Dilemma, a BIG one. What do you do when you feel responsible for making sure your abuser doesn’t hurt anyone else?


So, I’ve been struggling with this thought ever since the whole sexual abuse thing became real for me. I always remembered one situation that happened between my cousin/”Uncle” and I but I had always minimized it my whole life, until last year. And now of course other “memories” have come up. I put the memories in quotation marks not because I don’t believe myself, but because of the struggle I have to accept it and because of the cycle of doubt that likes to sneak up and tell you that it can’t be true. Of course that cycle always ends back and belief and then you keep working on it. So I have a rather large problem.

I have noticed that I go through these periods where I am literally obsessed with my uncle. By obsessed, I mean that I try to find information about him on the internet or information about his family, an address, a Facebook picture, a scrap of anything. This started largely because once I realized that what he had done, the one memory I’ve always had, was really sexual abuse, I freaked out thinking that he may have access to other kids, especially since he liked to keep it in the family. When I was little, I don’t think they had any kids, but I thought that maybe they had since I had left and what if those kids now had kids? What if he had nieces and grand-daughters!? He’s over 30 years older than me, my mother’s first cousin, so all of this was possible. Anyway, I go through these obsessive stages and I scour the internet looking for anything. It always ends in frustration nd anger because he’s stayed off the grid. I only ever managed to find his wife’s name listed with an address and I also found some information stating that they had a son who now in his 20’s. So, the other day, my obsession hit again and I started looking but this time I focused on his son who is named after him, so he’s a “Jr.” Towards the end of my search I see that his son got married last year to some 18-year-old girl. Now, I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god! what if they have kids!? I have to do something!” The reason I was always looking for information was because it had occurred to me some time ago that one way for me to take care of my responsibility in some way and to ease my own guilt about putting someone in danger, would be to send anonymous letters to his wife and his son’s family, stating simply that he is a child molester and to be careful. I thought that would be enough of a warning. If they chose to confront him, fine. If they watched out for their kids, wonderful. As long as they knew or had been warned, I thought I would have done my part. Well, the problem is that I can’t find any addresses for the guy’s son and new wife. I have no way of warning anyone. I became quite desperate and I decided to contact the local police anonymously through an email. I wrote to the department that handles sex offenders and the community. Here’s what I wrote:

“Dear RSPO,

My question is in regards to dealing with someone who has molested children but was never charged because no victims ever came forward. Is there some kind of anonymous way to tell someone? I am concerned that there is someone in A******** who has molested before and may have access to children.

Thank you.”

Now, of course I knew what the answer was going to be before I sent it but…I didn’t know what to do. I thought that maybe they would let me just give a name and they could poke around enough for him to know that someone was on to him or something. Let me explain why this a dilemma. I’m going to mention something Paul from Mindparts said to me once, and Paul if you read this and you want to clear something up etc. just say so in the comments. Basically what was mentioned was, that it’s not like I’m trying to prosecute the guy in court. That’s a big deal to me because I would never go to the police with what’s in my head. Whatever cycles of denial come and go, I am 100% sure that the first incidence I ever talked about, happened. I know that. But, it was almost 30 years ago. And most of all I have no proof. The only other person that ever told me that he molested them was, *drum roll*, my mother. Yep. And we all know what our relationship is like. I can’t prove a damn thing and she likes to bury her head in the sand so she’s no use. Even if we were speaking to each other, which we’re not, she said he abused her and yet when I was little she left me there unprotected and didn’t tell anybody what he had done to her. The police department wrote me back this morning. Here’s what they said:

“To whom it may concern:

 A person whom may have committed a crime can’t be brought to justice unless someone comes forth with valid information so that the proper law enforcement can look into the matter for investigation. If I understand you correctly, my advice would be, send me the name of the person that has molested children, along with all the Victim’s names, ages and address and a time frame as to when these events occurred. You also have the opportunity to come to the R***** Parish Criminal Investigation Bureau where you can remain anonymous and talk with a Detective so that this matter can be investigated.”

