Another shocking trial verdict today. As I read that Casey Anthony was found not guilty I started asking myself questions. The first questions were about her: Did she do it? If she did how could she kill her child? Is she mental? Did she have some sort of disorder that caused her to do this? But my final question got me thinking: Could she have been stopped? Were there signs that no one saw? What was happening to this little girl before her mother killed her?
Are there signs that people are psychotic that we miss? When I started dating the man that raped me were there things in his personality that I missed. These signs or flags if you will are called red flags. These are the little things that people do that cause bells to go off inside of us. For the most part we ignore these. We think we are being overly cautious or that we are scared but what could be prevented if we paid attention to these red flags or warning bells.
As I read the story of what happened to Caylee Anthony I kept asking myself what could have been done to prevent this. We never catch abusers until they have abused someone. What would the world look like if we got abusers help before they hurt someone?
I think it was a year or so ago when some other abuser was in the news and someone had posted on their Facebook that they thought the abuser should be killed. I found myself upset by this notion that someone should be killed for killing someone else. I’ve always found the death penalty a little hard to swallow because killing someone for killing someone just seems absurd. I’m still working on it though. I don’t think death should ever be celebrated. Some people say, “Christians celebrate Jesus’ death.” Which in turn causes me to say, “Actually we celebrate his life. We celebrate the fact that death did not overcome him.” There is a difference there even if it is difficult to explain.
Anyway today reminds me of last year when there was an outrage and people were calling for another abuser’s death. My issue with this is that in most cases an abuser was once abused. That doesn’t mean that the abuser should not be held accountable for the horrible acts they have committed but it does cause me to pause. It makes me wonder what was done to Casey that she thought she had to kill her daughter and then cover it up. What happened to her? What was her breaking point?
What if we could figure out what the breaking point is and prevent it? What if instead of just healing abuse we actually stopped it from happening? What would the world look like then?
Abuse (not just sexual abuse) happens all the time to all people. What if we could prevent it from happening?
I’m not sure its possible. I’m not sure we can stop abuse from happening but as a woman who has been used and abused isn’t it worth a try? There are scientists and doctors all over the world trying to figure out a way to cure cancer…shouldn’t we also be trying to find a way to prevent abuse?
Don’t get me wrong some people are already trying to prevent abuse. “How the Catch a Predator?” has been doing this for years but again they don’t catch people before they commit the act. The person who shows up to that house in most cases has done this before and they were caught in the act. What if we could stop them before they committed the act? Is it possible?
If we healed all the abused children all over the world would that stop abusers from being created? Or would evil find its way into the world? I know the ministry I am going to start will be to women who have been sexually abused but again that is after the fact. What can be done to make sure it never happens?
What’s the answer? Can it be done? Can abusers be stopped before they commit the act? Can healing someone’s abuse before it ruins their life make certain that abusers won’t be created?
I’m not sure. The hope inside of me says yes. The realist inside of me says no. Part of that is because healing someone’s abuse before it ruins their life requires that abused person to get help. It requires someone to say something. It requires an abused person to do something they are not able to do: tell someone.
I had an incredibly weird dream last night. So weird and disturbing that it kept happening all night long. I kept waking myself up and then going back to this dream. I woke up disturbed and unwilling to fall back asleep. The dream was not an actual memory but it brought up some memories for me.
When I was 13 or so my cousin Doug was getting married. He was my closest cousin. I have tons and tons of cousins but Doug and I had a special bond. He’s no more than 15 years older than me (if that) and he used to come over to my house when we lived close and hang out. He took us to inappropriate movies 🙂 and out to ice cream. He made me laugh and he was just awesome. Any-who he was getting married and I was kind of freaking out because my best friend and advocate was leaving. He was going to get married and start a life with someone. So what did I do? As an abused child I made up a story to get his attention. I wrote down some ridiculous note that I needed to talk to him. I don’t remember what I wrote but I know it was written on notebook paper with a red marker.
Whatever I wrote he took me seriously and we went on a walk around the block. By this time in my life I was done being abused by my childhood abuser and I was not yet sexually assaulted and raped. I remember being so nervous to go on this walk because I knew I was losing him. He had been so close to me and he was in a sense leaving. He was going to start a life with this new person and I would never again be that close to him (which was actually quite true, sad to say). On this walk I asked him what he would do if I was ever raped. In my own weird way I was asking him if he would be my protector. If in a sense he would save me. I mean what normal 13 year old wonders what her cousin will do when she is raped. I was crying out to him even though I couldn’t say the words I wanted to. Even though I couldn’t actually tell him what had happened to me.
I had this person in my life who I felt could protect and save me and yet I couldn’t tell him what actually happened to me. I couldn’t tell anyone in my life what was done so many years ago. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was frozen in my abuse. I was frozen in my fear.
If I couldn’t tell people who loved me what was happening how can I expect others to tell right away. Most people never tell until it effects or ruins their lives in some way. Just last year I told my family what happened and I never told Doug in person or on the phone. I think I wrote him a million emails but I never actually sent them.
I’m odd. I know it. My brain has been trained for so long to be independent. To never tell anyone anything. Writing this blog is hard. Every time I post a new blog I wonder: who will read it? What will they think? Will people view me differently? Its never as bad as it seems. Everything always turns out okay but what if it didn’t?
What if my cousin thought differently of me? What if I lost some sort of respect from him because when I had the chance I didn’t say anything? What if?
My heart breaks for abused children because I’ve been there. I’ve sat in the fear that no one will believe you. I’ve sat in the heartache for what has happened. I’ve sat in the grief of a lost childhood, a lost innocence. I’ve been there so every time I hear a story about a child being abused or killed my heart breaks and I long to find a way to stop abuse from even starting.