I have something very personal I would like to share with the world wibe web. My grandmother (my mothers step-mother) sent me a card last week and in it she wrote me a note. This is what she said:
In our bible study we were talking about forgiveness and how some things are just too painful to forgive. Then I remembered what you said in your article - that your family didn't support you. I want to say I'm sorry for not showing how much I cared. I'm asking you to forgive me. It was a different time then and something like that was not talked about - kept a secret - to keep the victim from embarassment and gossip. So we were not completely heartless - just misguided. It was a painful time for us all too. And it is still painful for me to remember.
We see it in a different light now, and see how you must have felt. Please forgive me. You have always been special to me.
I love you,
Well, of course I wrote her back immediately and informed her that I forgave her! She was the only one years ago that would call me and let me know when my uncle was in town. That to me was validation. She was the only one that ever gave me validation. And that was how it was done. And now, 29 years later, she sends me this note. I appreciate it so much.
I never looked at the fact that people didn't talk about the abuse "to keep the victim from embarassment and gossip". I never once have ever thought that in my life...
See how important COMMUNICATION is? 29 years have gone by. . .
See how important AWARENESS IS? For both VICTIM and FAMILY!! The RAPE is not the victims fault; so it should not be embarassing for the victim - what does the victims have to be embarassed about? It wasn't their fault. I understand that it is still embarassing for some, it is not embarrassing for me.
If families work together with children on how to be ASSERTIVE, they need not worry about the gossip; instead they tend to be a part of the gossip. Assertiveness will also help with the victims self-esteem.