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Stop Telling Child Abuse Survivors to Forgive their Abusers

Laura FoxAug 14, 2020·4 min read

You cannot police someone’s healing process.

Photo by Bahaa A. Shawqi from Pexels

There’s a bunch of things you shouldn’t say to an abuse survivor, but the biggest no-no is insisting they need to forgive their abuser in order to move forward.

Forgiveness is healthy. It doesn’t necessarily mean reconciliation or condoning what happened. PsychologyToday.com defines forgiveness as the release of resentment or anger and describes it as “vitally important for the mental health of those who have been victimized.”

However, forgiveness is a process. And how someone navigates this journey is deeply personal to them. They have to do it in their way and their time. And sometimes, forgiveness is not what someone needs to do in order to heal. Insisting that forgiveness is the only way they can move on it extremely damaging.

I have tried to forgive my parents. But I can’t. It’s very hard to forgive people who show no remorse. If I am ever going to forgive them, I need time. And when people tell me to let go of my anger, it negatively impacts my mental health. You can’t just let go of emotions if you don’t experience them first. It’s unreasonable to ask someone to detach from something you never gave them the space to attach to in the first place.

When I am told to let go of my anger, I bottle it up to please people. The anger gets worse and I engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. These behaviours are what people think I will engage in if I allow myself to be angry. But in reality, bottling up negative emotions is what leads to acting out and self-sabotage.

Anger is not a bad emotion. It is something everyone experiences. It can be expressed in unhealthy ways, and that is often what happens when survivors are told to “forgive” and “let go of their anger”. The anger isn’t being allowed to be expressed, so it has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it is often directed towards the survivor themselves.

There are links between being a survivor of child abuse and developing addictions. In a report by the National Institute of Health, it was found that more than a third of teenagers who have experienced abuse will have a substance misuse disorder before their eighteenth birthday.

Child abuse survivors are also more likely to experience suicidal ideation in later life. Unfortunately, the likelihood of this ideation escalating in risk is very high, with survivors being two to three times more likely to attempt suicide.

This anger is also directed at other people, with survivors being more at risk of committing crimes.

“…participants with histories of childhood physical and emotional abuse further showed that female participants were more likely to exhibit internalizing problems such as depression, social withdrawal, and anxiety during middle childhood, which in turn increased the risk of adult crime. In contrast, male participants were more likely to exhibit externalizing behavioral problems, such as aggression, hostility, and delinquency during middle childhood, which subsequently led to adult criminal behavior.”

Pathways Between Child Maltreatment and Adult Criminal Involvement

These behaviour appear to be what people fear the survivor will display if they express their anger. And I believe the advice to forgive and let go of anger is usually well-meaning. However, survivors like me have been given that advice since forever. And since forever, survivors like me have not been given the space to address and understand this anger, which leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

The only way we can truly let go and be free is by having the support to experience our anger. And that’s okay because anger can be experienced in a constructive way. Matthew Tull PhD of VeryWellMind describes anger as a valid emotion that pushes us to express what we need. He gives tips on how to channel this anger constructively, so others hear what you need rather than just hearing that you are angry.

I believe a survivor’s reaction shouldn’t be policed. It’s hard to express anger constructively when you are experiencing pain you have been keeping a secret for so long. Sometimes, a survivor will need to explode and express anger in ways that make you uncomfortable before they can learn to channel it in healthy ways.

Cutting short this healing process with assertions that the survivor needs to let go of this anger is retraumatising. For so long they will have been punished for expressing negative emotions in response to what has happened to them. If I cried or showed I was struggling to cope with how my parents were treating me, they would punish me more. So when I say I am angry with them, it hurts me deeply when someone tells me I shouldn’t be.

If we really care about survivors, we need to support them even if we don’t understand their journey. They have made it this far, so we need to trust they will continue to heal. But they need to do this in their way. And if they cannot forgive their abusers and let go of their anger, that needs to be accepted.

I would argue that my anger and inability to forgive are what helps me to move forward. If I didn’t have these feelings, I would most likely reconcile with my parents and get trapped in the cycle of abuse again. This anger is because I care about myself now. I understand I deserve better. I understand it wasn’t my fault now.

A survivor has most likely been controlled for the entirety of their childhood by people who were supposed to care about them. As people who are supposed to care about them too, please don’t control how they heal from their abuse. Be part of them achieving the freedom they have always been deprived of.


RETRIEVED https://medium.com/@ashyfox/stop-telling-child-abuse-survivors-to-forgive-their-abusers-be8226ee2426

Catholic Church paid $276m to sex abuse victims in Australia

The Catholic Church paid $276 million to victims of alleged sex abuse committed by priests in Australia over decades, an investigation says.

