Ways We Harm Children

  • Every time you tell a child to sit down and wait, and then ignore them, we are damaging that child.
  • Every time we promise a child something we know we cannot give them we are damaging that child.
  • Every time we favour our own wants over those of a child, we are damaging that child.
  • Every time we favour someone else’s child over our own, we are damaging that child.
  • Every time we leave our child with someone else when we go to something interesting, that they would have been capable of doing, viewing, seeing, too, we are damaging that child.
  • There are other ways, but I expect you have understood what I am saying here – our children deserve every good experience we can give them, so they can grow and learn to be good and resilient people. Because no parent is perfect, no matter how hard they try, but working through their imperfect upbringing is one of the tools our children can and will use, to become that resilient we want them to be, for their own good, for all of us who will ever come into contact with that child, all through their life.


Because you know what, it’s true – Those damaged children can still learn, and grow, and become fine people, if they can get the love and attention they need, sometimes, from someone. If you are a parent, and you want your child to be the best they can be, for themselves, and yes, and for you, their parent too, do them a favour, do society a favour, and pay attention to your child, as much and as often as you can.

Children learn things in a vast number of different ways. They learn by seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, but also but less obvious ways, and they are sensing things and learning things, every single day. They copy, they try things out, they practice, they experiment – if they see you doing something, you’d do best to make sure it’s something you’ll feel OK if they do the same thing, because they will do it.


Can you blame them? Parents and other relevant adults in a child’s life are those they will learn from, as well of course as television and other forms of media, and from their friends, and everyone else they see. If you want your child to read books, make sure they see you reading books, read to them, give them books, take them to libraries! If you want them to eat good food, do the same yourself, and have good and nutritious food available for them.

Take your child for walks, visit museums and art galleries, try out things with your child – horse riding, kite flying, gardening, mountain climbing, watching sport, taking part in sport, everything and anything, if you do it with your child, they will learn as you both learn, strengthening themselves as you strengthen your relationship with your child.


Women and Children, Potential Victims …

I am finding these kinds of thoughts come to my mind often, these days, and today wrote a poem about problems women may face when a man decides to do the ‘wrong thing’. I am writing a poem a day, every day, for all of February, and a surprising range of subject matter is coming out of my brain!

So the poem written today, which is here, is only related in a sideways kind of way to the subject of child abuse, but really, sexual abuse, no matter the age or gender, is still an awful thing. Abuse is abuse, and it is always wrong.

I find writing poetry helps me to feel a level of control over my life, and I enjoy looking at what I think, after I have written a new poem, sometimes I even impress myself, which is always a lovely thing to do, if things have been going not so well, as can happen sometimes.

Dogs, disability, friendship, plants, Nature, pop culture, children, eating good food, community, and even more things, I can write about them all!

If these issues are of interest to you, please feel free to go to the other blog site, and perhaps take a look at the other things I’ve been writing poetry about – my topics of interest are wide and varied, happy, sad, good, and bad …

Pedophiles Back in the News

So thanks to a couple of Australian politicians, Peter Dutton and Derryn Hinch, pedophiles are back in the news, with many people demanding something gets done about this terrible thing to do. Children are precious citizens, and possible world leaders in the making. Ill treatment when young though, can cause PTSD, which can cause many different problems for the entire life of the victim. These problems can be physical or mental, or both, and can be further unwelcome reminders about what happened to them earlier.

There are many who say the actions suggest by the politicians are nowhere near as effective as is being suggested. I am no expert in these things, I am a victim of a pedophile though. If it had been known that the man who abused me was liable to do such things, I certainly hope the adults in charge of my welfare would have taken action to prevent it from happening.

So is that the kind of thing adults who care for children, parents, guardians, teachers need to know about? Postcodes of sexual abusers of children, that are know about by the authorities. Postcodes cover quite large areas sometimes, and knowing there are X number of pedophiles in a particular area could be quite meaningless, in reality. Quite frightening too, and on a financial basis, bad for property values, to be totally realistic.

