Abducted in Plain Sight: Note to Critics

Late last week, I watched Abducted in Plain Sight. For those who don’t know, it’s a documentary on Netflix that tells the story of a family whose 12 year old daughter was abducted and brainwashed by a family friend. Criticism abounds about the family. I read from some that the parents weren’t emotional enough and that they must have had something to do with it. I read how they were bad parents for not seeing the red flags.

I’d like to take a few moments to explain a couple of things to those critics. It’s painfully obvious to me that you have little to no experience with what I call the hardcore LDS Mormons. I don’t mean hardcore as an insult. I mean people who take their beliefs fully to heart. It’s painfully obvious to me that you have little to no experience with any denomination or religion that raises children in a tight-knit community.

Those Weren’t Topics Openly Discussed or Explained in the 70s

Pedophilia, child sexual abuse, etc., simply weren’t topics openly discussed or explained in the 70s, particularly within these sheltered and close-knit religious communities. It was (and still is to a large degree) their belief that no one within their community was truly capable of that. Yes, it was and is a naive belief. However, it was and is a common belief (same as how abusers of all kinds get away with it because “they would never do that”).

Because those topics weren’t (aren’t) discussed, it created an environment ripe for such abuse to occur. If you’re criticizing the family for not knowing enough to stop what happened, you are victim shaming.

This Happened 40 Years Ago

Many critics forget that this didn’t happen last month or last year. It happened more than 40 years ago. Victims (and I mean the daughter and her family) are allowed to heal. They are allowed to reach a place where they do not cry every time they talk about it.

I went through child abuse. I also went through a decade of domestic violence. I can, sometimes, talk about those things without getting upset. Some people can and some people can’t. Critics, you do not get dictate the healing process or expressions of victims. Ever.

The Parents Weren’t “In” on It

The entire family was targeted and abused by a master manipulator. Be glad you’ve never experienced it. I lived through it as a child and in a previous marriage. The parents were both targeted and made to do things that they were eventually taunted over and threatened to have those things exposed to their friends, family, and community. They didn’t know what to do. They believed the perpetrator’s wife with the initial kidnapping. The perpetrator went to great lengths to brainwash his victim and to keep her under his control. He continued to stalk and harass her until he killed himself several years ago.

If you think the parents were “in” on it, you’ve clearly never been targeted or abused by someone of that calendar. Thank your lucky stars and stop victim shaming. Stop trying to somehow make it their fault that they were all targeted and victimized.

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