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Apr 5, 2011

This is for all the survivor out there, and to everyone who wonders how survivors are made.

1) "No one will believe you if you tell"

I'd like to say "the truth is, everyone will believe you if you tell". I'm much too honest of a person to say that. Families very often are the least likely to believe a child who comes forward and speaks of abuse, especially if they are being abused by a family member. Many survivors speak of their recovery starting the moment they told someone who believed them. Word to the wise- if someone tells you they were abused, believe them. Or at the very least, tell them you believe them.

2) "You're enjoying this as much as I am"

One time I heard a survivor say "the gentler the touch, the more guilty the child". There is so much truth to that, and if I had heard that ten years before, my recovery probably would have moved a whole lot faster.

Our genitals have the same nerve endings in them early in our pre-natal development that they have when we're teenagers. That means that a particular sexual touch that causes phyiscal arousal for an adult will also cause it for a child. It doesn't mean the child is enjoying the experience, it just means the child's nervous system is working as it should. The act of being sexually abused is so overwhelming, and the child is usually so frightened and confused that they rarely cry, fight back or try to flee. Once again, this isn't consent, but a predator will interpret it as such.

Children tend to believe what they're told. And that includes the lies a sex offender uses against them. The "you're enjoying this as much as I am" one tends to cause guilt, and that can be crippling. If you're sexually active when you're A KID, you must have something wrong with you. And so starts the body hatred and so many myraid issues that sexual abuse survivors are left to deal with.

3) this is normal/natural/common

People tend to select friends who are like themselves. I don't entirely understand it, but sex offenders have been finding each other long before the internet. That's how child porn, and sometimes children, got trafficked in the "good old days". If you surround yourself with like-minded people, you start to feel normal, reguardless of how far outside mainstream society your little group is. Sex offenders want to believe what they're doing is normal and harmless, because otherwise, they're forced to believe they're pretty sick and deviant. And often, sex offenders were sexually abused as children, and they use their own predatory behavior to convince themselves that they didn't suffer at the hands of their abuser. Sometimes it's easier to build your entire world around a lie than to believe a painful truth. And sadly, child sexual abuse is "normal" in the sense that it is COMMON- 20% of all children in this country will be sexually victimized by their 18th birthday. But it's not harmless, and it's not right. Ever.

4) I'll kill you/someone in your family if you tell 

Well, this one sure as hell can seem true. If someone has enough power over you to rape you, it sure seems like they can kill you. And the fact that this person with so much power shows the occassional iota of mercy can cause survivors to develop Stockholm Syndrome. Sometimes on TV you'll see a victim fiercely defending their abuser, and usually that's what's going on.

20% of kids are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. About 10% of them disclose their abuse while they're still children. If 2% of the children in America got murdered by people who sexually abuse them, we'd sure as hell hear about it. It probably does happen from time to time. That's why if a child ever discloses sexual abuse to you, you need to call the authorities, not just tell the kid's parents. Doing the right thing makes you a hero, cutting corners and doing the wrong thing can put the child in danger.

5) You're ruined now

OK, I've never heard of a pedophile acutally using this one, especially since they're usually more interested in convincing themselves and their victims that they're not doing anything wrong. But I'm paraphrasing what my mother told me. My mom told me that rape victims might as well kill themselves. And then she let my uncle rape me. Did that ever raise some questions in my young mind. But I knew, even then, that she was simply using me as a mirror with which to see herself and her wretched life. My mom was sexually abused as a child. I guessed that years before she told me. She bears every characteristic scar that survivors tend to bear.

I certainly bear some myself, but there is sooo much more to me and my life. There are so many things I've done that fill me with pride, joy, accomplishment. I have friends. There are people in this world who love me. I have tallents and skills. I have lots and lots of fun. And I keep getting better. To all you survivors out there, don't believe anyone or anything that says abuse dooms you to a life that isn't worth living. Take it from me.

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Posted: Tuesday April 5, 2011, 1:19 pm
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melanie blow
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