Something I do know, is that the talk about these kinds of things bring back memories, awful memories, of things an abused person doesn’t want to remember. And of course there are so many abusers out there who are doing their terrible things inside their own family home, completely unknown to the authorities. This ‘newsworthiness’ may possibly encourage victims to come to those authorities, and possibly bring the abusers to justice.

But one thing that is far more likely to happen is that victims are going to go on facing the reality of what has been done to them, long after the abuse, so it can feel like the pain and hurt just keep on going, with no end in sight.


A Life Mission?

I am a simple person, but I have some big ideas. I have the feeling I can help other people, indeed, I feel I must do work that helps others. I am community minded, and take good things from the works I do that connect with other people in ways that are helpful.

I am not a saint, by any means, although have a silly idea that I may one day become a secular saint, I know I don’t really believe I could do that, it’s just for a bit of a giggle really. Having a silly giggle every now and then adds fun times to life, don’t they? Life can get almost unbearably serious at times …

But life is serious at times, and another of my ‘things I’d like to do’ is to become a public speaker, and one of the things I feel I must speak out about is domestic violence, and sexual violence in general. I have my own story, which I have worked through via poetry, as a form of narrative therapy.
My poetry collection with the same name as this blog haleped me to come to terms with the sexual abuse I received from men known to me, when I was much younger. No-one should ever face that, it is as close to evil as things can get, I feel. I went for some years in my life when I didn’t write much poetry at all, but I am certainly writing a lot more these days.

If I can share my poetry, and make connections to other people who have suffered in some of the ways I have, and I can show to them, through my life which is going along well, that thngs can get better, I would be so glad … I know sharing my own story brought me a sense of understanding and a level of peace. I hope others can find the same.
We all have our own unique story, with some matching connections. The poem below talks of this, and I hope others can find a sense of ease through the reading of this poem. Being able to be heard is a wonderful thing when you have been told to keep quiet the awful things you have faced in life.
Telling Their Stories …

If you wait for that time when, finally
After years of silence, you will be able to do it,
Speak with an unshaken voice, unblock words
that stick in your throat so you choke, barely able
To utter sound without giving in to the shaky voice
You fear will take away the true meaning
Of what you have to say. This will ensure
Your words remain unspoken, you want to
Speak, but don’t. I give no blame, many others
Suffer too in silence. Yes, silent when they have
Much to say, but, but, always but … they want
To sound firm, in charge, strong. Not a girl,
Shaky-voiced, but a strong-voiced woman, one
with a story that needs to be told, & told again
& again – a story that must to be heard. Know this –
That strong-voiced woman standing proud
And strong, telling the story of her troubled life,
Found her strength, in the telling of her tale,
In blessings given, in tears shared, in hugs
From grateful others, those with voices
That shake, with truth, with pain, with hate,
With love, & with hope. May they too, one day,
Tell their stories, & find their strong voice,
In telling stories, they too have, waiting to be told …

If this poem speaks to you, please find people who will be there with you and for you if and when you need them. I have some wonderful friends, each of us damaged in ways that should never have happened, but all of us wearing our scars proudly, and still going on with our lives, and loving our connection with each other.

Domestic Abuse Takes Many Forms

When the average person thinks of domestic abuse, they usually think of a woman being beaten by their male spouse. This is not unusual, and in fact is probably a common scenario – the man gets angry, and belts the woman.

But Domestic Abuse, or Domestic Violence can be much more than that, and can happen to partners or either gender. And the Abuse that happens may leave no visible marks on the victim’s skin, no cuts or bruises, to prove they were a victim at all, not physically, anyway.

But the scars may be in the victim’s psyche, and they may not even really recognise that what has happened to them is even abuse at all. These abusers can seem to be fine people, to other members of the community, and the person who is being abused can feel like they are totally alone in their sad and sorrow world.

And of course women are not the only victims, sometimes they can be abusers as well, both physically, and emotionally. And of course in homosexual relationships, things can go every bit as bad as in heterosexual relationships. But what all of us must realise that any victim of abuse is a person who must be helped to find a way out of that damaging relationship.

