After my blog last week, I have been amazed, surprised, encouraged and shocked by the number of comments, messages, shares and re tweets. WOW! comes to mind. Thankyou to everyone who contributed.
Firstly, I am happy to say that I had never even heard of this woman, Ms Hewson ,before being sent the video that began this ‘conversation’. It has been a revelation to me. So many people, some CSA victims some people who are rightly appalled by her remarks. The worst thing, to me, in the video was when she laughed. The interviewer looked as shocked as I felt and asked her if she found sexual abuse funny. Again she laughed.
A great deal has been bandied about, telling of things she has apparently said, the nasty language she uses and her ignorant, callous and downright cruel comments about people who are coming forward with their stories. It has even been hinted that she must have a hidden agenda. I won’t comment on my own thoughts re this. Yet!
Few people say they have been sexually abused if they haven’t. The results of coming forward, of telling, can be horrible, can put the victim back in the place they may have fought years to escape from. A place of fear and terror. The last thing we need is for someone who seems to have no understanding of what being a victim of this horrendous crime means to a person, spouting nasty unhelpful and belittling opinions, based, I think on exactly that. Ignorance.
Well Ms Hewson, I will tell you a little of how life feels and how it affects you having suffered sexual abuse as a child. Not all but just a glimpse. Not about the fear, the wishing you were dead, the helplessness and feelings of guilt and shame that are heaped upon us as children; but how life is for us when we become adults. How we cope, or rather how we survive holding on to the nasties of our abused childhoods.
Sexual abuse is traumatic. Whether the incident is a single one or if the abuse is continuous over a long period of time. Life is different for the abused child. They feel isolated, scared, confused and sometimes have physical pain to endure; that is a result from the sexual ‘play’ with them, from an adult abuser. As they grow up, life does not always improve. You,Ms Hewson, think that if the abuse happened a long time ago, it ‘doesn’t really matter’! We aren’t able to ‘come forward’ as children, that is the point! Coming forward with your story, as a defenceless confused child is mostly impossible. Some do tell an adult, as I did and nothing changes.
Child victims are bullied into believing that they won’t be believed. That life will get worse for them if they tell. That somehow people will think it their fault. All the things the abuser tells them. Children depend on learning from adults, they don’t understand at the time, that the adult is making this up. Telling them lies. An Abuser often says that if the child told, he would say that the victim ‘wanted it’ to happen That it was their own fault. As children, we don’t know that any adult will understand that the abuser is the only person at fault. That none of the responsibility is the child’s. We believe what we are told, we know no different and keep quiet.
As the abused grow, the memories haunt them, they don’t go away. Sometimes they become bigger, too much to bear. It is at this point that some of the innocent people, damaged by sexual abuse, can take no more and commit suicide. Their lives taken from them by the abuse.To me, that is murder and the abuser is the murderer. In order to survive, others use alcohol, drugs, and sometimes, as with me, prescribed medication to take away the pain and dull the memory. This doesn’t make the memory disappear but dulls it enough to allow the victim to survive. Some go into prostitution. Unable to form relationships, they go to what was their ‘norm’. Sexual activity.All, I believe, suffer some degree of PTSD from the trauma.
I was abused for as far back as I can remember, so possibly from my babyhood. It wasn’t a stranger but a close family ‘friend’. He groomed me and was able to do anything he wanted as I became too scared to fight. I told. Yes I told the woman they called my mother. She didn’t want to believe me, she turned me away calling me a wicked liar. I found later that my abuser was her lover.I never told again until I wrote my autobiography, one of the first, in 2009. I was given pills that I thought were for headaches, aged 15. Life became easier, I could cope and the memories didn’t seem to hurt as much. I was dependent on this medication for the next 25 years.
Every time a victim is in the news and is not believed, doesn’t get justice, is humiliated in any way; we feel their pain. Every time we read about CSA we feel it, deep in our souls. Sometimes this triggers our memories, our nightmares our PTSD. Sometimes, even now, I am shuffed back into the nightmares of my childhood, by people like you writing or talking in such a throw away manner. It reminds me of how I wasn’t believed. .As if CSA is not an issue. In your line of work I find that very hard to accept. Does this mean you will treat abusers lightly? I really hope the past week has affected you. I hope you have read what we, the survivors and the victims have said. If it hasn’t affected, you I feel sad for you, being the person you are, must be hard.
So Ms Hewson. Don’t laugh at me. Don’t be patronizing when talking of ‘people like me’. If you have nothing constructive to say. If you can’t acknowledge victims of abuse. If you can’t understand our pain and understand that no matter how long ago we were abused. We were abused. We were victims of theft; of the most precious thing we had, our childhoods. terrorised, sometimes beaten, humiliated, hurt beyond words and those of us who have stood up , will be heard. If not by you, by each other.
Thank you for reading my blog.