My Interview with Bettina Burch

t’s hard to succinctly describe this episode of Artists of Camberville. It began two days before episode took place. Bettina called me and said “I want to start my story earlier.” I had no idea what that meant. 

What Bettina shared with me during that call made me cry and put me in a fog for the rest of the day. What I felt then, and what I still feel, is an awesome responsibility to tell her story thoroughly and correctly, and to focus on how she found peace and forgiveness. Bettina wanted to share her story because she believes it can do good in the world. I agree with her. 

Bettina Burch self portrait
Bettina Burch Self Portrait @BettinaBurch

Child sex abuse is far more common than we would like to believe. Most estimate 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. Can’t believe me? Read more about it here

As a mother of two young children, a girl and a boy, these statistics made me cry. I realized that I will know a child who has been sexually abused or is being sexually abused right under my nose. Someone in my daughter’s class, perhaps. It will happen. And I realized I know people who are living now with a past like Bettina’s. Maybe they’re struggling in private. Maybe they turn away from the memories. Maybe they’re content bottling part of themselves away. But, when we share stories of abuse, of pain, we shine a light into that particular darkness. And that light dulls the shame. We get to tell those survivors that they are not damaged, they are strong, and they are loved.

Through her own strength and her artistic process, Bettina has been able to “open the boxes” of her past and find her own path of healing and forgiveness. I do hope you listen. As a parent, the idea of my own children being victims of pedophilia feels like death sentences, but listening to Bettina’s story helps me envision a hopeful life. 

Hockney by Bettina Burch @BettinaBurch
Hockney by Bettina Burch @BettinaBurch

I picked Bettina up on a Saturday morning and on the way to my house we heard a loud “pop.” That sound was a tree falling on a power box. My entire neighborhood was without power for the entire day. And it was 90 degrees at 10 am. So I prayed my computer’s 50% battery would hold and we opened the windows for some breeze. That’s why you’ll hear birds and other things in the background. If you’re looking for perfection, he’s outside having a smoke. 

Bettina wrote a short blog post about her experience. To read it, and to re-read her poem, click here

If you are a victim or know a victim struggling with child sex abuse –

Learn the signs a child might be being groomed –

If you are struggling with urges to sexually interact with minors

Resources for Victims of Sex Abuse