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Our Abuser Died, Now What?

I just found out that our abuser died. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to this kind of news. My first thought was, “At least he can’t hurt anyone anymore.” That thought of relief is not entering my body though. Right now I feel like my stomach is being twisted in knots. My mind is racing.

  • What does this mean for me?
  • I know that I’m happy he’s dead, but how do I change my mind-frame to feel it?
  • Was I holding on to hope that he may one day be brought to justice?
  • Was that hope really such a big part of my healing?
  • If so, how far will this set me back?
  • What do I do now that he won’t have to pay for his crimes?
  • Have I really depended on seeing him pay?
  • He’s getting the easy way out.
  • So far my safe place has been that even if he isn’t brought to justice, I may still one day be able to face him. To look him in the eye and tell him that he may feel like he’s been able to fool the world, but I KNOW what he did to me.
  • How do I cope now that this is no longer a possibility?
  • Why didn’t the prosecutor take our case more seriously?
  • I’m so mad that the worst kind of crimes are often the ones that can’t be proven without solid evidence.
  • How reasonable is it to expect a 9 year old child to know that they should gather evidence while enduring abuse? And, that they are held responsible to face their abuser and prove the abuse happened?
  • Our justice system is so messed up.
  • Why is the justice system set up to protect the abusers?
  • I have had to suffer almost my entire life without feeling my rights were protected.
  • I no longer have the opportunity to write him a letter or express to him the consequences of his actions.
  • Will I ever be able to get past the triggers of my PTSD when I hear about him?
  • I thought I was so much further along in my healing to still be impacted so deeply.
  • He died one day after my birthday.
  • I already get triggers every fall (when the abuse first started). Will I now be triggered on my birthday too?
  • How will this impact his other victims?
  • Do they feel like I do?
  • Our goal in pursuing a case wasn’t just to get justice for us but for all his victims.
  • Will they be able to heal?

His funeral is tomorrow. I haven’t been able to bring myself to read his obituary yet. I’ve been told it says so many nice things about him. This upsets me, but what should I expect it to say? That he spent time in prison for sexual abuse? That he has not paid for all his crimes? That he’s an evil man? That his life is not worth celebrating? Should I feel guilty for thinking such horrible things about another human being? How do I reconcile that others may view him in a positive light?

I’m sick. I hope that this too will pass. This ignites my desire to speak up even more, to help change the world for other victims.




  1. My dad abused me from 9-19. I thought about charging him but they said I had something like 10 years from when it stopped and it was about 6 weeks from when I started thinking about it. I couldn’t decide that quickly – especially knowing it’s my father. He raised me. How do you come to terms with that? The hardest part is that my mom left me when I was very young – so I couldn’t trust her. My dad raised me – but molested me – so I couldn’t trust him. I haven’t spoken to him in probably 15 years – the thought of it makes me ill. I wanted my childhood photo albums but he told my mother the only way I would get them is if I came to see him but I can’t do it. I hope that once he’s dead – I’ll have peace and be able to just go home and deal with it all. I assume he’ll leave his belongings to me but who knows? There’s no other family. It is just so unsettling and nauseating. I get sick to my stomach on his birthday and other random things like that. I even realized something rather crazy much later in life. When I was 9 – I started having issues going to the bathroom. I went to multiple doctors, had to drink Milk of Magnesia for years, and much more (yuck yuck & yuck). About 5 years ago I was in group therapy and a doctor said that when you’re going through stress your body takes over and finds ways to deal with it. So it’s no coincidence to me that it ladders up to the same time my mom left & the abuse started. I’m so angry and disgusted and sickened by him. I can’t fathom being in the same room with him. Thank you for writing this blog. We need a safe place to share with each other.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can completely see the link between abuse and illnesses in my life. What state are you in? is an organization that is working to remove the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse across the country. They are an amazing organization that is doing a great job getting legislation changed. I’m not sure what the law is in your state, but it wouldn’t hurt to check if anything has changed since last time you checked. I wish you all the best.

    • So sorry to hear about your experiences. You’ve been through and are going through a lot. We hope that things will be okay one day, and you’ll get your photo album back. We agree we need a safe place to just share our experiences. That’s very interesting about what you learned it group therapy from that doctor. That explains so much about how our body can react. Sometimes we can feel really bizarre and no one can seem to explain what’s happening. We don’t see how you couldn’t be sickened. If you don’t want to see him, you shouldn’t have to. You’re in charge of how you feel you can handle things, right? Best of luck to you. Thanks for sharing. We really want to create a culture where more of us can just talk about what we’ve experienced in life.

  2. I was raped and more by my uncle for 15 years started when I was in diapers.
    He died when I was 22 after I started looking into charging him but as you all know the law isn’t easy. He would get my address. I had a child by this time. I didn’t want him in my life.
    About a month later he was found dead.
    What was I to do , feel or believe
    20 years later I realized I was free to laugh love and enjoy sex. It was the best thing to be free really free of shame fear knowing he was dead. He raped children mothers auntie his own sister. Life is better now he is dead.

