Treasonous Mothers

Many people find it difficult to place responsibility on a mother, who does not protect her child from being sexually abused by her husband or boyfriend, but contrary to what we would like to believe, most women know about ongoing abuse taking place in the home, or they have a gut instinct and ignore it. People who accommodate child molesters and child rapists with their silence give consent to the crime, and women who do this are guilty of treason.

  • Studies show that at least forty-four percent of mothers protect the abuser, not the child.
  • Most survivors of child sexual abuse are angrier at the mother who did nothing to stop the abuse, than they are at the perpetrator.
  • Most women who guard the abuser do so out of self-convenience and material needs, not because they are “victims too.”
  • A mother’s chosen ignorance severely affects incest victims physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

There are some mothers who truly have no idea that their child is being sexually abused by someone in the family and some mothers will fight to their death or imprisonment to protect their child but sadly, this is the exception, not the norm. When a woman has no knowledge that her child is being harmed, it is usually because the abuse is infrequent, lasts for a brief period of time, or involves a minimal amount of molestation.

We all have an instinct which alerts us to things that are ‘just not right,’ or warn us about events that are dangerous or about something that could lead to a bad situation. If a woman doesn’t want to see what is apparent, then she won’t. This is chosen ignorance.

Some victims and survivors are afraid to fully experience and admit to their honest feelings about their mother’s facilitation of the incest, but a mother’s lack of protection can be as damaging, if not more so, than the sexual abuse itself. It was easier for me to accept and come to terms with the fact that my father sexually molested and raped me, than to acknowledge that my mother did nothing to protect me. Women who refuse to take responsibility for the protection of their children engender life-long suffering and damage to the child.

Too often, prosecutors do not implement the laws that are designed to hold a person criminally responsible for knowingly protecting a child abuser. If women clearly understood that they will be held criminally liable if they do not report incest going on in the home then countless children will no longer suffer. One of the main reasons that child sexual abuse continues, is the silence by those who knew about the abuse or suspected it.

In some states, it is considered a class three felony when a mother does nothing to stop the incest in her home. Some people might have a problem charging a woman with a class three felony for child endangerment when she did not abuse the child herself, but it is a felony to the mind, body, and soul of a child when their own mother continues to allow them to be assaulted in order to protect her husband, boyfriend, father, or son. Mothers who refuse to call authorities on the perpetrator are guilty of reckless indifference and complying with a crime.

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This entry was posted in child molestation, child sexual abuse, Denial, dissociative amnesia, false memory syndrome, rape and abuse, repressed memory. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Treasonous Mothers

  1. Shelagh Stephen says:

    Nothing is so bad as the torture of the sexual abuse itself, but the mourning process for the mother you never had just goes on and on. I guess that’s because it’s a child’s first relationship and thus the model for all relationships. And because belief that the mother can do no wrong is the child’s first belief, and a narcissistic mother forces it down the child’s throat. It takes many years to see the false mother for what she truly is.

    • Alethea says:

      Beautifully put. It took me about eighteen years of therapy to truly grasp that my mother was a sociopath and never felt an ounce of love for me. I have finally healed my need for a real mother, but it was a twenty year process.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you for writing about this….I’ve found it so hard to find anyone talking about this.

    The desire to rationalise a blind eye is just overpowering at times, so a bit of anger is helpful to me. It stops me feeling mad for not wanting to talk to her ever again.

    • Alethea says:

      You are SO very welcome Sarah.

      I have found that there is more deep-seated anger, among victims, for the mother who did not protect the child…than for the perpetrator.

  3. spring says:

    “Studies show that at least forty-four percent of mothers protect the abuser, not the child.”

    Will you please site a couple of references for me. I have been looking for studies on this topic and have thus far come up cold.

    • Alethea says:

      You can try these:

      Betrayal of Innocence: Incest and its Devastation, Dr. Susan Forward and Craig Buck, Penguin Books, 1988, page 49-50

      Mother-daughter relationships and child sexual abuse: A pilot study of 435 dyads. Schechter DS, Brunelli SA, Cunningham N, Brown J, Baca P Bull Menninger Clin 2002 Winter; 66(1):39-60 Author contact: Infant-Family Service, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, 10032, USA.

      Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse: Predictors of Post disclosure Maternal Belief and Protective Action, Denise Pintello and Susan Zuravin of the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work, Published in the November 2001 issue of Child Maltreatment, Funded in part by a grant from the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, source: The Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

      Jessica Heriot, “Maternal Protectiveness Following the Disclosure of Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse”, Journal of Interpersonal Violence 11, 2 (1996), pp. 181-194.

      Heriot, 1996

      Incest and Sexualized Behavior Sexually abused children’s behaviors: Impact of gender and mother’s experience of intra- and extra-familial sexual abuse. Estes LS, Tidwell R Fam Pract 2002 Feb; 19(1):36-44

  4. Nancy says:

    I am now reading Marilyn Van Derbur’s memoir, thanks to your recommendation, Althea. She gives a very good description of her mother’s indifference to her, being so obsessed with her public persona, that she refused every opportunity to protect her daughter, acknowledge the abuse, feel compassion or empathy.

