Monday, October 22, 2012

Jerry Sandusky's Victim #1 Is Hero #1 For All Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Last week I watched a show about Jerry Sandusky's Victim #1 on 20/20 which introduced the world to a courageous young man whose name is Aaron Fisher. All through the Sandusky trial he was known only as Victim #1. Now the world knows who this young survivor of childhood sexual abuse is. I am posting the following link for anyone who missed the program so that you can go and watch it.

The program addresses how Aaron's mom fully supported him after the secrets of the abuse were revealed to her. I hope the the producers of the program will pursue the people who turned Aaron and his mom away with statements like:

Go home and think about it. (school principal)

Only one account of childhood sexual abuse is not enough to arrest or convict Jerry Sandusky. (Police and District Attorney)

These are not put into parentheses because they are my rewording of what was told to Aaron and his mother when they confronted the school prinicpal, the police and the district attorney.

Why did it take three years before Jerry Sandusky was arrested? Why did Aaron Fisher have to wait that long for justice? What did that tell him about the Jerry Sandusky's of the world and our justice system? Can you imagine how defeated Aaron and his mother felt but instead of giving up, they got angry and fought harder to bring a sexual preditor to jail. That is why Aaron and his mom are my heroes. Only another survivor of childhood sexual abuse can know the courage that it took on Aaron's part to tell anyone about his abuse.

Thank you Aaron, Aaron's mom and the reporter and producers of 20/20 for giving Aaron and his story the justice that he deserves. Aaron, you will never know how many other survivors will now step forward and tell their stories because of your courage and persistance in getting justice for yourself.

Sandusky Case: Victim 1 Speaks - Video - ABC News

Click on Watch The Full Episode.

If you haven't seen this video, please watch it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Silence Is The Friend Of Incest

This week I read an article that I want to share with you about silence. The article is posted at a blog called Beyond the Pear Tree. The blog title is "In the Name of Silence". Here is the link:

I want to share my comment to this blog post. Here are the words that I wrote:

"There has been too much silence in the world already, a silence that allows children to be sexually and/or emotionally and physically abused, women and men to be abused by domestic violence, and allows needless wars to go on. No more silently condoning violences in any form. Bullying happens because no one stops it. Abuse is allowed to go on in the silence of individuals and societies. No more silence. No more secrets that harm."

Silence allows incest to happen within families for generations because no one is willing to call attention to the dysfunction within the family system.  Children are ashamed and afraid to speak out about what is happening to them. Children of incest carry the shame and are often afraid of being blamed for the actions of their abusers.

It is the responsibility of the adult to speak out if they suspect child abuse is happening. I know it takes courage to speak up. I didn't have the courage to face my own family and tell them about the incest that happened to me as a child until I was in my late 30's and early 40's. I know how hard it is.

Fear has to be faced and conquered, so does silence. Healing from incest does not happen until the silence is overcome. Become an advocate for your children and your neighbors' children. Don't let another child suffer in silence praying that an adult will ask if they are being hurt.

Here is a second article that I read just a day or two ago that shows how silence allows sex abuse to continue to happen for years because no adult spoke up to stop it. Not being from England, I don't know as much about the Jimmy Savile allegations about child sexual abuse. The article title is "A lot has changed since Jimmy Savile's time, but shame and stigma still allow sex abuse to thrive". The article is posted in what I assume is an online newspaper called The Independent with the section with the article being called Independent Voices. Here is the link:

Let me know your thoughts about these two articles.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Healing From Incest Takes Time

Healing from childhood sexual abuse takes time and much effort on your part and you are worth both. The most important step is learning to love yourself. Most incest victims hate and blame themselves for their abuse. Know that the blame and shame belong to your abusers, not to the child you were then or to the adult you are now. Love both your inner child and the adult that you have become. You are both survivors. Many children don't survive. If you survived, you can heal.

Learn to trust yourself and a few close friends with your story of incest. Telling is more than okay. Your healing depends upon telling someone else the many secrets that you were forced to keep by your abusers. Don't tell just anyone. Tell someone that you trust. You may not trust anyone because of your abuse. In your childhood, you couldn't trust those who were closest to you, if like with me, they were your abusers. Trust is a very big issue and one that you need to do very carefully. Sadly, the world is full of people that you shouldn't trust with your story and your vulnerability. As an adult, there are abusers who will instintively pick up that you are vulnerable and will take advantage if you give them the chance. Believe your heart and your gut when you get signals to run away from these people. This is one reason why learning to trust yourself and your intuition are so important. Really listen to your body. I know how hard that is if you disconnected from your body as a child in order to survive the pain of incest. I also know from my own experience that you can learn to reconnect. Be patient and kind with yourself as you learn to do this. You are blessed to live in a time when many resources are available for your use.

