is tantamount to living out our lives wondering, feeling soiled, dirty, unworthy … unworthy of that very necessary love of self and unworthy of the love of others … and so much of the time, if we haven’t addressed the memories for what they are, not knowing why we even feel that way.
Even before the major sexual abuse by my father started, I felt a bit like that about myself, but didn’t really know why. Then today, I happened across THIS POST in another blog. The writer states that we CAN and MUST stop the sexual abuse of our children and believes it can be done, if we are forever on the alert for the signs and encourage children to talk about it. Perhaps if someone had cared enough about me when I was still prepubescent and got me to open up, I might have told them about the older girl, still in elementary school, who lured me to her flat with the promise of milk and cookies, and then pinned me in the washroom and using the inner tube of a toilet roll, simulated sex with me. I had no idea what she was doing, but I remember fleeing, crying, scared and being utterly confused. No-one, not my guardian at the time, nor my parents knew anything of this incident. Later in the week, a nun at the Catholic primary school I attended approached me. She asked me about the girl. Had she ever done anything to me, asked me to go home with her etc etc. Obviously the nun knew something about her, but I remember my shame as I answered her questions. And yet, I had no idea why I felt ashamed.
Of course, in retrospect, it’s entirely possible, and even probable, that this girl too was being sexually abused by a parent or relative. But again, the post I mentioned above triggered my memory of this incident and others. There was a Catholic “brother” who liked me to visit his room at the local church. He would give me candies and soft drinks AFTER he sat me on his lap and ran his fingers up and down my little legs. And he always sent me home reminding me not to tell anyone if I wanted more candies.
Then there was my playmate’s father. He was all smiles and had 3 little girls I loved to play with. One day, I arrived to play but the 3 girls were out with their mom. He invited me to stay and wait for them, saying they wouldn’t be long. He gave me some cake and suggested I sit beside him on the couch to read a book. Then he coaxed me onto his lap so we could cuddle while he read the book. Next thing I knew he’d stopped reading and his hand had wandered into that most private spot. Instinctively, I knew this wasn’t right but I didn’t want to offend him as he was my playmates’ dad. When he was done, he too told me to not tell anyone and gave me a dime … hush money I guess … and promised there’d be more dimes if I visited again. I never went back there. My playmates never asked why. But I wonder if eventually they too found out daddy wasn’t as nice as we all thought.
How did the POST ABOVE unleash all these memories? Here’s what that writer said:
“the statistics of child sexual abuse (CSA) are beyond the pale – 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 girls are sexually assaulted by the age of 18. As I have also written, “stranger danger is a myth”. It’s not the unknown that our children have to be leery, it’s the ones we know best; our clergy, teachers, caregivers and yes, even family members – they are the ones that are ALMOST ALWAYS guilty of stealing the innocence of our children. The statistics vary, but not by much, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90-95% of all CSA transgressions are by those we KNOW and TRUST. That’s right, the ones that molest, rape, sodomize and abuse our children are NOT strangers…they are our pastors, our 5th grade teachers, our fathers and aunts, and even sometimes they are the child down the street that plays with our kids. I recently read an article about an 8 yr. old molesting a 7 yr. old that lived just two doors down – a trusted neighborhood child.
As a survivor of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, I know all too well how this trust is built up and then destroyed. It’s called “grooming” but the bottom line, it’s how these trusted ones get inside the psyche of a child and use their authority over them to sexually and psychologically control them, as my youth minister did me.”
How true is that! Isn’t that what happened to me … or maybe to you who are reading this? The molesters are indeed all around us and sadly, around our own children. We can help them and ourselves, but first of all, we need to face our own memories, our own demons. If we haven’t yet shared our troubled past with someone who cares, if we haven’t fully accepted that yes, this did indeed happen to us and was most likely not our fault, then how can we help others who may be going through the same thing? We might recognize it but close our eyes and our minds to it, telling ourselves it couldn’t be what we suspect. None of us wants to believe that someone close to us, someone we trust, could molest or abuse a child, especially their own child. Well, if it happened to you then you know it can, and does happen. Just check those stats again:
1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 girls are sexually assaulted by the age of 18.
Stop running away. Stop burying the memories. Stop pretending it didn’t happen. Spit out your horror, your disgust. Tell it like it is or was. Just let it all out so you can come out from under.
Please share the link to this blog with others who might need encouragement to do the same. And please LIKE our page at Facebook: COMING OUT FROM UNDER