Friday, February 28, 2014

Why I Choose to Talk About Sexual Abuse (a five minute friday)

My Five Minute Friday on: Choose

I have read a lot about shame. How it quiets and isolates.

The way we hide the feeling bubbling up inside — behind our reactions, our defense, a calm, in-control exterior.

Shame and fear lurk in the depths. And sometimes we don't recognize them.

We all fall victim to shame.

I am a sexual abuse survivor. And I've been working with an organization, Rise and Shine Movement, for the last 4 years helping to spread a message of childhood sexual abuse prevention.

Shame has sexual violation entangled in its snare. Wrapped around its foot, pulling it deeper and deeper into the depths.

There are warriors out there fighting — Mary, Carolyn, Erin. Speaking and writing about childhood sexual abuse. Dragging it out into the light. Hoping you will hear their message and break free from shame's grip.

We are in the middle of a battle and it's fought in our own homes with our own children.

The shame silencer makes it hard. Uncomfortable you wonder, "what do I say, when do I say it?" And that self-doubt discourages you from saying anything — hoping, praying it won't happen to your family.

But YOU are the front line. You are the foundation maker, the bridge builder with your kids.

I know you want to protect them.

You bundle up them up for the cold, take them to the doctor when they are sick, make sure they know they are extraordinarily loved, and teach them about fire safety and stranger danger…

But is sexual abuse prevention part of your parenting, too?

We want them to "say no to drugs" and we tell them about strangers taunting with candy or lost dogs. But the truth is it's almost always someone they know, someone they love and trust.

And if you don't talk to them about their bodies and that they are allowed to say no to touches that don't feel right. If you don't help them know their own boundaries and empower them to use them.

Your honest conversations reinforce that they can come to you, that you are a safe person. If we don't instruct them to yell, run, and who to tell then the predator will find them.

And you'll have to talk about it then.

We think we choose the battles we engage in. But sexual violation chooses you — the unprepared, the ignorant, and the innocent.

We can choose to face it. We can choose to talk about it. And we can do it together.



Linking today with Lisa-Jo
Five Minute Friday

8 comments:

Sheila said...

I, too, am a sexual abuse survivor. LOVED your post. So, so true. Found you on Lisa Jo's blog on FMF.

Christy Willard said...

Oh, Sheila! We are all in this together! Thanks for leaving me some encouragement! Nice to have met you!

Christy

Sonja Gerstenberger said...

Stopping over from Five Minute Fridays. Thank you for your post! What truth, even thought not easy to say, you gracefully communicated. I am really afraid for my kids when it comes to sexual abuse but your statement that we have to teach them about it just like anything else was a huge "ah ha" moment for me. Thank you.

Christy Willard said...

Sonja: Thank you for sharing this! It is not easy to talk about a topic that people are uncomfortable with. And I certainly hoped my words came off with love and grace. I'm glad you found encouragement here to make sexual abuse awareness/prevention part of your parenting routine.

Christy

rainydayinmay.com said...

I too am a survivor and I adopted two girls who came from horrendously sexually abusive pasts. I've seen, even on my blog, that the mere bearing of my soul (in a very moderate and discreet tone) about the subject matter has turned readers away. Though it's far less of a "secret" topic than 25 years ago, it's still something that makes people uncomfortable in a way that they'd rather ignore. Props to you for being bold enough to tackle it!

Jennifer Peterson said...

Amen-ing through the whole thing!! great post and thank you

Mimi said...

An amazing post Christy. You are very brave and courageous to share this very vulnerable part of your life but I feel your empowerment and your strength in your post. I feel your resolve. I want to stand up and shout "YES"! Thank you for reminding parents to talk to kids about their bodies. Too many shy away from doing so or using correct language because of embarrassment. Well done!

BARBIE said...

Thank you for your willingness to be obedient and share the truth of your journey. I was sexually abused as a child, and my daughter was also by a family member. I so appreciate you!

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