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#467482 - 07/11/14 07:14 PM (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser?
Ocellaris Offline

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 23
Loc: New York
I have been debating for a while whether to contact my abuser. I don't know what I expect to gain from contact, other than possible peace of mind and the schadenfreude I would feel about putting him in an extremely awkward position. I don't want to do something that I will wind up regretting and was hoping to gain some advice from fellow survivors. This is a letter I have written and was considering sending. Please let me know whether any of you have written such a letter and what the result was.

Dear XXXX:

My name is XXXX and I am a former student of yours from XXXX. I trust that you remember me after so many years since you spent a good amount of our time together assaulting me sexually. More than two decades after our encounters, I am still haunted by the way you groomed me and abused my trust to fulfill your sexual desires. While I have experienced many traumas in my life -- some self-inflicted -- the one that has shaped my entire adult life is the emotional and psychological trauma I suffered at your hand over the course of 17 months from November 1990 until April 1992. As a direct result of the abuse you visited upon me, I have been unable to form any bond of trust with anyone. I find it almost impossible to make new friends and I suffer from occasional bouts of social anxiety. I mistrust my own judgment and frequently blame myself for having allowed you to put me in a position of feeling helpless and trapped.

I suspect that you, like many abusers, will refuse to recognize that how you manipulated our student-teacher relationship was a gross violation of personal trust and pedagogical ethics. I do not know how many other students and other teenage boys you groomed and abused prior to and subsequent to me – and this haunts me as well. When I finally put an end to your manipulation and abuse, I was encouraged by confidants to notify authorities. Because of my guilt and embarrassment over being a sexual abuse victim, I resisted those calls. I wanted simply to put the episode behind me and get on with my life. Sadly, I did not know at the time that this would be impossible. The damage caused to people by actions such as yours lasts a lifetime. I sincerely hope there were no other boys who were permanently harmed by you because of my failure to notify appropriate authorities in 1992.

While the statute of limitations for filing a civil suit due to your actions – which I believe to have been felonies – has expired, I am considering pursuing other remedies for the harm you have caused me. These may include detailed and widespread publication of my experience with you and my notification to your family and/or your neighbors of the fact that a potential sexual predator may be in their midst. I want you to know that the guilt and embarrassment I continue to feel over having been a victim of your sexual abuse will no longer protect you from exposure.

Please do not misunderstand this letter. This is not intended as an attempt to extract money or anything else from you. I continue to want nothing from you. I am merely putting you on notice that your actions of more than two decades ago had long-lasting and far-reaching negative consequences, and that the passage of time has not and will not shield you (notwithstanding the expiration of the statute of limitation) from any fallout that may result from my exposure of your past actions.

Please guide yourself accordingly,
That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.
-- Stephen King, "The Body" (from Different Seasons)

#467484 - 07/11/14 07:29 PM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
NoSimpleMachine Offline

Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
It is a very well written letter, firm but not insulting or overly aggressive. You struck a good tone IMO.

As for sending it if it feels like it will be a positive step in your healing, don't if it feels like it will be a negative step. Maybe keep it in your files for that day if/when your attitude changes from it being a negative to a positive step.

As for creating contact, if that is your prime concern, you do not have to put a return address on it. It can be a one-way conversation. That may be prudent, it's hard to tell how a cornered abuser may respond. Do you want an apology? Do you just want to say these things and put them behind you? How afraid are you of entering into a conversation with this man and what scares you about that?

All questions to ask. I can't tell you to send it or not, that is your final decision. Base it on the course of action that feels most self-loving. But the letter itself is well written.
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

#467486 - 07/11/14 07:34 PM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1

Hell yes !!!!!

#467487 - 07/11/14 08:17 PM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Ocellaris,

My intuition says hell no, don't send it. Your safety comes first. You have no idea what a cornered animal will do. I do fully support you finding safe ways to deliver the same information to authorities who may actually have the power to do something about it. I would consult a therapist about the best way to get this information in the public domain.

