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Horrible, Hateful, Despicable People

To anyone who will listen, I was a victim of rape a very long time ago. I know several people who have recently or in the not too distant past been victimized. It is too common. We must take a stand against horrible, hateful, despicable people. If you are one of those people, the victim OR the victimizer, TAKE NOTE! ADMIT THERE'S A PROBLEM! GET OUT! GET HELP!

Rape is an assault involving sexual intercourse without a person's consent. Read that again RAPE IS AN ASSAULT involving sexual intercourse WITHOUT A PERSON'S CONSENT.

Consent is the act and ability to say YES when asked. If you are not asked YOU CANNOT CONSENT. If you don't understand what you are being asked YOU CANNOT CONSENT. If you are a minor child YOU CANNOT CONSENT. If you are asleep YOU CANNOT CONSENT. If you are on medication or depressants that knock you out YOU CANNOT CONSENT. If you don't know what's happening until AFTER it's started YOU DID NOT CONSENT.

SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE! It is rape whether it is done by a stranger or someone you know. It is rape whether it is your boyfriend or your husband. YOUR HUSBAND DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO FORCE HIMSELF ON YOU! That is RAPE! It does not matter if you were depressed and on medication at the time and he couldn't get it any other way. IT IS STILL RAPE! 26% of rapes are committed by a current or former sexual partner (including boyfriends and husbands) that's as many as are committed by strangers (someone else's boyfriend or husband). CLEAR?

Rape is a crime. It is illegal. Ignoring a crime makes you an accessory to the crime, even if you are also the victim of that crime. If you allow someone you know to avoid any repercussions from their crime then you are sending a signal to them that what they did is acceptable. They WILL offend again. You are likely to be the victim again. If not you then someone else. If not you what about your daughter? What if the next person doesn't survive? What then. You have the power to stop this TODAY. You, the victim, have the responsibility to keep others safe. You, the victim, have the opportunity to keep yourself safe, your children safe, your family safe!

It does not matter if it was 20 times or 4 times or just the 1 time. Rape is crime regardless of whether it happened only once. It's a crime regardless of whether "he's working on his issues" and it's a crime regardless of whether "he's gotten better." Regardless of his progress it only takes one bad day. If he's getting professional help GREAT! If he's accepted what he's done, repented and is seeking serious emotional, psychological as well as behavioral help then GREAT! You should seek help too! You should also keep your distance until you're certain there's safety.

I was the victim in multiple abusive relationships. While my mother was more often the direct target, she was not the only target. I have a few things to say about abuse too.

Abuse is improper treatment and can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, or aggressive in nature. People who are being abused dismiss the treatment. They attempt to minimize it. They say it's not abuse because "he didn't hit me". It DOES NOT MATTER if a person physically makes contact with you or hits the wall next to you, it doesn't matter if they throw something AT YOU or NEAR YOU. It doesn't matter if they call you and idiot in a loud voice or in a soft one. It doesn't matter if you dismiss it away as playful, banter, passion, or jest. YOU KNOW inside that it's ABUSE. You know because it makes you unhappy. They know it makes you unhappy. THAT'S WHY THEY DO IT! Abuse is about control. Abuse is about keeping you, the victim, in line. The ABUSER wants to coerce you to do as they say. The ABUSER wants you to mind!

It DOES NOT MATTER who this person is or what their motivations are. It doesn't matter that they "want to keep you safe" it doesn't matter that they "love you" and it doesn't matter that they are "just confused, angry, frustrated, drunk" or any number of other excuses. It doesn't matter that you made them mad. It doesn't matter that you provoked them. It doesn't matter that they were the victims of abuse at one time. It doesn't matter one bit. They are in control of themselves. They choose to abuse. They take that extra step. They make a choice to make another person unhappy solely for their own benefit. ABUSE IS SELFISHNESS taken to an extreme. Abuse is not about making things better. In many cases it is equally a crime as rape is a crime.

Likewise it doesn't matter if the person is a stranger or a husband, a brother or a father. ABUSE IS ABUSE. HUSBANDS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO ABUSE THEIR WIVES OR CHILDREN! This includes physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or aggressive behavior. This means subtle threats and passive aggressive treatment. Abuse has a lot of forms, but its effects are easy to see.

Do you worry that any action you take will make someone angry? Do you worry that you'll say or do the wrong thing? Do you avoid confiding in that person for fear of their response? Do you rush home to avoid that phone call asking "where are you?" Do you almost daily think about NOT going home? Does your partner try to make you sound stupid? Does your partner call you names? Does your partner berate you publicly?

YOUR RESPONSE IS CRITICAL IN IDENTIFYING ABUSE! If you are afraid, anxious, scared, worried and continually frustrated by your partner's response to your choices YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP! DO NOT lie to yourself and say your children are unaffected. As the child of someone who was routinely abused I can tell you that is not the case. Children are not stupid, they are not blind, they are not deaf. Even if they are not the direct targets of the abuse, they receive the abuse in the form of learning negative behaviors, and being taught how to love one another in EXACTLY THE WRONG WAY!

