Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"We Didn't Know"

"We didn't know," the civilians said when asked about the gas chambers after World War II.

"We didn't know," neighbors say when they learn that the man across the street had molested a boy.

"We didn't know," parents say when their adult children talk about their past sexual abuse.

When I began to deal with my abuse, I told my three older sisters. They said the same thing.

I don't think they were lying. I think they couldn't accept the enormity of the revelation. If they had known, perhaps they wouldn't have been able to face the personal guilt for doing nothing.

What about abused kids' point of view when they hear those responses? One of the witnesses against Jerry Sandusky said he never told anyone. Asked why, he repeated an answer that rang true to me and to many others, "Who would believe a kid?"

When the perpetrator is a prominent person in the community, leads a scout troop, teaches Sunday school, or runs a charitable organization for kids, who wants to hear such stories?

The answer: No one wants to hear such stories.

Perhaps the question should be, Who needs to hear such stories?

When asked that way, the answer is obvious. Parents and religious and civic leaders need to hear. But too often they don't.

Sandusky's wife said she never heard the boy screaming in the basement. Apparently, she also didn't know when their adopted son said Sandusky molested him repeatedly for several years.

When will they believe us?

When will the cries of bruised and raped boys be heard?

Until they are, the survivor on the witness stand has spoken for all of us who were abused in the past. He speaks for those who are or will be molested.

"Who would believe a kid?"

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A note from Cec's assistant: Cec's publisher (Kregel Publishing) plans to release his newest book, More than Surviving, in March, and they've asked us to provide a list of influencers. An influencer is someone who is familiar with Cec and his work and would be willing to help get the word out about his book through reviews, social media, blogs, and/or other ways. If you're interested in being an influencer for More than Surviving, email Cec at cec.murp@comcast.net to let him know, and make sure to provide your contact info. The publisher will send you a copy of the book when it's available. Thank you!


Roger Mann said...

I kind of had a double whammy here. My father was a preacher, pastor, evangelist, and teacher in the community. Much of our extended family lived very near us or in the same city; some down the street. He was well know for his moral beliefs and not shy about sharing.

What I didn't know was that he had done a pre-emptive strike in his favor by telling all of them that I had some funny ideas and was into some strange beliefs and who knows what else. So he had them all prepared should I make some kind of claim or slip up and say something.

Now I never would've said anything to anyone other than my mom anyway. To keep that from happening he made sure he was always present on the extension, (you may remember extension phones), or in person. Just before she died, she made a couple of secret appointments to have lunch with me just the two of us. Which was the only time I ever let her know there was something between me and dad that wasn't right. I suspected years later after looking back she may have been the one wanting to tell me something wasn't right and just didn't know how to approach it.

Kids are not to be believed. That's the saying we heard all the time. That's the reason kids never told back then. Thankfully times are changing and people are beginning to re-examine things kids are saying about uncle Harry, or the babysitter, or gramps.

Anonymous said...

Roger, thank you for your bravery. I am still not brave enough to use my name. Only about 10-15 people even know what happened. He died before o remembered so my telling would not keep him from hurting someone else. Really, who really cares. No one really cares. Keep it hush hush still. Don't tell. Why, still why hush hush. It is always like the abused one did something wrong. The only thing that I have done wrong is kept the secret when I was a kid. I should have shouted it from the roof top and let him kill me. There might have been others that I could have saved from the torture. Secrets! Secrets! Secrets! aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!