Believe Them

Beware.

This is not my usual blog post. In fact it might be considered, by some, downright controversial. But I am so disgusted with some of the things I’m hearing and reading this week, that I have to jump on my soap box. I have to speak out.

Women are being villanized (is that a word, sp?) left and right to no end. Why? Because they dare to come forward about sexual abuse that happened many years ago. The question is being asked “why did they wait X-number of years to come forward?” “This can’t be true or they wouldn’t have waited”.

Why? Why did they wait?

Because of the reactions they are receiving now!!!  They are being victimized all over again. It has probably taken them this long to be able to deal with the backlash that is occurring and even now I would imagine there are times they are having second thoughts, to some degree, about speaking out. It is hard enough for a victim to come forward when the abuser is a regular everyday guy or gal (yes women abuse too) but when it is someone in a position of power/authority it magnifies the situation. By power or authority that may only be an adult when you are a child. It doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a lawyer, judge, or other “high-ranking” type person, but as we see, it can be. Who is going to be believed most likely? I think we can see every day how that usually plays out.

How do I know this?

I am a survivor of child molestation and sexual abuse. I was first abused by a family member; at the age of NINE. I didn’t tell anybody. Why? Because I was threatened. I was threatened with more abuse (a beating, spanking, whipping, whatever you called it back then). I was told I would be taken away from my family. That’s what abusers do, especially to children. One day I went to spend the night with my aunt. The abuser took me to her house. She realized based on my actions something wasn’t right and flat-out questioned me, after he left. Yes, my aunt. Not my mother, who was clueless and self-absorbed. At first I denied it. I was scared. But, my aunt had the good sense to be persistent and I eventually told her. She contacted the proper authorities and the investigation ensued. It was in the very early 1970’s and things then were nothing like today (or maybe they were). What I remember is that: I was physically examined (at nine, can you imagine?) there was dead sperm found in my vagina, the abuser was arrested, made bail (his wife, my half-sister, believed him) a court case followed and he was found not guilty. He was more credible than a nine-year old girl/child.

Guess what?

He went on to continue abusing (his own children) SURPRISE…..around 1988 he pistol whipped my sister, went after their daughter again; and she shot and killed him!

I often wondered how my aunt, who never had children knew. That went to her grave with her. I know “why” she supposedly never had children. According to the stories “something happened to her” as a child that prevented her from being able to have children. As I got older I began suspect she had been abused too. You do develop a sixth sense about people and can spot an offender.

The abuse didn’t stop with him. As a young teenager it happened again. At church. By a church member, someone who was also a church “worker” with the youth groups. I never told a soul. Why? Because I knew I would not be believed. Who would believe me over a “man of god”? Telling had worked so well for me already. So I kept quiet and stayed as far away as I could. I honestly think I was a prime target because of the first situation. I also think because I never received counseling or support when it happened the first time I believed it was ok. I wasn’t worthy (on some level) to not have this happen to me. This person also abused others. Ironically, several years ago someone else took his life too.

You know what they say. Karma is a bitch!

If I said told you I didn’t do a little happy dance when I heard about both of their deaths, I would be lying.

They eventually got their comeuppance on this earth. Sadly they continued to inflict pain on others before it happened.

It still affects me deeply to this day. Most of the time I think I have moved on. But when I hear the things we are hearing now it brings it all back to the surface! I have always been hyper vigilant in knowing who my children and grandchildren are around (as much as is possible). I check the sex offender registry often. If a new sex offender moves into the neighborhood I make sure they come nowhere near my littles. I will not move to a new house without checking first. I cannot stop someone from moving into a house near me, I can control whether or not I knowingly move next to them.

To my children and anyone else. If your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or anyone tells you they are being abused or harassed BELIEVE THEM!!! If it is proven they are wrong, so be it. BELIEVE THEM FIRST!! Abusers continue to get away with these heinous acts because we doubt the accuser over the abuser! I don’t care if they tell you it’s your best friend since you were twelve years old. I don’t care if it’s a family member. For gods sake BELIEVE THEM!

Today on Facebook, I saw posts by “friends” making light of the recent allegations in the news. I don’t do this lightly, but I have removed them from my friends. I will begin removing anyone from my circle who does this or defends such actions. Someone told me recently I need more friends on Facebook. Well, my list is going to be dwindling…..I have no desire to be associated with anyone like that. I can only imagine how they would act or think if this were their daughter, wife, mother, sister.

Why are these particular women choosing now to speak out? I don’t know. Maybe because there was the #me too campaign a few weeks ago on social media? Maybe they are realizing they are not alone? They have a voice. They will be heard.

Today I urge you to speak out if you have been abused and silent. Even if it is too late for “anything to be done”. Even the offender is dead and gone. Don’t carry this around with you any longer. Don’t let them keep a hold on you!

There is more I would like to say, and one day I might. I will end here for today, though as my thoughts are becoming jumbled and I don’t want to ramble.

Until the next time

Janet

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Author: Janet Earling-Bencivenni

I am a Lifestyle/Fashion Blogger, SAHGMa, Marathoner, and PowerLifter; sharing my journey of weight loss, fitness, fashion, and finding myself after 50. My hope is to help, encourage, and inspire others along their journey. I am here to tell you being 50 is indeed FIERCE!!!

14 thoughts on “Believe Them”

  1. It took a lot of courage for you to share your story, you are brave! i am sorry that this happened to you. I hope others read this and find courage as well when they need it.

  2. Janet, I can’t imagine the trauma that was inflicted on you, and at the age of nine. That is the age in our lives when we are supposed to be playing with dolls and our biggest worry should have been who could run the fastest at recess. You are brave and I applaud your courage and also the courage of “anyone” who will speak up. There will always be false accusers but that is up to the court system to figure out. We should not treat a victim to the barrage of questions and accusations that is standard procedure today.

  3. You know, abuse doesn’t seem to know a stranger… I believe these stories coming out will protect people young and old. Thank you for your courage in sharing.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story Janet. It was courageous to do. It’s honest and real and hopefully will help others find their voice to speak up! A court on this earth didn’t help you find justice against your abuser but there is a special place in hell which burns brightly for child molesters. I hope he is there!

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