Well damn! They don’t know that I live 2,000 miles away so I can’t come in and talk to anyone if I wanted to. Now, I’m in the position of facilitating possible abuse because I can’t give them the information they want to know. I can’t prove anything. When I was little, I told my grandmother that he kissed me between the legs and nothing happened. I don’t know what happened, if anything, behind the scenes with the family, but legally, nothing happened. Hell, back then , in that area of the country, it’s likely that they would have shrugged it off as him just “messing around” and I misunderstood or something. The problem is that there is no reason for me to think that he has ever stopped abusing kids or that he wouldn’t if given the chance. However, if I say nothing, I’m helping him, but I say something, my name is out there with NO proof! I can’t try to have a guy arrested with the information I have. I won’t. Whether I believe in my memories or not is beside the question because I can’t prove a damn thing. So, what do I tell the police? I just wanted to warn someone. I really just want to warn the family so they can keep an eye on their kids or any kids they may have. That’s all. But I can’t do that and if he hurts someone else it’s my fault.

I remember reading about the actress Terry Hatcher. She was molested by her uncle at a young age. From what I remember, she never told. Then one day as an adult she reads about this girl who committed suicide and her uncle was named as a suspect in molesting that girl. Terry then came forward and he plead guilty to molesting other girls.

I can’t help but think that maybe if she had come forward earlier, that girl would never have been molested and would still be alive today. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole “not telling” thing. But now I’m looking at it from the point of view of someone who could tell but won’t. Doesn’t that make me an accomplice? And, morally I can’t do this based on what my brain and body have told me. I’ve got one solid incident that I could swear to tell the truth about and that’s it. But, you can’t prove a kiss between the legs can you? Ha. My brain and my body tell me that all of these other things happened but I won’t do that to someone, even this guy, even though I believe it. So, now, that makes anything that happens in the future my fault. That doesn’t make me any better than him.

 

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About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
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13 Responses to Dilemma, a BIG one. What do you do when you feel responsible for making sure your abuser doesn’t hurt anyone else?

  1. Pandora says:

    Oh tai, this is horrible for you 😦 *gentle hugs*, if that is OK. I wish I had the answers.

    I’ve always remembered one incident, although I’m still in the process of recovering other memories. After that occasion, for a long time I just didn’t really think about it and pretended it didn’t until several years later, when I started obsessing over my uncle’s grandchildren (at one point four of them lived in his home; others would visit daily). One of them has since had children of their own, and as their two births coincided with my memory recovery, I’ve been particularly obsessed with what I should do about them.

    Like you, I have no intention at all of prosecuting him for what he did to me, but was petrified for his great-grandchildren. Here is where you might say I am ‘lucky’ (in a way): I’m still in contact with the family, so have watched my uncle’s behaviour around the kids very carefully. I have concluded that even if he still wanted to molest, he’s incapable (there are many reasons why I think this). So these two and any future children are, I think, safe.

    But the problem still exists that he could have abused his grandchildren, with whom I grew up. I was the eldest, and keep thinking that if he did harm them, then I could have prevented it by speaking out. But if he didn’t hurt them, then I’d have destroyed an entire extended family. It was too much for my child’s mind to process, so instead of doing something, I blocked most of it out.

    I feel like I’m babbling – my problems aren’t yours, after all. I suppose I just want you to know that someone else out there understands the hideous position that you’re in. It’s horrible and dark, but you’re never alone.

    It sounds like a platitude, but it’s true: he abused you. You have not done anything wrong. Your options are limited through no fault of your own; the fact that you’re trying proves you are better than him, by a hundred million times.

    Please take care tai. Sorry again for rambling.

