Today has been a lesson in contrasts.
The news of the Penn State Child Molestation scandal lit up Facebook today. I was saddened to read so many people supporting someone who knew of a vile crime and didn’t do much to stop it or create an environment where it wasn’t acceptable behavior. This brought some old scars to the surface and while I didn’t feel it was personal for me, I did and do feel a strong sense of solidarity on days like this with all victims of child molestation.
On one hand…
The story of these children reminded me that despite the truth being true, for the most part my family has chosen to not believe me. Rather than hear my truth and trust in my desire to speak the truth over this situation, my parents have chosen to believe my brother over me. Also once my parents made this decision my siblings and their spouses have made it clear that they don’t want to discuss the situation and ultimately will not “rock the boat” by believing me or taking a side.
As a child I was molested…first repeatedly by a group of boys. Then repeatedly by my older brother (M not B for those of you who know them). I have spent much time and money on my therapy and healing. And I have come to a place of believing that I was not given more than I could handle and that I was meant to have gone through this because I’m strong enough and vocal enough to speak out.
Despite all of my healing, on days like today the child in me wants to be believed. Wants her parents, siblings, etc. to just believe that what she’s shared is true. Believe me…because I am honest. Believe me…because I have no reason to lie about this. Believe me… because I have proven that I won’t fold just because I’m removed from the family. Whatever the reason…whatever the motive…today I want to be BELIEVED!
To those who are unclear…it is the ultimate betrayal of the victim to throw his/her story back in their face and say that you aren’t sure what happened was abuse. It takes courage and strength to be brave enough to tell your story…and most people will never know the sense of betrayal that comes with having your most intimate and painful memories doubted and dismissed.
On the other hand…
I went on a poorly timed date tonight with a guy I met at a networking event. He is cute. Unfortunately he likes sports and wanted to spend a lot of time talking about the Joe Paterno story. He was opinionated though fortunately he didn’t take Joe P’s side or anything. Unfortunately I was in a very bad place to try to listen to this guy go on and on about college football programs. Even more unfortunate is the fact that I broke my own 1st date rule and didn’t drive myself. He picked me up. There was no escaping.
While we were waiting for our food, the Date got very involved in a football conversation with our waiter and a guy at the next table. So much so that I got my phone out and sent some texts. I sent a text to one guy I know and said “If you don’t see me in the morning, I’m in this guy’s basement.” I was only joking but he immediately said “Where are you? What’s his name? etc.” I sent a similar text to another new guy friend and the message quickly spread among a few folks that I know from this group. Next thing I know I’ve got 3 offers for a ride home. Later when The Date and I got ready to leave, a friend of mine was walking in the bar as we were leaving. He played the situation off well as a coincidence but made it very clear that he wanted me to call him later tonight.
I wasn’t actually afraid the guy was going to kill me or anything…it was a joke in poor taste texted to a few people who were protective of me dating in a town where I don’t know anyone.
But guess what…my friends were concerned. Even though I’d told them I was kidding and that I was just bored and annoyed, my friends texted and came to my rescue. I was worth THAT kind of love and concern.
On one hand is my family. Who know me and “love” me yet treat me as though I’m the problem.
On the other hand are some sweet friends I’ve just met in the last 5 months who came to my aid or offered to come instantly.
This is just a reminder that when support and love are needed most, they will come. Sometimes in the form of someone you never expected to be your #1 champion.
But love always shows up!