I am 28 years old and I am happily married. I am a lawyer and I’ve just become a dad. Holding the baby in my hands made it sink in that I am now a dad. He’s so tiny and defenseless and he’s mine to look after. I need to protect him especially from what happened to me. As a child, I was sexually abused. When I was 5, my babysitter would play games with me, “sexualized” games. It was our little secret.

You hear all the time that abused victims are abusers themselves and I am terrified that everyone would look at me and think “he’s going to abuse someone someday.”

Whenever we hear of child sexual abuse, it fills us with anger and fear. We spend so much time talking about punishing offenders but have you ever asked yourself why it happens in the first place? That’s what I want to try and find out.

12% of women and 4.5% of men are sexually abused before they turn fifteen. 44% of offenders are male relatives and only 11% are complete strangers.

Why would you think someone would abuse a child?

Maybe because they watch too many horrible movies, maybe drugs or if they are from broken homes or maybe because religions suppress sexuality. Those are the common theories we have.

Survivors of sexual abuse are everywhere; you probably know one even if you do not know it. And at some point we’ve all asked ourselves, “why did it happen to me?”.

My babysitter was not a relative, just some young guy who looked after me. I decided to meet some other victims. Debra is first on my list. She was abused by her grandfather.

Her story goes thus,

I don’t know how old I was but when do you have access to a grandparent? Pretty much all the time. And a pedophile doesn’t discriminate- there’s no too young. It didn’t always feel wrong but it started to feel uncomfortable. There was this particular time he was pushing my head down and I was in his car. It had never happened before and I did run out of the car and screamed, I was like ten then. I told a sister and she said “it has happened to all of us” and I was like oh!. You know some people say “ that is how he shows he loves you”. My aunt told me that that’s how he showed love to me. For real, that’s not love.

Why he behaved that way? I’m guessing he might have been abused as a child. He might have been an abuser based on what he experienced as a child or just pure evil, selfish and lustful.

Debra thinks her grandfather might have been abused himself. I don’t think that can be the only reason why abusers abuse children. Debra’s abuser was a family member while mine was a babysitter. But, we all know this happens in institutions too…

So I met with  a former catholic boy who was abused by a priest. He asked if I had a faith? I said “yes”. Then he asked if my abuser was involved with the church, I said “no”. He said probably that’s the reason I still have a faith.

So it happened at the home of the priest. It was attached to the school I went to, it was in the church The more I think about it, the more angry it makes me because these men are supposed to be servants of God. I think that’s the worst part of it for me that it’s not about sex, it’s about power. It is not just physical, it is psychological, mental and emotional. And I think anyone who has been a victim would understand the mental anguish; you lie in bed with your loved one at night and they wonder why you scream in your sleep.

I held on to it for 22 years without telling anybody. That was my secret shame, I guess.

Meeting with a a retired bishop, Robinson. The bishop is known to have progressive views on what causes clerical abuse and I really want to know what a guy on the inside thinks…

I think obligatory celibacy for priests is a contributing factor, it’s not the sole cause. Celibacy says they must not have sexual relationships with an adult woman and that somehow offending with a boy was not as great wrong. What a horribly distorted way of thinking. I think in the catholic church, the fact that women are largely excluded is another factor.

I was abused too as a young teenager. I think the act is evil. The harm caused is as massive and lifelong sometimes maybe they are not aware of all of that. It is very wrong for churches to cover up cases of abuse. And I think it’s wrong to think it’s all the catholic churches that are involved. It’s everywhere as you and I can testify.

The survivors have their own theories on why they were  abused but none of us has confronted our abusers about why they did it. then i met someone who has.

Click on this link for the concluding part of this story, THE ABUSED & THE ABUSERS 2

Story by Chas Fisher