Imagine that, one evening, you are sitting comfortably in your living room, with your kids and your other half, just watching the TV. Everyone’s been fed, and the choice of what to watch has, for once, been trouble-free.
All of a sudden, there is an almighty BANG! Five masked men burst through your front door, threaten you with guns, and take your children away.
The next day, you get a call from one of the men. He tells you that your children have not been kidnapped for ransom, but to be the sex-toys of the man and his friends. They do not want any money, or anything else from you. They have what they want. And every day, they will be ringing you to tell you all about the sexual and physical abuse they have put your children through that day. Just for fun, mind. Just to torture you.
Imagine now that you find out where these men are holding your children.
The kidnappers dare you to take legal action, to appeal to the authorities. They seem confident…
What do you do?
You do take legal action. But the police, the judges and social services do nothing. In fact, it’s pretty clear that these people do not even believe that there is such a thing as sexual or physical abuse. They tell you to ‘grow up’ – after all, nobody died, right? “Get some perspective” they say. The kidnappers were right to have been confident.
Perhaps now you learn all about the sexual abuse of children? Become fully conversant with the law, and the medical pathologies involved? Write to your local MP? Pull on a purple T shirt and march to Downing Street, or up a mountain? Maybe join a Facebook forum – or ten?
Or maybe you chose Plan B. Let’s leave it unspecific in nature for the moment.
Let’s call it, for want of a better name, the Liam Neeson option.
Now, let’s imagine that the people who have your kids are not five strangers, but your ex and her/his family. And let’s substitute the physical and sexual abuse for psychological and emotional abuse which, I maintain, is as serious, right?