Put your personal safety above all else. The little kid in you may feel vindictive and murderous. I sure would. But, use caution on your own behalf.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#467488 - 07/11/14 08:18 PM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2963
The letter is perfect in that it reflects your precise thoughts, which is always a good thing to put down in writing. The question to ask is what precisely you want from it. There is no right or wrong for anyone here. Our journeys and our healing paths are often so very different and personal. In my case, my abuser had information I wanted. So my letter was directed to the sole purpose of getting a face-to-face meeting with him. I would be happy to share the letter I crafted with you if you think it would help, or I could post it here if anyone is interested. Otherwise, I think that if the letter meets your goals, then that is enough.

What Don says is very true. Personal safety trumps all. If this is only to indulge in a cathartic vent, you may find it productive to think deeper about that. I can only speak for me, but anger has never served me well, regardless of how much I felt the other person deserved it. Anger has a strange fluid physics to it - you can spill it all and still remain full of it.

That said, writing a letter is very different than sending a letter. Maybe you've done what you needed already, and can save yourself the price of a stamp. For me, it was a definite two-step process. My letter - which I sent via the US postal service - sat on the fireplace mantle for two weeks before I found the nerve to send it. Dropping it in the mailbox felt very much like jumping into a cold pool - standing there waiting for a sudden surge of impetuousness to override my better reason.

#467494 - 07/11/14 11:21 PM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Bluedogone Offline

Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 1132
Loc: Southern US
Hi Ocellaris,

I think the letter is just about perfect. It states very clearly and firmly what you've dealt with all these years, and it gives him a pretty clear picture of the negative impact he's had on your life, it's time for him to accept responsibility for his actions.

I agree with some of the other posters - now that you've written it, (Which I think is a very important step in recovery ) what will you do with it? And that question can only be answered by you, as you consider what you want and expect should it actually be mailed. In my opinion the most important considerations are your personal safety and your emotional well being.

I had more than one abuser, and the one who I feel was the most destructive to me was a cousin. Since I wanted him to know how things had been these last few years and I knew where he was, I wrote and mailed him the letter. I felt I had put in writing exactly how I felt and what I expected of him. I was very pleased with the letter and felt a sort of relief and liberation when I mailed it; and I planned to do a letter to the other SOB's.
The only contact I had had with my cousin since the abuse was at our grandmother's funeral, and I somehow thought this letter could possibly restore our relationship. I was definitely not ready for the response the letter brought. Instead of a positive outcome that I expected, it only brought back the guilt, shame and self loathing that I was dealing with, I thought, pretty good. Plus, the trouble I have with trusting other people came back like a storm. I just wasn't ready emotionally to deal with his response, denying any responsibility and putting it back on me as a willing and complicit partner. Almost expecting me to apologize for everything.

I'm sure your situation is quite different. I would imagine the results would be more positive, but it's hard to know the reaction as you step out into the unknown. Strangely enough (or maybe not so strange) now that I feel I'm emotionally capable of dealing with a letter to abusers, I don't have much of a desire to do so.

My wish for you is a serene peace, and the wisdom to make the right decision. Your safety and well bring should be the first consideration. Good luck with your decision.

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” - quoted by King George VI

#467501 - 07/12/14 01:01 AM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
Qualifier, as all the warnings here are pretty true.

I have NOTHING left, as in less-than-zero, to lose. I am very confrontational and I L O V E to see a perp's sleep ruined for the foreseeable future. Their panic is pure horror show-quality. If they are out of shape, they may have a heart attack. Always a possibility.

You might remove the third paragraph if you have anything left to lose in this life. I would give him an email address with which to write-back to you. Give him the opportunity to beg for forgiveness. Then grant it if you wish.

I issued the "Hell Yes" because as an adult, this turd had NO consideration for your entire life. He knew it would fk-u-up and went ahead anyway. I would give him NO consideration.

If YOU really need to say something to him...send it. If yer just trying to scare the crap outta him...send it.

IF you are just not send that particular letter. Wait a month an see what comes out of your keyboard and fingers. It may be entirely different.

If you have ANY reluctance for any not send it. You can always wait longer. But don't be nice for this sub human's sake. Do everything according to YOUR needs and wants.

