As so many of you now know, I was molested by the youth minister of the church I attended. I keep saying this because it is integral to my healing.
In order for me to heal, the first step in the process is to acknowledge the heinous crime that occurred. I will not dress it up with a softer vernacular in order to make some feel comfortable reading this. It needs to be called what it is – the rape, molestation and abuse of a child.
I say this because people need to be made to feel uncomfortable. I will not tone it down or make it go away. For those that have been through it, it NEVER goes away and because the issue of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has remained in the dark for so long, this harsh language is required to get people’s attention. For these reasons I choose to make people face this as the victims have to do: Head on with Evil.
I have found 4 steps that are helping me heal and wanted to pass them along in the hopes of helping as many survivors of CSA as possible. These are simplistic in nature, and only one of the many things I’m doing to aid my recovery. But as I learned a long time ago, sometimes getting “back to the basics” can be a useful tool in creating any type of success.
1) Admitting What Acts of CSA Occurred:
By this I mean the survivor must admit in detail exactly what occurred. Just as a person who was raped must tell the police specifically what happened in the crime against them, so too must a survivor of CSA admit to themselves precisely what the pedophile did. The reason for this is in order to move forward, one must first acknowledge what happened in the past. This cannot occur with a simple, “John Smith molested me”. The survivor must say to themselves everything that they can recall. This not only helps them to begin the process of healing by moving forward, it also helps them to see the predator for what they are and for what they did. Moreover, if the statute of limitations have not expired and the survivor is capable of bringing charges against the sexual predator, it allows law enforcement to have the necessary information to move forward with an indictment and in gaining a successful prosecution, conviction and sentencing. This too, as challenging as it is, begins the process by enabling the survivor to go through the growing pains of the first steps toward healing.
2) Seek Professional Help:
Whether it is through the support of family, the guide of a therapist, gaining insight from books, or the structure of a group therapeutic setting, the survivor needs to seek and receive assistance from a professional in order to continue to work through the process of healing. There are simply too many intricacies in the human psyche for an individual to attempt to do this on their own. Too many people have committed suicide, overdosed on drugs, become alcoholics/drug addicts in an attempt to numb the pain caused by abuse. I know this from my own addiction to narcotics. That was my attempt to cover the pain and all it ever got me was incarcerated, destroyed relationships, unemployed and broke. Do not make the same mistake I did, get the help of a professional who has been trained to help people who have been through what we have.
3) Take The Power Back From The Predator:
The survivor must and can take back the power that the predator stole away when they abuse began. How this is accomplished is by using the first two steps to reestablish the person’s self-esteem and self-worth. Once your esteem and worth has been regained, then you have the strength to say to that person that attacked you, you no longer have the ability to control the outcome of my life. For too long my life has been a reaction to what occurred – from now on, I decide how to act, rather than react. By taking this step, a survivor can begin to finally, truly enjoy every moment.
4) Take Responsibility For Your Own Actions:
You are now a grown man/woman who has the tools to work through your healing process. Although what you went through is arguably the worst thing any child can endure, you now have the tools to grow and heal and may no longer blame anyone else for your actions. It is your life, not your assailants. You have taken back the power that they stole and you are in charge of your life.
Now you have the ability to move forward and even help others who have been through the same thing – this will continue to help you heal, and as has been shown, no one can help a survivor like another survivor.
I know, as I mentioned at the beginning, these are simplistic in nature but I truly believe taking these first steps, on any level, are positive and a way to begin a path toward healing. No one deserved to go through what we did as children, so do whatever you need to do to help yourself heal. Times are different now, people will listen and assistance is available. I know because I’m living proof of the goodness of others who were willing to help me. It took me a long time to be willing to share, to be vulnerable, but by taking that first step I have a peace I thought would never exist. I won’t lie and tell you everyday is rainbows and unicorns, but it’s a damn site better day today than the the day before and from 7 years ago when I first admitted what happened to me. Help, healing and hope do exist and can for you too.
“To the world you may be one person…but to one person you may be the world.”
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