Link – The #1 Reason Children Recant Abuse Allegations

“In approximately 23% of child abuse cases, children recant (take-back) allegations of abuse. Research has been conducted to better understand why children do this: the #1 reason children recant abuse allegations is their primary, non-offending caregiver (which in the vast majority of cases is the mother) DOES NOT believe them.”

Makes sense to me, as a child if I go out on a limb by disclosing what is happening and there is the slightest indication that doing so will lead not to it stopping, but to further problems, I’m going to take it back pretty fast. Disclosing to one parent, and getting an indication that they don’t support me isn’t going to make me want to go forward.

The #1 Reason Children Recant Abuse Allegations

Link – Leave Jake Lloyd alone: We need compassion for mental illness, not snark

Now Lloyd has been hospitalized for schizophrenia following a ten-month stint in jail, which occurred after he led South Carolina police on a high-speech car chase last June. Predictably, a great deal of the reaction from the Internet has ranged from unsympathetic to downright cruel. “Dude looks like straight sith material. Do not let him out” posted one reader at TMZ. A commenter on Inquirer wrote “too much metaclorian [sic] in blood, bad for the brain.” On Global News, a Star Wars fan snarkily joked that “someone probably showed him Phantom Menace.”

While it’s tempting to chalk this up to the sociopathy that seems to contaminate nerd culture these days (see: Star Wars fans complaining that George Lucas “raped their childhood” or the toxic misogyny brewing in Gamergate), there is a deeper issue at play here. Even though our society is appropriately sympathetic to celebrities who develop serious physical illnesses, we continue to ridicule the ones whose sicknesses are psychological in nature. Despite living at a time when scientific progress has made it clear that mental illnesses are no less preventable than many physiological counterparts, the stigma surrounding these disorders remains – and it is particularly evident in how we respond to celebrities who have them.”

The saddest part of this phenomenon is that many times people make these sorts of jokes about public figures, in front of people dealing with the same sorts of struggles, who immediately feel the need to hide it.

This is why someone’s mental illness isn’t funny. Every time you make fun of someone because of their mental illness, you contribute to the stigmatization of anyone around you who has been touched by mental health issues, and given the statistics, that is likely a lot of people around you.

Leave Jake Lloyd alone: We need compassion for mental illness, not snark

Link – I got an early tip about a priest’s sexual abuse. And I sat on it.

So, yes, perhaps we could have done it. But we didn’t even try. I didn’t, to my everlasting regret. There are a lot of us out here: journalists who got a whiff of the stink and missed the big story, cops and prosecutors who looked the other way, bishops who saw the depth of the depravity and chose to cover it up. Perhaps some of us are guiltier than others, but we are members of the same tribe. That’s why one line in the movie, delivered by Stanley Tucci in the role of crusading Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, brought me to tears:

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

It is right that anyone who had gotten information about the abuse that went on in the Church would feel regret and shame now for not believing the victims. We should, however, use this as an example to learn from instead of telling ourselves that we are somehow better than that now. There are still an awful lot of survivors out there who are not believed, and a lot of perpetrators loose because no one considers it possible that they would do such a thing.

Don’t be naive.

I got an early tip about a priest’s sexual abuse. And I sat on it.

Link – Been Traumatized? Here’s How PTSD Rewires the Brain

When we picture the disorder, we often see a returned soldier, usually male, wrestling with emotional scars from the battlefield. In reality, one out of every nine suffers is female. Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD as men. Child abuse, sexual assault, rape, a physical attack, and being a part of or witnessing violence and bloodshed causes this trauma disorder. Now researchers are determining how being traumatized alters the brain itself, in hopes of understanding PTSD better, and hopefully finding novel ways to treat it.

When a trauma occurs, the reptilian brain takes over.  This is the brain stem or the earliest developed part. It kicks in the “fight or flight” response. All nonessential body and mind functions shut down. When the threat ceases, the parasympathetic nervous system down-shifts and resumes those higher functions. For 20% of survivors, after effects remain, what we know as PTSD. The organ being plastic, trauma fundamentally changes how it operates. Victims may have vivid nightmares and flashbacks, cannot abide change, and have difficulty expressing themselves. They will also avoid those things that remind them of their trauma.

There’s more in the article, but if you’ve ever wanted to understand a little bit about why people dealing with trauma can’t just put it behind them, this is a good starting point.

It takes time to rewire the brain. Trauma wires it one way, and getting it reprogrammed is not about just “getting over it”.

Been Traumatized? Here’s How PTSD Rewires the Brain

Link – Fact or Fiction – What is True About Child Abuse?

“We have all formed our own ideas about child abuse, based off the statistics we have been provided through the news and media. However, many of our assumptions are actually often myths, and there is a lot more in-depth information about this terrible epidemic. To raise awareness, we have identified some of the biggest misconceptions about child abuse along with their realities.”

This is so important to understand, child abuse is widespread, and the more we make assumptions about the types of kids who are targeted, and who they are targeted by, the less we can deal with it effectively.

Go read this article and learn the truth.

Fact or Fiction – What is True About Child Abuse? |

Link – Child Abuse Won’t Stop Until We Stop Ignoring Its Victims 

“When children run away from home or care, they are often running from something. Theirs are childhoods blighted by abuse, violence, family instability, and parental drug or alcohol misuse. For girls particularly, running away can be an attempt to escape sexual violence and abuse.”

