Oh my God.
I am a survivor of incest and sexual abuse. Most of my abuse took place in Missouri. Have you ever heard of a little town called Cassville? It's near Branson. That's where we lived. There was even a street named after my grandfather. Your story, for a lot of reasons, hits me hard.
First, your daughter. She can, and with YOUR help, she will overcome this trauma. Obviously you know she will need professional counseling. But even more important than that, I can tell you that a child will grow up and have as "normal" a life as anyone, irregardless of how hideous the abuse she suffered, so long as she knows and hears from you and your ex-wife the following: 1) she is loved. Say it over and over for the rest of her life. No matter what she does, how old she is or where you both are in your life, tell her this. I cannot emphasis this enough; she needs tender and compassionate love from both her parents. 2) what happened was not her fault. Say it over and over, because it will take many times for her to believe it. 3) Give her space to talk, if she feels like talking. She may talk about what happened, she may not. But she needs the freedom and space to get that stuff out. She's just had a load of shit dumped on her. She's going to need your help, and your ex-wife's, to put that shit back where it belongs. But it can be done. I know. I've been where your daughter is right now and I was able to get out without my parents' help. If she has your help, and your ex-wife's, she will recover and be as healthy and happy in adult life as anyone.
Secondly, yourself and your ex-wife. Take this in and believe it: what happened to your daugher was not your fault. Guilt, anger and sadness are normal reactions. You may or may not be feeling them right now; if not, they will come. Realize what happened was hideous and evil, but you are good parents and you are doing your best. You can, and will, recover and prosper from this situation. Use your anger productively. You will find it healing. Revenge is not healthy, but channeling your anger is. You mentioned pursuing legal action. That is good. Pursue it as far as you feel you need to. Go after the individuals as well as the organization. You can own these men's houses if you wish. You can make them remember you until they are well past retirement age. You are not powerless, indeed you are in a very powerful position. I know how I would react in your situation. You seem like a good man to me and I think you feel about this as I would.
In my wife's old congregation, before she finally stopped going, we found out there was a convicted sex offender. He was registered with the state of Texas and yet the elders never told anyone. In fact, they allowed and encouraged him to attend several congregation get togethers including a roller skating party that was for children only. My children were at that roller skating party. Thank God nothing happened. But it could have. I never thought Jehovah's Witnesses were evil, until I realized the depths of their policy toward pedophilia. The damage they can do, and have allowed others to do, is unimaginable.
My email is open. Please feel free to contact me if you want. It will get better, I promise.
Take care and good luck,
Edited by - Big Tex on 1 January 2003 16:19:31