How Women Keep Enabling Predators: The myth of the in-tact family

This is a stream of consciousness writing about my internal state after seeing a family picture of the man who molested me (and others) for twenty years before I exposed him four years ago to a few women, and a year ago to everyone in the family. At the end of the post I will post the poem-type-thing I wrote to my family to expose him. It was written in Albanian however I have translated it to English.

As you read, remember…breathing is GOOD!

If you have a hard time reading this and you want to talk to me, send me an email! I’m always happy to engage with you.

***

Have you ever noticed how predators get rewarded in our culture?

This isn’t accidental. It is a consequence of the choices we all make every single day.

Choices such as inviting known predators to family events and pretending they aren’t that which they are. I suppose pretending to the world that we’re not those kinds of people makes them/us exactly those kinds of people, in denial. This is the MYTH of the in-tact family.

I don’t know how they can stand to be in his presence. Everything inside of me turns inside out at the idea, and at the visuals (I was sent photos…why, I don’t know…). I could do without ever seeing his ugly mug ever again.

Yet, there they all are “celebrating”. I know the people who showed up didn’t do it because of him, but they did it inspite of him. They were there to support the people celebrating. However, the people celebrating chose to invite him to their event, despite the consequences to the rest of us.

Certainly so long as he’s invited, the rest of us are uninvited (even though we did, technically, receive an invitation). But in truth, you can’t expect the survivors of a child molester to show up in the same space as him and celebrate. That is highly insensitive, inconsiderate, illogical, and re-traumatizing. So, no, we wouldn’t show up if he’s there. And, in truth, noone expected us to. They simply did their due diligence by inviting us, but never expected us to show up. 

I am crystal clear about what that means:

They chose the side of the predator.

To be honest, I don’t know what I would do if that were my father. If two (and there’s more, still too ashamed to speak out) of my family members came forward and I knew they were molested…what would I do? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know, but I do know that I wouldn’t want the matriarch of the family standing next to him. That’s a powerful metaphor. She continues to choose the side of the predator.

If this is all about me, then this is a story about how I feel inside of me when I see him there, front and centre. It is an ugly, yet familiar scene. It is reminiscent of how predators are rewarded in our society, despite the consequences to the rest of the people involved. All of whom, in order to protect the sanctity (the illusion, the secret, the lies) of the family have to pretend a predator isn’t amongst them.

And well, that will decay you from the inside, slowly and silently painfully. None must hear the internal roaring screams.

Protecting a predator makes you complacent.

It tells the world “I am okay with what he did”

The truth of it is that when you choose to (pretend to) be “neutral” in such circumstances where you know what this man did and still you invite “everyone” to your celebration, you are taking a side, and that is the side of the predator. You are saying, in effect, what he did is maybe not nice, but … I can’t shun him. He’s my father / husband / brother / …!

After all, honour thy mother and father no matter what is epigenetically engrained in our genes.

So, instead of facing the truth head on and making courageous decisions about how to move forward with integrity, we cave in on our ourselves. We make our voices small, and our bodies smaller. We put on our pretend (fake) smile and put one foot in front of the other, tolerating the absolutely intolerable. Our bodies falling apart.

But at least the illusion of the in-tact family is still real. The rest of our friends and family and community doesn’t know …

So we lie to ourselves. And we lie to everyone around us.
We make up excuses about what we would have done differently if we had known before (the illusion being that then we could have done something, but now it’s too late).
We remove ourselves from the spaces where those he violated are.
We don’t ask them any questions about how they’re doing.
We just pretend. How else would we be able to stand next to him, otherwise?
It’s just easier to shun those he violated.
Invite him while excluding those he violated.
We can tolerate to look at his mug face, but we cannot tolerate to look his survivors in the eye knowing what they lived through and we didn’t protect them.

So he gets to show up inconsequentially. His illusionary integrity still in-tact. Everyone else walking on eggshells…

The survivors usually get punished for the behaviour of the predator. That’s just the way the patriarchal mindset is.

And predators become world leaders.

We can notice that in the larger world and feel grossed out by it. Its easier when it’s “out there”, because you don’t have to recognize where it lives “in here”. You can go on pretending it’s about Trump or fill-in-the-asshole-blank, but it isn’t your father / brother / uncle / cousin / boyfriend / husband. It is at a distance.

