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View Diary: Here's how you can be part of ending child sexual abuse (103 comments)

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  •  girl who haunts me (12+ / 0-)

    I've never forgotten her and have been thinking about her this week.

    When I was 10 or 12, I was at a sleepover or party with friends from Girl Scouts. One girl told us that she had been molested by an older cousin. I had no idea what to do with this information. I was pretty sheltered, didn't know much about sex, and even less about sexual abuse. Anything having to do with sex just embarrassed me. Nobody had ever told me about "inappropriate touching" and what to do. It didn't even occur to me to tell a responsible adult or encourage her to do so. I don't know if she or anyone else in that room did. If she was willing to tell us, maybe it was a step to her telling an adult. I had absolutely NO IDEA what to do with this information, and did nothing.

    I realized years later that I should have at least told my mother, who could have done something. It simply didn't occur to me! That shocked me when I was old enough to realize it. It made me wonder about how many things kids don't tell us, because they don't know how.

    I lost contact with her sometime after, and don't know how things went for her. I've wondered about her and worried about her over the years. I wish that I had reached out to her and/or told someone. I hope she got help. I hope she's living a fabulous life. I will never forget her.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

    by wasatch on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 09:21:35 AM PST

    •  I told my friends what was happening to me (12+ / 0-)

      when I was about that age. It never went anywhere, but I never thought it might. It was empowering for me to be able to tell my peers though.

      I mean, yes of course looking back I wish someone would have said something and gotten me help. But at the time I didn't have that expectation or even hope. The adults in my life knew my grandfather was a child molester, and they knew he was molesting me. They were so freaked out by the shame they pretended otherwise. So it didn't occur to me that people could stop it or protect me.

      I had an overwhelming terror that I would be removed from my family though, so it was on my mind.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 10:05:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  your story and mine (11+ / 0-)

        are both evidence for the need to empower both children and responsible adults with (age-appropriate) awareness and tools, as the diarist writes. It's not easy to do, and yes, there are still too many adults who would never try, who should do something and won't because they can't/won't get past the denial, like your family.

        I am so sorry that you went through that, that nobody stepped up for you, and that you had no hope that anyone would. I'm glad that you felt some bit of empowerment from talking to peers, though you deserved so much more.

        I hope that you've gotten all the help and healing and empowerment you need as an adult.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

        by wasatch on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 11:09:21 AM PST

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        •  Oh, I'm a work in progress. There have been times (9+ / 0-)

          when I felt so much healing. Right now I'm struggling.

          Have you heard of radKIDS? Its a program to get the tools into the hands of kids. It's pretty amazing, and there are school districts teaching it to kids.

          Poverty = politics.

          by Renee on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 11:42:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here is something I posted elsewhere ... Fwiw (8+ / 0-)

            There has been a lot of analysis of the recent sexual abuse scandal at Penn State but there is something important that still needs to be said to the people who matter most in this matter.

            I support the victims of sexual abuse, fully and unconditionally.
            As a victim, you may be feeling shame, guilt, powerlessness and hopelessness. But you should know that I, and millions of others like me, will support you 100%.

            Your abuser may have forced some unfortunate moments into your life, but he did not and cannot take your dignity, your intelligence, your compassion, your morals or your essence. You are the same person you always were. There will be a day, one day soon, when that fact, which is obvious to me and millions like me, will also be obvious to you.

            I support you, the victim of sexual abuse, 100%. Fully and without condition. And I am commited to building a society that provides you with the support you deserve.

          •  hang in there (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mamamedusa, SoCaliana, kait, Renee

            I'm sorry that you are struggling, and hope that you have a decent support system to draw strength and safety from.

            I'm sure that this story is triggering issues for a lot of people, though I don't know if that's a factor for you. If following the Penn story is causing you problems, by all means walk away from it. You already know everything you need to know about it. OTOH, if it's providing an outlet to talk about something you need to talk out, pursue that. You're the best judge of what you need to do.

            Whatever is the cause of your current struggles, be kind to yourself, and trust that things can/will improve. If there's anything (non-destructive of course) that gives you some relief (exercise, deep breathing, laughing, housework, whatever), indulge it. Get enough sleep and good food, all that basic stuff.
            Sometimes doing some volunteer work can help, if you're up to it, and it doesn't have to be work around this issue, it can be serving lunch at a soup kitchen.

            If you need professional support, there are low cost options in most cities.

            You probably know all these things. Just a reminder and a note of support that you can get through it.

            Myself, I was never molested, but I have a history of self-destructive behaviors, and when my issues ambush me, I can use reminders as re-enforcement of what I already know. You know what your answers are.

            48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

            by wasatch on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 01:22:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  radKIDS sounds great! (5+ / 0-)

            especially since there's abundant evidence that many families can not/will not deal with it appropriately or educate their kids on their own. Fantastic.

            as far as being a work in progress, so are we all. keep on progressing!

            48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

            by wasatch on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 01:41:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I know a social worker... (6+ / 0-)

            Who's working this angle at:

            JustTell.org

            It's about working through peers to reach kids in danger of, or suffering from sexual abuse. Especially with older kids, I think this makes sense. Like, you were as you say about 10-12. That seems like the age at which words would be more available to you to put to "what is happening to you".

            They train the kids who are leaders who do the outreach to their peers about telling adults when someone is bothering, hurting them.

            Yes, I've heard of radKids. I wish there was a lot of that, and follow up studies to understand if, how, when it works.

            I'm sorry to hear you are struggling Renee. I guess I am too, just, less I guess. I feel lucky I survived at all.

            Insanity is a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world... -R D Laing

            by crazyamerican on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 02:13:33 PM PST

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            •  Years ago there was a Spiderman comic book telling (4+ / 0-)

              kids it is ok and correct to tell if they are being abused. In the comic book Peter Parker (Spiderman) looks back on a situation where he was abused as a kid.

              As offensive as our adversaries can be, it is always the people on our own side who drive us crazy.

              by Mayfly on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 03:38:35 PM PST

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            •  excellent (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Renee

              yeah, I wish this kind of stuff had been available.  I was so  clueless.... old enough to absorb the information, if it'd been presented to me, but too young to figure out on my own what to do.

              I hope that these efforts have been able to rescue kids.

              48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

              by wasatch on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 03:57:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Justtell looks awesome (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Renee

              that's exactly the approach I am interested in taking albiet through a picture book, not via peers.

            •  I think empowering the kids is the way to go. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AllisonInSeattle

              The radKIDS who have fought back against stranger abductions are outraged that someone would try to hurt them. This is what we need for all kids, and we need those kids to grow up into adults who will not be afraid to talk about this.

              Poverty = politics.

              by Renee on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 10:59:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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