Home is where the sexual abuse is

Sexual abuse in the media

2012-02-04 10.09.07We’ve all heard the news about sexual abuse on tv and radio. Sexual abuse in churches and in schools. We’d almost forget that most sexual abuse happens at home

American Research

American research shows that 18% of convicted child sexual abusers are “the strangers who offered candy.” Almost 30% are trusted adults: teachers, priests, (swimming) coaches or neighbors. The rest are family.

Home “sweet” home

The majority of sexual abuse takes place in the “safety” of home….Daddy, mommy, brother, sister, uncle, auntie, and yes..nana or pop-pop… That’s why it’s so very hard to catch the perpetrator. A child won’t easily talk about what’s going on, let alone when it tears the whole family apart. Even 10, 20, 30 years later they might find it hard to talk about it.

False sense of security

It’s great many offenders get caught nowadays. Churches and schools are on constant scrutiny.
It might give us a false sense of security, though.
Let’s not forget to keep looking out for signs in our immediate environment: our own homes.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Real Hunks – male survivors of child sexual abuse

For the real hunks out there

0011This is for all you guys out there.
I’ve coached quite a few men who were healing from sexual abuse. Men usually suffer from blame and shame even more than women: ‘I should’ve fought back, I should’ve knocked him in the you know whats, I’m probably gay because my body responded…’

Our society and our myths about men

  • Real man are tough
  • You’re a wimp when you cry

oh and how about this one:

  • There’s three things men think about: sex, sex and sex….

There’s a lot of misguided notions about what it means to be a real man. Media is a great way to enforce this myth. The biggest hunks always get the fastest cars and the prettiest women. As long as you drink gallons of beer and enjoy sex you’re IT.

Fortunately society is changing. Slowly

It doesn’t matter how many people still believe in those things:
Forced sex is never, ever enjoyable!
Not for women, not for men.
EVER.

Then how come my body “betrays” me?

Truth is it doesn’t.
It just responds the only way it knows how. Naturally.
Does your mouth water when eating a tart apple? Yep.
Does your mouth know whether you chose that apple or whether somebody forced it down your throat?
Heck no…

Male survivors and how to ‘help’ them

A lady once asked me how she could “help” her ( sexually abused) partner.
In my book “I Thrive” I’ve included a letter from a male survivor. His answer is very clear and very personal. He describes how he would like his partner to deal with his past.
The letter was written at the end of his healing process. It took him a while and it took courage and effort.

You are a real hunk

By now he left his trauma behind and he is in a steady, loving relationship.
He’s a real HUNK.
And so are you!

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Breaking up with your sexual abuser

It’s over!!!!

Expressing anger and establishing boundaries is an important element of healing child sexual abuseWe all know that first break-up. As a teenager you think your whole world is falling apart. Love Hurts….

It’s not that strange you developed a relationship with your abuser. You may have shared your first kiss. Your first sexual experiences were with him/her.
No wonder you feel a connection. These things are bonding experiences.

The impact of the abuser

I realized that even though I hadn’t seen my abuser for over 10 years, he still had a great impact on my life. My thoughts, my actions were still his. He had forced his thoughts about almost everything into my mind for so long, I could still hear his voice.

Breaking up with the abuser

To completely heal from sexual abuse you will have to break up with your abuser.
Here are 3 tips that helped me:

1. My thoughts are mine!

It didn’t feel like that at all at first… He had brainwashed me all these years and now I had to make my thoughts mine again. It took great effort but slowly I regained power over my own thoughts. MINE. Aahh, that felt a lot better….

2. I am in charge!

If I don’t believe in the thoughts running through my mind, I won’t!
It took some time to reckognize what thoughts were a persistent memory of his opinions, but eventually I could figure out what MY opinions were and I could focus on banning his.