    Pan xxx

    • tai0316 says:

      Pan you didn’t ramble at all! Thank you because I’m glad to know that someone else has thought of this issue. Your example is very similar to what i’m worried about. If I could know for sure that there were no kids around him, especially family, I’d relax a little. It’s hard because, even though I told when I was little, my family excelled at hiding incest. I don’t want to continue that cycle. Since writing my post this morning, I replied to the man at the police department and further explained that this involves incest and that my mother and I are the only people that I know of who were abused. I also told him how long ago it happened. I did not give him my name but at the last moment I decided to tell him my uncle’s name. I just needed to tell someone in authority his name. I told him that I know he can’t do anything without proof etc. but I wanted to give him his name. It’s weird because there could be many victims out there and none of us tell. I really appreciate you talking about your experience.

  2. tentmaker says:

    Hi Tai.

    i’m facing the same dillema right now. and i wish i had any answers but i don’t.
    i don’t want to ruin my extended family and don’t want to ruin my uncle’s life but i’m scared that he will have kids someday and i’ll be responsible if he does stuff he did to me 😦

  3. Freasha1964 says:

    Tai, you said you were 2000 miles away. It occurs to me that if you tell the person you are corresponding with, they may be able to give some options. Like there could be a reciprocal agreement with your local law enforcement agency, and you could go there and make your anonymous testimony.
    Regardless of what happens, you are not guilty of anything. Period.

    • tai0316 says:

      Hey Freasha,
      I have no idea how to follow up as I kind of let the police person off the hook by acknowledging that I knew they can’t do anything with what I’ve provided. So frustrating!

  4. castorgirl says:

    Hi tai,

    Are you able to contact Social Services instead of the Police? I don’t know the implications of contacting each organisation, but it might help you ease your guilt. My mother made calls to our equivalent of Social Services when she saw signs of abuse in a neighbours child, they visited the parents and it was handled really well. That might be possible, I don’t know.

    I know you were a librarian, so you would have thought of the usual means of checking the electoral roll for their contact details, as well as the social networks. This is how I know fellow survivors of the same abuser have made contact.

    Have you talked this over with your therapist? She might have some options that you’re not aware of.

    Please be aware of your own safety as you investigate this… both physically and psychologically.

    Take care,
    CG

    • tai0316 says:

      Hey CG,
      Safety is definitely a big issue for me. I’m trying to think things out more before I do them so I don’t freak my system out. Can you explain more about knowing that fellow survivors of the same abuser making contact? What I mean is, in what way did you find out? Sorry if the question doesn’t make sense, I’m just trying understand how you found that out. Did you use Facebook or something? Great idea on calling Social Services, I hadn’t thought of that at all! I didn’t get to bring it up today in therapy because, I had too many subjects to talk about in 45 minutes. 🙂 I’m sure it will come up though by next session’s time.

      I’m sorry if I missed something you’ve written about in the past, but did you have to deal with this issue? If you did, did you write a post about it? Again sorry if I’ve forgotten if you did.

      • castorgirl says:

        Hi tai,

        A fellow survivor I know through FB asked me whether the person who abused her 20 years ago was the same person who ran a company. I found information that confirmed that for her. At the same time, she checked the social network sites (Old Friends, FaceBook, etc) and found that he had seriously assaulted a previous wife. They made contacted and created a “hate [abuser]” page. She became obsessed that he seemed to be so well off and to have not suffered at all, even when successfully prosecuted for violent offenses against women.

        She took positive steps by making sure his name appeared on an online register which records the names and offenses of those who have been named in the media. But, she also became obsessed in a negative way. It wasn’t healthy and sucked her backwards into the past.

        So that’s how I know about survivors of the same abuser meeting up through the social networks.

        As for my personal experiences with the issue, I have written about it briefly in a couple of posts, but will summarise it here…

        The leader of a series of events that happened when I was 8 was successfully prosecuted for historical charges against other girls/women. He was the son of my mother’s friend. When I found that out, I was devastated. I still have guilt that I didn’t do something about telling. If I had, maybe those other girls wouldn’t have been hurt. There are so many “what if…” situations that run through my head – what if I’d turned right instead of left when I got home that afternoon?

