A person stands in the street, holding up a cardboard sign in front of them that reads: Silence Allows Violence

The Danger of “Having Empathy” for and Protecting Abusers

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CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses grooming, abuse, and sexual assault.

Growing up, I was abused by an adult (on multiple occasions over several years, from preschool to middle school), but I never spoke up or got help for the harm that was coming my way.

I kept this abuse to myself, and the person who hurt me never faced punishment for their crimes because they convinced me that if I told anyone, I “would be responsible” for the destruction of my abuser’s family.

For most of my life, I believed this lie, that it would be my fault if that family suffered, but it wasn’t my fault.

I was a preschooler who should not have been burdened with keeping that type of secret to protect the family of my abuser.

Had I spoken up, and his family been destroyed, left homeless, and without a parent, it would NOT have been MY FAULT for speaking up about the abuse I received at the hands of this predator. I know that now, but I didn’t know it when I was under my abuser’s control.

It would have been the predator’s actions that got him into troubleNOT me bringing the abuse to light.

A person stands out side in the street holding up a cardbaord sign that says  Silence Allows Violence
Silence Allows Violence

I can’t say how many others this person has hurt since hurting me because I didn’t speak up, and thanks to how much time has passed since the last occurrence, the case is cold (past the Texas statute of limitations for SA).

There will be no justice because, in my naivety, I fell prey to victim blaming.

According to Wikipedia, Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them.

I was not at fault or responsible for the abuse that was perpetrated upon me, just as it was not my responsibility to keep secret the harm that had happened to me.

a black and white photo of prison barbed wire
Prison Barbed Wire

Still, I was tricked into having empathy for the devil (and the devil’s family), and my empathy for someone who was hurting me left me vulnerable to additional harm.

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This type of thinking protects predatory people who delight in taking advantage of and harming others (mentally, physically, or in other ways).

Perhaps one of the most obvious accounts of this would be in the Catholic Church (and many churches), which protects priests who harm children.

There have been thousands of people who have reported childhood abuse by thousands of priests all over the globe. I’ve struggled to find a consistent number, even the smaller figures I’ve found are distressing.

One report estimated that as many as 333,000 people may have been harmed.

As an abuse survivor who didn’t come forward, I believe this number is probably even higher (because many people don’t report these crimes due to the shame and victim blaming they may experience when trying to expose their abusers).

Red Plastic Rosary Beads on a pink background
Red Plastic Rosary Beads

“Father Touches a Lot is a good man. He’s a priest. You don’t want to ruin his life, do you?”

Victims should never have to worry if speaking about abuse will backfire on them, but victim blaming and shaming have become commonplace in our world.

This attitude (that abusers are “people too” and victims have to have empathy for abusers) keeps victims silent.

This attitude (that the abuser isn’t responsible for the harm they cause) empowers abusers who like to torture, harm, mock, taunt, and cause pain in other people because they think “it’s fun.”

Victims should not be held responsible for their abuser’s actions.

It is the abuser, the person who caused the initial harm, who is responsible for and must face any and all consequences of the harm they caused (no matter how harsh – homelessness, lost job, lost family, prison).

Fucked around and found out.

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#Grooming #Abuse #MeToo #AutisticAdult #ActuallyAutistic

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