You have certainly heard about the allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore and other politicians.

Sexual abuse is not some isolated crime that happens somewhere other than Alabama. It happens here and everywhere.  I have my own opinions about Moore’s behavior, but I am sharing two letters to anewspaper in Tennessee that describe the true experiences of victims much better than I ever could.
From BW: “How do you know those women or their family didn’t attempt to report these abuses decades ago?  The most difficult and dangerous thing for victims of any type abuse is when attempting to report abuse at the hands of power and authority. Look how I was piled on and attacked when attempting to speak up and out about police abuse of power locally.   
Really, I found myself being attacked from most every angle. Even from members of the black community.  I was called a liar, troublemaker, someone just trying to stir up trouble. There were false accusations labeled at both me and family members. I spoke out at the city council meetings. I contacted civil and human rights organizations. No one wanted to listen. I was told “you need to just let that go.”  I was called crazy, trifling, and ugly-- those were the kinder words used.
I really didn’t quite fully understand the danger I’d placed myself, and perhaps even family in, until the threats, stalking and strange things began to take place. I naively believed their department heads would want to know what was going on at the hands of authority and power in the streets, only to realize they likely did know but didn’t care, even condoned it.  
I never asked for or wanted for anything but for someone to listen. I thought someone in power and authority would at the very least step forward, apologize and say “not on my watch” will such behavior be tolerated. But none of that happened. Instead, what I got were the threats and the efforts to silence me.  
Abusers with power and authority already know they have the greatest cover and protection imaginable; their positions, their public image. “No one’s going to believe you.”  That phrase was my trigger. Every victim of any abuse, especially where power and authority are in control, has likely heard that phrase from both their abusers and those who sought to silence them.  
Though my experience was one of a different kind, I believe these women. There’s a pattern that connects most all abusers. They have a tendency to use the same phrase, “No one’s going to believe you!”
From JR: “The women in the Judge Moore case presented great courage coming forth to share their abuse. The victims, now scorned, are asked “Why did you wait so long?” Easy answer, memories of that horrid part of their lives get “stuffed” attempting to hide what was. Memories, however, can be triggered by an event that reminds them, painfully, what happened.
My granddaughter said something to me in 2010 that triggered my abuse, nearly 50 years after it happened. The persons around us all could have stories to tell and tell they would if they felt safe. But we ask ourselves, ”What if . . .  finds out I told?  It’s fear- stone cold fear.”  JR
I hear these stories every day from victims (now survivors) who are still hurting, even years after the abuse. Child sexual abuse, including sexual coercion, is not okay. It’s not funny. It’s not normal behavior. If you or someone you know is a survivor and still struggling with their abuse or assault, we can help. Call Crisis Services 256.574.5826 or the CrisisLine- 256.756.1000.

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