I now live a good life, and am certainly glad of that, and grateful. But in my childhood, I was sexually abused, and again as a teenager. But I found ways to get through that abuse, struggling to find the ways and means. Creative writing has helped me too, in a huge way, and I am glad for finding my way to a better life through my poetry. I have a poetry collection, with the same title as this blog, and the writing of these poems, and the process of putting them all together has been enormously therapeutic for me, as I know creative writing, and narrative therapy have helped others.

write yourself well flyer

One of my roles in life I am most proud of doing is to help other people to work through ‘things’ in their lives. Looking at ways to find other, better ways to think and be. I don’t have any more training in these things beyond my Community Services Work training, and my own lived experience, but I have used these skills, and I know I am doing good things. Helping other people is a good thing, no-one could deny that.

Building up self-esteem in people who feel they aren’t ‘as good as’ other people is another way I am happy to help others. When things have gone wrong for you, sometimes you will even be down on yourself too, but I believe there are good things in most people, and they deserve being recognised for the good things there in them.

These things can all go together, easily, the abuse, the struggles to get through the ‘rubbish’ of their life, and the lack of self-esteem. I am hoping these things will come together in a more structured way for me next year, and I can reach out and help many more people who deserve and need a lift up in their lives. Helping others helps me too, and I invite others to think about how they can help others too.

Rape – Natural or Not?

When Remembering Hurts

Victims of sexual abuse are sometimes (often actually), further traumatised in the process of the abuser being arrested and then sent, through the court process, to jail (if found guilty). Having to go back over the terrible things done to you is likely to cause further damage to the victim of abuse.

And the traumatised brain doesn’t like further trauma, and remembering relevant details can be difficult for the victim of abuse, in many different ways. On a personal level, I can’t remember all of the details of the abuse I received from a ‘family friend’ when I was a child, of about six or seven. I certainly know who my abuse was, but the intricate details of exactly what happened are more or less lost.

My abuser has been dead for many years now. I know, from things I’ve since been told, that the same person may have abused others, in various ways. I don’t know the details of their stories either. Should I know, should I track down every dirty detail, and thing further on them? I don’t think so.

I have gone on in my life to much better things than that abuse. I am a connected and caring member of my community. I think my resilience in life may have developed from being able to survive that abuse, who knows? If I were to go through therapy with a suitable therapist, who knows, we may come up with every single disgusting thing done to me by that man, back when I was an innocent child. But do I want that? No.

write yourself well flyer

He is dead, and unable to hurt anyone again, unless they allow what happened to them against their will, comes back to haunt them. If I went through that, I don’t think that could bring me more peace than what I already have in my life. I did my own form of therapy, writing thehorror of it out of my head, onto paper, in poetry. Narrative therapy, dealing with things through writing, that is how I have found peace.

bottle brush

And connecting with others who have also suffered in similar ways, being with them, having great times with them, these things are healing for us all. We turn our backs on the bad stuff that has happened in our lives, and move beyond it, from victim to survivor, and certainly for me and some others, thrivers! Life after abuse can be beautiful!


Thinking about ‘Closure’

