The Politics of Sexual Abuse

Eugène Ionesco (Philosopher / Playwright for the Theatre of the Absurd) 

"I believe that what separates us all from one another is simply society itself, or, if you like, politics. This is what raises barriers between men, this is what creates misunderstanding.

If I may be allowed to express myself paradoxically, I should say that the truest society, the authentic human community, is extra-social — a wider, deeper society, that which is revealed by our common anxieties, our desires, our secret nostalgias. The whole history of the world has been governed by nostalgias and anxieties, which political action does no more than reflect and interpret, very imperfectly. 

No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa."


Karly (Female Sexual Abuse Survivor) 

"Ordinary normal people usually deny or run from others hurt by the unspeakable. I am a leper to normal society. If I disclose my truth and the reality of my life I am stigmatized or showered with a litany of pop psychology that slides off injuries like mine....like those of us who know the strength it takes to live through the relentless agony that must be endured if one is to survive. Human beings have an instinctual aversion to pain. Hands go up to ears, eyes turn away, legs switch to run and the brain turns gear to water down a truth that is too awful to face.This is what I remember to help me not hate.

Chiasm (Isolated) 


The monsters make me hide 
Perhaps I'll eat myself alive 
Internally what is there left for me to be 

I can't care for what's left me behind 
And stare at light that makes me blind 
These broken walls trap me inside 
I'm isolated 

Have no choice but be isolated 
Struggling left alone apart 
Pushed aside made segregated 
Threatened forced to extract the heart 

I'll never crawl again 
I'll never fall again 
Until I'm free 



There are various interests involved in the sexual abuse politic. Some are obvious and others perhaps less so. What we need to understand is that all these different groups and individuals have their own agendas and those agendas may or may not be good for us. Awareness is key here. 


Offenders: 

The agenda here is obvious. This group wants to achieve their objectives and not be held accountable for it. This group works to destroy their victims social environment amongst other things to protect their own interests. They malign the victim behind the victims back so if the victim complains they find themselves being treated as a crazy or malicious person. They are also very aware of the various politics that allow them to present themselves as a victim. 

ACC

The agency that apparently exists to fund the treatment and compensation of sexual abuse victims (cough cough). ACC is a policy driven organisation teeming with people who genuinely think they know better than anyone else. Never to be trusted the Corporation has a very similar politic to the sexual offenders. The ACC wants to achieve its objectives and not be held accountable and it uses similar tactics as offenders to achieve this. They also use gas lighting insurance nasties on people who have already been treated very badly. The Corporation however like all bullies can be beaten with a bit of know how. 

The Police 

The Police for the most part are good to us. The Police look at everything from an evidential point of view. It is not a matter of belief it is a matter of how much evidence there is. If the Police have enough evidence they will prosecute though the outcome is far from certain. Even if there is not enough evidence the accused offender is clearly noted. If another victim turns up the game changes. This inhibits the offender in future offending and makes any other secrets from his or her past that much more real and scary. 

The Courts

The Courts are also good to us for the most part. The Courts should be seen as a place where all the various interests that are connected to the events that happened to you are represented. We as the victim receive an equal not dominate share of the Courts interest. While there is a wide range of opinion on this situation this is what we have and we need to be aware. 


Politicians 

Politicians are in the position where they have to be seen to be responding to conflicting and varied interests in the issues surrounding sexual abuse. As a result of this the politician fears touching our issues in case everything explodes in his or her face. Standing in a political minefield with political enemies looking for ways to capitalise on that fact is a very uncomfortable political position. There is little to be gained except carefully constructed platitudes by going to politicians for solutions. 


Medical Professionals

The relationship we have with this group is very complex and deserving of its own section. See The Medical Process for more information. 


Other Sexual Abuse Victims 

There is a natural tendency for people to seek out their own kind and we are no exception. However it pays to be aware that there are people both those who have been sexually abused and those who have not who will happily prey on the lonely and the naive. People who want to help (especially those who are doing so to ignore their own issues)  make especially good targets. The normal motivation for predatory types is money. This is quite a long subject but the best advice I can give is keep your guard up and your boundaries well defined and remember boundaries need to be applied in both directions. Don't let people get to close and don't get to close to them.  


