Abuse, much to my surprise, seems to be everywhere. At one point a few years ago I was employer to 5 people, a third of my staff, who confided to me that an immediate family member had sexually or physically abused them when they were young. I was suddenly a confidant in a position of authority, and as I heard each of these confessions privately, unexpectedly, one at a time, I felt dumbfounded. Then, sadness, with a sense of undefined responsibility. I also gave repeated thanks for my own good fortune.
What was I supposed to do with this information? I’m good at lending an ear, and giving a hug, but then what? Those things won’t erase the scars these people are carrying. They won’t unfetter them of the burden of shame and allow them to soar off into the future. I think the worst part of gaining the confidence of these poor victims who I’d grown to like so much, was also the best part as it related to me, personally. That is that the concept of being victimized by a family member is totally and completely alien to me. I simply couldn’t relate and therefore couldn’t offer any sound advice. I felt helpless then, and I feel helpless now, as I know that there are more unlucky souls like them all around me.
The broken or dysfunctional family is in my estimation one of the gravest threats to our fine country. How can future generations be given the foundation they need when so many of their parents didn’t receive such a thing? It is much easier to let down your own children when you yourself were let down by the people charged with giving you unconditional, safe, love.
As I contemplate this topic, I don’t feel as if I’ll ever know how to handle such a thing. Which is frustrating, because it’s so easy to spot bad propagating bad. It’s all around me every day, frankly. I feel sad to think of what these people who confided this horror to me might be like, what they might be accomplishing, if it weren’t for the ugly, evil acts of their brothers, fathers, or step fathers. We will never know.
All I do know is that the only course of action I feel as though I can take to address this terrible phenomenon is to thank God every day that I was born into such a miracle of a family and wish that others might be as fortunate as I am. Maybe doing so will lead to a snowball effect of some kind. Others who share my blessing should join in.
For more information on adults abused as children please click here.