Breaking the abusers power: sharing your story

The abusers weapon is silence

DSC_0027-2Silence is the abusers powerful weapon. When silence is broken by one person, chances are he/she won’t be believed. But you’re not alone! There are many, way too many, people who’ve had similar experiences. Sharing your story is an even more powerful weapon than silence is.

My decision to break my silence

I’ve decided I won’t shut up any longer! Sharing my story has helped me in many ways.
Since I’ve published my blogs and books, my life has changed. I’ve found my way back to -part of- my family. My friends love and support me. Especially when I’m going through a rough patch.

Forgiving the abuser

I’ve also decided to forgive the man who used and abused me. And no, that wasn’t easy!
I hate what he did to me, not who he is. I couldn’t feel any positive energy from holding on, so I let him go. He’s no longer important to me. It feels great to be able to say that.

I strive to prevent and heal

Prevention by sharing your story is important. That way more people will realize why sexual abuse is such a horrible crime. Sharing your story can also be very healing. It helps you to let go of your past. Through my coaching sessions and my book I’ll show you how. Healing is possible. You don’t have a life sentence!

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

Child sexual abuse is todays and tomorrows problem

DSC_0211Todays problem

Children are being sexually abused at alarming rates. While the world looks and points the finger at India, we fail to look at what’s happening in our own homes. One in three children is sexually abused and most of this abuse takes place in their own bed. Half of these children are abused by a parent, another staggering 30 percent by someone else in their family (older brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, grandparents, etc).

Child sexual abuse is not going to stop unless we stop looking away

Untill we start to realise and let it sink in that child sexual abuse is everywhere, is happening in your street, in your classroom, in your immediate circle of influence, we’re part of the problem.

Talk about child sexual abuse, esspecially if you are not a victim

Talking about child sexual abuse is going to help people come out about what has happened to them. Creating a society where we’re not afraid to tackle this tabu subject and bring what we think and feel about it out into the open will take concerted effort from everyone. In particular people who have not been abused as it is less difficult for them to talk about it.

Tomorrows problems

It’s not just the children we need to worry about and protect. Everyone who falls victim to child sexual abuse is at enormous risk of developing problems later on in life. As many as 50% of victims of child sexual abuse end up having serious mental health issues. The cumulative effect of child sexual abuse in combination with other problems in childhood is huge. You only need to look at the ACE study to know we can’t afford to ignore child sexual abuse happening now, to prevent problems in health care in the future.

The huge numbers of people who have been sexually abused

It may seem like there’s an explosion of sexual abuse at this moment, with big cases coming to light, it seems like every week. In terms of media attention, this is certainly the case. However, the hidden suffering is still many times greater than what these big cases imply. For every ‘Jimmy Saville’ who victimizes a large number of children, there’s at least 100 times as many children being victimized by someone within their family, and there has been for years. Earlier it was reported that possibly 11.000.000 English people have been a victim. The numbers are huge and the effects are devasting.

Helping people heal from child sexual abuse

My book helps people find a way to heal from child sexual abuse. It helps people who have been victimized to understand what they are dealing with in terms of the long term effects of child sexual abuse. It helps people who have not been a victim understand more about what the long term effects are and how they can help. We need all hands on deck for this one. We need to learn and educate ourselves and each other about child sexual abuse.


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

Stop coping!

Is it your time to heal?

Child sexual abuse is a serious matter.  If you’ve been made to feel ashamed, powerless and helpless as a child, chances are you are prone to the same types of feelings as an adult. Unless and untill you heal from your childhood of sexual abuse, you are likely to fall victim to those feelings over and over. If the past is bothering you, even after many years, it’s time to heal. If you are ready to face your fears, it’s your time to heal.

Why healing isn’t  about learning better coping skills

Healing is quite different from coping. Coping is within the scope of surviving. And surviving falls way short of living to your fullest potential. Coping is finding ways to keep the hurt from overpowering you. Coping sometimes stands in the way of healing. As long as you’re coping with life, you may not wish to heal. Coping is like an addiction in that the pain and fear continue to rise to the surface and you may need ever increasing coping skills in order to keep from feeling the pain and fear.

You are meant to thrive!

When I say thriving, I don’t mean financially or materially, even though the chances are that you will do well, or at least better, in those areas too after you heal. Thriving is about way more important things than money. Thriving is about feeling good inside your skin. It’s about being self-aware. It’s about not being clipped from behind by triggers anymore. It’s about being fully and vibrantly engaged with life.

Conquering your fears

There is no absolute safety in the world and healing isn’t going to save you from future pain and suffering. It’s not going to take away the past either. It is going to put the past where it belongs: In the past. In healing from child sexual abuse, the challenge is to learn how to live your life today, without having the past overtake you. Not by suppressing the pain and fear, but rather by defusing the pain, by conquering the fear.

Leaving the past behind

Calling yourself a survivor is hanging on to a victim identity. Because just coping just isn’t good enough. It’s not easy to let go of your victim-identity, even if it does hurt you and keep you stuck. It’s not easy and it’s very scary to leave behind everything you’ve always known about yourself and make room for something different. But it can be done. You can live a life that is beyond trauma.

