To live with a secret

winter 01-14The big secret

Sexual abuse is something we don’t want to talk about. People around the victims often find it more difficult to talk about, than the survivor themselves. But breaking the silent secret for the first time, is a chore.

Act like an ostrich

We much rather stick our heads in the sand, like ostriches than to realize that one out every 4 girls and one out of every 6 boys are sexually abused before they’re 16 years old. Maybe if we don’t talk or think about this, it might go away…..

It doesn’t happen to us

We all know there are big scary men ( and women!) in this world. Some of them will do the unthinkable and hurt our kids. To think that our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, people we trust may actually hurt our children is something we don’t want to deal with.

But I don’t know anyone who’s been sexually abused

I often hear: “I don’t know anybody who’s been sexually abused.” When I ask if they’ve ever brought up the subject the answer is no. Almost nobody does and so the secrets continue. Then, when I speak to them later they tell me a different story: “I told my family/friends about your book and I couldn’t believe it! I know several people who’ve been sexually abused, I just never knew this about her/him. And we’ve been best friends for years! Or it’s someone in church or club, even familymembers.

Reward of secrecy is loneliness

Few of us choose to live a life in complete solitude. Human nature is to want to share. To be in the company of (like-minded) people. To talk about our daily stuff. Just look at all the trivial Facebook messages. Sharing is fun.

Not being able to share is true loneliness

But when you can’t share your big secret you’re truly alone. You’ve been told from an early age that “Nobody will understand, so don’t you dare talk about our secret.”
To break the silence now has become a huge individual struggle.

Is anybody listening???

Then when you finally find the courage to share your secret where do you go?
Who wants to listen? Fortunately the taboo around sexual abuse is very slowly dissolving. Media, social workers, eventually friends and family cannot deny the fact that it happens. Often. Way too often. Helpfull friends mean well, but often don’t have the necessary tools to help you. A specialized therapist wil help you break your silence and help you heal.

Are we ready?!

Is society ready to listen to your stories? Can we find the right words to discuss this topic without falling back on words like: “victim”. Or even “survivor.” How about “Thriver”. I like that. It shows someone who has healed from trauma. Who doesn’t just live his/her life but thrives.

Hero

Still, I suggest the term Hero.
Luctor et emergo: I struggle and emerge.
I don’t underestimate the struggle. Far from it. But through my struggles I started to live.
In living my life I started to thrive.
To become a hero in my own life.
Start rewriting your life story today- with you as the hero!

 

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

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