Before you read this post, please read my disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: No, I don’t believe that every person that has ever claimed to be “abused” has been. There are people that claim it for ulterior motives (to protect themselves, money, attention, etc). They then compromise real victims’ integrity. I am only writing about this because it is a passion of mine. Abuse takes place in all races, all ages, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. ALL. OF. THEM. The legitimacy of abuse should NEVER be equated to any one set of criteria…young, old, rich, poor, skinny, fat, beautiful, average looking. If you don’t like what I have to say in this post, you can email the complaint dept – julie@Idon’tcare.com. #hatasgonnahate.
If I hear one more person speak aloud about their confusion as to why victims of abuse (sexual, verbal, mental, emotional, physical, or otherwise) won’t come forth freely and talk about it or at least tell someone and get out of the situation, you may hear me screaming from where you are sitting. LITERALLY!
Do you want to know what the NUMBER 1 reason people who have been manipulated, abused, hurt, destroyed, compromised…have been disrespected and mistreated…have been taught they have very little self-worth (if any) OR it is directly tied to the “abuser’s” assigned value (which is most likely sub-zero)…a person who has been treated in a way that robs them of their voice, their feelings, their own mind…don’t speak up?
Keep in mind this is someone who has been told, taught, and shown why it is that nothing they say or do is ever going to matter or make a difference. Nothing they feel is real or counts. They have no control to make things better.
Are you ready to hear it?
It is because they are TERRIFIED of being victimized all over again.
Do you know how that happens?
They FINALLY get the courage to share their situation (usually giving out VERY little details because of their fear) to an individual or small group of individuals. This is not a decision they have made lightly. In fact, they have likely toiled over it for months, most often YEARS…trying to figure out who to tell and what to say. Then the unthinkable happens. They are questioned about the legitimacy and seriousness of their allegations/story. They may get that tilted head look with confused eyes and a questioning posture from the person(s) with whom they are sharing. They may even…GOD FORBID…get an eye roll. Or the ol’ brush off.
ALL of which says…REALLY? That just doesn’t seem right. Are you sure they meant it that way (as if you were referring to “it” as a one-time incident)? Why didn’t you get out of that situation sooner? If it was that bad then that only makes sense. And you never told anyone? Why now? Why are you “all of the sudden” talking about it? Perhaps you are overreacting? Maybe you just misunderstood?
And that my friends, is EXACTLY why people live in shame, behind closed doors, hiding abusive behavior. Making excuses for their abuser. Training themselves to quickly “forget”. Chastising themselves over and over for probably being “too sensitive”. Questioning their EVERY action to determine what they may be doing or may have done to cause the abuse. Going overboard to try and make everything just perfect as to ward off an unexpected attack. THEN by the time the victim FINALLY realizes they are NOT at fault, shame, self-doubt, and disbelief as to what they’ve allowed themselves to endure has become a part of their psyche and sharing it with someone not only exposes the abuser but it shines a light on their very own failure to respect themselves. (run-on sentence warning, sorry Mrs. Mitchell).
So…IF…and that’s a BIG IF…a victim finally gets the courage to break free and shed light on their story. Their truth…they are at risk of being victimized all over again. And they KNOW IT. Many times they will simply choose to stick with the abuse from one person instead of having to “explain it, legitimize it, or justify their feelings about it” to others.
Pretty. Darn. Risky.
So…IF you are ever faced with hearing someone hint that something ain’t right…
- Believe them.
- Don’t judge.
- Don’t question.
- Support them.
- Get them help.
Thankfully there are privately funded safe places that provide a home for women who have been abused like The Well House near Birmingham, Alabama. It’s one of the nicest facilities I’ve ever seen. Of course, not all abuse is physical with visible bruises and scars. Unfortunately, some people don’t really call it abuse unless there is physical evidence. If you are one of the individuals who hold to that bias, I beg you to reconsider. Better yet, just talk to someone who has experienced verbal, mental and emotional abuse. Not that it matters whether you understand the extent of their pain or not. But I can promise you, you’ll never view “abuse” the same way again.
This is one of the most chilling and compelling videos I have ever seen about why victims don’t leave. Which is admittedly a little bit different as to why victims don’t talk. But still very relevant nonetheless…since BOTH are bathed in shame and motivated by fear. In her case, it was pretty severe physical, mental, and emotional abuse.
Recently I learned of an app called Aspire, created by The Robin McGraw Revelation and Dr. Phil Foundation. It is an app for those in abusive situations to alert their safe people. It looks like a normal news app showing daily news bits. But there is a secret feature that allows you to quickly tap 3 times. Doing so deploys messages to your safe people (that you’ve previously set up) that you may be in trouble.
I don’t mind saying…that IMHO there is a special place in hell for those who abuse people and also those who scoff, mock, and belittle victims who have been through such.
If you OR someone you know is experiencing abuse, I beg you to reach out and get help NOW! Silence is the ONLY thing that fuels abuse.
Not talking is the only guarantee that it will continue. SPEAK UP!
the whole truth & nothing but,