Today has shown me that those who are causing even more stress to victims of CSA are not going way. The Barbara Hewson’s of this world. She for one, now has her audience, she is now far more ‘well known’ than before she began her onslaught. Not famous in my eyes but notorious and infamous. Sinking this low to be ‘known’ shrieks of desperation to be in the public eye. Would you want to be associated with the comments she has used? Calling victims who have come forward in these many high-profile cases, ‘nutcases, lunatics’ etc. Calling them liars and out to get compensation? I know I wouldn’t.
One of the reasons some people, those uneducated in the field of understanding CSA, doubt survivors stories, is that the person telling it as it was, reliving their horrific experiences, remember details that some of those listening find hard to believe. They doubt that anyone can remember things that happened so many years ago. Especially the details of the abuse.
Well I will educate them with my own experience as a victim and as a Psychotherapist having worked with many victims of CSA and Rape.
Any sexual abuse is traumatic. It doesn’t matter how small others may see the act as, if the person feels abused, then it will have impacted on them and been traumatic enough to embed itself in their memory. Trauma embeds memory. Not just the act of abuse but everything pertaining to it. For myself, when reliving these traumas to write I DID TELL I DID, I had to do so in the night, when the family were asleep. Complete silence and no one around. I knew what it would do to me, or at least I thought I did but was not prepared for the details and everything that came back to me, in the quiet of those nights of writing. I had always had the memories, always been able to box them up and never take off the lids. But to write my story I had to do just that. Open the box, throw the contents onto the floor in front of me and be back in the place the abuse happened. I would become 7 again, even younger sometimes. The memories brought back the smells, the sounds and the emotions of the time the abuse had happened. But mostly, the fear. Traumatic, scary times that were always lurking at the back of my mind until that time. I remembered every single detail and felt as scared and helpless as I did back when I was Cassie the little girl. Revisiting my own CSA was horrific and dragged me back to a time and place I never wanted to go to but knew I had to, to share my story. There were very few books like mine out there back in 2009 and I wanted to let others who had suffered, know they were not alone.
So, as a victim, I know how hard retelling of these nasty evil accounts can be. The reason for today’s blog is two-fold. Firstly to tell how it is from someone who knows and secondly to reflect to myself whether or not I would have been brave enough to do what these courageous survivors are doing today. I hope they will gain some peace of mind and justice. If the enquiries ever come to an end, I worry how much damage may be done to them when people call them, liars, nutcases etc. Has Ms Hewson thought of that? I doubt she cares.
So, would I have ‘outed’ my abuser? I like to think I would have. Would it have made a difference when I found out who he was? Well yes, it made a huge difference at the time but would not have influenced me not to tell.. I hadn’t heard the word ‘incest’ back then but knowing who he was to me, made the whole nasty situation so much worse. How would I have felt if someone called me a liar? Well years and years after writing my story, telling my truth, I was called a liar. Not because the truth wasn’t believed but because it was the only way a family member, my youngest sister, Anne, could hurt me at that time, through my writing. So I know how it feels to be called a liar, after all, that is what the ‘woman they called my mother’ called me when as a child, after I told her what was happening. To speak out and have to revisit horrors that no child should suffer and to be called a liar, hurts more than I can tell you.
I didn’t have the option of telling openly so I wrote my story under a pseudonym. But now, when I see how survivors and victims trying to become survivors are treated by some, I use the royal ‘we’ and place myself firmly at their sides. This I suppose could make me a victim of bullying by the Ms H’s of this world, but it would never make me stop.
The latest insult is to hear that she thinks ‘people’ are coming forward in order to claim compensation! Well, believe me Ms Hewson, no amount of money could compensate for the suffering of genuine survivors of CSA! Sexual abuse at any age is horrific and can lead to devastating long-term issues for the victim. Re telling this abuse, over and over to legal personnel, judges, etc; laying yourself bare to the public and putting yourself in this vulnerable place where people call you a liar, insult you and laugh at you, is no picnic. Personally, telling my husband and daughters and the sons of my abuser, was traumatic and painful beyond words. I have worked with clients who tell me their story, showing me the pain and horror they felt, changing in front of me, sometimes curling up in their chair as babies do, becoming that hurt and terrified child in order to rid themselves of the legacy of abuse. No amount of money is worth that.
Name calling, laughing at people, belittling them are all signs of a bully. It shows a lack of vocabulary. But most of all it shows a huge lack of compassion.
Never belittle those who have suffered in a way you have no insight to. Don’t insult those who are braver than you or laugh at those who are trying to be strong. It doesn’t take much to do anything of these things but it takes courage, strength, integrity and honesty to tell the story of your own demons, your own childhood sexual abuse.
Don’t let anyone stop you.
Thankyou for reading.x