Critics say the system of payments is unfair and not all victims receive the same opportunities or compensation.

Since 2013, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been holding hearings on alleged Catholic Church sex abuse of children – mostly boys.

“Catholic Church authorities made total payments of [AU]$276.1 million [US$213million] in response to claims of child sexual abuse received between 1 January 1980 and 28 February 2015, including monetary compensation, treatment, legal and other costs,” the statement from the commission said on Thursday.

Catholic Church sex abuse Australia Pope pedophilia

On average, sex abuse victims received AU$91,000 in compensation, it stated.

The Christian Brothers religious community “reported both the highest total payment and the largest number of total payments $48.5 million paid in relation to 763 payments at an average of approximately $64,000 per payment,” the document said.null

The report added that the Jesuits “had the highest average total payment at an average of approximately $257,000 per payment (of those Catholic Church authorities who made at least 10 payments).”

“Even though the church has paid $270 million and it took a long time to get its act together to do that, there’s no doubt the system of paying people and compensating them is best done independently of the church through a national redress scheme,”the Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive, Francis Sullivan, told AAP.

Sullivan said that not all victims have equal opportunities or compensation.

“Some congregations pay far more than others. Some dioceses pay far more than others. It’s still not a fair system,” he added.

It’s a picture of great unfairness and inequity between survivors across Australia depending on where they placed their claim,” Helen Last, CEO of In Good Faith Foundation, which represents 460 abuse victims, told Reuters.

The commission was established in 2013 to investigate instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia. This month’s report says that between January 1980 and February 2015, 93 Catholic Church authorities received claims of child sexual abuse from 4,445 people.

It managed to identify 1,880 alleged perpetrators, who included 597 (32 percent) ‘religious brothers,’572 (30 percent) priests, 543 (29 percent) lay people, and 96 (5 percent) ‘religious sisters.’ At least 90 percent of the alleged perpetrators were male, according to the report.

Sexual abuse scandals have long dogged the Catholic Church. In 2014, the Vatican said 3,420 credible accusations of sexual abuse committed by priests had been referred to it over the past 10 years, and that 824 clerics were defrocked as a result.

In January, Pope Francis called for “zero tolerance”towards sex crimes against children, and condemned it as “a sin that shames” both the perpetrators and those who cover up for their crimes.


RETRIEVED http://hangthebankers.com/catholic-church-paid-sex-abuse-victims-australia/

There’s no excuse for abuse!

READ – Here’s ACOSS’s Emergency Relief Handbook (PDF)!

#NoExcuseForAbuse

RETRIEVED https://www.noexcuseforabuse.org.au

ACOSS’s Emergency Relief Handbook

The Emergency Relief Handbook A Guide for Emergency Relief Workers (4th Edition) © Copyright Australian Council of Social Service Inc. 2011 (ACOSS) ACOSS, Locked Bag 4777, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Ph: 02 9310 6200 Fax: 02 9310 4822 email: info@acoss.org.au http://www.acoss.org.au

Handbook 4th Ed

ER Handbook, 4th Ed.

Learning the facts is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse.

Through knowing these basic steps, we become more aware of our safety.

Learning the facts is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse.

10 Habits Of Manipulative People

NOTE following a recent reposting of our recent MindControl article, there have been some interested views from our sister-site (SDBC_RC). Below is a snapshot, with details of the 10 Habits following.

Clip from Sound familiar ..,

Matt Duczeminski A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

It can be hard to detect whether someone is manipulative upon first meeting them. Unfortunately, their selfish nature often goes unnoticed until you’ve become too involved in their lives to simply cut and run. Once they’ve gotten close to you, these Machiavellian schemers will do anything it takes to keep you around, all for the sake of using you in one way or another. Perhaps the worst part of being stuck in a manipulative friendship is it makes you doubt the genuineness of others, which can mean constantly second-guessing other relationships.

If you have a “friend” who exhibits the following traits, you should try to cut them out of your life as soon as possible.

1. They play innocent

Manipulators have a way of playing around with the truth to portray themselves as the victim. I once had a “friend” who would regularly make me feel bad for not spotting him five bucks to buy a pack of cigarettes—even though I detest smoking. Looking back on those days, I realize I was being used. He made me feel like a bad friend for not lending him money to support a disgusting habit, when in actuality he was the bad friend for even asking for the money in the first place.

2. They play dumb

Manipulative people will drain the energy of everyone around them by looking to their friends for help, only to go ahead and do whatever they want anyway. When their friends call them out on it, they’ll be ready with excuse after excuse. “It’s my life, I’ll do what I want,” or “Let me make my own mistakes.” That’s totally fine if that’s how they choose to live, but they shouldn’t solicit advice if they don’t want to hear the truth. It’s a waste of the other person’s time and energy, and can damage their confidence in the value of the advice they give.

