Jennifer Haynes

Not too long ago, I read about Jennifer Haynes in the news and how she put her dad, who sexually abused her from 4 to 11 years old, to jail for 45 years. It is especially impressive, as she had developed 2500 personalities to deal with the horror that she continued to face day by day. Even though she was enormously damaged, both mentally and physically (the damage is lifelong and her body could be viewed as the crime scene), and her cries for help were ignored all the time, she was capable of furthering her studies in college. It was not until she became 39 years old, that she came forward with her story (she pushed the horrible memories away all that time and alters prevented her from knowing). After a 10 year long battle for justice and letting her alters act as witnesses in court, she was finally able to get her abuser to plead guilty and get him locked behind bars. She even gave up her right of anonymity to let his name to be known to the world. Although she is currently living with her mother (not in a relationship?), she stayed positive and is still full of dreams. She intends to spend the rest of her life doing only the things that she enjoys. The obsession she has for butterflies seems like a common theme among child sexual abuse victims, representing freedom, beauty, and fragility.

I hope this lets people know that dissociative identity disorder is real and not a scary disease. It is something a child automatically does as a form of protection from continuous threat and pain and when they have nobody to rely on. The created alters won't harm anyone, unless they are in grave danger (I think they are more likely to harm themselves instead). It is good to see that the disorder is acknowledged in court, as most doctors are still in disbelief and refuse to accept anything that were not in the books when they studied medicine - which could be decades ago - , and that alters are seen as trustworthy witnesses.

After also seeing what recently happened to Noa (a girl in the Netherlands that suffered so much from child sexual abuse that she had to starve herself to death to stop the pain), it made me aware of how common this is and how the medical world, the justice system, and the onlookers are letting the victims terribly down. How hard it is to get the right help, to be believed, to be rescued, and how difficult it is and how long it takes to get justice. How this horrible abuse and pain was able to continue for so many years without people noticeing, as the victims were shrouded in silence and people just refused to see it.

It is a silence that we can break, when we no longer view women who were sexually abused as dirty, as broken, or as damaged goods that can no longer be sold. Maybe, we can even brainwash the victims and make them believe that water (or really good smelling bath water) can wash away all the grossness one day and that they are still loveable and no less than others. Just like how they brainwashed the victims into thinking that staying quiet is the best. We should also not let it be a taboo that we don't talk about and look away from, so that we can pretend that it doesn't happen. It is shameful to stay in this safe, imaginary bubble, when others are suffering. Also, we should let go of the stupid idea that only bad and ugly guys hiding in creepy basements do this. Everyone, no matter what looks, background, occupation, etc., could be an abuser. Don't be so sure of your own judgement, as it could be biased. Just make sure that the victim is kept safe, nothing else matters. To a victim, punishment of the abuser is not the priority, being safe and no longer harmed is.   

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