What if I told you that there is a predator in the survivor community posing as an advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse. What if I told you that he has a large following, is well respected, has been interviewed many times and has even been on television. What if I also told you that the evidence against him goes back several years. What if I said that 11 women have come forward with very similar stories of sexual harassment, bullying, blackmail, shaming, and threats.
Would you believe me? I am guessing you would believe me. Most people who follow me, read my work, buy my book and share my posts believe me when I write about my childhood, my mother, my upbringing, my parents and the ways that I was regarded and disregarded, all of which communicated to me that I was not as lovable or as valuable as the people mistreating and disrespecting me were.
But what if you were a friend of my family? What if you realized that I was talking about someone you knew that had been the one doing this stuff to me? What if it was your pastor, your teacher or your coach that had been messing with me? What if it was your aunt, your cousin or your brother in law? How would you react then?
This survivor advocate that I am talking about today is very skilled in grooming his victims to be afraid to tell on him. He is just like any other manipulative controller or abuser who knows that he has to find a way to keep his victims quiet. His pattern is very similar with each of the women he has targeted. He gains their trust, he finds or creates something that he can use against them and when the victim objects, or realizes that he is an abuser, he uses threats, guilt and calls them all sorts of horrible names defining his victims as the problem, taking them back to the helpless childhood they are trying so hard to emerge from and keeping them in the web of fear.
How do you feel about this? What if I told you his name? And what if he was your friend? What if you have had discussions with him and found him to be ‘so nice’ and ‘knowledgeable’ and so “helpful”. What if you had nothing but respect for this guy. What would your reaction be then?
In the general survivor community, a huge part of advocacy work has to do with people encouraging victims to come forward and tell their story. The problem is that so many come forward and are called liars.
I posted a warning on my personal Facebook page this week about a man who is a well known advocate for child sexual abuse survivors. I personally was not friends with him but we had over 180 friends in common. I posted a warning based on the evidence that had been shown to me, most of which is not public due to the FEAR the victims have of him, and I was attacked. I was shamed. I was told that I could be ruining this mans life with my accusations. When I said that there was a magnitude of evidence, someone commented that it is easy for people to create fake email or Facebook accounts and impersonate the perpetrator. That is how important it was to her to discredit the victims and discount the evidence! This was a fellow survivor of sexual abuse AND an advocate for survivors healing from abuse!
People demanded names of these victims. Two of the victims allowed their names to be public and they were shamed so much that one of his victims had to shut her Facebook account down due to the amount of hate mail she was getting. She had proof, she had text messages and emails. And she wasn’t the only one that had proof.
I was reprimanded, guilt tripped and shamed, but mostly (and possibly the most concerning) I was ignored. I had very little impact. On my personal Facebook page – I am not referring to the Emerging From Broken Fan Page which has 84,700 followers – but on my Personal Page I have 1700 friends and 1300 followers. And I was pretty much ignored. When I posted about my eye injury, I over 1000 likes and over 300 comments, but when I post a warning about a perpetrator in our midst, I was ignored. I suspect that most people didn’t want to get involved. And yet, my only purpose ON Facebook is to empower people to heal from the pain that has imprisoned them and to validate that abuse really does happen and that healing is possible.
I am pretty happy today that I don’t tell everyone that healing depends on being believed.
All the encouragement that these same people spout off about “telling” and reporting the abuser, and all the shaming and responsibility that is put on people who “know about the abuse” but don’t come forward and this was the result. The same people who say “just tell” and “stop abuse” are shaming the people that ARE telling and the people supporting them.
I have experienced an amazing range of feelings over this; I felt my hope slipping away. I felt powerless; I wondered if I was actually hurting the perpetrator, I wondered if I should just “mind my own business”. I questioned my purpose for doing this kind of work. But bigger than all those feelings, I remembered all the times that I was called a liar, exaggerator, and that I had ‘misunderstood’ the situation and how helpless I felt. I remembered that feeling of being alone because no one would help me. I remembered the fear of tomorrow because my survival was all up to me. And I remembered that because I was the one that people judged as was liar, the perpetrator of the abuse was empowered to keep abusing. He got a free pass. He got to abuse again and again. I was imprisoned and he went free.
And that is what is happening to the victims of this online perpetrator. People are supporting HIM. The victims are once again alone, shamed, unsupported and disbelieved. No wonder victims are afraid to come forward. Think about it.
I am an expert on emotional healing. Since most of us have never been empowered to think for ourselves or to have a choice I don’t encourage people to do anything that they are not ready to do. I find that is the most empowering stance to take. Therefore, although the solution when it comes to healing doesn’t depend on victims reporting abusers I am very against abuse and I am passionate about doing whatever I can to expose it.
If you suspect that you have been harassed or abused by an advocate for abuse in the survivor community, please contact me through the contact form here, at the button above, and I will put you in touch with the people who are heading up this investigation.
Will you share this post? Will you comment in support of this ongoing investigation for the victims? Do you need ‘proof’ or can you believe that I have seen the proof and that I respect the victims rights NOT to risk the persecution that so often comes with exposing the truth about abusers. Please help me.
Related post by Christina Enevoldsen on Overcoming Sexual Abuse ~ Christina shares some of the comments posted by fellow survivors in her new post “What’s Inappropriate About Exposing Abuse?”
The Emerging from Broken book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing