Dear Ms. Striesand,
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, your comments on what you acknowledge to be sexual abuse sicken me. Your words fill me with an electric tension that centers at my chest, ready to implode. I struggle to stay present.
Let me be clear, this is not about determining Jackson’s guilt. You believe the accusations made against Jackson to be true. On that you are firm. However, you have also decided that the impact on the victims is insignificant because they experienced some enjoyable moments, “it didn’t kill them,” and they are now married with families.
You believe them. You don’t think it’s a big deal.
Ms. Striesand your thinking is toxic. Perhaps your insensitive comments stem from attitudes common to a different generation. It could be that you have experienced similar pain and feel a need to protect yourself by minimizing the impact of childhood sexual abuse. It may be that you are cold and unfeeling.
None of those reasons justify your comments. Yes, my abuser presented me with things that would be “thrilling” to a child. It’s called grooming, and it is the last thing anyone should be minimizing. It is the stone on which repeated abuse is built.
While my abuser did not kill me, I have wanted to die, many, many times. Much of my childhood is indeed dead. I was not given the opportunity to grow and learn with the feeling of safety or self-love. I was broken before I was whole. You need to learn how closely childhood sexual abuse is linked to psychiatric disorders among survivors. Please educate yourself so that you can see the damage your words carry.
Yes, I am married, and I have children. Ask my spouse what it takes to maintain a happy and healthy marriage and family with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Ask him how long we were married before we realized that I was experiencing dissociative fugues and PTSD. Ask him what he endured during my ugliest moments.
I was well into adulthood before I could even begin recovery. I was so badly scarred that I would dissociate at the slightest memory or mention of childhood sexual abuse. Dissociation remains a possibility, even now, because I carry my past with me, and days like today are unavoidable. Opinions similar to yours, are far to easy to come by.
Ms. Striesand, become an advocate. Foster beliefs and morals that will prevent others from falling prey to your thinking. Advocate for teaching children that their bodies are sacred, that even a hug can be refused. Teach them to require consent from others before being touched, watched, or filmed. Insist that everyone learn to honor a child’s personal boundaries. Ms. Streisand, do not defend your words. Apologize, and prove that you have learned how egregious your thinking has been.
Ms. Streisand, for whatever has made your words so vitriolic, I am sorry. If there is healing you need, I hope you receive it. Please realize the pain that your words are causing others. Please stop minimizing childhood sexual abuse.