Do you want to know how you can heal from child sexual abuse? Preorder the book now!

10 golden rules for professionals

How can professionals help people heal from child sexual abuse?

Dande-lion heart, symbol for the lionhearted, survivors of child sexual abuse, photograph by Agnes van der Graaf

There are a lot of ways in which health care professionals and therapists can aid people in their healing process. I recently found this anonymous piece about the 10 golden rules for professionals. It was in a different context, but adapted them for professionals dealing with adult survivors of child sexual abuse. I’m sure there’s a few more golden rules we could think of. I found the first one to be very helpful. Quite often professionals invest a lot of time in getting the clients trust. This seems to me like a waste of time. Trust is something that you learn, perhaps, at the end of therapy, not something that is a prerequisite to it. Let me know what you think.

Rule number 1: Realize that your cliënt doesn’t trust you.

Trust has to be earned and once broken it’s very difficult to get back. For people suffering the long term effects of child sexual abuse, trust was broken a long long time ago. That means they don’t trust you, they will test you. Be trustworthy, but don’t expect your cliënt to trust you completely. Ever.

Rule number 2: Let the cliënts tell their story

Let them tell the story in their own way, on their own terms and in their own tempo. You may not have a need to hear it, but the cliënt may have a need to tell. So sit there and listen to it.

Rule number 3: Accept that your cliënts did the best they could

Hindsight is 20/20 they say and I’m sure you could have thought of several better ways of dealing with the abuse and the subsequent situations. Your cliënt can probably think of a million more. At the time however, your cliënt made the best of the situation. They did the best they could to survive and succeeded. Honor that.

Rule number 4: Don’t treat your cliënt like a statistic

Your cliënt is a person, with their own characteristics, their own needs and wants. They have their own history and their own way of dealing with what happened to them.

Rule number 5: Don’t judge your cliënt

Your cliënt is neither good nor bad. Your cliënt is who he or she is, with all the good and bad that is inherent in any human being. They are who they are and that is all they can be at this point.

Rule number 6: Don’t think you know better than your cliënt

All you know is what your cliënt chooses to tell you about themselves and that’s always just a small part of who they are. Remember you’re just the ‘hired help.’

Rule number 7: Don’t think you know what your cliënt should do

You don’t know. Your cliënts are the experts on their own lives. They may be lost and confused, but they still know a lot more than you do about how to survive their trauma.

Rule number 8: Don’t burden your cliënt with your expectations

Your cliënt has enough to contend with, just dealing with their own expectations on a daily basis.

Rule number 9: Listen to your cliënts feelings

Don’t just listen to the words, listen to the feelings as well and accept them all. If you can’t accept your cliënts feelings, how do you think your cliënt is ever going to learn how to deal with them?

Rule number 10: Don’t rescue your cliënt

Your cliënts can rescue themselves. They have done so for a long time. Besides, they were smart enough to come see you weren’t they?

What are your golden rules?

There they are, 10 golden rules for professionals. Let me know what you think: are you missing any of your golden rules? If you’re a professional, how do you measure up with these rules? If you’re a survivor, how does your ‘hired help’ measure up?


Delay of publishing date

Writing a book is a process in it’s own right

After the healing from child sexual abuse, I felt the need to write about my experiences. I didn’t at the outset mean to write a book, instead I wrote articles about child sexual abuse on hubpages because they had a challenge going ‘write 30 blogs in 30 days’. Well, I like challenging myself so I felt this was for me. In the space of 30 days I wrote 29 blogs. Yes, I know, didn’t quite make it… But I felt pretty pleased about it regardless. After all I had written 29 articles on child sexual abuse and in the process of writing them had gotten to an even deeper level of healing.

Letting go

After writing the articles I let it go. It wasn’t untill a few years later that I noticed how much response my articles had generated. People telling me how something I wrote had touched them, helped them heal from child sexual abuse. When I realized that, I knew I had to do something about it. All of this lead me to write my book.

Making a book is different from just bundeling articles

A book is quite a different product from articles. As you can see on the blog I’ve left on hubpages, on forgiveness, even then I felt my sometimes grim words needed the beauty of photographs. For the book I wanted even better, more appropriate photo’s to accompany each chapter.

The result: a comprehensive book about child sexual abuse

I wanted the book to be about more than just my personal experiences. I wanted it to add something of value to the world. I set out to further all peoples understanding about child sexual abuse and how to heal from that. I added experiences from my practise as a coach. I included some statistics and knowledge about therapies and ways for people to heal. I directly adressed issues facing people who love someone who has been sexually abused. The result is a book I’m very proud of. A book that has been embraced by professionals and survivors alike. And a book that partners can also glean important insights from.

Final stages of publishing

The final dotting of the i’s and crossing the t’s is taking a little longer than I expected. The book is back from it’s proofreading and I’m currently working through all the corrections. Sometimes vehemently disagreeing with the comments by the corrector, sometimes making improvements that will make the book that much better. I need a little time to do this. I want the book to be the best version possible. It is for that reason that I’ve delayed the publication date by a month. The new deadline is 31 march 2014. I promise you all it will be worth the wait!