Celebrity sex abuse trials are igniting painful memories for many, memories which have been buried for many, many years. It is in your face stuff for those who have kept their sexual abuse hidden away. It can only be hoped that the high profile people of late who are being made accountable for what may have been frivolous actions, (or not) at the time, are helping these people feel less ashamed and fearful about what they experienced. It would appear there is no ‘use by date’ that is relevant when it comes to being ‘outed’ by someone years later for placing hands, fingers and other parts of the anatomy where they shouldn’t have all those years ago.
The Catholic church, religious or government run orphanages and schools, homes for wayward girls awaiting the birth of babies, are now on record for sexual abuse claims from generations of young boys and girls whose care was compromised by those in authority. Other institutions are not getting away with inappropriate sexual behaviour either. The Boy Scouts, The Salvation Army, swimming coaches, the Navy, to name a few. What about the counsellors, Doctors and even a male massage therapist recently.
It makes me wonder just how many older men are squirming in their seats and worried that their inappropriate sexual behaviour ‘way back when’ may indeed raise its ugly head and have them being made accountable for their actions. That is, if they even deem their actions were misplaced in the first place.
For the most part, many women, myself included, have put inappropriate sexual experiences by men old enough to know better, behind them and got on with living. I would not go so far as to say these experiences are forgotten, but why let the abusive action of another define who you are as an adult?
Many go through years of coping (or denial) they tell no one, not even their partners in marriage. They feel really ashamed, dirty, worthless, no good, and very likely abandoned at some level. They never told anyone as a child because they did not think they would be believed, or could not trust that they would be heard.
In the current climate the trigger for someone who has been sexually abused to speak out is likely to be a high-profile abuse case. These cases cast an element of safety from which to speak out, when you see another had the fortitude to do so and was heard. As a child it is likely you would never have had the courage to talk to anyone about sexual abuse, especially as abusers usually scare you into keeping the ‘ secret ’ or have you believe they would ‘ kill ’ you if you told anyone.
It cannot be easy for those who decide to speak out. Historic sexual abuse cases would have some pretty tough cross examination, I would think. Relying on ones memory for something that occurred years before is likely to be ridiculed by the Defence. The thing is, even if one’s memory is not time specific but action specific, in other words, if what was experienced at the hands of a perpetrator is recounted, even if not in a linear time frame, it still makes what took place damning.
I can’t help thinking if you are male and anywhere between 60 and 90 years old and acted sexually inappropriately back in your heyday, beware, someone, somewhere may gather the courage to speak out and then what? Nowhere to hide anymore.