2. My wife (or husband) is a victim of sexual misconduct, but she won't admit it. She is still in love with the perpetrator and has left me and my kids because of the abuse! What can I do?

Oh, what a burden you carry! Yet this is not such an uncommon story. There may be absolutely nothing you can do, outside of telling your spouse clearly what you believe and that you are still there and ready to help (provided you are) if your spouse decides to see things as you do. Even if you know that you will never “take her back” into your home to live.

You would do well to seek an online support group. If you, as spouse, are male (and most who come to this question are male), there is an immediate problem with this solution. Such groups are very hard to find. In fact, I know of none at present. If you find one, let ME know. Sadly, most men do not seem to reach out to other men in these situations. Or else they do not stay connected. There was once such a group on www.advocateweb.org but it "died" for lack of interest. I will be happy to try to connect you with some of my other readers if you are interested.

If you are the female spouse of a male victim, you are in a very, very small minority of my readers. So it may be harder to find support for you than it would be for male inquirers. However, the former wives of clergy perpetrators may, in some cases, be helpful. I may be able to facilitate some alliances there. For there are women in this category who do NOT blame the victim and have some issues that are quite similar to yours.

Your children need to be assured, if you can find a way to comfortably do so, that their mother (or father if you happen to be the wife of a male victim) is physically in no danger. Most of all they need to know that you are not going to abandon them, that they are safe with you. They do not need to have you ranting and raving in their presence or saying things that are hurtful about their mother (or father). You can help them recall moments that were better, and assure them that there will be many other moments in the future that are good. They need to hear that their mother loves them even though they do not fully understand why she left. Certainly that it was not their fault that she left. They definitely need to get therapy, even if they appear to be unscathed by all of this--perhaps more so if they appear to be unscathed!

You can encourage the victim to continue corresponding or talking or even visiting the children, provided you do not feel that they are in danger because of the perpetrator.

If you have not already done so, please read answers to Question No. 1 above.



www.takecourage.org by Dee Ann Miller, author of two books on the topic of sexual abuse by clergy: How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct and The Truth about Malarkey.