  3. I was raped by the man who gave me up for adoption so I felt empty and before it all happened I just wanted to know who my real dad was I found out the hard way at 20 well he actually contacted me and I went and stayed 2 months in Texas with him and his new wife anyways he raped me the entire 2 months I begged his new mom not to leave me alone with him not to mention her dad raped her than she forgave him the day he died and kissed him on his head she wants me to do the same thing cause my blood dad Brian the man who raped me is in hospice dying as we speak I love Facebook for the simple reason he wasn’t going to die until everyone knew what he did to me she’s all mad cause I blasted rapist and all the gory details on his messages and told him tell the truth or I will well needless to say my only blood brother his son now knows as well as my adopted dad anyways she wants me to tell everyone I lied about it I told her go to hell either way even though it may be petty I had to do it for myself to bring me peace what’s funny is his new wife tried to say I was all over him and brought it on myself in a way I think she actually knew but since I did that I feel 100 percent better and no matter what is said about him everyone I know and love knows the truth and that’s all that matters

  4. My paternal grandmother dressed me and my sister up in frilly little dresses, not our own clothes, and gave us to our father as a gift, knowing he would sexually abuse us from toddlerhood. She and one aunt were complicit in his crimes against women and children. When I found out she died, I was in a similar state as you articulate here. You are not alone. I will pray for healing for you.

  5. i am worried that if my abuser (my birth father) die all relatives will tell me to pay my respect. i do not think i wanna see him anymore and ruin my life even more. but these people prefer not to believe such evil person exists and to overlook the very few evidence i could produce of the abuse using excuses like they were one-offs and he is ultimately my father. i am so tired having to justify the abuse to people who claim they love me unconditionally. if he dies and i still refuse to visit him i will be labelled as unfilial and evil. somewhere in me hope he doesnt exist. but i cant imagine facing off those relatives if he dies. do i now have to pray that he doesnt die?

    • I can’t imagine what you are going through. It is so difficult when the ones that should be on our side don’t try to understand. I wouldn’t do anything that doesn’t keep YOU as your top priority. My best to you.

  6. Thank you for sharing. You have know idea how much this article helped me today. For many years I had these questions in isolation with no one to understand or know how to help. I am currently battling through the justice system to bring truth of the person who violated me. I broke the silence over 10 years ago. The trial is set finally in a few weeks. I am hoping that I can help get this monster put away from ever harming another child. It is so sad that children and adult survivors are left to stand up and defend themselves with little or no help along with the responsibility to provide proof and evidence. And having to continuously relive the events. While this person is aloud to walk freely and continue to hurt others. The more people who talk, report and share – the more we bring truth and light to the matter to help others to stop the abuse. I think justice for me will never happen. Nothing can ever bring back the chance of what my life could have been if this did not happen. What is helping is to not ignore this sickness in our world and help someone else not have to endure the same pain.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I had a stalker issue for 23 years. This person died a little over a month ago. I had no clue how to feel and wound up putting myself in therapy to try to work it out.

    This person had no obituary. There was no funeral. I found a relative of this individual sitting outside my home and had to call the police. Another brought me a copy of the death certificate to ease my fears of further stalking. I don’t know how to feel. I should be happy it is over but it is sad that this person died at the young age of 42.

    I’ve never seen an article describe the confusion I feel. It helps to know that I am not alone. We will never have all the answers we seek. May we both find peace and a happier future.

  8. Thanks for your honesty….only thing I can think of without any real insight on the matter is that this man is in now in the hands of the greatest judge and for each individual choice he made he will be accountable and suffer the eternal consequence. Those left behind, if I think of it through the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father, would be advised to try to move through the pain and find healing from the Savior. Only he can save, only he can heal. It is precisely for these type of pains that God provided us an escape through the atonement. It’s nothing you haven’t already heard, but I know it’s real. Wish you well in your continued journey and realize you have support from many.

  9. May he rot in hell an eternity cycle for every moment he touched a child.
    I’ve never felt so baptist in all my life.

  10. My father killed himself (to avoid going to jail) on the same day we finally told my mom about the abuse. The anger still rises time and again, especially when I find out about others he got to, years after his death. They still uplift his name, and that is probably the worst part. My advice is to not let the anger destroy your ability to enjoy life. Find a healthy outlet. Most of all, always be open. Its being able to talk about it that heals the most, and is often the door to allow others to speak up.

  11. Numb, limbo, and grey are the only things I can empathize you and your brother are going though with this news. Take your time to process and know your voice is being heard and helping so many people in so many ways.

    • Thanks Liz! Your continued support is really appreciated. We hope you’re doing well with all you’re dealing with.

  12. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes, I don’t think there is a cure for this kind of pain in this life. Just the ability to endure.

  13. Thank you for sharing. Some of your feelings are similar to my own, not because my abuser died though, but because I finally got the courage to report him. Just like you thought you would feel better knowing your abuser is dead, that’s what I thought about reporting my abuser. Instead, the opposite happened for me too. I don’t feel better at all. I feel hideous and have had all sorts of triggers and unwanted memories all over again. I’m afraid there is no cure for pain like this in this life. Just the ability to endure.

    • I hope you are able to find peace Kara. I’m still surprised at how many triggers I have, but after much therapy and medicine, I am finally having some moments of peace. It’s definitely a long and hard road. My best to you.

  14. I am sure there are mixed feelings about this. While I hate what he did to you and your family, I am a silver-lining type… your pain and struggles being written in a blog will help other boys and girls who have experienced the same but lacked any means of finding solace or peace.

    • We agree. We’re finding one way is to be honest about how we’re feeling and sharing in hopes it can help others navigate this type of situation. Thanks for the encouragement.

  15. He will definitely pay for his crimes in the next life. I’m sorry you are in such stress. Don’t let this be a trigger that ruins your birthday. Don’t let him cause any more damage or pain than he already has! Thanks for being such a strong voice for everyone who has been sexually abused. You are doing such great work.

  16. Maybe his death is the ONLY way he could ever be brought to Justice!!!! Let his death sink in and bring peace to your soul. And healing. He will answer for his acts! He will never hurt anyone again

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