Innocent benefactor

She remembers the old red barn just a few houses up the road. She recalls with clarity every detail surrounding the incomprehensible horror that transpired decades ago and wishes she could consign it to oblivion. She remembers the two girls who sat back cheering and laughing as that group of boys brought this terrified girl to the barn floor with fright and tears in her eyes. Why? What? NO!!!   Her eyes screamed, pleading for help searching the sidelines where those two girls sat watching and laughing.  She could not understand Why they brought her here to allow this to happen and Why they would not help her.

In flashbacks she recalls the hands, many hands as they began touching her, grabbing her female flesh everywhere…Their dirty grinning faces laughing as they took her in turn…her silent screams fell onto deafened ears and no one came to her rescue.  A waterfall of tears streaming down her cheeks mattered not to the hands making their way under her shirt and down her jeans as they swarmed around her like bees to a hive full of honey.

She was fourteen years old then but not a foreigner to abuse as her own father had been making night visits for many years. She knew nothing of boundaries, no healthy love from him.  He was that “monster in the closet” and all she ever longed for was his love…

Commencing with him, then the associates, the undeniable terrors began…Her body was supposed to belong to her but it seemed to belong to everyone else.  He along with the associates,  taught her that her feelings did not matter, what she desired did not matter and when she said No – it did not matter…

Growing up was hell, more like torture. Everywhere she turned boys wanted to touch her, put their hands on her in in appropriate ways, and they did, often.  Did they not know how very wrong this was? She would be the benefactor of their consequences, the innocent one who would remember in nightmares and flashbacks with crystal clarity the sheer terror of her youth.  A nightmare relived nearly every single night for decades.

Decades would pass before she would ever understand that none of this was her fault. She walked through life with no self-esteem for she was told she was ugly, called names because this flower blossomed very early as a young woman and for reasons only those who bullied her knew …

It would take decades for her to learn how beautiful and valued she was…and to find forgiveness, which was a monumental feat in itself for she swore to hate them all for eternity….it was in the Forgiveness of them all that she has discovered the way to Freedom~

““““““““““““““`

Who Am I?

The essay below was one of three I wrote for my English Comp class in the mid 1990’s and written within the parameters given to us for the course. Keep in mind how much time has passed and the statistics that have changed since then. 

Who Am I?

The lingering aftermath that incest has on the adult female survivor encompasses all facets of her existence. How is incest defined and what are the distortions impressed upon the survivor regarding the issues of intimacy and sexuality? How can these warped perceptions be conquered?

Incest has been described as a cancer of the soul that slowly destroys the victim’s self esteem. Incest is a betrayal of trust involving sexual, verbal or physical actions either directly or indirectly between a child and a trusted adult and/or authority figure. Fondling, exhibitionism and masturbation with or in front of the child are but a few examples of this treachery. This leaves the victim with little or no self esteem.

Statistics are shocking; one out of every three females and one of every five males has been abused as a child. The effects are no less destructive on males yet I have chosen to write from a female perspective.

Sexual abuse unconsciously influences how a survivor perceives herself and how she feels regarding all aspects of sex including; natural sexual feelings, sexual expression, roles, intimacy and sexual preference. There is tremendous difficulty in separating abusive sex from healthy sex. As a result of the abuse, the survivor sees herself as damaged goods and suffers from a poor sexual self-concept. Sexual preference itself is not a negative affect of the abuse to be overcome. It’s the confusion about preference having been complicated by the abuse that can be troublesome.

Sexual Behavior

Abuse shatters our capacity for healthy sex. Sexual expression may now be associated with secrecy and shame. Many survivors withdraw from sex, thereby preventing any fresh discovery of healthy sex. Others may become promiscous. Not knowing any physical boundaries in sex has created confusion on when or even how to be sexual and she may engage in risky behavior and have sex even when she really does not want to. Difficulty in saying no to unwanted touch, the survivor may avoid any situation that could lead to sex.

Intimate Relationships

Abuse influences a survivor’s capacity to establish and maintain healthy sexual relationships which also interferes with her ability to make healthy choices for herself. Survivors are unable to trust and feel safe with intimate partners who do care.

Confusion

Abuse is something that is done to us. It is not who we are. (Euan Bear and Peter Dimok, authors of Adults Molested as Children) Sexual abuse can cause many survivors to question their orientation (preference). They may wonder the sexual abuse determines their present orientation. Sexual abuse harms the way we feel about our attractiveness, leaving us to feel negative about our gender or causing increased confusion about our sexual orientation (lesbian,gay,straight or bi-sexual). The issue of sexual orientation can be confusing enough for many people who have no history of abuse. Try, to imagine what a survivor must think, or how confused she feels.

