Jesus Suffered for the Victim and Abuser
This subject is sensitive and this is my opinion. Readers are welcome to take what helps them and ignore what doesn’t.
As I grew up, I knew that Jesus suffered for the sins of the every person. I learned that he suffered for every pain and sickness and other infirmities (Alma 7:11–13). The Atonement covers all human suffering. Jesus felt all that pain in the Garden of Gethsemane and again on the cross. Through his pain we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I knew that I was a person who sinned who needed to be forgiven. I also knew that at times people hurt me, and I needed that hurt taken away. I was not perfect and no one else was perfect.
In our world, Satan lies to people that no one is worthy of redemption. He discourages individuals from praying: that we are unworthy to pray, or that we have sinned too much to repent (See 2 Ne. 32: 8).
Victims sometimes are mistreated in the process of seeking healing. (Here are healthy ways to help.) They run into people blaming them instead of the abuser for the abusive act. The abuse is not their fault. This victim-blaming is not good. Sometimes it is intentional; sometimes, it is unintentional. This complicates the wounds of the victim. They feel that they are unworthy.
Jesus understands a victim’s pain and shame. He can empathize in that dark hole.
Victims understandably feel anger because of some of the shaming they have felt. Their anger is a part of the natural process of grieving. However, it is not okay to hurt others, hurt oneself, or hurt things when a victim is angry. Satan can sometimes twist the step of anger into contention. Satan can lead victims to lash out against those who make mistakes trying to heal them and those who propose healing or forgiveness. Victims can choose how, when, or if to forgive.
Some in our culture have put victim-hood on a pedestal and made redemption and forgiveness a horrible act. Now it is sometimes guilty before proven innocent with little or no due process. We just need moderation and truth. Ironically, the pendulum swung the other way during the late 90s when forgiveness without boundaries was preached, i.e. Bill Clinton.
The word ‘abuse’ has been so hackneyed and thrown out for every offense in the world. Abuse has almost lost its meaning or has become such a shock word that people almost always overreact. I used to overreact at ‘abuse.’ I had to redefine this word without the shock value after two people shamed me over child abuse.
I have had moments of suicidal thoughts that I have expressed aloud, usually to my husband. My son heard me a few years ago. A person on Facebook said I had abused my son. She continued to shame me. I know hearing or seeing suicidal ideation, attempts, or the act itself causes adverse childhood experiences (ACE). Threatening suicide as manipulation is definitely a form of emotional abuse. I have never used suicide as manipulation intentionally. However, I need help, not shaming by society to overcome such a problem. My family and others can choose to place ownership of my feelings on me and maintain healthy emotional boundaries.
I have seen others in society shame the mentally ill for abuse of their children. This is usually a call for help when manipulation isn’t a factor, not an opportunity to shame mentally ill parents.
Personally, I have sought help from psychiatrists, therapists, and support groups to cope with my suicidal ideation due to bipolar and PTSD. I seek healing from my Savior. For my son, he attends counseling, and my husband and I talk with him about my inappropriate behavior and how my son can set boundaries with me.
Being a victim of intimidation by a child predator, I felt powerless for a time. But I had to act. I informed police and religious leaders of instances of stalking. I would not take the intimidation lying down. I love this abuser, so I knew he needed to be held accountable for his actions. This is how he will hopefully change his heart and he may repent one day. Very little has happened, but that’s how life is. I don’t believe anything will happen, but because key people are aware of the situation, he is limited in how many children he can hurt. I hope and I pray he repents. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for his sins. I know that Jesus Christ suffered the pain of every one of his victims. They can find healing in the Savior. The morass can only be made fair through the Atonement.
Redemption is for the sinner and the saint.