Not Bad Enough: The Family that Preys Together

TW: Talk about specific Sexual abuse acts

The abuse was…not bad enough.

That’s what they say as they craft reasons to deny it. It’s how they try to escape it…as if saying that somehow changes the shape of the truth of things.

But what is ‘bad enough’? How do we decide when to stop the abuse?

According to my family, it’s when there is physical evidence that can undeniably prove that the abuse happened.

That’s right. My family wishes that my 11-year-old daughters had been penetrated.

Ripped open by a man who could not control himself any longer;

their bodies becoming prey to their predator’s urges.

All for what? So that when they lay down at night, their pillow doesn’t feel like an abyss of anger or regret? Or so their own abuse doesn’t rise out of the dark abysses they’ve built within themselves?

The thing about generational abuse is that there is always proof if someone finds the strength to speak up.

The proof lives in the secrets we tell..and the one we don’t tell.

Like I’ve said before, my father was not the first in our bloodline to have allegedly ripped away the innocence of small children.

As I stitch together survivor stories, the larger picture becomes clear. This has been a way of life for my family for…well, I don’t know how long. Probably for forever.

I think that’s why he was so good at it. Because it was taught to him growing up; just like walking and talking.

He understood that he had to start slow; that the victims he was allegedly grooming had to think it was a normal thing. He knew they needed to love him enough to be resigned to silence. He knew to leave no evidence behind. How else could he have allegedly gotten away with it for so long?

How else could the alleged abusers in our bloodline have survived in the shadows for generations?

Make no mistake about it; anytime a trusted person takes ownership of your body it’s bad. Anytime fumbling hands touch the parts of you that you do not consent to be touched, you lose a piece of your innocence. Anytime you are violated, a shadow is created.

But I do lie awake some nights and think of how much worse it could have been. I wonder how much worse it was for other alleged victims and I cry for anyone who never found their voice at all.

I mourn for the ones who suffered the slow burn, the escalation of soft touches into full force.

…and I curse the ones who deny my children’s healing.

The ones who would rather they suffer a lifetime of silence than to face the dark history of our family deeds.

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