        The other situation is with my ex-husband. He is violent and unpredictable. After his last attack on me, I knew that the chances of me being able to successfully prosecute him were low, mainly because of my mental health. My only other option was to seek a Protection Order. That made it official that he hurt me, and hurt me over a period of time and is dangerous. This was my warning to other women that he is dangerous. It’s not the same as a criminal conviction, but it’s the best I could do when I was so unsafe within myself. I know many will see that as a cop-out, I agree with them.

        There are no easy solutions when you’re in the scenario. It looks nice and easy when you’re on the outside looking in, but it isn’t.

        Be safe,
        CG

      • tai0316 says:

        Thank you for expanding on that. I hope I didn’t hurt you by asking those questions. 😦 By the way, what you did about your husband, the Protection Order? That was incredibly brave. You did the very best you could to protect others and you amaze me.

        You hit on a very valid point talking about the woman and Facebook. The obsession. I can feel when that overwhelming need to find out about him comes over me that it’s not all healthy, in fact most of it’s not. I paid to have a background check done on him through the internet and came up empty. i was so angry, I was hoping that some time in past someone else had come forward. This can be a very dangerous road and I’m trying to keep that in mind.

        I understand the feelings of guilt that you talked about in your situation. You know what’s funny? Looking at your situation, I can absolutely tell you that I believe you did the best that you could with what happened. You were a child faced with a situation that should never happen, ever and you handled it the best way you could. Now, if I could turn that logic towards myself in certain situations huh? Oh the irony! 😉

        And your closing comments really hit home. This is not easy in any way and yet in the past I would have thought that the answer should be simple and easy for a victim to do. “Why don’t you just tell?” Ha! It can’t be understood until you live it. Thank you so much for sharing these things with me, I’m lucky to have you as a friend. *safe hugs*

    • tai0316 says:

      Oh, I did try the voter’s registry and there’s no address listed for his son.
      Crap forgot to say that I looked up my uncle too and he’s inactive. It’s amazing that he stays so hidden.

  5. Oh Tai, you are never, never, never responsible for an abusers actions. It wasn’t your fault as a child and you are not to blame for anything he has done since or might do in the future. He alone is responsible for his actions.

    It is horrible to know of a crime and not be able to produce evidence and I really do understand the fear of other people becoming angry with you for making unproven accusations. Right now you are in the middle of discovering your own history and it probably isn’t the time to be taking action about it. If you feel that you can take action, by all means go for it, but please don’t feel that you have some sort of responsibility to do so.

    I don’t know your circumstances or the relationships you have with those who know your uncle, so I don’t know what effect it would have on you if people found out you had reported him. What I learned when I reported my uncle though is that the police will only talk to people who the victim nominates as witnesses, and the perpetrator of course. So making a report isn’t going to warn any potential victims and unless there is an actual arrest and prosecution, those people you are worried about won’t have clue that he’s a danger to them. The police are not going to start warning the public, even if you do report him. And for privacy reasons, they are not going to give you contact details so that you can do the warnings either.

    Like you, I was worried about other children (in the present day), before I reported my uncle. I tried my best and nothing came of it. In the end I had to accept that it’s not my fault if my uncle continues to abuse. I know that sounds harsh. Unfortunately it is the reality we have to live with. I think that if you believe it is right to contact his son and you have done all you can to do so, then you have done your best.

    You have so many other things to deal with Tai. Put your energy into healing and one day you will be in a better place to do more for others. I look forward to the day that I can speak loudly to my family of origin and make an attempt to stop the generational abuse. Until then, I accept that I am doing my best, even though it never feels enough.

    Please take care. Hugs if you want them.
    Dawn

    • tai0316 says:

      Dawn, oh my goodness, your reply helped me so much! Your experience made me see that the steps I have tried probably wouldn’t work because the police aren’t going to broadcast anything or spread the news to anyone and they aren’t going to tell me his son’s address either. It’s hard dealing with what’s going on inside my own head let alone trying to figure out how to keep him away from other kids. If I can’t thhink of something else to do, I don’t know…but what you said here, wow, thank you so much, it helped ease some of my guilt. Thank you.

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