Shifting the Focus.


I keep seeing this question. Why didn't they tell? Why didn't they say anything before? Why are they bringing it up now? All addressing people who have been sexually abused, asking them why they didn't do something differently, something earlier, why they were not different. I think we are asking the wrong goddamn person. Why are we not asking the abuser? Why are we not asking them why they did not deal with their situation earlier? Why they never sought help for their issues. Why are we not asking them why they never told of the horror they inflicted on another and why they never did something about their behavior. Why are we not looking at the person who's behavior is at the heart of the issue?

It was not my issue. My child-self did not have an issue, but this grown man had a massive problem. He had a problem so big and never tried to deal with it, he just did as he pleased... and what pleased him was little girls. He hid his behavior. Maybe we could be asking him why did he not seek treatment for his inability to control his need to molest little girls. Why did he not tell? Why did he wait so long to do something about it? Why did he not seek treatment? Why did he not do something differently?

Why the fuck are we asking the victims? It wasn't our problem. I didn't have an impulse control issue. I didn't have a drive to break the law, to break the family apart, to take what was not mine. I take the burden of his issues, but they were not mine to clean up. They only became mine because he never sought help and laid his hands on me.  So let's be perfectly clear,  how the victim chooses to cope is really a secondary issue is it not?

It was never my problem until he took his problem and made it mine. Making me hold a secret of abuse, making me carry what was his but he too cowardly to face or address so somehow it got passed on to so many little girls. Hearing people ask why the victim didn't do something differently is unnerving to me. You're asking the wrong question to the wrong person.

What he never imagined was I would grow up. I would one day grow from the child he sexually abused for all those years into a woman who was not scared to have ignorant people ask me why I didn't do something differently. So I came forward.

While you may want to ask the girls sexually abused by him why they didn't do something, why they didn't tell. I want you to be asking him, why the fuck did you not do something earlier? Why did you not see your need for help and do something? Why did you wait for her to grow up and have to tell on you?

Why did I have to tell on him? Like a child telling on someone only unable to do it until adulthood and instead of tattling to Mom and Dad I told the police. But I have to ask, why are we OK with that line of thinking and verbatim around abuse? Why is the responsibility on the victim at all? I knew I had to do something to stop the cycle of abuse and there was no fucking way my nieces would endure what I had so I came forward. I relived all that was done to me as the police officer took notes and then went and found 8 other now woman who would come forward with their stories and he went to jail. But make no mistake, it should have been his responsibility to deal with his problem. It should not be on me. My time line and those of others who have been abused is not what needs to be questioned. The abuser's time line needs to be in question. They knew the entire time they had a problem, they knew,  their problem, their responsibility to fix.

So in my case he got away with it for all those years, probably thought he would forever. He did not bet on me growing up into a strong woman who would dare face it.  He had ample time to come forward but he chose not too. The focus needs not be why the victim waits. The question need to be why the abuser did? It is time to change the conversation from asking the victims of abuse why they waited to tell, or why they didn't do something differently or come forward earlier to asking the abuser. There are better questions to be asking and someone else who needs to be asked.

Chelsea Ray