I am writing this from the low country of South Carolina. A break needed to assess where I am and where I am going. I am also working on a project that I will keep under wraps for the time being. The first steps are proving to be very challenging.
After the post from July where I asked the question “What is it going to take?” I did not hear crickets, but I also did not hear a lot of consensus. Most of the comments were via email to this blog and, as a rule, I don’t publish the contents of email unless I have the permission of the correspondent.
I keep coming back to the same basic conclusion. We, the community of survivors, don’t trust each other. I am sure someone with a lot more education in psychology can explain all this. In fact, I would love to hear the explanation.
What I have discovered is that there are divisions within the community that baffle me. There seems to be a concern that someone’s abuse is more important, more devastating, more valid than another.
There is no criteria to determine who is a survivor and who is not. There is no experience barometer to determine who had it “bad enough” to be in the “club”. I almost hesitate to say the word “community” anymore. I really don’t think there is one. There is no network, there is no organization because we cannot come to a definition of who can be considered a survivor. And that serves the interests of the predators and the institutions that have protected them.
It is not a competition. It is a very destructive game of “I had it worse than you”. Can’t we agree that is awful, devastating, damaging and life altering? It is completely confusing to me that the people who should have the most empathy for survivors are other survivors. And yet, that is where I find the most intensely judgmental collection of individuals who are often very vocal when anyone offers an opinion other contrary to the “norm”.
If this is the game, I don’t want to play anymore. I have better things to do than sit around comparing stories of abuse and the levels of devastation caused by that abuse. I will leave that sorting to someone else.
It is not all SNAP’s fault either. We can wax poetic about how screwed up an organization, any organization may be. We can waste our time affixing blame. Or we can get organized, concentrate on the predators and the institutions that protect them and move forward. At some point this has to stop being about individuals and it has to start being about something greater.
If we are to have that kind of community of survivors, we must not sit in judgement of each other, we must work together to change the environment that has allowed predators to target children and vulnerable adults. If we cannot do that, we have already failed.
It seems that what it is going to take is empathy for each other. Once we have that we can start to be more organized and focused on changing the conditions that allow an environment for abuse and criminal conspiracies to protect predators to exist.
8 thoughts on “The Answer to “What is it going to take?””
First of all who would dare say to another victim. I suffered more than you. What! Are we in a race? It’s the fact we had suffer at all that matters. Once the adult stepped over the line with us all our futures changed period. And where are you meeting such people? On line?
Why does everyone I’ve met in this bullshit want to change the “environment”?
If by environment you mean the catholic church,how exactly would you start to change it? Who cares about the catholic church?
How about changing the environment of the victims first?
(I’m not that “cured” from my rape to even begin to attempt to protect the non raped. Who I can’t even meet because as yet they don’t exist,thank goodness?)
. Or, how do I try to control a church whose leadership remains teflon. Let the catholics bury the catholics and protect their own children.
We’ve come out about what happened to us. Who doesn’t know now that catholic clerics are not to be presumed trustworthy around children? The whole world knows that thanks to us.
I think one thing you might not know about child sex abuse victims is that our trust was destroyed by our rapes. That’s just a fact. Any therapist can tell you that’s the truth.
Please! Don’t worry about trust amongst victims. If proper action is taken for victims they’ll join in. They’ll “get it”. They just haven’t seen any “actions” they can relate to yet.
However, If one continues to focus on the church rather than on the victims and their lack of care; all we will have is more of the same old same old.
One definition of insanity is to constantly do the same action; and expect a different outcome.
I don’t recall mentioning the Catholic Church as the “environment”. I would assume it would be easier to boil the ocean than change that particular institution.
Trust is an issue with victims. One way to gain trust is for victims to be treated with respect and dignity when reaching out for help, and telling their stories. I haven’t noticed anyone comparing who’s the worst victim.
As far as SNAP goes: I’m sure they’ve done some good work, but they make mistakes, and they have specific agendas. If a victim doesn’t fit neatly into their agenda, and specific leaders won’t get their face time, then you’re not going to get the compassion and understanding you need…..not to mention any meaningful help in holding the abusers and enablers accountable.