The Government 

The Government (no matter who is in power) is often tasked with addressing the sexual abuse question. The Government can only do the one thing that Governments can and that is make law. The success or otherwise of law is very dependent on how it is enforced. Due to funding issues and conflicting political interests there are often varied outcomes. A basic example is the law regarding rape. It is illegal to rape any person yet very few people are ever convicted for the crime. This demonstrates a large variance in the laws intent and the laws actual outcomes. Yet Governments can only make law. The Accident Compensation Act is another example. The law states that those who have been sexually assaulted and as a result of the assault in question suffer from a significant cognitive or behavioural impairment should be treated and compensated. However thanks to the determined efforts of SCU staff only a small percentage of claimants make it past the dedicated gate keepers. This is another example of outcome failing to match the intent of the law. Essentially the Government makes law and various people will do their best to substitute the law with their world view. In these cases those people would be rapists and their supporters (of which there are often many) and the ACC management and their employees in the Sensitive Claims Unit. This is why appealing to the Government for a fix only ever produces limited results. 


Family Members 

Family members are often our worst enemies especially if the offender is also a member of the family either through blood or marriage. I have observed that abusive households often produce at least one sibling who plays down what happened in the house at the expense of a victim to protect the siblings own world view. Other family members often do the same. Those family members often are the mother of the victim. How could anyone's mother do such a thing? That is a question often asked and this of course allows mothers who have their own interests at heart to cause the victim a significant amount of trouble. What victims need to take into account that child sexual abuse victims are targeted by the offender, especially offenders who are family or close to the family. This is especially true if the offending is long term. The children that are targeted are not the children of parents who are functional and looking after their children. What the offender is looking for is a child who is not supported and easily accessible. A child who is neglected or deprived makes the ideal target as the offender can use the child's lack of support as a means of connecting to that child. The best target of all is the child who has a mother and or father who will look to protect their own interests if the offender is outed. Those parents will then protect the offender. The victim then ends up with the people who are supposed to care about them telling everyone it didn't happen. 

Then there is the parent who has shame issues (not guilt) and makes a large scene to compensate for previous lack of attention and duty. Or they may make a scene because they just cant handle it. Case in point. A young girl was groped at school by some boys. She complained to the school and the boys were hauled up and made to write letters of apology. The girl was satisfied by this outcome. Her father found a letter from one of the boys some time later and went berserk . He made himself a placard and planted himself in front to the school to protest. In doing so he snatched control of the girl's experience form her and made it all about him. The girl in question like so many of us had to deal with her issues while at the same time helping those who should know better deal with their issues. 

Partners

Some partners handle things very well and others not so well. In my experience partners who have known what has happened early in the relationship handle things a lot better than partners who find out after years of marriage. Upon finding out there is potential for the partner to make everything about themselves and they can even go on some half cocked campaign for justice. This is especially true if the partner is the male in the relationship. 


Friends 

Friends can be a mixed bag. It is not as common for friends to be close to the offender so that can be helpful. With little or no personal stake in the matter friends are not as prone to making scenes for their own personal gratification. However it pays to remember that friends talk and even though no malice may intended in this world of constant communication there is a strong risk some distorted version of your personal matters will end up being passed around your community. Simply put if you want your past to remain secret then tell no one who is not a professional bound by privacy law. 

Employers 

Depending on your job an employer finding out your past can lead to all sorts of difficulties. Every little issue (which is common in the workplace sexual abuse history aside) will then be linked back to your past. The employer made decide to "manage" the situation by applying the pop psychology Karly has described. The employer may even try and force you into "treatment" as some kind of perverse employment condition. 

The Public 

The public for the most part treat us with suspicion. A significant percentage of the community labour under the fallacy that being a Sensitive Claimant is lucrative and somehow desirable. Some believe that Sensitive Claimants basically fill out a form and the Corporation goes on to provide a smorgasbord of entitlements all no questions asked. Then whenever there is a scare about the Corporations balance sheet a vocal crowd manifests claiming that it is an injustice that their taxpayer dollars are spent on counselling. One might think that there would be an outcry against the funding of people who cause accidents while drunk. Not so.  

Feminist Groups 

The Media both News and Entertainment

Morals Campaigners 

Justice Campaigners for Sexual Abuse Victims

Justice Campaigners for Accused Persons