    In my own experience, my mother came into my bedroom late one night when I was nine. My father had left my room minutes before, in a drunken blackout, absolute denial. My mother came into my bedroom, not to take care of me, but to clean up after him.

    She removed the broken Scotch bottle, stripped the sheets from my bed, and moved me to the second twin bed. (I was forced to sleep in the bed closest to the door, although I preferred the 2nd bed which was in the corner, into which I tried to disappear.)

    My mother took the wet, blood-stained bedding to the landing at the top of the stairs, and came back into my room with a pill and a glass of water. She “nurtured me” by handing me the water and the pill to take. She “comforted me” by saying to me, “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry you were a girl.”

    That was the sum total of the support and mothering I got from her. When my therapist asked me if I could remember my mother ever being nurturing, I thought long and hard. I recalled a time when I choked on a peppercorn in the stew, and she brought me a glass of water. That was the ONLY thing I could come up with.

    As an adult, when I started recovery, I asked my mother about a story my older sister told me, a story about my mother having been sexually abused at age 5 by her 18 year old half brother. My older sister had been molested by a cousin in high school, and my parents had protected the pervert cousin.

    My mother started to tell me about her experience, interrupted herself and said to me, “Whatever you experienced, whatever I went through or your sister went through; there is no use in talking about it. All girls have to go through that.”

    I was stunned. I needed time to process that, and did not respond to her. I couldn’t respond. I froze.

    My mother was a weak woman. She hid behind me; threw me at my father. She chose to allow him to abuse me; to stay in bed eating and reading magazines, becoming obese, avoiding connection, and getting up only to cook a big family dinner at night. I grew up believing that I was her protector, and that she was as helpless before my dad as I was.

    It has taken a long time to hold her accountable. At the same time, my heart still aches for her. I know that her own mother committed suicide while my mom was a child….and the saga of abuse and addiction goes back for many generations, on both sides of my family.

    I am grateful for resources and community such as I find in your blog and the many excellent memoirs written by survivors, and scholarly articles written by therapists. Daily, I feel more and more whole and healed.

    Marilyn Van Derbur’s book is inspiring me to step forward in a bigger way. I am praying to be shown my next step. I have a passion and a talent for writing and speaking to groups. I pray for God to use me as an instrument of Divine Love and Truth.

    I honor you Alethea for all the amazing writing you’ve done; and for the growth and healing you have shown in the past 8 months or so, since I first started following your blog. You are giving a voice, and lending courage and clarity to so many. You are finding the gift in your own trauma history, and lighting the way for me and others. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Alethea says:

      Dear Nancy,

      I am so glad you are enjoying Marilyn Van Derbur’s memoir, Miss America By Day.

      “In my own experience, my mother came into my bedroom late one night when I was nine. My father had left my room minutes before, in a drunken blackout, absolute denial. My mother came into my bedroom, not to take care of me, but to clean up after him.”

      Emotionally painful memory.

      “She removed the broken Scotch bottle, stripped the sheets from my bed, and moved me to the second twin bed. (I was forced to sleep in the bed closest to the door, although I preferred the 2nd bed which was in the corner, into which I tried to disappear.) My mother took the wet, blood-stained bedding to the landing at the top of the stairs, and came back into my room with a pill and a glass of water. She “nurtured me” by handing me the water and the pill to take. She “comforted me” by saying to me, “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry you were a girl.”

      You are among so many with similar stories. It’s such a double message, so confusing for a child….love and pain mixed together. It also adds guilt onto you for “being a girl” as if that is the cause of the rapes, and not because your father was a child abuser.

      “That was the sum total of the support and mothering I got from her. When my therapist asked me if I could remember my mother ever being nurturing, I thought long and hard. I recalled a time when I choked on a peppercorn in the stew, and she brought me a glass of water. That was the ONLY thing I could come up with.”

      Pretty close to my experience. My only really memory of nurture is when I had something in my eye (lint probably) and she told me to take a nap and when I wake up, it would be gone. It was, and she made pancakes for dinner. That’s the extent of my “good” childhood memories of my mother.

      “I grew up believing that I was her protector, and that she was as helpless before my dad as I was.”

      That’s the great myth, and the one that many of us carry into adulthood because it is the most comfortable belief system, and the one that society pushes on us. But we know the truth within ourselves, and one day, the lie becomes too much to take, and we spew out the rage, anger, and tears in therapy one day, and then think “where the hell did that come from?” Surprise, surprise, repressing true emotions and the truth about what we have created as truth, when it was a big fat lie, never works forever. The lie about our mothers helps us get us through childhood, and into adulthood, without dying from the emotional abandonment, but one day, that traumatic pain must come out.

      “I honor you Alethea for all the amazing writing you’ve done; and for the growth and healing you have shown in the past 8 months or so, since I first started following your blog. You are giving a voice, and lending courage and clarity to so many. You are finding the gift in your own trauma history, and lighting the way for me and others. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

      Thank you for saying so Nancy. It is all I have ever wanted, to help others. I learn from my readers too, and I am grateful for all of you. I too have been thinking about doing public speaking. First, I need to get my book published, but life’s circumstances are sort of getting in the way right now. I have to surrender and know that when it is time, it will be the exact right time.

