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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pa. Lawmaker Reveals Her Own Childhood Sex Abuse

Pennsylvania state representative Louise Williams Bishop recently spoke to the legislature about being sexually abused as a child.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania held an open meeting this week to push for action on long-delayed bills that would eliminate the civil statue of limitations on childhood sex crimes and require witnesses to report suspected sexual abuse of children to the police.

Pennsylvania representative Louise Williams Bishop came forward during that open meeting to talk for the first time about being raped at the age of 12.

“What triggered my coming out was Penn State University,” Rep. Bishop told Here and Now‘s Robin Young.

“This is real, it does happen,” she said. “People do not talk about it, they hide it and they do wish the subject would not come up around them, but it does.”


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  • susan peter

    1000 times YES.  Victims do not talk about their abuse.  They hide it because of all the reasons Rep. Bishop listed.  And the damage lasts forever, often debilitating.

    And they continue to hide it because they don’t want to be called liars.55 years after I (and my siblings) were abused, I told my mother (again).  She reluctantly agreed that her sisters husband must have done these things.  But when I pointed out that this same man turned our father into the police, causing total destruction of our family, she quickly said, “Oh, he wouldn’t have done that!!”    She can’t seem to understand the evilness of sexual abuse.  That somehow this uncle could sexually abuse untold number of children, including his own grandchildren, but wouldn’t be so evil as to put her innocent husband in jail.  Denial is alive and well.  Laws do make a difference.  I was able to stop the abuse of his grandchildren because when I reported him to the local authorities, they were required by law to investigate.  The investigation caused him to leave the community.   Of course he just moved on to other victims, but it more laws could do more to follow such a perpetrator and allow prosecution without a statue of limitations.

  • Kathleen M. Dwyer

    Dear Rep. Bishop,
    Thank you for speaking out, for the first time, about the horror you experienced as a child.  I too am a survivor of both incest and clergy sexual and ritual abuse have learned, as Audre Lorde so rightly put it “my silence did not protect me”.  Only in our speaking will it be possible to perhaps better protect, or at least make it safer to tell, the children of today and those yet to come.  With gratitude and respect, Kathy Dwyer

  • Alysonlucille

    Thank you. You’ve done a courageous and incredible thing by speaking out.

  • Zulu

    I believe Rep. Bishop’s story will be empowering to many.  She displayed a great deal of courage by speaking out about her abuse.  It appears to me that she has decided to stop carrying the shame and guilt that really belongs to her stepfather when she said, “I will talk about it as much as she can, as often as I can, in every place that I can”.  I believe it is an illusion of strength for one to keep quiet and carry around such pain.  In reality, true strength lies in speaking out and placing the shame where it belongs – with the abuser.     

  • http://twitter.com/AbolishSexAbuse FACSA

    Rep. Bishop, Thanks so much for speaking your truth after all these years. It is so hard to put it out there, but in the long run, it is a gift to all!

  • http://twitter.com/AbolishSexAbuse FACSA

    At 78 years old she speaks of her abuse publicly for the first time. Thanks you Rep. Bishop!!

  • Annette Nestler

    Thank you Louise Williams Bishop!  Your courage will make a telling difference!

  • Cwbandbuff

    It is time that the statute of limitations is lifted and victims of abuse are allowed to charge their abusers whenever thay are able to come to grips with the crime.  Hiding behind arbitrary time limits has saved many an abuser/criminal from ever having to own up to the crime.

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