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A Funeral, a Paedophile and a Fun Quiz

funeral

This morning I went to a funeral. I hadn’t known I would definitely be able go until the last minute which left me rushing to arrange a babysitter at short notice, jump into the shower, wake up my sleepy boys (who were still on Christmas holiday time zone) and fling various outfits across my bed in my hasty quest for something suitable to wear. Only when I was in the car did it cross my mind that today I might find myself in the same room as somebody who I’ve endeavoured to steer clear of for the last 40 years or so. I’m never sure of the etiquette in awkward social situations like this and I thought a fun quiz might be helpful, so here goes!

HISTORICAL SEXUAL ABUSE QUIZ

QUESTION ONE

You go to a funeral and realise that somebody who sexually molested you at the age of seven is there. Do you?

A . Approach them and tell them what you think of them? After all you’re a grown up now with children of your own

B. Refuse to go in?

C. Remind yourself that the reason you’re here is to pay your respects to the dear departed and support your bereaved relatives so you do go in, but without actually having to look at him, you try to ascertain where the offending party is, so you can keep a safe distance away.

QUESTION TWO

After the initial incident took place did you?

A. Rush to tell Mummy or Daddy so they could tell the nasty man off and protect you from him in future?

B. Tell his parents?

C. Say nothing and try to avoid him at every family get together since the early seventies.

QUESTION THREE

How did his actions make you feel?

A. Ashamed because it must have been at least partly your fault?

B. Disgusted with yourself because it must have at least partly been your fault?

C. Disappointed in yourself because you didn’t persuade him not to do it?

D. Sexually aware from an unnaturally young age?

E. Worried for several years that you might be pregnant as you’d learnt via the older sibling grapevine that having a baby involves a man’s willy and a ladies front bottom, but details were pretty sketchy. They didn’t have sex education at your primary school, you didn’t know anything about gestation periods and it’s not the sort of thing you discuss with your seven year old friends so you carried that thought with you for another four or five years before you found out it was a physical impossibility.

F. All of the above

QUESTION FOUR

Why on earth did you decide not to tell your parents or anyone who might have been able to protect  you?

A. You were too ashamed and disgusted with yourself because you thought it must have been at least partly your fault?

B. You were disappointed in yourself because you didn’t persuade him not to do it?

C. Because he told you not to and you were a good little girl who usually did what grown ups told you?

D. Because the lack of violence or penetrative sex and the limited access he had to you made you feel you were fortunate and a bit of a fake compared to poor children you heard about on the news, who had been regularly and violently raped, or worse, by people they knew.

E. All of the above

QUESTION FIVE

Why didn’t you tell a teacher or another responsible adult who was less invested than your own parents? Perhaps they could have helped.

A. Because this happened in the seventies and you’re not sure they would have believed you?

B. Because you can’t imagine anything more embarrassing or shameful than someone finding out. This would quite possibly have been even worse than the abuse being repeated.

C. Because he told you not to as it was “our little secret” and you would both get into loads of trouble with your parents if anyone found out and he was the grown up (maybe nineteen or twenty years old?) and you were only a seven year old girl so you didn’t tell anyone.

QUESTION SIX

Years ago you learned that you were not his only victim, but today, at the wake, you discover that he interfered with at least one other girl at around the same time, who was even younger than you. What do you do now? Do you?

A. Still feel like a victim and say nothing? After all, you only encounter him at weddings and funerals and they’re never going to be an appropriate forum for this social elephant?

B. Write an inappropriately flippant blog post?

C. Feel torn because, although you didn’t go near their table today, when you met his wife years ago she was really nice and you don’t want to be responsible for tearing her family’s life apart

D. Decide you need to take action but you’re not certain what comes next? What you do know is that, on behalf of your seven year old self, you feel fiercely protective of and responsible for this other little girl.

You’ve been so busy being introverted and disempowered that you didn’t realise other people could be getting hurt but now you’re horrified because you don’t know how wide he might have cast his net and you don’t know if you’ve allowed it to become more widespread by not saying anything. You’d previously assumed that once he was in a proper adult relationship, he wouldn’t be so desperate for sexual attention that he’d need to prey on children any more, but today you’re not so sure.

You start to feel sick as you realise that you have certain knowledge that this person acted inappropriately towards three young girls in your family, but you have no evidence at all that he ever stopped.