And because it’s at a distance, you have permission to speak about how gross it is. Meanwhile, inside, where you live, your whole body is vibrating because you know how you are complacent in creating this external reality by protecting the predator in your home. It’s so easy to blame those men “out there” while blatantly ignoring the men in our homes.

Protecting our children from predators is women’s sacred responsibility!

To face the truth of what’s going on in our homes would mean to take personal responsibility for our role in it. That is the thing that terrifies us, and yet, that is the only thing that can free us from the heavy chains of the illusions.

Unless and until women realize enough is enough, nothing will change.

Unless and until women realize I have been complacent long enough, nothing will change.

Unless and until women realize I must courageously face the truth of what goes on inside my own home, nothing will change.

Unless and until women realize I must own my part in allowing this to go on for so long, nothing will change.

Unless and until women realize I must hold this man personally accountable and stop lying to everyone, nothing will change.

Unless and until women realize we are failing our children by not only pretending but teaching them to pretend, too, nothing will fucking change.

Women, we are the ones holding the space for predators to thrive. We are the ones who can have this whole thing fall apart in one generation if we simply STOPPED PRETENDING and thus modeled to our children how to stop pretending, also. However, to do so requires some fucking SPINE!

First this requires we look inside our own homes and own the truth of our experience (this man that I live with is a a predator). It requires we face the truth for what it is. It requires owning our own part in allowing it to happen. It requires taking sacred responsibility for ourselves. And then…it requires we hold wrongdoers accountable.

Holding them accountable means different things to different people. It might mean we stop engaging with them altogether. It might mean we cut them out. It might mean we see them in private.

But it sure as fuck does not mean we pretend they are the person they show the world to be. That, ladies and gentlemen, makes those of us who know the truth of who they are, responsible for protecting the predator.

While I will not smear my blog by putting his face on display, I will never pretend he isn’t who he is. I will never pretend he didn’t do the ugly things he did do. I will never pretend he isn’t as ugly as he actually is. And I will never keep his secret.

Nor do I hang on to his shame, or the family’s shame. That’s exactly what kept me quiet for 20 years! The fear of the potential consequences. The fear of what it would do the family. Turns out…nothing much changed. But now, at least, everyone in my family knows. And because they know, they get to make choices in accordance with that knowing.

And I get to walk with my head held high because I no longer choose to pretend.

I will end this stream of consciousness writing with this poem-type-thing I wrote to my family a year ago, exposing the truth for what it IS, for me.

Outing A Predator

Life unfolds in interesting ways.

Things happen that must never be forgotten, no matter who is forgiven.

People behave strange ways, often unbelievable and unbearable. I am no longer interested in finding out “why”. It really does not matter. 

I know what he did to me, and potentially countless others.
I know none of it is my fault. It never, ever was. Perhaps, it’s not his fault either. Rarely do people contemplate their impact on this world. Yet, he put his hands where they did not belong…for 20 long years, or so.

Trust, broken. His conscience, absent. “Love”, distorted. Perverted Uncle, inside the home. Shameless, in his actions. Thoughtless, to his deeds. 

I have now faced the beast and looked him in the eye. I am unafraid of his pretend-power. There is none. There never was.

Today, I know, I’m unwilling to ever forget what he did. And I will also never go near him. 

Yet, for my sanity, for the freedom of my Spirit, and for the healing of wounds of past generations and future, I forgive him. 

I vocalize my Truth, out loud. Fearless.
Displacing the shame, no longer protecting ugly secrets. They were never mine, anyways. 

I tell you this truth because the truth is the only thing that can set us free.
It just might prevent him from causing future harm. Or …it might not. But if I do not speak, release what lives inside of me, no chance has the truth got…

I feel healed knowing I stand in my power, I use my voice, I out predators, far and close. 

It’s harder to forgive those tasked with protecting me. Both then and now. Then, they didn’t notice, and they didn’t know. They didn’t pay attention. And yet…it happened, so. Right under their noses. Indeed, a hard pill to swallow. 

Yet forgive, I must.

It seems, such is this world. The abused are conditioned to protect the abusers. No matter what they’ve done. Protect authority. Protect the illusion of the sanctity of the “family” . Yet, what is family, if not relationships? Who benefits from the diminishing of truth? Not you, and not me. Not now, and not ever. Not past, and not present. Certainly not future, either. 

In my own way, I’m exercising my power to use my Voice to protect mySelf, my inner little girl and all that she represents to me. The violation of innocence. Isolated from being able to speak for the unspoken fear of the potential consequences. Plus…what would she even say?!

