Naming Your Rapist Publicly
Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim are in the news again. A tabloid newspaper, after a 4 year-long investigation, is claiming to know the identity of Haim’s rapist. Similar to Feldman’s reasons though, the tabloid newspaper is choosing not to reveal the name of this “A-list star” for fear of legal retribution. In spite of this, one of Haim’s closest confidantes is preparing to break the silence and name Haim’s abuser, whom he claims maintains a family man façade but is the kingpin of a child sex ring.
In the past few months, Feldman has received heavy criticism on Internet and social media sites for knowing who Haim’s rapist is and refusing to name him or his own abuser. Amongst the many insults thrown his way, he has been called a coward for remaining silent. Some of the comments directed at Feldman from the public insist he expose the identity of the predators so they are stopped from hurting other children. While I fully agree with this sentiment, it is not as simple as we believe it to be when that expectation of speaking out is easily placed on the shoulders of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
It took me a period of over 6 months to write my open letter where I named my abuser, revealing his identity and his complacent family members through photographs. Prior to writing the letter, it took a lifetime to work through the shame of what was done to me, how others would perceive me when I made my story public and what the consequence of speaking out and naming my abuser would bring to my life considering the law has to this day been on his side, and not mine.
In times like these, it becomes easy for the public to misdirect their frustrations and anger on this subject matter and victim blame the very people who out of necessity have made desperate choices for the purpose of survival. Survivors like Feldman are not protected by a governing law…his abusers are. His silence is not cowardly. It’s due to the preservation of the life balance he has created for himself despite the trespassing acts he was burdened with as a child. That silence is imposed and mandated by the people we elect into office, whose salaries we pay through our tax dollars.
On naming his abusers, Feldman has stated:
"I would love to name names. I'd love to be the first to do it," he continued. "But unfortunately California — conveniently enough — has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening."
"If I were to go and mention anybody's name, I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I'm the one that would be sued."
Yes, there is failure when it comes to the protection of our children. But that failure is not his or anyone in his position. It’s ours as a society. And that failure becomes noticeably palpable by the way our institutions respond to abuse and its disclosure.
It becomes evident when our sons reveal their 25-year long secret of abuse at the hands of a parent, sibling or grandparent and we fail to believe or protect them. It matures into realisation yet again when our daughters disclose the rape they endured on a college campus that has expelled and vacated the “despoiled” from their walls to safeguard their reputation. We are reminded of it yet again when as parents we want to use our voice to help our children find justice and healing, but the laws of our land shout back with louder words: “your children should have spoken up sooner”. Not only is it too late for them to find due process, but “they” are the ones now bound by the full recourse of the law should they name those who invaded the autonomy of their bodies and took away their right for consent.
I wish for Feldman and those in his position the same as I would wish for any survivor of this heinous crime…the ability to one day take their power back and place the burden of proof on the shoulders of their abusers. Until then, what’s necessary is compassion, understanding and love.