Holding Abusers Accountable

Have any of you who are dealing with abuse that happened 20, 30, 40 years ago ever sued your abusers or pressed charges against them?  MT,  my therapist, keeps talking about there must be some way to go after my abusers in court.  I’m not sure I’d want to do that….I’m not sure I’d want to be responsible for sending frail old people to jail.  It would be a big deal and I don’t want to be known as the woman this horrible stuff happened to.  I just want to be known as the strong, caring, wise woman people often think I am.  I’m not always that, but more often than not, that’s what people see.  What people most often think about me is about me.  I don’t want anybody to attribute what somebody else did to how I behave.  Also, I’m pretty sure I am way past the statute of limitations in my state.  And I don’t want any more of my life than necessary to be about that abuse.  I don’t want  to have strangers know intimate details.  I’m not trying to protect the abusers, I’m trying to protect the child I was and the adult I am.  Am I being too scared or too merciful or am I making sense?

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11 thoughts on “Holding Abusers Accountable

  1. I think that if you’re not contemplating taking this step, your therapist should probably drop it. It sounds like you are doing your best to take care of yourself and protect yourself. Follow your instinct on this, and good luck!

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  2. I think you are doing the best thing for you. What good would dragging it all out now and I think you are right about the statute of limitations. You have been through enough horror. Why relive it in a court room and for everyone else to know.

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  3. My solution or vindication is to watch the fall of Bill Cosby. I know how incredibly stupid that sounds. But listening to all these women come forward and share their stories is not only courageous but it is helping others understand why for years and years, actually decades that women remain in silent fear. So I vicariously watch and see bits of myself and begin to breathe.

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  4. I agree that you’re needs should come first, and doing what makes sense for your healing is important. My one caveat to this always is if the abusers are in a position where others are at risk, then they do need to be exposed so they don’t hurt anyone else.

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  5. It depends on what your goals are. Are you looking for retribution and revenge? Are you looking to heal your heart? No, I have not pressed charges against my abuser and I will not. I’m sure the statute of limitations has long ago passed (it’s been 37 years). And for me, my healing has NOTHING to do with my abuser and his life. And it has everything to do with my life and my heart. My abuser’s life has gone on, and he has chosen to not share his past with his wife and family. When they had a daughter, I let him know loud and clear that if I had even the slightest suspicion that he was doing anything inappropriate to her, I’d have his butt put in jail in a second. (She was never in danger). My life has gone on, and my husband and a select few friends are aware (my son is still too young). Even if I could take my abuser to court, and if he were punished for his fucked up behavior, it might make me feel a little bit better for a while, but until and unless I heal the feelings and beliefs that lie deep in my heart and soul, it won’t matter. I say all this with the conviction of having shifted several deeply held beliefs at this point. I used to wear an invisible sign on my forehead that read “Used Goods.” No more. It was healed. I used to have very little sense of self-value, self-love, and healthy personal boundaries. It is now changed because of doing healing work. I’m doing my best to leave vengeance to God.

    I get the sense that you would rather put your energies into bringing peace into your heart and living in the now than digging up old trash to try to punish your abuser. “I don’t want to be known as the woman this horrible stuff happened to. I just want to be known as the strong, caring, wise woman people often think I am.” That makes all the sense in the world. Go with it and let your therapist know.

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  6. Focusing on the past will not set you free. Forgive, let them go. Things have a way of “catching up” to those who have hurt you. Your true revenge lies in bringing Love, Joy, Success, and Happiness to you. Abuse I have known. And I have walked away from therapy because by focusing on the past all the time, drains you, cripples you, takes away from your present NOW. I am not suggesting to ignore the fact you were abused. No. What I am suggesting, is to embrace and accept the fact you were abused, let go of your anger, forgive those who abused, and fill your Life NOW with LOVE and a passion for those things you Love to do. If you don’t really know what Love is, ask your Inner Guidance to teach you. And you will be taught, in ways you wouldn’t even think about. This is the way of getting over abuse. And … never allowing abusers into your Life again. I am not minamilizing the Healing Journey healing from abuse represents. It is THE most challenging walk of your Life. ❤

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