I didn’t know the, but I know today. And it isn’t an option for me not speak my truth. I’ve retired hiding my truth in the closet under false pretenses, where none knows it exists, and none is willing to look. The ostrich may hide it’s head in the sand, but this doesn’t mean the world has stopped existing. 

Everything I’ve written I’m sure will irritate your sprit. But think about this: I’ve lived in silence with this shit for 20 years! 

Today, I draw the line in the sand and declare “no more!” For every one that’s come before me holding another’s dirty secrets. For those who will come after me, innocent and full of Life! But most of all, for my own freedom. The soothing of my Soul. 

Unlike my little girl, I am no longer fearful of him at all. In my adult life, I choose to never return. And still, I forgive him. For the sanctity of my Soul. 

And most of all, I forgive my Self. For allowing it to go on so long. For allowing the fear to creep in. For prioritizing the feelings of others over my own safety. For not knowing better. For not being kinder, to my own Self. And yet, it no longer has a hold of me. In my coming Home to mySelf, I’ve discovered, I am the strongest person I know. 

And so, with grace, I let it all go. 

While I finalize this rather intense blog post, what comes to my awareness is what does it take to actually face the truth of our experience head on. What I realize is that it takes getting to know and engaging our inner Crone! She is the bad bitch that gives zero-fucks about noticing and interjecting when innocence is violated. She is the one that speaks the Truth of her experience, unapologetically. She is the one that sets boundaries that can never be fucked with, because she is inherently unfuckwithable.

No wonder she has been squashed underground by those who stand to benefit from the patriarchal mindset that has disconnected us from everything real and true about ourselves, our land, our body, our Spirit. More on this another day…

Ladies, unless and until we are ready to embrace the Crone that we each ARE, we are collectively fucked. We will keep parenting our children to be more or less how we are, which is more or less a chip-off-the-old-block of who our parents are, and on and on it goes. Incremental change is leading us to our demise. We cannot afford to parent how we were parented…we cannot afford to teach our children to tolerate the intolerable and pretend to keep the MYTH of the in-tact family alive while their insides rot from the lack of permission to speak their truth.

I share with you this chapter on parenting from this awesome book that everyone should read: “When the horse dies get off, and stop dragging it around”.

Consider the possibility that the process of parenting – long grounded in the command and control model of rules and discipline, reward and punishment, and a constraint that is driven by the notion of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ – has evolved from a long-held belief that our children are problems to be dealt with; forces to be tamed, molded and shaped to meet cultural requirements.

Have you ever considered …
What are the cultural requirements that you would mindfully choose to pass along to your children? And what are the cultural requirements that make you squirm when you think about passing them on? How does that make you feel? Feeling powerless, fearful, enraged, disconnected from that truth will only ensure we keep replicating it.

I say, the time is now. If you don’t believe you want to pass a cultural requirement to your children but you don’t know how to face it for yourself, that’s what I’m here for. My favourite thing on the planet is to get down and dirty in the muck and discover there is immense, bright, beautiful light at the end of the tunnel! Freedom is a choice and it takes facing our truth head on and taking ownership of personal responsibility…

To own the sacredness of responsibility, we must begin to own our inner Crone. She is the unfuckwithable and unapologetic cunt that lives inside every.single.one of us. I believe it is time to mindfully awaken to and choose to become HER.

I would start that journey here, by listening to these free transformative audio files. There is nothing to be afraid of …freedom lives on the other side of courage.

Cultural Crones: The Power of Permission

3 thoughts on “How Women Keep Enabling Predators: The myth of the in-tact family”

  1. This piece struck a cord with me more than all others. Because it feels so familiar. So true. So deeply rooted on all levels of society… from predatory political systems to predatory social systems to predatory family systems. We just mindlessly repeat these patterns, even if we swear with our entire beings that we will not. The answer, then, can only lie in awakening to our true Self, digging deeper, & confronting all the u comfortable truths we have pushed so deep down that we forget they still shape our world. Beautiful piece.

    Like

  2. Thanks for sharing. May many victims of abuse be empowered by your thoughtful words, Stela-ji.

    I’m enjoying nesting in my peaceful new off grid home. Solar energy, a bit of cellular reception , rarely any internet. My nervous system is loving the vibe. Would love to have you n yours over for a day or 2 of fun in the lake n woods this summer. (Right now the bugs are fierce, but it’s winding down I feel.)

    🙏♥️🤗

    France 🙂

    >

    Like

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