Silence = Evil

Almost always, it happens like this: An offender abuses another person. The offender lords over the victim, coercing him into a pact of secrecy. It’s not a difficult task, since the victim is almost always less powerful (and dependent) on the offender. Later, sometimes decades later, the secret emerges as the spoken truth. By that point the offender is no longer in control. The former victim, now moving in his journey into a new identity, is taking control. This is when (unfortunately, too late to help) we can see the twin themes of sexual abuse: Betrayal, and Silence in the Presence of Evil. Tonight on the news, I listened to the story of a very brave Sharon Bialek, who accused Republican Candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment. She had been his former employee. She trusted him. She sought out his help in finding a new job. Assuming her story is accurate, Herman Cain took her to dinner, acted like a gentleman, got her into his car, and then made a categorical, deliberately sexual, unwanted advance. Mrs. Bialek, no doubt shocked, angered, and dismayed, responded appropriately to the “Godfather,” telling him to stop. She was an adult. Even so, her story illuminates the first theme of sexual abuse: Betrayal. Betrayal Richard Gartner Ph.D., author of Betrayed as Boys and Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse, describes a “sexual betrayal” which encompasses a greater range of human experience than the rather mechanical phrases such as “sexual abuse,” “incest,” and “sexual trauma.” Sexual betrayal goes beyond bruising or genetic wreckage. Sexual betrayal is a violation which does...