Today someone says “paedophile” and you balk at the use of the word which conjures up images of perverted carers of yesteryear abusing their power in a foster home or of creepy men getting their kicks by videoing young boys who they’re grooming for the sex trade. In your head a paedophile is someone you’ve never met – always a stranger – not a distant relative at a family gathering!

You realise that, up until now, you’ve only thought of the incidents of abuse in the words of your young self. You look up the word, “paedophile” and discover that it’s not only reserved for social misfits who rape young victims. It’s simply defined as

“A person who is sexually attracted to children.”

Oh!

So how did you get on with the quiz? Hopefully you were able to dismiss it as completely irrelevant to your life and found something more light hearted to read, like a Haynes manual or your tax return. I do hope so. If not, please feel free to private message me or comment below and perhaps we can work on the answer to question six together.

This is quite a departure from what I usually write but I thought it needed to be said and surely the best way to stop feeling ashamed of “our little secret” is to stop it being a secret any more?

Thanks for listening.

Jane

x

PS I found this page on the NSPCC website about historical sexual abuse which could be helpful

NSPCC – SUPPORT FOR ADULTS ABUSED AS CHILDREN

PPS In case it wasn’t obvious my answers to the quiz were

Q1 C

Q2 C

Q3 F

Q4 E

Q5  B & C

Q6 All of them except A, unless I back out.

10 comments… add one
  • Becky Cowley 13/01/2017, 10:25

    Oh Jane, you are so brave and strong for writing this. I really hope that you do ‘all of the above apart from a’ sending you lots of love and strength x

  • Zoe Corkhill 12/01/2017, 22:19

    This was incredibly brave to write, well done.

    I don’t think I could do it… in fact I know I can’t – I’ve tried. Different relationship to the abuser, different age, different age gap… quite different circumstances but also sadly similar and an unavoidable person – in ways I feel like these could have been my words and it was both really hard and really freeing in a way to read. Shame, embarrassment, fear, uncertainty, and secrecy.

    Thank you, so so much x

    • Jane Batt 12/01/2017, 23:45

      Hi Zoe
      I’m really sorry to hear that you can relate to my story. Actually I think you’re the one who’s been brave by commenting here. My outpouring came about because of what happened last week. If it hadn’t been for that I may never have said anything.
      Since writing this post I’ve been overwhelmed by the response I’ve received: some publicly on social media and in comments here but many more in private messages, texts or phone calls. Many of them were offering gentle words of kindness and support; a few have recounted narrow escapes they’ve had themselves but unfortunately a chilling number have related to my words and told me it’s spooky because they could have been writing about them.
      Finally by writing this down it feels as though the spell has been broken and I’m not keeping a dirty little secret any more. I hope that now that you’ve written your words down, some of that feeling of relief will pass to you too and you can start to realise that NONE of that shame or blame belongs to you.
      Thank you for your kind comment and for speaking out.
      Huge respect
      Jane xxx

  • Sarah 08/01/2017, 03:55

    Right there with you; maybe you could send his wife an anonymous letter? Do they have children?

    When my father’s father held me down and kissed me (at least) around the time I turned 6, I didn’t tell because of the shame. When I was being molested by peers from the age of 10 to 13, I didn’t tell because of the shame and the fear that I wouldn’t be believed. Too many victims of abuse just smash it all inside and carry it around with them the rest of their lives. It really does mess you up.

  • Chondra Rankin 06/01/2017, 23:11

    Your title intrigued me to keep reading. So much strength went into this post and I congratulate you for that bravery. Someone else will be helped by your openness, undoubtedly! Sending you even more strength in working through this and hopefully requiring both accountability and education. The important thing is to make sure he does not continue in shattering lives of even more.

    • Jane Batt 06/01/2017, 23:44

      Writing it felt like the right thing to do and it would be great if it helps someone else in the process. Thanks for the good vibes.

  • Patricia 06/01/2017, 20:47

    I really hope you do come forward. Someone like that is not likely to stop and could even now be doing the same to another child.

  • Mothergeek 06/01/2017, 17:53

    Sending massive massive hugs. Xx I hope you find the strength to take the next steps. XXX

  • Subha Rajagopal 06/01/2017, 11:10

    Really not sure what to say for this.That guy must be put behind bars..should not be allowed to roam around freely

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