3. It’s okay to grieve!

It’s OK to be sad. When you break up it hurts. No matter how much you want to leave it all behind, you loose something as well, an illusion perhaps. So give yourself time to get over your break up.
I was insecure at first, but I soon realized it’s all part of life. It’s all part of growing up.
Of becoming ME.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

10 reasons to talk about sexual abuse with your children

Talking about sexual abuse with children

madeliefjeParents often find it very hard to discuss sexual abuse with children.
They might think the child isn’t ready for the “sex-talk”, yet. That’s not what this is about, though. Talk about sexual abuse to bring the message to your children: ‘Your body is yours! You have the right to choose your boundaries.’

Top 10 reasons to talk about sexual abuse to your child

  1. Statistically one out of every 4 girls and one out of 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 16.
  2. It happens near you. Whether you’re rich or poor, catholic or protestant, black or white, It happens in all parts of society at a fairly equal rate.
  3. The abuser is almost never a stranger. 93% are either familymembers or friends of the family.
  4. Even babies can be victims. Around the age of three you can start teaching your child that certain parts of their bodies are private.
  5. You don’t have to scare the child. When you teach your kid not to cross when there are cars on the road, it won’t be afraid of roads. It will just be careful not to cross when it’s dangerous.
  6. When you talk about sexual abuse regularly with your child, he/she will confide easier if something happens,
  7. When you practise of such private talks, you will likely find out at an early stage if your child is abused.
  8. It’s not just adults! Kids abuse kids. Teach your child what’s (un) acceptable in touching others. That way you will keep your child safe from abusive children …or.. from becoming an abuser.
  9. You don’t give them any ideas. There’s no reason to think your child will be more susceptible to fantasies about sex, just because they are aware of the dangers.
  10. It can actually happen to your child. Child sexual abuse happens. Often.
    Parents of abused children never thought it could happen to their child either.

OK- I’m convinced…. But how do I talk about sexual abuse to MY child?

Talking to your child about this is easy. We all know the term ‘Stranger-danger’. Most abuser aren’t strangers, so you should find another way to talk about sexual abuse to your child. Here are some suggestions.

First of all, it’s not about sex. It’s about owning your body

Teach your child: The parts that are covered by a bathing suit are yours and yours alone! Except for medical tests and personal hygiëne (which is easily explained to a child) nobody should touch your private parts and you need to respect other people’s privates. You have the right to say NO and when anyone wants to share “a little secret” with you, it’s not OK. When in doubt talk to mommy or daddy. Or to your teacher, or to anyone you trust.

Start today! Don’t delay.

Start this conversation at an early age and repeat it throughout childhood.
That way your child will know he/she can Always, Always, Always talk to you about anything, even when it feels a little awkward.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

“I’d rather die than get a pap-smear” physical consequences of CSA

“I’d rather die than get a pap-smear.”

DSC_0010Her doctor makes it very clear: “If you don’t, you might.”

It doesn’t make any difference to her. She means it. She’d rather die from cancer than face the shame. Her death is a real possibility: She was diagnosed with cervical cancer a year ago. She refuses her check-ups. Too much has happened ‘down there’.

Extreme fear

People who’ve been sexually abused are often extremely afraid to take their clothes off before a physical exam. They don’t even dare to talk about their genitals, let alone have them touched! That’s why physical ailments, from extreme menstrual cramps to cancer, are mostly left untreated. A doctor usually doesn’t know his/her patient is a survivor of child sexual abuse. Instead of taking time to find the real reason for the patients’anxiety, it’s easier to just let it go. They might even think: “If there are any consequences, it’s her own darn fault.”

Physical consequenses and risks

Sexual abuse doesn’t only leave emotional damage, it lead to have physical discomforts and disease as well. To name but a few: painful intercourse, extreme cramps and loss of blood during your period. Also, if a young child is sexually abused the risk of genital damage is high. In addition endometriosesas well as breast and cervical cancer is more prevalent in sexual abuse survivors. Quite a risk, in particular combined with the reluctance to have medical exams.

Sharing helps you and others

It’s very important to share your experiences. Not just because it will help you overcome your shame, but also because the world needs to know the long term effects of child sexual abuse. The psychological as well as the physical.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com