But he is such a good guy

Recently, Ellen DeGeneres talked about her abusive stepdad and that her mom didn't believe her and brushed her accusations aside until not too long ago, while staying with her abuser for 18 more years. Ellen didn't speak up about it for a few years after it happened, because she wanted to protect her mom and she wouldn't want to ruin her happiness. A lot of victims do that. They protect their loved ones first and don't think about themselves. But it is just like the inflight safety instructions, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you help others. I don't get why girls are taught to downplay their efforts, skills, and intelligence (causing low self esteem and self image) and live life in service of others like that. Ellen also said that she was angry at herself, because she was too weak to stand up against him. But I don't think she could have done anything differently. She was young and she had nobody to support her. The reason she talked about such a painful memory again was to make sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen to anyone anymore and I really hope sexual abuse can become just as easy to share to others as stories of being robbed or bitten by a rabid dog.

In the Netherlands, Karin Bloemen also talked about the sexual abuse by her stepdad in recent interviews. One thing was really striking. One of her family members told her that her abuser was fun and that they laughed a lot in their house too. That comment sounded just so ridiculous that I cannot even comprehend where that came from. That person knew what kind of horror happened and she could still say that to the victim? I think it has something to do with her being unable to merge the two conflicting images that she has of the abuser in her brain and that believing and just seeing the good one is more convenient and safe.

At a recent high profile celebrity wedding, an accused abuser, who admitted to going over boundaries, was a honorary guest, sitting next to the bride. She has known the man for many years and although she doesn't approve what he did, it was only a part of his personality and he is a sweet, warm, and witty person too. Although it was a small and private party and she is allowed to do whatever she wants, I wonder what one of his victims would think, since the word got out. For all I know, he might have cried hard and sincerely apologized for his wrong deeds. He might have admitted his mistakes, he figured out where it went wrong, so that it will never happen again, and he promised that he has become a new and better man. But all I read is that he minimized his deeds (he just went a little bit too far, crossing boundaries that he shouldn't have), as if he didn't ruin lives and crush young actor's dreams. Although I don't think that people who did something wrong should be isolated (they need to be surrounded by love in the hard journey of becoming a good person), I wish he could have shown something substantial, slowly proving that he has changed instead of rushing into being accepted by everyone again. The supposed underdog, victim role that he is taking on (punished too hard by everyone for what he has done), using famous friends who have a lot of fans to stand up for him in public, all just feels too fake.

A female director in the Hong Kong film industry, Lam Suk Jing, was almost raped by a pilot, who climbed from the balcony of the hotel room next door to enter her room on the 18th floor (how sexually deprived can he be?). The local police told her that she could be counter sued for assault, as she hit him out of her room (what is a woman legally allowed to do to beat off a rapist?). The airline he works at, told her that he was drunk and that she should consider the fact that it costs a lot to train a pilot.

Young athletes in the United States, who get away with rape, as they excel in sports and have really good grades too. They are such good boys. The rape does not even represent 1% of their lives. It is just a mistake, a small blemish that should not ruin the rest of their lives. But what about the victims? Is their life worth nothing? The rape is going to ruin the rest of their lives. Although many recover after a long time and lots of therapy, something (even though you cannot put it in words and numbers and it may be different for every victim, it doesn't mean it is not present) is unrepairably damaged. You are damaging them even more by not standing by their side.

I could go on for ages with stories like this, as the world just never fails to amaze me, in good and bad ways. The moment they decided to rape and harm someone, they already lost their right to call themselves a good guy. Whatever behavior they have shown in the past has turned into a lie. A good person would have never made such an awful "mistake". The initial reaction of the people close to the abuser might be to cover everything up and protect their loved one with everything they have, but you are not helping them that way. They need to fully realize their mistake and get some form of punishment that would make them think twice, before doing such a thing again. I actually personally heard a high school boy say that if he only gets one month suspension from school, he would like to have a go too. So, it really is important for them to get the message - loud and clear - that what they did is wrong instead of thinking that they can do whatever they want, as there will be people who will take care of the mess afterwards.

Call me naive, but all I wanted from the people who hurt me, was not something like life long prison or severe physical pain (although that crosses my mind every now and then, when shards of bad memories come back), but only a sincere apology and the promise of never doing something like that again. I really believe that people can become a better person, if they want it bad enough themselves and when the circumstances are right. It cannot happen overnight and it is going to be a long road with a lot of setbacks and relapses. But like a marathon, they need to keep going on until the end, while getting support from the bystanders (family and friends), who can only cheer them on, as they cannot do it for them, they need to do this by themselves.

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