Laura starts out by sharing this bit of information, that I agree is crucial for survivors to understand.
A healthy person has an instinct to get away from something dangerous. Sometimes, even healthy emotions may appear negative at first glance.
Revulsion, for example. Who likes the idea of revulsion? But it can help us avoid, or escape, a revolting person or horrible circumstance.
Peck calls both the instinct to flee and these emotions “God-given and saving early-warning radar systems.”
Peck’s footnote says that when a child is raised in a dangerous home, that child is prevented from developing that early-warning system, or that over time, the enforced proximity to that danger destroys any pre-existing saving response.
She then goes on to share 4 ways people become “keepers of the lie”, and I think much of the reason for the group that becomes keepers by suspecting and not acting has to do with the same sort of response. People who actually do develop these self-defense mechanisms, don’t want to think about, hear about, or know about something like sexual abuse. They have a built-in desire to get away from the thought. Thus, it’s easier to talk ourselves out of it being possible than it is to acknowledge it.
That, again, may be instinctual on our part, but in this case, it’s an instinct we need to fight against if we want to prevent sexual abuse. We have to be aware of it, and raise the flag if we suspect it. We cannot succumb to our own emotional comfort.
Check out the other three types of keepers of the lie. It might help you start to appreciate how much holding on to a lie is hurting survivors.
Also, this article is the final article in a series that Laura wrote for the Ethics Daily site. The rest are linked below you may want to go read them all.