HE is supposed to be in prison right now, praying for a peaceful death. He won the freakin lottery as far as I'm concerned.

Edited by Still (07/12/14 01:03 AM)

#467505 - 07/12/14 02:12 AM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
I think the letter is very moving, I don't think anyone can give you an answer as to whether to send it or not. That answer has to come form you.

This is my own experience of confrontation, it may be of little use to you.

I had two conversations with an abuser (father) by phone, in the first one he pretended he had not heard what I said and continued to talk about family things and why I had not been home etc. He was so nervous and slippery which felt good to me then, he just refused to respond to what I said, I asked him if he was still abusing and he talked about politics, it was absurd but somehow it felt enough at the time.

Years later I called again I thought I won't let him slip away this time, I wanted him to know I that I knew what he was and what he did, that he for once could not hide the truth. I wanted to stand up for myself. I had a few things I was going to say, I expected denial and avoidance again. My sister his biggest defender answered the phone and prepared him. He got very aggressive and loud his old abusive self, he talked about what an evil son I was etc etc, how he had done the best he could etc. In the conversation I stood my ground and remained adult, saying you did this and you can deny it all you like but I was there.

I said I was phoning to let him know I would be paying him a visit, I didn't think I would visit I really wanted to say 'I am not intimidated by you any longer' . He said he would call the police and have me removed etc. I responded by saying that I would have an interesting conversation with the police and might decide to press charges, eventually when I would not back down he hung up on me. He never actually said he did not abuse only that I was always an awful child and that he did the best he could and such things and how my having told social services about him was such a betrayal etc. I felt good about standing up to him and leaving him in suspense about whether I would show up or not. For a few weeks I was fine with what I had done, but there was a part of me that I was unaware of at the time. It was the unrealistic child part who desperately hoped for him to say sorry, who was still hoping for a happy ending and for whom the words and anger of the abuser were still true.

About a month later I got really depressed and was right back doubting my own reality again, wanting to withdraw from everything and everyone, I couldn't face thinking about it so stopped going to therapy. Without feeling it at the time I had allowed him to hurt me again. I honestly thought I was strong enough to deal with whatever he threw at me, my adult self was but there was a whole other hidden child agenda that wasn't at all ready. I don't regret confronting him at all, I was and am glad I did and am glad to have made him uncomfortable about his crime, but I was totally unprepared for my reaction, I did not know myself nearly as well as I thought, nor did I handle my reaction well.

Abusers who have not done any therapy to deal with their offending will most likely respond the way they always have, blame the child, deny, be defensive/aggressive/ threatening anything but take responsibility for the harm they caused.
When you say you don't know what to expect to gain from the contact, I think some clarity around that question would help you decide what to do.

Once again I think you letter is wonderful, take your time, think, talk, write about it until you get more clarity.

#467506 - 07/12/14 02:13 AM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: ocellaris
I am considering pursuing other remedies for the harm you have caused me. These may include detailed and widespread publication of my experience with you and my notification to your family and/or your neighbors of the fact that a potential sexual predator may be in their midst.

Hi Ocellaris,

You've written an excellent letter, and I would say send it, so long as you are prepared to deal with an outcome that may or may not be satisfying to you. There are no guarentees here.

While there may be some satisfaction in making the above threat (picturing him living in fear of exposure), I suggest that you not follow through with exposing him, without first consulting an attorney. Doing so could potentially make you vulnerable to a defamation lawsuit. Defamation in written or broadcast form is defined as libel. In verbal form it is defined as slander. Either one is a tort, making you subject to damages if he can prove in court the statement about him was a lie. Note that the onus would be on HIM to prove in court that your statements about him are lies. But the expense of defending yourself against such a lawsuit could be considerable.

As others have said, you never know what a cornered animal might do. Don't do anything that might allow him to re-victimize you, in ANY way. Get some solid legal advice on how to do this in a way that doesn't allow that to happen.

Be well,

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#467508 - 07/12/14 04:22 AM Re: (trigger) Should I send this letter to my abuser? [Re: Ocellaris]
Castle Offline

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 758

Edited by Castle (05/17/15 12:54 AM)

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