A STORY INSIDE MY TRIGGER
It has taken me over a week to write this post to you. In fact, it has taken me over a week to do anything. I have almost been in a state of shut-down because of a dream. No, not an “I have a dream” kind of inspiration I’m sad to report… but a haunted dream that re-ignited my “infection”. So, here I am wanting to be completely raw and cut out any bullshit with you and just tell it like it is… is that fair?
Before I start I have to let you know this is a TRIGGER post.
I had to grow up pretty quickly. And the words of Maya Angelou frame it perfectly.
“Rape on the body of a young person introduces cynicism. And there is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic because it means the young person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”
Yet, I was a fighter!!! Anyone who knows me knows that despite all of the crap that I have gone through in my life - I’m a pretty happy person. I look for the silver linings in every cloud. But I lived my life infected.
What do I mean by that?
On some level, being a sexual abuse surTHRIVOR is like being bitten by a bug that is infected by a disease that has no cure.
For some, it's lethal.
For some, it's devastating, takes some time and they process it with resources.
For some, they are impacted only by knowing someone who's infected.
For some, it lays dormant in their system until it's triggered or their body “remembers”.
For some, it reoccurs throughout their life.
EPIGENETICS - the passing on of trauma in our DNA.
Did you even know that could happen? It also aligns with learned behaviour and the cycle of abuse. But let me explain Epigenetics in the most visual way possible. So, you know how the Earth has an axis? Imagine if the Hulk came and kicked it so it shifted even 1 degree… that would throw things off-kilter, right?
So, in our brains, we have what's called an HPA Axis and traumas (this study, ….., also specifically referenced sexual abuse trauma) affects how our DNA gets lined with carbons. Which really just means it actually physically changes our DNA!
It can then change how our serotonin (good feeling chemicals) get received the rest of our lives! It's shown in scientific studies (getting my nerd on here, sorry) that people who have experienced trauma show biologically less resilience around stress, more episodes of depression, anxiety, violence, bipolar, etc. Trauma is a full body experience, not something the mind can just rationalize away.
Why do I mention this? Because my family’s generations were filled with child sexual abuse. My uncle got to all of his sisters on my mom’s side. My grandfather's relatives got to my dad and his siblings!
Do you think for a moment my DNA could have been impacted? On top of the fact that 1 in 3 girls is sexually abused before they turn 18 (1 in 6 boys, under-reported too by the way) it's hard to not be a cynic, am I right?
At one point I almost let it get to me - I almost didn't have kids. For two reasons.
#1. Sometimes it's really hard to look at this world and see it as a beautiful place. #SaveOurChildren movement shouldn't have to exist but it does and it needs more voices! That's why I'm here and you’ll see more of me. We need adults to rise up and provide not only voices for the children being impacted but start demanding a justice system in Canada that doesn’t tolerate a culture of pedophilia consent.
#2? Because it opens up trigger points - the other reason I’m writing today - that dream. Ever since I had kids, Glenn and I arranged our lives with the support of family, we haven’t needed outside childcare. A huge factor in that was exposure. Yes, it's awesome that both my kids get to have a great relationship with their grandparents and that I have had a pretty flexible schedule work-wise. The underlying desire though has been prevention.
But what happens when that Monster is You?
I don't sleep well. I wake regularly and one of the downsides of that is that I remember every vivid detail of the dreams I am having. I wish you could see how hard this was for me to even type… how my eyes even a week later are teary… my palms are sweaty…. And I’ve put this laptop down at least 6 times. I’m scared. And I didn't even do a thing!!! But I dreamt about it.
All of the measures I put in, getting to know coaches, teachers, being present, using the right language… and in that dream, I was the one touching them. Making them stand there. Taking advantage and watching their faces fall as the trust between us broke and their confusion took over. I can still see every detail. AND IT WAS JUST A DREAM!!!!!! A FUCKING NIGHTMARE. (stepped away from the computer)
I woke up at 4. Tried to convince myself it was just a nightmare. It's ok, you’re a good mom. You’re doing the right things. You love these kids. I couldn't swallow. I couldn't close my eyes.
And when the kids got up I found the strength, like most moms do, to make breakfast, live life and go on. It was just a dream and my past will NOT define me.
HE GOT FOUR YEARS
As I tried to normal my way back to existence that morning the first article I came across in my FB feed covered the piano teacher that got sentenced for four years for raping that sweet baby. How people will cringe at the word rape or not use sexual abuse and instead call it interference or trafficking.
This is why we need to rise. Then my rage compounded as I thought of them justifying how it was his “first offence” so the defence wanted one year less. But it was also her first “trauma” But they won't consider it when in the future she's a momma and her babies want to start piano lessons.
Whose ears will consider her tears and anxiety? This infection will last that long. This is why we need to rise. And I started to cry when I read of the shame and guilt of mom and dad knowing they invited a monster inside.
They will NEVER get over that, it will eat them forever. But Mr. Piano will be out in 18 months for good behaviour.
I have had probably 10,000 hours of counselling personally. I have read books, taken courses, healed, talked, grown and healed some more. And a dream knocked me out cause my infection wasn't dormant while I slept. Sentences need to reflect that. I know I'm not the only one. I've since read stories of offenders searching for "littles" in a normalized online chat space, vulnerable groups being attacked and not having a voice because going through our justice system re-attacks their psyche. Hell, even Netflix has a documentary on "Cuties" and our biggest retort so far is a fallen stock market? Well, I for one promise to rise. And I see the increase in a culture that's done with this too. I promise to do more. My "infection" may have been active in this story but my fire against this True Pandemic will be forever - Thank you for holding this space while I shared my deepest fear.