Last month I wrote about forgiveness after abuse. In keeping with that train of thought, I’d like to write about the apology many survivors of all types of abuse never receive. Would that apology make a difference? Would it somehow provide closure? Or would it simply reignite anger and hurt and seem insincere or not enough? Most of us will never know because abusers notoriously don’t admit to what they’ve done and fail to recognize the damage they have caused. They often go on and abuse other people, other children, at an alarming rate. Waiting for an apology, while deserved more than anything, can be torture in itself.
A while ago I learned that someone that abused me as a child passed away. I didn’t find out until months after the fact. I questioned family (those still in my life) and they said they knew nothing about it. I’m not sure what emotion I expected to have when I discovered this news. Relief, maybe. Some kind of joy because he could no longer harm children? Perhaps. But what I felt instead was anger bordering on rage.
I was angry that nobody told me he passed away. I was angry that he never faced jail time or true judicial consequences of any sort for what he did to me. I was angry that he continued to work in churches around children as a leader, as a pastor, long after he pled guilty and walked off with a misdemeanor. I was angry he wasn’t on any of the sex offender registries. And sure, I was angry for everything he did to me. But most of all? I was angry he never once apologized.