Conclusion

Gender identity and sexual orientation are complex matters even without sexual abuse in the picture. They can be strongly influenced by any number of factors. Biology, upbringing, sexual experiences and cultural influences are only a sampling of those factors. Abuse can both encourage development of a particular orientation and impede another. Some survivors move towards the role they had to play in the abuse and others move far away.

If you are a survivor who questions her own sexual orientation remember, All your feelings are valid. They are yours and no person can tell you how to feel or what to think. Our acceptance of selves, not what others think is all that really matters. The following is a perfect way to end this paper and I hope you have been enlightened.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to tell one from the other.” (anonymous)

 

Societal perception

It is interesting, and at the same time sad, how our society perceives illnesses. In general, people can share with the world if they have diabetes, a heart problem, or some other medical issue and they have incredible support surround them, but heavens if they ever dare to open their mouth to form the words *mental illness.* The world comes to an end and people literally walk away looking at you as if you have this gosh awful contagious disease…Now not everyone walks away however many do, many will never look at you the same way again or come close to hugging you if they did before. It is as though you have now become part of a leper colony. Sometimes they begin to walk on eggshells around you, uncertain how to act or react.

I have experienced the loss of those who called themselves friends both then and now, and learned some hard lessons along my journey of healing and self discovery.  The aftermath of the abuse I survived was hell enough. Having people I thought were on my side end up walking away as I sought help to stay afloat as the waves crashed my tiny craft and threatened to sink me really knocked the wind out of my sails.

Over ten years ago I entered therapy as the past literally came crashing down upon me. I spent 12 long years in therapy dealing with nightmares, flashbacks and so much more that I could not handle alone. I remember vividly the day I ultimately made the call for help.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness rather one of tremendous strength. It requires summoning all you have in you to lift that thousand pound phone and dial, then speak the words HELP ME…

I want you all to know that you are not alone. I have walked through so many fires and often wondered WHY??? I have come to understand my destiny is to help others…How could I do that if I was not to experience the struggles, the pain, anguish, utter despair and aftermath? Some of us have survived unspeakable hells and healed that we may now stretch out our hand into the darkness and pull another into the light. One day You will be that hand reaching into the darkness for another.

I have worked through countless, triggering and soul piercing issues from so very long ago and that which had me shackled is no more. The chains have not only been broken they have been shattered and I am Free ~~  I am FREE because Christ took hold of my hand and He pulled me up and out of the pit, out of that darkness and place of torment I was in. To my Lord and Savior be the glory!!

Peace and Blessings

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
— Anaïs Nin

On Faith

Faith. A simple word. To have confidence or trust in a person or entity. Depending on which religion it is faith is believing in one God or many gods.  Where does this “faith” come from? How does one get it?  Honestly I didn’t have faith or trust in too many people even as a kid. I did believe in something greater as I was growing up yet Catholic school for my elementary years and Catechism did little for giving, instilling in me or helping me to find that faith.  In my later years I recall being made to attend Church every Sunday morning with the family, minus dad.  I found it difficult yet managed to get through the boring service. Father Pat was very nice it was just the whole thing bored me and I received little education from it. I was in my teens and the years I attended church as my duty to beautiful Momma. Upon my sixteenth birthday Momma gave me the option of continuing to attend church or not. I chose freedom. I guess you could say I felt like the girl in the image below that day. Momma did her duty and introduced us to God in the way she was raised although she was determined to do so not near as strict as her Momma did with her and her brother.  Momma shared with me her love of stained glass windows in churches, their beauty as the sun reflects upon them. Truly awesome.

Peace

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

~~ Margaret Shepard

Did You Know?

We know that the numbers will always be incorrect due to multiple reasons. Not all child abuse is reported. Not all child abuse is discovered.  Abusers put fear into the children, threatening harm to their pet, their mom or dad (unless it is a parent who is the abuser) and they tell them that no one will ever believe them if they try to tell. Many times the abuse comes to light when a victim/survivor is healing and in a safe place mentally to work through the nightmare maze of memories.

I remember finally getting brave enough to tell an adult and was taken to the family doctor. After his examination of me he told my mom that “it’s just an irritation” and so no call was made to any agency, no one rescued me…I continued to be abused, sexually assaulted and the monster came with regularity for many years…

I am now speaking out about my abuse, my healing and adding my voice to thousands out there for the children who cannot speak for themselves…I know I will, and have, lost friends and even have family members who will not speak to me but I can remain silent no longer…

Stand up and Speak Out for the children. If you suspect abuse, make the call..Your call could very well be the only one and the one that saves a child’s life.

