Over the past 10 years, many survivors have posted comments on blogs I have written (We Are Survivors Blog). I have taken many of the survivors’ public comments and am sharing them with you. Both their pain and hope for a better future are common threads.
Addressing these tales of abuse and suffering is how we recover. By makingour voices heard and speaking out, we can begin to make a difference in this world. These commentsreveal many of the common struggles survivors face every day.
(Comments from Survivors #1-5 can be read in Part 1)
Survivor #6: Here are some of my thoughts for the reasons for the lack of dialogue about child abuse:
- The myth that “it doesn’t happen in my neighborhood” or in “good families” that I know. It is difficult to understand that the same mother who helps organize the monthly church breakfast goes home to beat her children, so people think that child abuse happens much less frequently than it actually does.
- It’s a “poor people’s” problem. A lot of people put many issues such as drugs, teen pregnancy, child abuse, and domestic violence into the “unfortunate poor people” bucket to allow them some distance from it.
- Here is an actual comment from someone when I told them about my past: “We all had bad childhoods. You are an adult now; move on.” Some believe that once the beatings end, the talking should end as well. It has been more than 10 years since I moved out of my abusive aunt’s house. I have made quite a life for myself: some healthy friendships and relationships, a master’s degree, a successful career, financial stability, etc….It is hard for some people to understand how I am still so traumatized. They don’t get that it is now that I have put my basic needs in order that I can FINALLY talk openly about what happened.
- The belief that parents have a right to “discipline” their kids. Some see abuse as “taking it too far” instead of “should have never, ever, ever been an option in the first place.”
Survivor #7: When I lost my virginity at 18-years-old, I felt like it was déjà vu. I don’t remember 90% of my childhood. Dad pulled some moves on me and my sister when we were young and had sex with our cousin at 16. Mom ranted about the cousin and about me having sex with my dad and called me a liar. I thought she was nuts, but now I am wondering if she was telling the truth. Oddly, I am numb about it all.
Survivor #8: My extended family is not “rich,” but not exactly “poor” either. I would put some of us at middle-class and some at upper-middle-class. Many of us are college educated and have post-grad degrees. Yet my family seems to have such a bad intergenerational history of dysfunction, child abuse, neglect, and broken homes. My grandmother suffered. My parents, aunts, and uncles suffered. And I suffered too. It is a very sad case of educated and financially stable people committing very shameful acts behind closed doors.