I know, I know – not cool, not PC. Victims of child abuse have had it very bad, and at the worst possible time in their lives, brutalized and used by the ones who were supposed to be looking after them. I’m not “for” abuse, believe me.
But those people who have suffered extreme abuse, the outright, illegal, everyone-knows-that –is-abuse sort of abuse – those people have at least a chance for clarity. Those people have a chance to say of their abusers that they were wrong, they were the bad ones. Those people have a chance to say “it’s not my fault.”
Taking ‘don’t get me wrong a level deeper,’ I must say, I mean they have a chance, at least some of them. Still, the enemies of clarity are very powerful. Guilt, the mind control that abuse can create, social pressures, religious and cultural biases and injunctions . . . of course victims of abuse are often mired in a fog of uncertainty, which is a big part of their pain. But the cavalry is coming. The support for victims is on the increase, awareness is growing, and many survivors are getting more validation from the enlightened members of our society. If a person living in this kind of pain can find themselves among these elements, around these ideas, they will have a better chance to know that their suffering is not their fault, a much better chance to lay the blame where it belongs.
(Some find this sort of clarity among other victims, some in the roughest neighborhoods and in the poorest demographics find some belonging and solidarity in each other as children and young adults, in times and places where most people get abused. Sad to say, many grow out of it.)
I support this sort of awareness fully, of course.
But what of the rest? What about the people for whom the chance of clarity remains remote? What about the people for whom the abuse is ubiquitous, everywhere, people suffering forms of abuse in times and places where no-one will validate their suffering?
Of course, this has been the case for many, many people, always, suffering the sort of things that we are only now outlawing and beginning to prosecute for, but it must be said: much of what is now thought to be clearly abuse was legal and dare I say, “normal” in the past. Slavery and child slavery, beatings and corporal punishments of the worst sort, all these things have been socially sanctioned in the past and though they are now considered to be immoral and abusive, victims were, uh, unsupported. To say the least.
If our enlightenment is not yet complete, if there is room for improvement still, and if our improved humanity continues to march forward, who will today’s unsupported victims have been, in a better future? Who is suffering today and no-one knows it, so that no-one can care?
You and me. The “normally punished” children.