Nobody likes that feeling. The one that starts in the pit of your stomach. The one that makes you so uncomfortable you just want to run away and hide.
Guilt is an ugly friend. Shame its evil cousin.
Hurts are too painful to face. Nobody likes that feeling.
I wish I could tell you differently. Pain is…painful. Guilt convinces us that it's all our fault. Shame tells us it's better not to think about it, feel anything.
For so many years I lived in the silence of denial, not wanting to face the hurt and betrayal of my own childhood sexual abuse. What did it all mean? Did I really want to know?
Flashes of memories, images better out of sight - out of mind. It is just better that way. You don't have to deal, you don't have to feel.
But I was way wrong.
Living in denial was hurting me. Although it felt like silence to me, I was drawing my own conclusions about what happened and why. I was believing the observations of my child eyes. I was believing lies…that somehow it was my fault, that somehow I should have known better. I was confused and I didn't know what to think about it, so I didn't. Or I tried not to.
What I know now that I didn't know then was the best thing I could have done was talk about it. That inside my own head I was deciding things about myself and others that were not true. My head was very subjective and of course, I took on all the guilt and shame of what had happened.
I was a married adult before I actually sought counsel. I didn't know what I wanted. Maybe I just wanted freedom? Maybe for the first time I wanted to understand the what and the why. It never made sense to the little girl in me. I hadn't been protected. I had never been heard.
That little girl knew only to trust. She loved and trusted because that's what kids do. Children are naive. They don't know how to pursue others sexually. It was never my fault.
Perhaps this is why I feel so strongly about something a friend of mine is working on. She writes a blog called Tamar's Redemption where she discusses sexual abuse, motherhood, and life. She is also a writer. Her own personal experiences with childhood sexual abuse led her to write a children's story, a tool for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. She has started a non-profit organization called "Rise and Shine Movement" and is on the cusp of launching a website. On the website you will be able to view her children's book and find valuable resources for protecting your children from sexual abuse. Rise and Shine Movement is on Facebook if you are interested in getting more information about the organization.
For those of us who were not protected, it is a mission I believe strongly in. Back when I was a kid, no one was talking about this. Parents didn't know they needed to protect their kids from this. And if they did, resources were not readily available. We must talk to our children now about sexual abuse. We must equip them so they know what to do should someone try to abuse them. As parents, we need to become educated so we can do all that we can to protect not only our own children, but all of the children in our life.
Please join me in supporting my friend, Carolyn, in her mission to empower adults to protect children from sexual abuse. "Like" the Rise and Shine Movement on Facebook. Read her blog, Tamar's Redemption. Share her message with a friend. Once the website is up and running check it out and consider joining the movement.
UPDATE: The Rise and Shine Movement website is now up and running. Please check it out: www.riseandshinemovement.org
1. This Is My Solemn Vow