Comments for Why do families – mothers - abandon incest victims?

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Jan 21, 2008
Misplaced loyalties
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I must first say that your mother couldn't be more wrong when she blames you for the sexual abuse at the hands of your father. None of it was your fault, Hayley, none of it! For her to suggest that you as a child had an affair with your own father is not only absurd, it shows just how twisted her thinking really is.

In one form or another Hayley, I'm frequently asked the same question you've posed. I answered one for Ray about a week ago at Why doesn't my family believe me? When you get to the page, scroll down to the bottom entry by Darlene Barriere â?? Webmaster, dated Jan 13, 2008. I think you'll find some of it applies to your situation. But the truth is, no one can provide an adequate answer, because even when it is psychologically explained, it is still inconceivable that family would choose an offender over a victim. Any answer only reflects the warped way in which many families choose to deal with the criminal behaviour of an offending relative. The "answer" often leaves even more unanswerable questions, and does little to help with the healing and recovery process.

The sad fact is; you are not alone in the way your family has shunned you and opened their arms to the sexual offender. This has resulted in you experiencing even more feelings of betrayal and abandonment, which you've already had the lion's share of as a child. The fact that your mother allowed you to be alone with the man she KNEW was molesting you made her a party to the sexual abuse. She was an enabler; and as such, she should be prosecuted right along with your father!

But I digress....

Society is biased when it comes to girls who have been molested. Often times, girls are blamed for the assaults against them, which of course is ridiculous. My female victims of sexual abuse page on this site lists a variety of societal biases on this matter.

If you aren't already in counselling, Hayley, I strongly urge you to seek it out. The right therapist will not only help you to deal with the emotional residue of the abuse you suffered as a child, but he or she can also help you deal with the feelings of betrayal you are experiencing with your family members today.

As for the upcoming court case, I hope your father is found guilty and that he receives the maximum sentence for the crimes he committed against you. You deserve for that to happen. I hope you'll let us all know the outcome.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jan 22, 2008
Thank you Darlene
by: Hayley

aww thank you for that really helpful reply and this brilliant website Darlene.
I have had two years counselling which helped me to report it but unfortunately after my husband left me I was unable to continue to pay for it. Here in England we are only entitled to 6 sessions on the NHS and that is after approx 3 months wait and I have used up the woman's aid counselling offered,
Before conselling I really believed that I was to blame because it wasn't like you see on tv, child being terrified behind a door. with me it stopped my father from hitting me, he used to tell me he loved me after and we were doing things together like working in the garden. to be honest i have never felt loved, not even in my 22 yr marriage or even by my kids. the 1st thing my dad and my abusers in adulthood (my brother and husband) told me 'I love you 'I used to get hurt when my husband turned his back on me when I told him 'I love you'. I really find it hard to separate the abuses they roll into one and i can't help feeling that in some way they chose me because i am weak? thick? worthless?
Anyway my mum was questioned by the police but they thought that because I only told her once she can can get away with it, well what child is going to tell their mum the second time if there was a chance of her mum dying, dad go to prison and being put in a children's home away from brothers and sisters?
I always had this fear that my mum would die if I told anyone as she has always been poorly with her chest. Last week my sister told me my mum is a 'walking time bomb'.
Anyway thanks again Darlene
Hayley

Jan 22, 2008
Your thank you
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

You're welcome, Hayley. The thank you is very much appreciated. I'm working very hard to keep people informed on a variety of levels. It's always nice to hear positive feedback from my visitors.

I also wanted to say that you are NOT thick or weak or worthless! You are worthy and deserving and intelligent and special. Keep telling yourself that, because if you DO keep telling yourself that you are worthy and deserving and intelligent and special, then eventually you will believe it. Don't let your abusers continue to take your power away from you. Take back your power. Give YOURSELF the very things that you had a birthright to but never received. Only then can you hope to get onto the road to healing and recovery. And you deserve to be on that road, Hayley, you really do. I have faith that you WILL find your way there.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 05, 2008
oh yes Darlene he pleaded guilty
by: Hayley

