Not being believed, can sometimes feel even more painful than the abuse itself. And I am not invalidating, or minimizing the affect and consequences of abuse, by making this statement, at all.
What I am doing, is describing how incredibly painful and devastating it is to not be believed.
The abuse itself, is horrific.
The pain of not being believed, of being neglected, the emotional and psychological destruction that non belief by others, after severe abuse, is even more horrific. Because it adds on top of the already massive weight of pain and devastation abuse causes.
They aren’t two separate issues. They are combined.
Non belief, is like having the knife twisted.
The abuse being the knife being stuck in, the non belief being the severe pain of the knife being twisted in the already deeply painful wound.
(This picture is only included – to emphasise the pain of this psychological abuse, that whilst it cannot be seen, is greater than the physical pain of physical wounds inflicted)
I am only recently coming to understand the deep psychological affect of not having people you need in your life to believe you, decide to not believe you.
I’ve dealt with this my entire life, from childhood.
I’ve had it recently, with a whole load of religious people, having various levels of non belief about abuse I was completely honest in exposing. None of them believed me at the beginning of this whole issue. I think I have a few believe me more now, after lies were told in the internal investigation report. But people still minimize it. For their own needs, not mine.
My advice to anyone dealing with a person who says they have been abused is…
If you choose to doubt them, not believe them, assume the truth is somewhere between what the accused says and what the victim says…..but the victim is being 100% honest – you are abusing the victim further – even if unintentionally.
If you choose to minimize what they have endured, support the abuser, then you are abusing the victim further – even if unintentionally.
If you choose to make assumptions, blame that victim in some way for what occurred, judge them, blame their mental health etc – and that victim is telling the truth – you are abusing them further – even if unintentionally.
We live in a society where it is ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
And also where is a victim is ‘lying/exaggerating unless they can prove the abuse 100%’.
There are many who will argue we need to have innocent until proven guilty and I agree, we do.
But, in the case of abuse victims – please know – this abuses and re-traumatises them repeatedly.
And ‘not guilty’ or not having enough evidence to prove the abuse 100% – does not mean the victim was lying. Or that the abuser is innocent – but society wants to view it that way.
And regardless of all the arguments for all this……..bottom line, it is devastating and is more abuse to the victim.
I know this, because I have been there. Too many times.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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