3. They rationalize their behavior

Along with not taking their friends’ advice, manipulative people make their negative behavior seem like the only option. They make it seem to you that they made the right decision, even though you know better from an objective point of view. They often seek to “win” arguments, rather than coming to a consensus with the other party. The implication here is that they weren’t truly listening to what you had to say at all. They were just waiting for you to finish so they could offer a rebuttal, regardless of how sound your advice was.

4. They change the subject often

Since manipulative people only really care about themselves, they ultimately will steer conversation toward their own needs any chance they get. They’ll do this especially when they know they’re wrong about something but don’t want to admit it. So, instead of validating the other person’s opinion, they’ll just change the subject to something innocuous or otherwise unrelated to the previous topic. This helps them avoid the truth in a roundabout way that’s fairly unnoticeable to others.

5. They tell half-truths

Manipulative people tend to mold the truth to their advantage. They’ll often hide information that they know will expose them as liars, acting as if this is somehow better than telling a straight-out lie. Manipulators approach all interactions as if they’re in a court of law, where what they say can be used against them. By acting in this way, they can honestly say “I never said that.” Yes, you technically never did say that, but the way you skirted the truth wasn’t exactly right.

6. They induce guilt

Along with claiming innocence, manipulative people also make others feel guilty. There may be times in relationships where you’ll find you simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with certain situations, and the manipulative person will make you feel like you’re “not there for him.” They may even get you to put your own well-being on the back-burner so they’ll have somebody to complain to and seek advice from (advice which they may not heed, anyway).

7. They insult others

Manipulators are rude and abrasive by nature. All true friends can feel comfortable messing with each other by poking fun innocuously, but manipulative people go way overboard with the jabs and insults. They do this in social situations to inconspicuously undermine others and establish a sense of dominance. Manipulators never got over that high-school mentality, where it was “cool” to make fun of others and make them feel small by using nothing but their words.

8. They bully others

Manipulative people are bullies. This goes beyond insults and often involves alienation and the spreading of rumors. Again, this is childish behavior, but it is often exhibited by immature, manipulative adults. Actions such as ignoring certain people in a group, not letting them voice their opinions, or leaving them behind are some of the more “adult” ways to bully. Manipulators will use these methods to establish dominance. In truth, these people are incredibly self-conscious and have low self-esteem, and will hurt anyone around them in order to feel better about themselves.

9. They minimize their behavior

Manipulators make it seem like their words and deeds are “not that big a deal.” Ironically, most of the time it’s them who has made a big deal about things. That is, until they hear something they don’t like and turn the tables on the other party. They clearly don’t show any empathy for the people who have spent valuable time and energy trying to help them, and instead shift the blame onto everyone else. They know they have a problem, but they make it seem like it’s the world that’s out to get them and not the other way around.

10. They blame others

As I said, manipulators shift blame constantly. They skate through life without taking any sort of responsibility for their actions. They either flat out don’t admit they did anything wrong, or they have some explanation to make their actions sound reasonable given the circumstances. Manipulative people simply don’t live by any code of ethics, and when it catches up with them, they’ll point the finger anywhere else except for at themselves.


RETRIEVED https://www.lifehack.org/294861/10-habits-manipulative-people

Library Update!

We are pleased to add in ‘Darkness to Light’s “Child Sexual Abuse Statistics”, to our Library. Following is also a link to their website, celebrating 20 Years (2 decades) of preventing child sexual abuse. Please enjoy your viewing + post any of your comments/suggestions here …

20th Anniversary
Previous D2L logo (from CSA Statistics)

Learning the facts is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics |

The statistics and facts below can help you understand what child sexual abuse is, the risk factors and consequences for survivors, and how to identify and report suspected abuse. For all statistics and references, download the full statistics PDF.

The Magnitude of the Problem

Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than people realize. Find out how big the problem really is.
Magnitude Statistics

Offender Statistics

Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else. Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members.
Offender Statistics

Circumstances of Abuse

Child sexual abuse takes place under
specific, often surprising circumstances.
Circumstances Statistics

Risk Factors

While no child is immune, there are child and family characteristics that can heighten the risk of sexual abuse.
Risk Factor Statistics

Consequences of Abuse

Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse.
Consequences Statistics

Facts on Reporting

Only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified and even fewer are reported.
Reporting Statistics

Signs of Abuse

Do you know what to do if you suspect or discover child sexual abuse? Learn the facts about signs of abuse that will help you identify when to report.
What to Do Facts

All Statistics

Download a pdf with all statistics.
All Statistics


RETRIEVED https://www.d2l.org/the-issue/statistics/