Sunday, February 25, 2007

An issue I've been concerned with that gets little attention: childhood sexual abuse. There isn't much in terms of support for such things as society tends to think it taboo to even speak of, regardless that over 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused during childhood. In that group, a high percentage (85-90%) of the abusive situations involve a perpetrator that is known to the child.

The effects of this abuse in adulthood can have a varied range of responses such as:

-passive and withdrawn from social interactions.
-feeling abandoned.
-afraid of intimacy.
-feeling extremely angry or lonely, pushing people away.
-feeling silenced by family, friends, society.
-trying to tell oneself that the abuse did not happen or that it was, in fact, normal.
-difficulty forming trusting relationships-especially with people who are of the same sex as the abuser.
-difficulty forming satisfying sexual relationships.
-possibility of getting involved in abusive adult relationships.
-sometimes can blame oneself for the abuse because have the feeling of having done something to provoke it.
-use drugs and alcohol to cope with the pain.
-thoughts of hurting oneself.
-do not feel positive about body.
-sometimes have flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse.
-never talk about the abuse.
-sometimes one cannot account for chunks of time.
-experience oneself and surroundings as unreal.

I am about to enter an intensive 10-session therapy to finally deal with my own experiences in childhood. In one instance, the perpetrator was jailed only for 3 months. I was 5 years old. It is unjust. We simply need a better system of prosecution for these people. I was rescued by a friend calling out to me, in this case, otherwise I might have been snatched away in his still running car. This man who did things to me did them in broad daylight, near a busy road. No one intervened.

Encourage anyone you know who has experienced this type of abuse to either seek therapeutic help, or take on a guided healing instruction. Meditation and talking with a friend, writing in a journal or exercising/walking, tea with a warm blanket can all aid toward the progress of leaving it behind and moving on. Too long I've been feeling like I've been involved in withdrawn, uncertain, and fearful situations not knowing how to remove myself from them, protect myself. And so, onward! May we all be fearless.


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