Another Good Reason to Talk About Child Abuse

posted in: Child Abuse, Observations | 6

Going back over 10 years ago to when I first started this blog, the goal has always been to help survivors feel less alone. Last week I was reminded, yet again, of the importance of talking about it.

There was a time in my life when it seemed like I was somehow attracting other survivors to myself. Every time I mentioned being a survivor, or someone found out about this site, they started talking to me about their past and their childhood experiences. I chalked it up to being some sort of secret radar that attracted survivors to one another even when they just happened to know each other through circumstances more than anything else.

Last week, I was working at our annual user’s conference in Vegas, and once again, found myself talking to one of the people that I had previously trained about this and that and whatever. I mentioned having been a survivor of child molestation, and wouldn’t you know it, the response I got was that she was as well.

I realized, this was not just some magic radar that was bringing me to other survivors. I am, literally, surrounded by other survivors, and so are you. We just don’t talk about it, so we don’t even realize how many survivors are in our midst every day. We stay silent, and hide our “secret”, and miss out on the benefits of seeing other survivors.
School of Anchovies
One of the biggest benefits, and one of the things I’ve tried to feature here, is just showing you other survivors, from all walks of life. It’s always been my opinion that I can help other survivors most by simply talking about being a survivor, showing them that healing is possible, and pointing out other survivors who are going through healing, have come through and are leading successful, contented lives, and other who are still struggling. At times, we can be all of those things in one person! But the overarching message that I hope I’m conveying here, is that you are not alone. You are not the first person to deal with this, what you are going through isn’t even all that rare! There are survivors all around you, just waiting to tell someone!

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Now, I also realize that telling people is a risk. Not everyone is going to come back and share their own story, and certainly you should think about who you are talking to and whether it’s appropriate to share with them. Some people are going to not react well, and some might even avoid you because of their comfort level with the subject. That probably will happen, and you should be prepared for it, and understand that how others react to the subject of child abuse is on them. It is not your burden to bear. You might choose to tell them, and then never bring it up again, you may choose to no longer be as close to them, whatever. Those are your choices. But I do feel, and last week really cemented the idea for me, that telling will open up the communication gap between fellow survivors.

Far too many of us are walking through life assuming that no one understands us, that no one cares about what we are going through, that no one else has had to overcome so much. But statistics do not lie. You likely already have a number of survivors among your friends, family and coworkers. They’re all just as afraid to talk about it as you are, but who will be the first?

6 Responses

  1. joan

    Great blog! I have wondered for years why nobody wanted to be around me when I spoke about my terrorist, controlling narc parents, emotional abuse, etc and nobody wanted to be around me nor be my friend. People have told me ‘parents would never do that to a child,’ there was a lot, I mean a lot of verbal screaming matches with people which had me to question their beliefs/morals and debunk their myths about “family life.”

    My ex-therapist said “how can people get close to you or get to know you if you are gonna be secretive and dictate to people what they can/can’t ask?” I told her “who wants to hear anything about child abuse? It’s all in the mind, remember? Too many people heard a dark story and didn’t want to be around me. I had some friends who were being abused at home, but they never said anything about it but I could tell by their behavior something was wrong. Sharing is something friends should do among each other, but if you are not willing to hear a dark story about your friends, then you won’t be able to handle hearing dark stories of anybody’s life/past life.” Yep, ex-therapist shut up had nothing to say. Speaking out, only made it worse for me and people ostracized me and made me the outcast. I learned at the women’s center on abuse that you should be careful as to who you share your story to and if you don’t tell people, what’s gonna hurt them?

    I am learning to be careful about the subject. Some people it may trigger them and others believe it doesn’t exist and most say that’s sad but love your parents anyway. There were quite a bit of abuse survivors who still sounded like their abusers and really had to listen to them carefully, that was also a yelling match. I didn’t wanna get sympathy from those who will still protect their abusers and they were just as toxic!

    As far as I am concern, it’s old history not sure why people feel I need to talk about it. I have spoken enough about it, who wants to be ostracized from society some more? Not many people care which is sad. I find ways to dodge around the subject about my parents as I’ve told people that they are my grandparents, aunt/uncle, foster parents (they might as well never acted like real parents), strangers raising us (again, see previous comment), etc. I almost 30, I am not 10 anymore and nobody should be asking me about how’s mommy and daddy doing. I don’t like it when people silence me about emotional abuse claiming ‘it’s just parents who are trying to get you to have a good head on your shoulders, wow if that isn’t watered down through the mud, I certainly don’t know what is!

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