What happens when a child predator dies? A victim's forthright response after decades of terror.
WASHINGTON D.C., USA, January 29, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — My first question when I received the call was, “When did she pass?” Knowing the date would seal her death—make it real and final. When I heard the answer, the corners of my mouth slowly lifted up. I had waited decades for that call. Wanting her life to be done – and the last piece of my physical and mental suffering to finally be over. Ninety-one years she took to pass. Today, it was finally over. My predator was dead. I looked at my husband and he knew “the day” had finally come. I was free. Free in a way I couldn’t be until she physically died.
The agony of daily sadistic abuse and attempts to end my life from six months to 17 years old drove me as a five-year child to the curb of my house. I hoped for a car to come by fast enough to jump in front of and end my life. I wanted peace and never to be touched again by my birth mother or her cohorts. I looked up into the huge blue sky. In my innocence I wondered, how big was it and who made it? Was there someone bigger than those who were hurting me?
Then, I heard a voice say, “This is not the plan I have for you. Suicide is not the answer.” I knew it was the voice of God though I barely knew who God was. At the age of five, how could I have known the word ‘suicide’ and understood what it meant? I trusted that voice.
Mercifully, no cars came by and I retreated to the garage. Leaning against the door, I was disappointed I had to go back inside. I cried out loud to that invisible voice, “If you keep me alive, I’ll do whatever you call me to do.” I had no idea how long the years would be or how much suffering I would endure. I simply believed that voice; that I had a purpose in life.
When a predator dies, there are residual effects. I have been processing the death of all the ugliness, the shame I spent decades resolving, and the pain of healing through faith, extensive therapy, and trial-by-life. The body has memories that can get triggered by unexpected images in movies or something somebody says. It can be devastating. For a victim, it is the unending paradox of wanting to be genuinely loved as a human being and not wanting anyone to get too close to cause you harm.
In order to survive, I had to mask those thoughts and memories. I wore a never-ending “game face” throughout multiple careers so no one would see my inner pain and shame. I wore that game face through an abusive first marriage and even at church. I wore it to hide the irreconcilable truth that my birth mother was a violent abuser, a monster.
My predator lurked in the shadows of my life. The terror she caused me continued even as she aged. I didn’t pray for her death. I left it to God. I wanted to close that horrific chapter in my life. All of the victims I have worked with share a common desire. They want their predator or predators locked up in jail – or dead.
My experience has enabled me to recognize that “mask” on many of the victims I have rescued. It is their protection, whether I have found them on the street or in a homeless shelter. I have been able to help many young victims “lift the mask” so they can see another way for their life. Finally, they have found someone they can genuinely trust.
For those of you blessed with a safe life, here is the depth of the violence caused by my birth mother, my primary sexual predator. She corralled my birth father, birth brother, and a few extended family members to cause me unspeakable suffering.
My first memory at 3 years old was of her chasing me through the house with a meat cleaver, screaming that she would cut me up if I touched her wallpaper. Years later, she locked me in my room for three months of summer allowing only dinner and bathroom breaks. Horrifying as that was, the worst was that she invited others to brutally physically, sexually and mentally abuse me. The last time she tried to choke me to death, I was 17.
Familial predators are a constant. You can’t escape them. They are your family. Their main focus is to use every opportunity to force their child victim into submission in every possible way. They control everything. They are protected by the fact that they share a bloodline.
My decades of experience working with victims of child abuse has shown that family members or others outside the home who suspect, will rarely speak up for the child. Familial abuse continues across the generations of a bloodline. The ivid memories of a brutally abused victim will take them back to the age they were when those violations occurred.
There is hope. Graham Greene said, “There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” My life is committed to making sure that when the door opens, it leads to help, healing, and hope for child victims. One person can end abuse for a child. Be that person. Hurting an innocent child is never okay. If you or a child you know needs help, call 1-800-422-4453. Save a life.
Andi Buerger, JD is Founder of Beulah’s Place in Redmond, Oregon. She’s the author of A Fragile Thread of Hope: One Survivor’s Quest to Rescue, and Founder of Voices Against Trafficking. She is a sought-after international speaker and frequent guest on radio and television programs regarding the issue of human trafficking.