Trust a few close friends with your story or, if it is easier, trust a roomful of strangers, like I did, in 12-Step programs. Those people weren't strangers for long. They totally accepted me and my story of incest.  Today I thank God that my dad was an alcoholic. I was able to find out how I was affected by the family disease of alcoholism and had taken on the characteristics of both of my parents but I also found a safe place to talk about the incest. I talked and talked and talked until I started to feel and the hurt started to leave. Talk as much as you can until the abuse is talked out of your body and mind. Some people will think you are stuck in the memories and will possibly wish you would just shut up. Don't shut up and don't trust those people.  Most people don't realize that you were silenced for so long that you can't let the hurt and anger go with just a few words and wishes. You have to work at and talk your way through the healing process. Writing helps too if you are a writer like me. You are worth whatever it takes to heal. Find a counselor or therapist that will listen and help you work through your pain. Don't settle for just any therapist. Not all are trained to help incest survivors. A therapist that doesn't know what they are doing can do more harm rather than helping you. Sometimes you just don't click with that person. Find a therapist that you can trust and feel safe sharing your story with.

Find others who can love you until you can love yourself. Surround yourself with people who will support you through the long journey to healing. Some won't stay for very long. Those who do will be your true friends. If you trust the wrong person with your story and get hurt by them. Let go of them and move on. Don't stay in an abusive relationship. You do not deserve to be revictimized by anyone. You couldn't do anything about the abuse you suffered as a child. As an adult, you can choose to say no to abuse of any kind and leave if the other person doesn't. Don't trust everyone with yourself or with your story. You deserve to be believed. If others can't treat you with respect and kindness, leave them behind. Move forward into your healing.

As I said before, trust your intuition which will tell you who is trustworthy and who isn't. Start with trusting yourself. Be kind and compassionate with yourself first. Start to listen to your inner voice that has your best interest at heart. Don't listen to any critical inner voices that you got from your parents or abusers. Learn to tune them out. Critical inner voices don't have your best interest at heart. Being critical of yourself is just carrying on the shame that your abusers passed on to you. Don't shame and blame yourself. Being responsible for your own actions is not the same as blaming and shaming. Feeling guilty for making a mistake is not the same as feeling shame because you were taught that you are the mistake. You are not a mistake, now or ever. That is the abuser speaking. Don't listen to that crap any more. You are worthy and lovable. Love yourself and heal. You are worth it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No Instant Fixes For Childhood Sexual Abuse

With the pain of childhood sexual abuse, no instant fixes exist, that I know of. You and your inner children are worth every bit of time and effort that it takes to heal. Just like you went from victim to survivor, you can now go from survivor to thriver and experience joy, peace and happiness in your life. These emotions take time to find as they have been buried under the pain and memories of your sexual abuse.  As you heal, they will return to your life. I know this is possible because over the past few years, I have moved from survivor to thriver.

Becoming a thriver doesn't mean that I will never again feel the pain of my childhood of abuse in the form of incest and my dad's alcholism. I do still have issues come up, sometimes suddenly and without warning. I still hurt and sometimes feel anger and sadness. The difference is that those feelings don't weigh me down and take me into depression like they once did. They visit for shorter lengths of time and the intensity isn't as strong. I recognise them as issues and work on healing and releasing them. I didn't used to recognise my own feelings for what they were. I just knew I was always tired and always carried a deep sadness within my heart and mind. Today I don't.

As a thriver, I really do love myself. Those aren't just meaningless, wishful words. They are true. I know that you can transition from survivor to thriver too. I am not the only one capable of doing this work. It is work. I don't know of any instant fixes. If the fixes were instant, the value of the whole healing experience would not be the same. Through the experince of healing, I learned to love and value myself and you can do the same. Healing from childhood sexual abuse is a process that you are worth starting and continuing with in your life. I am just one example of how this process does work. I know many more survivors that have done the work of healing.

Life is for more than just surviving. We are not meant to be victims of life and mean spirited abusers. We are meant to be thrivers. I wish for you a glorious day and many blessings. You deserve both.