      All my best,
      Alethea

  5. mich says:

    My Mother caught me at the age of almost 14, in a barn (we lived on a farm) kissing a boy. I was strickly forbidden to date boys, speak to boys or be near boys. My Mother would go to my school and search my locker for notes and such. When she caught me kissing this boy (which was his families farm) she completely flipped out. I do mean flipped right out! I was threatened if I ever had anything to do with him again. 6 months later, and I’ll spare you the details, I would be raped by her boyfriend. She was in the hospital having his baby, and he was home with me me getting me high and drunk. I was 15.

    She found out through my diary. Rather than kick him out and call the police. She blamed me. She treated me like the other woman. She even gossiped about me to his family. She made sure everyone knew that I had sex with him. She made it appear as if I was able and willing. She called me a slut, and a whore. And then she embraced him, loved him and flaunted it in my face. She wanted me to know how much they loved each other. I hated him. I hated her. Years later, long after I moved out, my little sister called me in a panic. She ran away from home. My Mothers boyfriend, (different guy, and much worse) had been molesting my sister since she was 12. She was 16 when she called me for help. She begged my Mother to help and my Mother said to her, “you must like it, otherwise, you could stop it if you wanted to”. So Lori, ran away. 2500 miles away to be with me. My Mother knew all along what was being done. My sister had been molested by atleast three different boyfriends.

    I have always hated women, and I am straight.

    Fast forward 33 years and a convicted pedophile who his wife cherished, and adored, tried to lure my daughter away. With her help of course. As I mentioned on another thread in this blog, she got a restraining order on me when I threatened to expose her. and this Godless woman has been using it to harass us for the last two years almost. She was involved with all these pedophiles and had them around her daughter. She had her young daugher writing to them in prison. When we were in Federal court, she walked out of the courtroom (after admitting that she sees nothing wrong with having her daughter interact with pedophiles) and walked past me. As she walked past, she remained focused straight ahead, but she boasted the biggest, most evil and proud grin I’ve ever seen. She made it clear that she was trying to intimidate me. For months, while court proceedings went on, she lied to the community. Her and his attorney defamed me and our daughter. She had everyone fooled and thinking I was a nut case. His Attorney made several references as to me being mentally unstable. Luckily the Judge knew it was a shady defense tactic, but nonethless, their lies were working. They even had pastors from their church attend!!

    I realized during all this that I hated this woman, and I was determined to get her investigated. I hated that she was never charged…with anything! I hated her and I still do. She is the most calculating person I have ever dealt with. This is not a woman who stands by her man. She is highly intelligent, and had this community wrapped around her finger. She is diabolical and evil to the core.

    I also realized that in part, much of my hatred for her was aimed at my own Mother.

    I cannot nor will ever be able to, wrap my head around the fact that a Mother of all people, can do this to her own child.

    I will never be able to acccept the fact that I look like a danger to someone while she, a pedophile, walks around scott free.

  6. Jamie says:

    You know-one thing that is never talked about-well, there are some women who adopt and molest the female child they adopted. This happened to me, along with other horrible abuses from the lunatic that adopted me. It is hard to talk about and I have yet to even tell authorities about it. Decades ago, bi pedophiles did marry to cover up what they were and hide behind this institution. It isn’t just men who molest little girls and boys. Just needed to get that out.

  7. My mother at first accused me of being a liar when I tried to tell her what her husband was doing to my sister and myself. She immediately followed that with “you have been trying to steal my husband for years!” and I was 15 years old and sick of being sexually abused by him. I can’t believe she didn’t know when she allowed him full access to us girls since I was 3 and she was 2.

    She and him always talked about sex at the dinner table, on road trips, cooking dinner, whenever others were not around and the family was together. I believe she went along with his antics deciding to live the fantasy and insisting we all keep the fantasy together for her, him and their child.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Cat. My mother blamed me. Apparently, I was the sexual aggressor at age five.

      It’s so interesting how these women will offer the child up, as a sort of sacrifice…but still blame the child for the sexual abuse.

      Mothers like ours want to believe their husbands were seduced by the child.

  8. Me Too says:

    I meant to comment on this when it was posted but…it’s a painful subject. I can only agree. I hate the fact that hurting over such betrayal is belittled as “mommy issues”. I hate the fact that hurting is belittled, period.

  9. aletheamarinanova says:

    One woman was so jealous over her teenage daughter spending time after school with the woman’s boyfriend that she threw gasoline on her daughter and then set her on fire. Over twenty-three percent of the child’s body was severely burned. In this case, the mother is serving fifty years in prison. She didn’t throw the gasoline on the boyfriend, but on the child. This shows how the mind of these women works. They feel the guy was seduced by the child. They blame the victim and love the perpetrator.

    Notes: Florida Woman Who Burned Teen Daughter Sentenced, Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2002, A-21, Byline From Reuters out of Miami

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