hiya Darlene
well that is another hurdle over- he pleaded guilty to 17 rapes and 1 indecent.he is now on the sex offenders list- which is really good as he was high up in a church . after each charge he had to say guilty without giving any buts. aw i had excellent support from the victim support and witness support and i am pleased that they will support me at the sentencing -10th of March- as my family are going over. i am going to ask which side they will be sitting on to prepare myself. my sister who i am very close to is flying over with me but is going back with my mum, i would be v upset if she sits beside my mum.
i am in the middle of writing my victim impact statement and am planning to read it out myself. i thought I might write it as a letter to my father. do you have any tips on writing one? it is really hard.
I have a reporter interested in my story and he is going to write it after the sentencing- i told him i want the main message to be it is not too late to report your abuser.
cheers
hayley

Feb 05, 2008
Great news!
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Oh Hayley, I am delighted by this news! Good for you for pursuing justice for the sexual abuse you suffered at the hands of your offending father. THAT took a great deal of courage.

You asked if I have any tips to offer for an impact statement. Hayley, the impact statement is your opportunity to tell the judge the devastating effects that his abuse had on you. The way you felt when he was molesting you, the way you felt afterward. Rather than using words like worthless, betrayed, and afraid; write what worthless, betrayed and afraid looked like.

Answer the following questions, from the heart with pure honesty:
  • Did he threaten you or someone or something you loved? How? What was your reaction?

  • What was it like anticipating what you knew was coming? Did you pray that God or your mother would stop him? Include that your prayers weren't answered. Say what this felt like.

  • Did he make you think it was your fault? How? What did he say? How long did you believe it was your fault?

  • Did he tell you that no one would believe you? Include how your family DIDN'T believe you.
In other words, Hayley, be candid about how his actions and the lack of actions of others affected you as a child, and how they continued to affect you well into adulthood.

A victim impact statement is difficult to write and read, because of the emotions that are evoked. It takes a great deal of courage to re-visit those emotions, because it transports the victim right back to those terrifying moments. Just remember, he cannot hurt you anymore. He cannot inflict his will onto you. You are now in a safe place.

If it's too much to handle, write in steps. If you find yourself in a deep dark place, then stop for a time and treat yourself well: go for a walk; take a soothing bubble bath; take in a movie; anything that you find relaxing. I don't recommend raiding the pantry...or the liquor cabinet. I want you to feel good about yourself and I want you to treat yourself like a queen; say it with me, Hayley: nothing dysfunctional here. ;)

Pick up where you left off another day. After all, this doesn't have to be done in an afternoon.

On the other hand, once you start, you might be so immersed in the process that you won't be able to stop. Gage how you're doing by your emotional state. Self-care is every bit as important during this process as the statement itself. If you feel the need, talk to your Victim Support and Witness Support people. They are there to help you through this difficult time. And most of all, Hayley, be proud of yourself, because you have so much to be proud of. I'm certainly proud of you. Your message of it never being too late to report abuse is one worth pursuing, a message I am honoured to include here on my website.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 12, 2008
Moms who abandon.
by: JamesW

My mom did the same thing. A friend suggested I read "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward. It was very helpful.

Feb 23, 2008
To James W
by: Hayley

Cheers James , I had a look at the reviews for that book and it looks really good. I will get it out from the library.
Thanks Hayley

Feb 23, 2008
Counselling
by: Hayley

Hiya Darlene- thank you for the help with the VIS, it was brilliant as the DPP (prosecution people) couldn't give me any guidelines at all.
As well as my own victim impact statement, the court has ordered a psychiatric report on me. I wrote my statement and put all of my heart into it but unfortunately I can not use it in court as I can not write it as a letter to my dad or use poetry- and was reminded that my mum is not in the dock.. So I thought I may send it to my dad after the sentencing.
After chasing different organisations for the psychiatrist report I found someone really good and they have also offered me counselling on the NHS -free but 6 sessions. I had the assessment yesterday which I found helpful. she told me that untill recently (approx 20 yrs) if a person told their gp that they were abused as a child they were considered mentally ill untill they stopped saying it. she told me the difference between being mentally ill and being dysfunctional so that was also helpful. She also arranaged for me to claim a sickness benefit rather than a job seekers one, which has eased some of the pressure of me.
It is only 2 weeks now till the sentencing.
i am getting a bit scared now , keep picturing my dad in the dock, my mum on dad's side, my sis in the gallery (as she doesnt want to chose) and me in the witness box giving my statement.
Cheers Darlene
Hayley

