With the best of intentions, right now everyone is combing through graphic accounts of sexual abuse of a younger sibling of a famous person, posting and reposting and reposting these visceral vignettes in the hopes, I think, of bringing the perpetrator to justice.
If what I think about that is unclear from the tone of that first sentence, I’ll just say, everyone please stop.
This sibling is not a willing participant in this dialogue. This is not her graphic, willing account, that she shared publicly. Everyone loves justice, but, you know, you can’t really have justice that tramples on survivors of sexual abuse. Justice doesn’t work that way. Everyone take a step back and a deep breath.
I will be your willing participant. I will tell you a little bit about what it’s like to be molested by another kid, who was probably herself molested and probably didn’t realize she was molesting me.
It is weird. It feels very bad. I knew in the moment that it was weird and that it felt very bad, but I didn’t know that I had been molested. Not exactly. Not until much later. Today may be the day that this younger sibling of this celebrity has a realization, like I did, that she was molested. And she needs privacy, and she needs space, and she needs time to figure out what she needs. She may not want righteous vengeance on her abuser. I didn’t. To this day I pity the girl who molested me and wonder if she’s okay. Maybe you don’t see how someone could pity someone like that, but it’s my choice how I feel and it’s the sister’s choice how she feels.
The girl who molested me and her cousin (also a girl) who helped, clearly recycled someone else’s grooming techniques. They told me that it was a game, and that my struggle to get free was a part of the game, and that my shock and panic and discomfort was a part of the game. When I reflected back on the experience, it was clear to me that someone else had played the “game” with them. When you’re really young, you’re taught to believe and obey whatever older people say, and I think they believed that it was a game, because an older person or people had instructed them to believe it. A lot of things can become normal when you’re young and in a dysfunctional environment.
I personally would not feel empowered by the entire internet turning a forensic lens on my life. I would not feel empowered by them going for the heads of the girl who molested me and her cousin who helped. I think they are probably as messed up right now as I am, and even if they are not, I don’t want to be consumed as some sort of righteous anger pornography.
So everyone please stop. Only do this kind of thing with affirmative consent.