Like rape it DOES NOT MATTER if "he's improving" or "making progress" or "getting better". Unless the abuser is actively seeking professional help there is no guarantee that he won't continue to abuse again. Even with professional help there is no guarantee. The other thing is that THERE IS NO MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE IF YOU STAY. If you reward the person by staying, even if you stand up for yourself, even if you talk back, even if you hit back, IF YOU STAY YOU ARE REWARDING THEM FOR THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR! THEY CANNOT GET BETTER IF YOU REWARD THEM!

It won't matter how hard you try, it won't matter that they're going to church, it won't matter that they're trying to become a better person, it won't matter that they bought you chocolate, and it won't matter that they did the dishes. What will matter is when they admit that there's a problem, when you, the victim, admits there's a problem. What will matter is when there is distance. What will matter is when there is consequence. CHANGE CAN ONLY OCCUR WITH CONSEQUENCE AND REWARD. Without consequence, reward just reinforces the negative behavior. Consequence has to come first. The abuser has to understand that their action leads to a negative outcome. Only then will they be able to appreciate the reward. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THEM! They can only change if they choose to do so. If you continue to reward them with your presence, they will remain the same FOREVER!

There is nothing more powerful than having lived through these situations, survived them, and then observed from the outside how they are perpetuated. There is nothing more powerful than seeing your parent as the victim, becoming the victim yourself and eventually also becoming the victimizer. IT IS A CYCLE. IT IS A CYCLE THAT YOUR CHILDREN WILL PERPETUATE. YOU MUST STOP IT NOW! You must break the cycle and ensure that it goes no further. If you do not then you are responsible to a similar degree as the abuser. If you do not protect others from abuse then you are an accomplice to that crime. It is your responsibility to use your knowledge to keep others from suffering.

There is nothing more hurtful than seeing your friends in this cycle. Even after having gone through it yourself, the pain of seeing a friend go through it is often even more unbearable. The reason is probably because you relive your own rape and/or abuse and on top of that you get to imagine all of the horrible things happening to your friend and your friend's family. You can only imagine the pain both the abused and the abuser feel.

I want to be clear on one thing, abusers are HORRIBLE, HATEFUL, DESPICABLE people. They're also human. They're also fixable. They're also worthy of love and forgiveness and atonement. If your brother sins against you 7 times in a day and he repents each time you must forgive him 7 times. This is an important statement. What needs to be made very clear is "and he repents each time." In order for forgiveness to be meaningful one must ask for an accept forgiveness. In order to ask for forgiveness one must admit to fault and do so with honesty and humility. Too often the abusers ask for forgiveness only as a means of continuing control. This is why consequence is so very important. Abusers will abuse, ask for forgiveness, gain forgiveness, and then abuse again. They will repeat this cycle over and over and over again. Forgiveness is just something we give when asked. However, the cycle will continue unless there is atonement as well. If you are the abuser you must accept consequence as part of your action. As an abuser you must find a way to atone.

Atonement doesn't mean cleaning the carpet or doing dishes once a week. Atonement is about making reparation. You have to work doubly hard at repairing what you have destroyed. If you have destroyed your wife's self-esteem, your children's self-esteem, if you have destroyed trust and love and safety in your relationships then you must atone by working doubly hard at rebuilding those parts of your relationship. This means that if you ever hit someone then you must now work extra hard at showing them how your touch can be so much more kind and gentle than your fist ever was. If you berated someone then you must now show how you can lift them up and encourage them to do better and become better than they ever thought they could. If you were harsh, sharp, hurtful or mean then you must work increasingly hard to show that person, your family, your friends how gentle and nice and soft and mild that you are capable of being. You have to do all these things better than the best person you know. That is atonement. Atonement is a promise turned into action and an action becoming reality for the person that you have hurt most in the world. Atonement cannot be just the promise and it cannot be just an action. It must be the full cycle. Atonement must be made into a reality.

Horrible, hateful, despicable people are not beyond redemption. I have been there. I have been victim and victimizer. It is a painful cycle. It is a cycle that as a victimizer you may desperately want to escape. YOU MUST ESCAPE IT. Victim or victimizer it is your duty to stop suffering by escaping. Admit the problem, get some distance, find help, stay safe, start healing.

To all of those I have hurt, I strive to atone for those actions every day. As a brother, as a friend, as a father, as a husband I take every day as an opportunity to help someone that I previously hurt. I take every day as an opportunity to help someone who I never hurt and will never hurt. I take every day as an opportunity to help someone who is being hurt. I take every day as an opportunity to help someone who is hurting others to make it right. Use today as your opportunity. Use me as an example, both of the bad things you shouldn't continue and of the good things that we can aspire to and work to achieve each day.

I love you. Stop hurting. Love yourself. Seek healing. I am here for you.