Feb 23, 2008
Understandable anxiety...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

I understand your anxiety, Hayley. Just remember what I said in my comments: You have an opportunity to tell the JUDGE (not your father; he doesn't matter) about the impact your father's abuse had on you, both as a child AND as an adult. A letter to your father, poems, etc.; those are for you. The purpose behind the victim impact statement is to help the judge understand what the offender's crime did to the victim, which in turn, can (not always, but can) impact the judge's decision for sentencing, etc. So tell the judge what your molesting, sex offending father did to you.

I have faith that you'll do a great job with this, Hayley. And I'm glad to learn that you'll be getting some counselling. You deserve that counselling. You deserve some peace of mind. As you draw closer to the end of this process, I hope that you will start to get some of that peace of mind and some sense of closure. A good therapist will help you get there.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Mar 14, 2008
To Anonymous:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

***The comment titled he got 6 yrs!! paper report was deleted by Darlene Barriere due to copyright infringement.***

Please Note: I cannot post any articles, stories, comments, etc. that are reported in newspapers, whether the article is in print or online. To post such articles would put this website at risk for legal action. I'm sure you understand.

Mar 17, 2008
He got 6 yrs -my version
by: Hayley

D'oh sorry Darlene bout the other post but anyway this is my version.
well I went into the courts and met the counsel who told me my father told them
'She wasn't as bright as the other children' (its no wonder I always felt thick.
'She came down into my bed naked and we played around'
'It only happened once a month as I felt so bad that it took at least a month to get over it. (that was a lie it was at least twice a week)
So I was v angry and that gave me strength to read my VIS, I read it slowly with pauses and emphasing points (lol I was asked to move away from the mic)
Then a lady from his church went up to give my dad a character reference and she was torn to pieces by the judge. The defence was also torn to pieces by the judge when he asked the judge to read the report on my dad behind closed doors. He said 'I won't go behind the victim's back'
Then my dad went up and aplogised using some of my words but to tell you the truth I felt it was a 'please don't send me to jail' apology.
so the judge gave him 6 yrs.I am so pleased with that as the jails are full over here and criminals usually get a suspended.
Aw the victim support and witness support people are brilliant and made the experience bearable.
But I am dead chuffed with myself for seeing it through.
Cheers Hayley







Mar 17, 2008
Justice served...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Thank you for understanding, Hayley. Great job on your Victim Impact Statement. You wrote and read it from the heart. That is the best you could have done. I am so so proud of you, Hayley, for seeing this whole process through. What strength you have. Yes, it was very helpful to have Victim Support and Witness Support, but your strength and resolve was always there. Support Services were sources to lean on; very few can do what you did completely alone.

So glad the judge saw through the character witness AND the defense's ploy. He was definitely there to see justice was served for you.

Now that this is over and your father will spend time in jail, I hope you can find some peace. Further counselling might be helpful, possibly to come down from the court case.

I sincerely wish you all the best, Hayley. And thank you for keeping us informed.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir



Jan 12, 2009
a quick update
by: hayley

Hello Darlene I hope you are well
well it is nearly a year now since court
and i have given up on my mum, i have written to her a few times and each time she has either totally ignored my questions or have turned the knife eg
'that face you made in court made me giggle inside, so thank you'
all of my family signed a letter to the prison asking for my dad to get a day release on xmas day- he didnt get out but no one understands why i am upset about the letter,
i rarely see my siblings but they all go over to see him
sometimes i feel they see me as the villian.
anyway all the best for 2009

From Darlene: Stay strong in your own knowledge, Hayley. Go back and read my original comments whenever you start to ask yourself why your family is so bent on embracing your abuser. It really has nothing to do with you; it's all about them and their twisted way of thinking. Sometimes it becomes necessary to split from the family in order to remain healthy yourself. Do what you have to do for yourself. There is no changing them. The only person you can change is you.

All the best of 2009 to you too.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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