Monday, April 15, 2013

The End of Silence

Simon and Garfunkel sang, “Hello darkness my old friend... within the sounds of silence”


Silence has been, since the dawn of time, a luxury for predators. It has been their friend. Within the protective walls of silence, they allowed their basest desires unbridled freedom. They touched children in private places that were designed to be discovered by brides and bridegrooms. They stirred areas in the brains of children that were never meant to be stimulated until they were grown. They pretended to befriend vulnerable children in locker rooms, summer camps, homes, schools, churches and wherever trusting parents took their little ones.

But hardly anyone ever told. My mother was 94 years old before she told me she had been raped as a four-year-old child. Not even my father knew in all their 60 years of marriage.

Until recent years, victims didn’t tell about abuse for a variety of reasons. Most felt so defiled that they felt they bore – or at least shared – the shame of the experience. Some were instructed that, if they told, their families would be harmed, or love would be withdrawn from them, or... on and on with a myriad of locks slammed shut by predators.

And so victims suffered in silence with flashbacks of unspeakable things being done to them, nightmares and blockages from living normal, healthy lives, always feeling ‘different’ from others.

But the song continues:

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you...”

A number of years ago, we heard a small voice saying, “I was abused when I was a child...” It was a tentative voice, breaking the silence like drill making the first hole in veneer. It was joined by another voice, “It happened to me, too...” and another voice... The voices became louder and the bearers became stronger. Their knees stopped shaking and their chins quivered less, as society enfolded them with assurances that they bore no shame.

What a revelation! What relief! Suddenly, they discovered that the shame, which had so unjustly burdened them, belonged to the predators – not to them! The threats of harm had been, in most cases, smoke and mirrors, whose only reality lay in their ability to immobilize victims in fear.

Thanks to the gathering swell of voices, it’s manly to expose the abuse suffered as a child. It’s empowering for women to step out of the silence that held them captive.

Today’s newspaper shared the story of the Toronto Blue Jay’s R.A. Dickey, one of today’s top athletes in baseball. He’s written a memoir entitled, “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.” It exposes the sexual abuse and sometimes overwhelming struggles of his journey.

Because of the voices that have gone before his, preparing the way for acceptance and understanding, Dickey was able to write an authentic story of his faith and path to victory over victimization.

The last verse of the song reads, “‘The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls’
And whispered in the sounds of silence.”

Truth will always come out. This tide of revelation is not going to stop. It has gathered momentum with a surge of hope for freedom from shame. The breakers of truth are smashing against the protective walls of silence and shattering old expectations of safety for predators.

If you are a predator, it is time for your knees to shake and your chin to quiver – because silence has ended.

© Diane Roblin-Lee Apr. 15, 2013
For books on protecting children by Diane Roblin-Lee, please go to:

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Power of Confession

“There was no normal, happy greeting – just a sudden torrent of words from my husband. “I did it! I did it all – and more!” Years of bottled secrets suddenly uncorked with the pressure of fermented evil. Incomprehensible sentences erupted from Matt’s mouth in shocking ejections.
“As the toxic words hit my brain, pushing to penetrate, I stared blankly at Matt. “You did what?” I didn’t understand what he meant.
“‘I did it all – everything Linda said – and more. More than anybody knows.’ For the first time for as long as I could remember, Matt was looking directly into my eyes. Here we were in my office, with the toxic words of Matt’s confession filling the air like a mushroom cloud. The world had stopped spinning on its axis.
“When the eruption of his confession gradually settled into the ashes of our lives, I, feeling like a hollow caricature of my former self, stayed seated in the chair in which I had written, organized our lives and conducted the business of our family.
“I had thought I had been dealing with reality all these years. Silly me. I stared at Matt, now so earnest in his confession, so open in his desire to connect, so visible with the evaporation of his walls. Now that I could see him, I didn’t recognize him. He was a stranger. No one I had ever met before.
“A tiny crack began to grow in the space between us. It widened and widened and gradually yawned into an uncrossable gulf. We were no longer connected. I was on my side of the abyss with my arms around the precious children he had harmed.
“As Matt’s words continued, spilling the dark contents of his mind into the canyon, they filled the horizontal plane, numbing me.”

The foregoing is an excerpt, describing my husband’s confession, from my book,  The Husband I Never Knew.
A confession from a child molester is a powerful factor, determining the ability of all those whose lives are touched by his crimes, to move ahead with their lives. Even if the court finds someone guilty who pleads innocence, the nagging questions remain. If the person is lying about his innocence, it is a further sickening betrayal and lack of respect for his loved ones, who deserve the right to live their lives in reality. If he is, indeed, innocent, his loved ones are left to suffer the condemnation of a misled public.
I’ve been corresponding with Jerry Sandusky’s wife. Despite the fact that Jerry was convicted on 45 counts of child molestation, she continues to believe in his innocence. Strangely enough, I understand her refusal to believe her husband is guilty.
When my husband was charged on a Monday, for a whole week, he denied the charges, declaring his innocence to all who would listen. Most of us believed him. This was a man we had trusted. I had been married to him for 38 years!  I was sure that, if we could just have a polygraph done, his accusers would be shown to be lying.
Until Friday. On the Friday, he confessed.
Then I knew.
My point is that child molesters are the most manipulative of criminals. Their entire modus operendi is built on gaining the trust of people so that their victims become vulnerable; then they are able to move in and take advantage of the situation for their own perverted pleasures.
Building trust, for child molesters, is an art form.
That’s why, unless they give the gift of confession, those whose lives are within their sphere of activity, are held captive, locked in a prison of unmerited trust.
Is Jerry Sandusky guilty? The courts say yes. His wife says no. Until he confesses – until he speaks the words of guilt – his victims will not have closure and those who love him will be trapped in the lonely limbo of trust.

© Diane Roblin-Lee - Mar. 30/13