It’s about putting all pedophiles away! Not just those in the church. We just need to be grownups, and take what each of us has to give, and run with it. Each of us has specific areas in which we may be able to help organize a system to expose both the pedophile and the institutions that cover up their heinous crimes against children. Google, “Harold Jerry Mash”! He was exposed because I refused to let people talk down to me…one of them was a SNAP leader. She wasn’t helping, she was putting up road blocks! Who does that? This is fact, and I have witnesses to prove it. This is exceedingly disturbing, and the opposite of what an organization that helps sex abuse survivors should do. But who’s going to believe me?
I don’t care about discussing SNAP or any other organization’s BS political agenda anymore!!! I just want to find one that actually gets to work, and works in the right areas to get the job done. We need to focus on the judicial system, and the Statute of Limitations. We need to focus on the cover-ups and have a group of us digging up records or any other damning information we can find on predators, and the institutions that aide and abet them! We need to look for witnesses, and basically do our own investigating. We need to work together with a common cause!
(edited to remove some personal comments, MBB)
There is no network bk the people running the “network” sabotaged survivors over and over, I watched it first hand last 8 years. Mike you keep wanting to deny the real problem here. We were all Damage Controlled by the people who ran the show out of St.Louis since the eighties. All we can do is do the best we can in spite of them, that’s how I’ve learned to deal with it. But stop denying it, Michael, that’s a big part of the problem, that people don’t want to admit how badly we were conned and screwed.
I don’t think I am denying the problem. I think we need to think bigger than a single institution based organization and get some traction across the larger survivor community. I have watched the blind loyalty to a group that seems myopically focused on fundraising over the tenants of its mission statement. I have written on what I see as the subversion of any efforts generated outside of “National Leadership”. I would prefer a strategy that isolates that group and lets them whither on the vine. I do not see them as any part of the solution going forward when they have been such a big part of the problem in the past. Perhaps a group like FACSA is more of a better foundation to build this idea upon.
Kay, That Network will never change. We have to empower ourselves to make changes, so this kind of thing stops, and survivors/victims can add what they can offer to help put the monsters away, and also help expose those that cover up the sex crimes against children, or those that cover it up indirectly. Believe me, what this one particular support group did to these men on a local level was putting road blocks up, and potentially causing a dangerous situation. A 55 year old man held a secret his whole life so he wouldn’t hurt his grandmother because she’s the one who found Harold Jerry Mash to be his “Big Brother”.
He finally sees this monster exposed, then when he calls the “network” to tell his story, and that he wants to help, the national leader tells him, “You’re not news worthy”! She shot him down…..wounded him! This man lost his mother when he was 10 years old, and his father was never in his life! He loses his sister in 2009, and she was his last living relative! This man has lost everything! This fueled me to fight even harder.
Problem is the ones with the resources to the a network of support ain’t doing it and ain’t sharing the names or any of the resources. So it’s damn hard to get anything done. Often in conversation with other survivors we say, imagine what we could have done with a real network for activism. Instead, everything fizzled and the same 3 people were in the news, wherever we tried to do anything. There’s a story here, hope someone writes it someday or well http://cityofangels2.blogspot.com
It looks like we all agree on a few things, and I’m pretty determined to see something bloom. Each of us has experience in one thing or another, or maybe in many things. Survivors/victims need to work together as a team, and use what they know to help each other, and perhaps educate to prevent future victims. It’s going to take persistence, failures, learning from the failures, and many tiring days to accomplish what needs to be done.
I’m proud of these Ohio men who told their stories, stepped up, and exposed Harold Jerry Mash. But they were betrayed, and one of them in particular is having a very rough time, and I worry about him!
I think when it comes to predators, many institutions cover for them because they’re involved in those institutions in one way or another. As I said before, we’re not just up against a pedophile; we’re up against those that cover for them, to cover for themselves. We’ve learned hard lessons, and found information on Mash despite being up against massive cover up from Toledo Public Schools, Rossford Schools, Big Brothers of Atlanta, Big Brothers of NW Ohio, Boy Scouts, Maywood Schools in Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools.
We all know the Catholic Church covers things up, and they’re VERY powerful. I can’t imagine the battles many of the survivors have had to face, only to be defeated in the end. Part of that defeat is that specific groups won’t open the discussion bigger, and alter their agenda.
When this actually gets in the way of catching these pedophiles, this becomes tragic. Talking about this is a good starting point, but taking action is what will move the child molesters from be emboldened by the cover-ups to be locked up!