Whistleblowing: The Legal Cost of Exposing Abuse
Abuse loves to lurk in darkness. Shine a spotlight on it and holy crap! It screams like one of those baby mandrakes in Harry Potter. Pull it out of the darkness and murk of its lovely dirt…and it goes straight to its attorney.
That’s what happened to me, folks. It didn’t come as any surprise, really. I knew my abusers’ attorney was lurking on my site, sniffing around, but hey! Who knew my tight-ass relatives would actually spend a few hundred of the precious $40k they got from me to actually take action. Wowza! That’s one for the history books.
I consider myself a kind of whistleblower. A whistleblower ratting out abusive family dynamics. I believe in “calling a spade, a spade.” I haven’t suffered for thirty years, just to shut up for the next thirty. I write because it redeems the pain, the abuse, the tears. It metamorphosizes the pain from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful, free-flying butterfly leading other butterflies in a wild migration to freedom. And judging by all the “atta girl” comments I’ve been getting, I’m on the right track.
My website, email and blogs are bulging with comments, the gist of which is, “Wow! I thought my family was the only ‘weird’ one! Our families were identical. Are we sisters!?” And, I gotta’ admit, it kinda’ feels good. Oh, I’m sorry that anyone suffered in the same ways that I suffered. But it’s validating. The sweet, sweet taste of validation, so long denied me. It’s heady! Intoxicating!
Invalidation Via Attorney
The gist of the “Cease and Desist” letter was really same ol’, same ol’. But my parents used to do it to me in person. With a smile. It’s called brainwashing and mind control.
I can’t even begin to tally the untold hours they spent talking, preaching and lecturing me in an attempt to convince me that all their weird and abusive ways were actually kindness, goodness, care, concern and love. Wearing me down into submission. But like all brainwashing, mine kept slipping because it wasn’t true.
I’ve learned two things from that experience.
- Truth requires few words.
- Truth sticks in your mind, without repetition.
Truth Will Out
Here’s the deal: I don’t need to make up shit about my family. Frankly, I couldn’t if I tried. I’m just not that creative. Plus, Mother taught me not to lie. As she said, “If you lie, it becomes too complicated. You have to add detail upon detail, and pretty soon you can’t remember all the details.”
The truth is much weirder, more dramatic and more abusive than anything I could “dream up.” Everything I share is seared in my memory with letters of fire. You don’t forget being punched in the face. You don’t forget being slut-shamed. You don’t forget being twenty-three and forced to sit on the floor, coloring the scuffs on your parents’ furniture as a shaming device. You don’t forget using a bucket in your room, because you’re forbidden bathroom privileges. You don’t forget blackout rages…in detail.
And that’s why this pathetic “Cease and Desist” doesn’t phase me now. I’ve always respected the Constitution and thought the Founding Fathers were frickin’ brilliant. So I rest in the comforting bosom of the First Amendment, knowing full well that I can’t be touched for telling the truth about anonymous wingnuts…only bullied, harassed and intimidated.
As Tevya says in Fiddler on the Roof, “Why should today be different?” Same ol’, same ol’.
Thompson, L. (2017). Whistleblowing: The Legal Cost of Exposing Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 24, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2016/03/whistleblowing-the-legal-cost-of-exposing-abuse/