he would never, ever touch her. Ever. Unfortunately the adults in my life never stepped up once I spoke out, so he never got all the justice he deserved, but he also never got the anonymity on which he thrived.

So if you have survived that sort of evil, whether it was sexual, physical or emotional, I’m profoundly and truly sorry. But you have to speak up. For all the victims that are in line behind you. You are a survivor. Now it’s time to also be a savior.

speak up

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9 thoughts on “Outing Your Abuser

  1. Carole Lewis

    BRAVO! You have laid yourself bare so that others shall see that they are not alone. The TRUTH once known cannot be unknown. Speak up and free others. Lay the pain at the abusers feet so he/she may be known and judged.

  2. While everyone’s situation is different, I have to agree with you. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do and asks so much of someone who has already been through a lot but there is a responsibility. If my mother and aunts had spoken up about my grandfather, he would have never had the chance to abuse two of their daughters (not me, luckily). While I can’t judge them (and my mother did eventually speak up – at least within the family – but too late for my cousins), I can think of the pain and suffering they could have spared their own children if they’d done something instead of staying silent.

  3. CMcp

    Thanks for writing this, I have been wanting to out my abuser for many years. It wasn’t until I was 34, and got my life sorted that I was able (after years of counselling) to go to the police and report my abuse. I had an idea what the outcome may have been because I was a qualified social worker and had been working as a probation officer at the time and had a lot of experience re sexual abuse as I was working with a lot of sexual offenders as well as victims of sexual abuse. I needed to report him because what he did to me was wrong, and i could not collude with him any more. He needed to know that what he did to me was serious sexual abuse.
    It was however a situation of my word against his and the CPS decided there was no case to investigate as it was historic and no other victims had come forward and reported him. I don’t actually know if there were any other victims.
    I understood the criminal justice system and as it was classed as a historic case I accepted that no further action could be taken.
    I might have left it there but anyone who has been abused and is reading this knows the effect that abuse has on a person…
    A few years ago I came across his profile on his work webpage – there was a lot of news coverage about Jimmy saville and other celerities and child abuse, which was having an impact on me and how I felt about my own abuse, ( i am sure this constant abuse presence in the media is not just affecting me),
    Anyway, in his profile he discusses at length the children’s ophanage he supports in Sri Lanka, I felt sick and froze at reading this, then burst into tears and sobbed for what seemed like hours…
    Soon after this I contacted the police and raised my concerns about what I had read and asked if there was anything the police would do, I they thought he was a risk to children. Unfortunately nothing as it was out of their jurisdiction – being another country. I felt there was nothing else I could do.
    Now a few years later and after a lot more media coverage, which constantly reminds me of my past… I am going to take action, I believe this person is still a paedophile, Given my experience if I was presented with the facts I would state that there is a high likelihood that he is offending now. I am going to take the appropriate route first and go back to the police. I don’t want to waste their time and valuable resources but I feel I need to do something. I can’t stand the thought of him abusing another child. If the police cannot do anything, and I’m not expecting they can then I will need to pass what I know onto others, in the hope that they can stop him.

    1. Thank you for sharing this. What frustrates me is, yes, it might be “historic” to everyone… but you. But it would be hard to prove. I think, though, that you should at least let the orphanage know, and the local police, so they can keep their eyes open. Does he visit the orphanage, or just send them money. That makes a difference, too. He NEEDS to send them money, after what he’s done. But I agree, usually if they’ve gotten away with it once, I’d assume they’ll do it again. Good luck. That you’re trying at all is a positive step forward.

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