What About Confronting My Abusers?
This is a very difficult question, and one that only you can answer for
yourself. Step 18 of ASCA reads: "I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent that is acceptable to me." For some survivors, this means an internal coming to terms with the abuse and the abuser(s) but does not involve direct confrontation. For others, it means direct confrontation, either face-to-face or by letter or phone. For still others it may mean writing articles, stories, newspaper op-ed pieces or by speaking out in public gatherings. And for still others it may mean pursuing legal action to gain restitution for the abuse suffered. Every survivor is different in his/her need to confront the abuser(s). Neither ASCA nor THE MORRIS CENTER has a policy or position on confrontation. Instead, we believe that each survivor must make this choice individually. We do, however,encourage survivors to think carefully about their options and the consequences of their choices.
Confrontation of any sort, and especially legal action, can be very
disruptive to life in general and the recovery process in particular. The legal system is inherently adversarial in nature. The objective, evidence-based standards of proof required for either a civil judgment or a criminal conviction are not easily met by testimony relating to memory, memory retrieval or psycho therapeutic techniques and interpretations. Perhaps most importantly,
though, suing your abuser brings all of the old feelings of hurt, shame, guilt,
antagonism, anger and sadness that accompanied the abuse to the forefront of your
conscience. You are likely in effect to relive your abuse experiences in court. For
these reasons we encourage survivors to think about, and get information on, the
possible consequences of various courses of action and to weigh whether they are
sufficiently grounded in their recovery to withstand the pressures and stress that
almost always accompany a decision to pursue legal action.