Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is an ugly post

I hate the "I was abused" defense.

I hate it.

Oh, I know what you are thinking "How can you judge someone unless you've walked in their shoes? You have no idea how that could mess a person up."

Well, I'm going to share something with you that I've only shared with very few people in my life:

I was sexually abused as a young child.

I haven't shared this with many people for all of the myriad of reasons people generally don't share things like this...

It's embarrassing.

I didn't want to make other people uncomfortable.

I don't want to hurt the people indirectly involved.

And hell, maybe tomorrow I'll regret this coming out and wish I'd just kept it pushed in the back of my mind, but right now I'm furious.

I don't know whether Casey Anthony killed her daughter or not.  Obviously the circumstantial evidence piled high against her.  But I'm furious that she and her defense team used the allegations of childhood sexual abuse as some sort of excuse for her erratic and neglectful behavior as a mother.

Sure she partied when she should have been looking for her missing daughter, but oh poor Casey was abused as a child, so you can understand....

No.  No, I can't.

My emotional scars don't make me neglect my sons...they've done the opposite.  They've made me become what some would deem overly protective about their care.

They are why I refused to put my sons in daycare.  They are why I have only let a handful of selective people (mainly their grandparents and godmother) babysit them.

I could never leave them alone in a room, even for two minutes with someone I didn't trust 100% to not hurt them, because I won't allow my child to have to endure the kind of trauma that I did.  Even if other people can't understand why I don't "just hire a sitter".

I'm not saying I don't think she was abused.   I wouldn't presume to know the answer to that.  But I do not accept said abuse as some kind of defense for her deplorable actions (and I'm counting all of them, regardless of whether she actually murdered her daughter).

I've kept quiet about this for a long time.  As most people do.  It's a dirty secret we try to bury deep inside and not think about.  Maybe I wouldn't even be coming clean now if it weren't for the perceived anonymity of the internet.

But reading these articles.  Seeing the way that the defense tried to manipulate and exploit a very real, tender, and hurtful subject as a way to excuse her actions (or non-actions)...I just have to say, as a "survivor" myself, that abuse is not an excuse!


  1. Thanks for having the courage to talk about this here. I, too, was sexually abused for almost ten years of my childhood. I attribute my abuse to pushing me to be the best mom I can be & I agree whole-heartedly that this should not be used as a defense. It does, unfortunately, shed a lot of light on how abuse begets abuse when it isn't acknowledged or healed from. It also brings me to a point of yours that I'd like to disagree with: "It's a dirty secret we try to bury deep inside and not think about." I agree that this is how it felt at first for me; however, after years of healing and therapy, the last thing I ever am is shameful. Why should I be? I did nothing wrong - *he* did. I openly talk about what happened to me because silence is what allows the trauma to be perpetuated generation after generation. Children that are currently being abused need survivors like us to speak up and give them a voice. I encourage you to read "The Courage to Heal" by Ellen Bass and Lauren Davis if you haven't already. It really helped me move along my healing path and has helped me grow into the better mom that I am because of all of the muck. Hugs!

  2. Thanks. I agree with everything you said. Even in my head and heart I agree that I *should* talk about it openly, however it is much harder to do than say. If I don't like talking about consensual sexual acts with people, how am I going to discuss sexual abuse? I have vowed to very openly discuss it with my kids though. They are still too young to understand the concepts of "you have to tell mommy and daddy if someone hurts you or touches you *there* even if they threaten if you tell", but it's not far away and the talk is coming. I'll look into that book.

  3. I don't know if this will help you but I've always told my kids since they were old enough to talk (they did go to daycare as much as I didn't want them to): "It's your body. No one has the right to touch your body in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. If someone does touch you in a way that makes you hurt or uncomfortable, then you tell someone. Also, we don't have secrets in our family. We have surprises (the person who the surprise is for will eventually hear about it). If a grown up asks you to keep a secret, you should come tell me right away"