Saturday, 6 November 2010

And Then, He Touched Me

5 Ponderings On Surviving Sexual Abuse
By Pandora Poikilos

As I set out to do groundwork for the Keep Me Safe Campaign, I was a little surprised to note that while we can find at least 10,000 different sites and places to meet people, there seems to be so much less reading material on surviving sexual abuse or outlets for survivors to speak up. Some people would consider what I am about to write to be a confession, I would prefer to call it reaching out. I've been down the road of sexual abuse and it is a road that is not only less traveled, it is a journey that never ends. No matter how much is done, sexual abuse is an act you survive, every day for the rest of your life from the moment it sneaks into your life. If at any point, I can help someone in realising that they can survive this ordeal, then I'd like to think my experience holds some reason. Here are some things I know.

It does not discriminate
We'd like to think that rape, molest, incest and any kind of sexual abuse only occurs in under developed countries and that uneducated people who have not been taught to control their urges are the only ones who become entangled in the web of improper sexual conduct. This is the biggest lie you can keep telling yourself. It happens more than you know to more people than you'd like to admit. Even when it happened to me and it took me so long to voice it out, one of the first things that I did realise was that the sooner I stopped having a reaction, the easier things would be for me. I was the one who was not 'normal' and in some way, this was all my fault. And that's the other lie we are taught to believe in. After all those years of research, training and education, we still live in a society that child or grown up, we will look at the victim's surroundings first before we consider the perpetrator's actions. If she was a scantily clad prostitute, would it really be easier to believe that we live with a person who does not understand the word, "no"? In reality, sexual abuse is an issue where fault lines are better left out because when drawn, you'll spend the rest of life in virtual chains wondering how it all happened. If I had been at home, if I had seen the signs earlier, if she had said something about it, what made him snap - are only the tip of the iceberg to how your mind can wander when trying to make sense of such an issue. Acknowledging the incident is of the utmost importance and is the first step towards surviving the issue before any other steps can be taken.

To tell or not to tell
As a child whose authority figure has moved away from the straight path or the grown up whose date has just taken advantage of her, this is a question that runs through every survivor's mind. If I say it and I am believed, how will I ever be able to deal with all the attention it brings me? Will people believe me? Even I didn't believe he was capable of such an act, how can someone else believe? In some cases, speaking out about the incident will seem to take much more energy than the ordeal itself and facing questions such as, "Wasn't there something you could have done to stop it?", will be so stinging, you'd want to dig a hole and bury yourself right there. I cannot speak for everyone but I can tell you that speaking up is always the correct step to take because it is a way of ensuring that you are not allowing him to do this to anyone else. But, coming from someone who has dealt with this, I know, it isn't as black and white as we would all like it to be. If you do not speak about it at the point of the incident, bear in mind, you must be prepared to deal with it at a later point in your life. Yes, it will pop it's ugly head again in future, this is not a fender bender that can be fixed as easily as you'd like to think.

It really is about power
Most counsellors will tell you that sexual abuse is about power and in those terrifying moments of the act, it is the perpetrator's way of saying, "I own you." This is true but there's more to it. If you'll notice, up to to this point I have been referring to victims of sexual abuse as survivors instead of victims, because it is what you have to do. You have to survive sexual abuse instead of falling victim to it. The moment you get it into your head that you are victim, you will also feel that the world owes you something and that you are weaker because someone has taken something from you. True, what has been taken is irreplaceable and a million dollars or more can never reinstate it but repeatedly telling yourself you are weaker because of what has happened means someone else has power over you and this is what sexual abuse can spiral towards. Every minute, hour and day you spend asking why, contemplating retribution, wishing him a slow death is time, energy and thought given to someone else other than yourself. It is a sense of power that he can hold over you and watch you squirm. Move on. While it will be easier said than done, it has to be done. Pay attention to yourself. You need to come out of this and you don't need any more bits and thoughts of him to do it. Very few perpetrators have it in them to seek forgiveness so don't hold your breath. If it comes, take it and move on. If it doesn't, and this is the most likely scenario, move on anyway. Survival is about what you need not what the rest of the world wants.

I don't know what is right anymore
Within any family or community, sexual abuse is not something we wish for. But, sometimes, come it will, literally taking a slow creep around our current perceptions and hopes for the future. Sometimes, when someone approaches you, saying someone has taken advantage of them, the first thing that runs through your head is, "can this be true?". Some of us get all geared up to confront the issue, others want nothing more than to sweep it under the carpet because "what would people think, if they knew?" and even others would prefer to say, "nothing happened, you're just making it up." Yes, there are a lot of ways we can deal with sexual abuse. There are no right ways and there are no wrong ones. It is usually a solution that comes from so much mixed emotion that no one knows how to take the next step. While counselling, therapy or even a change of environment can take place, parents or loved ones must remember, this is an issue that will never go away. When she falls in love, when she find the person she'll want to spend the rest of her life with, when she has her own children or even as she tries to live on her own, it will be there. Blaming yourself, wishing you could have done more to protect her, is as good as feeling like a victim too. Sexual abuse affects each of us in a different way, acknowledging the abuse and support for her are essential in ensuring your relationship also survives this incident.

Will it really get better?
Yes, it will. It will not be an easy route, that much I can tell you. You will experience numerous trust issues and you will have insecurities high enough to compete with any of tallest buildings in the world, but one issue at a time, it does get better. If you have to face people who keep pushing you face down into the mud and keep rubbing it in that the sexual abuse that occurred was your fault, do yourself a very big favour, turn a very deaf ear or walk away. As much as the world needs a lot of different kind of people for it to go around, you don't need people who put you down when you are already down. One thing I can tell you for certain, is that you will also have the opportunity of meeting or knowing people who are willing to listen to your saddest mutterings, who will stand guard to make sure you don't keep feeling sorry for yourself and most of all who don't look at you as damaged goods. They'll see you as unique, extraordinary and even eventful but these are the people you must have in your life and when you find even one person like this, treasure them. If they are willing to share your journey with you, knowing full well that it won't be easy, that in itself is the best gift they'll ever give you.
Reactions:

4 comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

Powered by BannerFans.com

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

Powered by BannerFans.com

Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

Book Blogs Community

Indie Author Blog Hop


indie author blog hop
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next

In Support Of

In Support Of

Support Me - KIVA

Celebrating Authors

Book Signing @

Read Me - E.Zine Articles

Copyscape

Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software