It’s definitely something those who work with runaways should stop to consider. I have, in the past, meet some kids who were homeless and living on the street, and frankly, where they were was better than where they came from. And yes, where they were, was freaking horrible.

That should tell you how bad it was where they came from.

Child Abuse Won’t Stop Until We Stop Ignoring Its Victims | Katharine Sacks Jones

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Reasons to Share Your Story

As a survivor, there are a couple of things I honestly believe to be true of all survivors, and how we all decide to deal with our stories.

One, is that every single survivor has the right to tell, or not tell, their story in any way they want. Some do it anonymously, some don’t feel like they could go public, and others are perfectly willing to talk about their childhoods.

None of those things is wrong. For some this proves to be very helpful in healing this way, others do not get the same benefit. We’re individuals, so that’s not surprising.

On the other hand, it is absolutely vital that there are some survivors willing to be in the public. Because of statements like this one:

As an abuse survivor, I was afraid to talk about what happened to me until I was in my 30s. I doubted my perception because I was so young when the abuse began. I believed that if something that horrible was happening to me that surely an adult, someone in authority, would intervene. I never met anyone personally who was open about their own trauma history, and I felt paralyzed when it came to seeking support. I felt ashamed and worried that others would find me disgusting if they knew.

As Sarah writes about over at Psych Central, survivors need to know that there are other people out here who have dealt with, and are dealing with, the same issues that they are.

Way back in 2001, that was why I wanted to start a blog, to highlight the fact that there are people all around us who have survived childhood abuse. They come from all walks of life, all geographic locations, all races, and all economic backgrounds. I wanted anyone being abused, or who had grown up after being abused to be able to go on the internet, search for other survivors, and find a random guy talking about these issues, and linking to other survivors doing the same. At least that way, they’d know it wasn’t just them, they are not alone as a survivor.

That’s why it is important to me. Why is it important to you?

Photo by shattered.art66

Link – I don’t have a ‘pre-trauma’ identity. So I’m developing my identity.

A lot of trauma survivors, talk about how they miss who they used to be. They miss their ‘pre-trauma’ self/identity.
For many of us, however, who were severely abused from a very young age, we don’t have a ‘pre-trauma’ identity. This is something people will not fully comprehend, unless they have personally endured this.
Part of my healing process, is building my identity. A healthy identity. My real identity. The real me.

This is real. I hear from child abuse survivors often about how they just want to become who they were before the abuse, and it makes no sense. They were small children before the abuse, you can’t go back to being a small child as an adult. You have to, instead, figure out who you are, and who you want to be, as an adult.

Nothing in therapy helped me heal more than hearing someone tell me that I was free to be who I wanted to be as an adult. It literally changed the path of my life from that day forward. Instead of constantly looking back and trying to figure out who I was without the abuse, I simply looked ahead to figure out who I was now, having survived the abuse.

It may not seem like much, but for me, it was everything.

I don’t have a ‘pre-trauma’ identity. So I’m developing my identity.

Link – It’s Important to Get Out and Try New Things

“The thing about getting out there though is that it requires you to be your own person, it requires you to rely on yourself for your needs which is a skill that’s valuable for anyone but especially valuable for people with mental illness.”

This is something I have learned over the years as I have taken on new challenges, moved to new places, etc. The more I get out into those types of situations, the easier it becomes the next time to do it. As survivors of child abuse, I think we often tell ourselves the incorrect story about ourselves. We consider ourselves fragile because we are still healing, still learning things that others learned during their childhood, when we were learning just how to survive. So we try and control everything, to prevent getting hurt again.

I’d like to challenge you to think differently about it. Yes, what I just said is all true. Healing takes time, and you should be gentle with yourself while you are doing it, but I also want you to be brave. When faced with a new challenge, whether it be more responsibility at work, or taking a short trip by yourself, instead of living inf fear of what could happen I want you to remember one thing.

You survived being abused as a child.

Now go back to that thing you are feeling anxious about, and tell me, even if it all goes wrong, will it be anywhere near as bad as an abusive childhood? If not, then yeah, you’ve done that, so no matter what, you’ll survive this too.

It’s Important to Get Out and Try New Things

Link – Older People Surviving Child Sexual Abuse

“You may be a survivor of child sexual abuse who is now in your late thirties, forties, fifties or beyond, and you may be finding that your feelings around what you experienced are worse than they have ever been, or at any rate worse that they’ve been for a long time. You may be confused as to why this is happening now. Life changing events such as medical scares, dying abusers, bereavement, retrenchment and ill spouses are things older survivors must often contend with. You may not expect such events to have triggered off earlier trauma, and you may be shocked and frightened by the strength of nightmares, flashbacks and other symptoms.

Or perhaps there’s no precipitating event you can pinpoint as starting it all, but you’ve found that you suddenly can’t stop thinking about what happened when you were younger. It may be that you’ve retired, your kids have left home and life has fewer extraneous distractions. This can be a time when traumatic issues begin to clamour for attention.”

I hear from folks all the time who are adults, and find themselves suddenly trying to deal with what happened to them as children. This doesn’t happen the same way for every survivor, but if you find yourself in this situation, there is some good information in this article.

Older People Surviving Child Sexual Abuse