Updated: Jul 27, 2020
I want to thank all of you who wrote your sweet words of love and empathy from my last blog. Those who reached out and used words such as brave, strong, courageous. My purpose in sharing my story is to help give people words they can use beforehand, during and after they know when a loved one is dealing with child sexual abuse. I know it's a hard topic. I know the feeling of "if I close my eyes, won't it all just go away?" I wish that this childhood trick worked with this monstrous issue… but my friends, it doesn't. So let's look at some tools we can slay this beast with.
One such organization is Little Warriors and their Be Brave Ranch. The Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch by Ray LaBonte and Family is a specialized, trauma-informed evidence-based, treatment centre focused on helping children who have been sexually abused, as well as their families. The program is for girls and boys from 8-12 years old and girls between the ages of 13 and 16.
They also have a new venture Be Brave Bridge. The Be Brave Bridge is a comprehensive online program that connects specialized counsellors and therapists with children, teens and parents impacted by child sexual abuse who might not otherwise receive timely mental health support. I have taken their Prevent It! Program that is available to everyone in the community and its mandate is to educate and empower adults to take action and help prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.
Taking courses, getting into social work, volunteering for CCASA (Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse), you can now imagine that when I wrote the words that I published in my last blog, it wasn't the first time I said them. BUT! It was the first time my audience was unedited. Previously it had been to social work audiences at their National conferences where I was a speaker and to seminars on sexual abuse where I was amongst "my kind".
1 IN 6 WILL BE IMPACTED BY COVID.
OOPS, I MEAN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.
Yet we aren’t looking at this as a pandemic in itself? The sad reality is that sexual abuse statistics show that randomly in a grocery store, city park or my kids’ school I am also amongst "my kind". Roughly half of us have lived through some form of sexual abuse as kids, if not more. The hard part is that because it involves our kids, no one wants to continually address this issue - its too disgusting, hurtful, shameful, hard.
Pick your hard.
Do you want to use the proper terminology for the penis and vagina because it’s as normal of a body part as an elbow and shin? But when our kids use these words instead of posey or flower it actually works to protect them against predators? Learn the tools. Want to know more? Click on some of these resources or ask me some questions!
It happens so often even lawmakers and psychologists want to normalize it's crime yet it's long term effects keep hundreds of thousands silent, drowning in alcoholism, self-harm and even suicide. I'm a "lucky" one because I chose the less deprecating form of perfectionism, and "never good enough-ness". Even the lawyers for the Calgary Board of Education said the sexual abuse was "good for me" cause it made me excel. Yup read that again!!!
IT’S ALL MY MOMS FAULT.
That’s what they tried to insinuate.
Our justice system on the back end is even more screwed up when questions of the victims’ reputation come into play. Now tell me how a two-year-old can be seductive. Or in my civil suit, a private investigator was secretly hired to see how slutty my single-parent mom was while she raised four kids.
Did she flaunt her sexual escapades in front of me while she held down three jobs? Is that what made me so susceptible? These questions are inappropriate and have no place in our justice system.
A child should be able to stand naked in front of any adult and that adult reach for a blanket, not a feel.
YOUR HISTORY IS NOT YOUR DESTINY
It took me a long time to get here. Many different stints with counselling, EMDR, friends, relationships, love, self-talk and self-talk revised. Everything that I'm going to share in detail in a talk I've been invited to on Resiliency. The Power of Resiliency Summit is happening for 3 days, July 28, 29, and 30th. This is the driving light that is within all of us. What happens TO us does not DEFINE us. I know who you are. I see you. Tell me your story.