Child abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and neglect. Child abuse leaves scars that last a lifetime…

Due to the length of time it takes for the information to be gathered, compiled, analyzed and published it can take approximately two years to publish the data. By then it is outdated and new information has been gathers and is in process of being processed for publication.  (Child Welfare Information Gateway)

The statistics are literally mind numbing.  We want to STOP child abuse Before it starts. Education and awareness are KEY to Prevention… 

Did you know:

One in three girls and one in six boys Will be sexually abused Before they turn 18

Only 1 in 10 will tell

There are over 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in America.

Somewhere between 2/3 and ninety percent of sexual abuse victims never tell !!!

293,000 children and youth are estimated to be at risk of exploitation.

100,000 are prostituted annually.

90% are abused by someone they know, love or trust.

20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8 .. most never tell, and some don’t recall the abuse.

More then 60% of pregnant teens have been sexually abused.

55% of girls living on the streets engage in prostitution.

20% of prostituted girls are transported across state lines for services.

The average age of entry for girls into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.

One in 7 children who are regular Internet users receive sexual solicitations online.

1 in 3 is exposed to unwanted sexual material.

1 in 25 receives a request to meet someone in real life that they met online.

800,000 children are reported missing every year in the U.S. or 2,000 every day.

An estimated 200,000 are abducted by family members; 58,000 by non family members, the primary motive for which is sexual.

In the most serious cases, the child is abducted by a stranger and killed, held for ransom, or taken with the intention to keep.

EVERY SECOND MATTERS!! EVERY SECOND COUNTS!!

National Child Abuse Statistics

• A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

• Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.

• It is estimated that between 60-85 percent of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.

• 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68 percent are abused by family members.

• Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

• 31 percent percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.

• Over 60 percent of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.

• About 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.

• About 80 percent of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

• The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion.

• Abused children are 25 percent more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

• Abused teens are times less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs.

 A Powerful Video by Children’s  Advocate Kathylee Forrester about Child Abuse Awareness and HOPE. The beautiful song  in the video is written and performed by Keith Dudley. Kathylee is the creator of Patches the Bear and his 8 Emotion Face Helpers for children.

Please visit Patches Kids and learn more Kathylee Forrester “AngelicPreneur” & Creator of Patches the Bear and how Patches is helping children all over the world 🙂

Here are some good sites with more information:

http://www.rainn.org/

http://www.naasca.org

http://www.voicetoday.org/

http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics

http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/statistics/can.cfm

http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/NCANationalStatistics

http://www.justice.gov/ag/defendingchildhood

Source Material:
http://www.naasca.org
http://www.rainn.org/
http://www.childhelp.org
http://www.voicetoday.org/
http://www.justice.gov/ag/defendingchildhood
http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/statistics/can.cfm

A Rose By Any Other Name

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

The name a person goes by really doesn’t matter, or does it? What is it about the names we choose for ourselves, or those gifted to us? It can be a reflection of how we currently perceive ourselves at that point in time or a mirror image of that which we desire to become.

Perhaps we may feel securing a particular moniker will alter the way others view us in a more positive light, especially if one is battling self-esteem issues or attempting to overcome a painful or negative past. When an individual plucks a name from within the garden a deep reflection has entered that process. The tag chosen has great significance to its bearer. There are numerous reasons for the choosing and gifting of names. Allow me to share with you a few with examples before I continue.

Birth Names: Our names given to us by our parents the day we are born

Anonymity: Forums and 12 Step programs

Birth Nicknames: Usually family given

Job Related: Many people have nicks that relate to the work they do.

An electrician friend of mine has the nick of “Sparky.”

Native Names: Native Americans are gifted sacred names in ceremonies Not to be shared. There are also Native nicknames that are not sacred and can be shared.

Personal Rebirth: Usually related to milestones in one’s life, inner growth. It is a name you usually gift yourself.

Deaf Culture: Within the Deaf Culture and community *sign-names* are given which reflect the individual’s character. The sign name has to be agreed upon by both the person receiving it and the Deaf Community.  Name signs are a

Phoenyx” is one of my pen names chosen years ago because like the legendary phoenix bird I have risen repeatedly from the ashes of my pain. I even have a tattoo of a Phoenix on my back shoulder. It is an original design created for me by my former ink man  “Dragon” whose wife put it together from multiple images.  I say former ink man because they ended up moving many states away. I miss them and the awesome work they do.

Does the use of our nicknames, pen names and pet names alter who we innately are or do they draw out that aspect of ourselves that may have otherwise remained hidden?  Some names do change with time’s passing, personal growth, employment changes and other circumstances.

What is your nickname and how did you come about getting it? 

Peace