I sat on the couch yesterday morning watching CBS cover something I didn’t even know happened over the weekend: #whyIdidntreport in response to the Brett Kavanaugh assault allegations.
Then today, I watched as the networks covered the Bill Cosby sentencing.
It got me thinking—I’ve never spelled out why I didn’t report my childhood abuser. And what happened when I started talking about it. In addition, I want to share what happened when I started talking about the abuse I endured as an adult.
I did not report my uncle because I repressed the memories of abuse, and subsequently didn’t put together all of the clues until I was 40. At that point, it was so far past the statute of limitations that I couldn’t even try to hold him accountable legally. I was 5. I finally understood what happened to me at age 40. (According to many psychology experts and my own survey work, this is common with extreme childhood abuse.) Not only did I have physical “proof” in the form of vaginal surgery at age 19, but as a medium, I also had help clarifying the harrowing visions I was seeing. My dear friend and internationally renowned medium, Necole Stephens, tapped into the rape scene and managed to describe (without knowing a thing) details like drapes, room set up, room color, bedspread detail, and much more. Now, I couldn’t remember it all to a T but when I shared what Necole said with my sister (whose memory is spot on), she confirmed it all. I finally knew what happened to me and connected the dots of my life. And it finally made sense why so many of the kids in spirit who were killed by pedophiles were coming to share messages with me.
But then there was the telling.
When I discovered it all, I told my parents who were devastated. I assured them it was not their fault. No one could have known. Most predators are just that good. I'm learning that year after year as I help law enforcement with cold cases (If you just thought to yourself, "WHAT??!! She works with cops?? I thought she built furniture??", go to HERE for an endorsement by ex-NYPD detective, Mark Pucci). Sure, there were clues but they couldn’t have known. They believed me, for the most part, but I still think that unsure part was mostly shock. I know it’s hard to receive that kind of news. They knew who he was as a person and what he’d done with hundreds of women so it wasn’t a far stretch to think he’d also abuse young children. I know I’m not the only child. There are at least 4 more who are now grown.
Now, when I told his ex-wife, I received what most survivors are told.
“You must be mistaken.”
“I don’t believe this.”
“ We weren’t together enough.”
Denial? Probably. Heart wrenching for me? Absolutely. It take so much courage to come out and share what happened because there's shame and fear around all of it. Deep-seeded, subconscious shame that keeps most survivors from talking, even childhood survivors like me. But also, if they do talk, they know they may get the shamed, blamed and/or dismissed…again.
I saw this happen AGAIN when I shared the narcissistic abuse I endured as an adult. Many of his long-time supporters can’t fathom he could be one way on social media and another in real life. So instead of looking at the facts. The public record documents like restraining orders and such, they call me crazy. Call me a liar. And here’s the thing: most of them are WOMEN.
If you are one of the folks wondering why women (and men) don’t report sexual abuse (and other types of abuse), maybe consider this: Not only is it dangerous for many survivors, we know we will likely be re-abused in more ways than one. We simply don't believe survivors as a society. Cosby drugged and abused 60 women. Some folks STILL don't believe he did it.
Bottom line: Stop shaming and dismissing survivors because you feel uncomfortable. Because you don’t want to look at it without rose-colored glasses. Because you believe the façade. Just stop.
Abuse is a silent epidemic and thank god many of us refuse to be silent anymore. It is not our job to protect our abusers. Never has been, never will be. #ENOUGH #TIMESUP