What is this obsession about ‘Closure’ anyway? Things happen, we get over them and move on. No need to tick some box called ‘Closure’ before we can move on. And even if you think you’ve ticked that Closure box, reality can creep up behind you and kick you in the bum so hard you won’t know what or who did it.
I’m thinking ‘Closure’ is a New Age thing, that wants to sell us something called closure without any thought to how people actually truly manage to deal with the bad things in life.
There is no Closure box to be ticked for grief, or heartbreak, or any other emotional loss. These things take time, and this Closure thing seems to be trying to convince us otherwise.
A tree doesn’t seek ‘closure’ …
The creation of this Blog, and the publishing of the book that happened around the same time, these were items in my lifetime that helped me to move forward along my path of healing. I am so glad I was able to create these avenues to connect with others who are travelling their own similar path.
I have never thought the creation of this blog, and this book, meant I had achieved ‘Closure’, as if that meant I was finally ‘healed’ of the emotional distress I have had in my life from my initial abuse. There is no such process that works like that, where you can simply go tick, closure done, all good now.
All it could take is that smell, combined with that scared feeling, and then that creepy hug and kiss, and oh, no, it all comes back to me. Yes all these years after the abuse, and the things that occurred when I was a teen, the feelings of being a victim who is unable to be safe, can come back.
I have found a great life, with the man I love, we have a great son who is doing well in life, and I have a career that brings me, if not loads of money, at least much enjoyment in life. I have great friends, I do great things in and for my community, and life is good. But I haven’t ‘found Closure’.
Instead, I have lived and I have learned and I have developed understanding and resilience, so that I am able to deal with these things that can arrive when things in life go seem to be heading toward bad ways.
I have read that this whole ‘Closure’ thing is a marketing ploy, so we will all try to find the thing that will bring us ‘Closure’, as if that is a thing you can get at a workshop, in a book, in a store, or in any other way outside of ourselves.
The thing we’re trying to find isn’t that kind of outer thing, the thing we’re after is something inside of ourselves more, I think. It’s something that maturity, understanding and insight can bring to us, if we are open to it. It may be like happiness, a thing that is always there, waiting for us to be in the right frame of mind, and the right time and place for it, before we can feel it.
Mindset is an important aspect of all of this. If one cannot have that openness to what becomes our new truth, and indeed, if one thinks ‘Closure’ is something that comes from outside of us, then one’s mindset may well actually prevent us from ever being able to achieve that magical closure thing, in any way.
You may do the course, and tick the box, but still feel dissatisfied with the life you’re having. This can lead to self-blame, and anger at yourself, and at others. But it may be because you are looking in the wrong places for understanding, love, acceptance, and healing.
Settle back, look around inside of yourself, think about what you love, what you like and don’t like, change some things, accept or not as appropriate, learn and move the way that looks like it will feel right for you. If you can’t see any improved way, don’t worry, but continue with life anyway, and be open to all. It will come, of you let it …
It isn’t ‘Closure’ you need, it’s friends, family, things to be proud of, things you love to do, things you have planned, lots and lots of things, including, most importantly, a feeling that you are important in this life, that you can make a difference and have meaning in life.
Missy doesn’t search for closure, she makes sure she has great things in her life, and she cherishes them …
The article at the link above prompted some of these thoughts, but really, I feel like this article has been brewing inside of me for some time.
Meaning in life isn’t a thing you work toward and then achieve, so you can give it a tick – it’s a thing to work toward, seking to achieve, and that will be with you for the rest of your wonderful life!
I’d love to hear what others think about this.

Festival Keynote Speech – Truth

The Adelaide Plains Poets will be holding a Festival very soon, on the subject of truth. The Adelaide Plains Festival of Words (Truth). The Keynote Speaker is Kathy Parker. She is a blogger, poet, and public speaker, with a story to tell. https://kathyparker.com.au/ Kathy will be telling some personal stories, her own and possibly yours. It will be candid, honest and raw.

Some people may not like what she may say, I’m not sure, but I am sure that I will learn and I will find connections with Ms Parker’s story and my own. I suspect also that many others present will find connections too.

We are currently thinking about the stories that have been coming out from women, and some men too, of sexual abuse. The truth has been hidden for many years, and I’m sure there are still many untold stories. But the truth is still there, told or untold, and both the abused ones, and those who did the abuse, know the truth of it.

If you have a story, please don’t hold it inside yourself, festering, rotting your mental health, blinding you to your true worth. We are not to blame, us victims. The ones to blame are the perpetrators, the men, and yes, sometimes women, who abused vulnerable victims, and who in many cases, escaped from prosecution, for a variety of reasons.

Even if your own story is decades old, it can still damage you, please seek help, talk to others, share your story, so the burden can be at least in part lifted from you. Speak to a trusted friend, your doctor, speak to someone … picture jen 013_editedOr if there is no-one to speak to, you may be able to find help in creative writing, as I, and Kathy Parker, and many others have done. Creative writing is truly an aid to recovery, whether you share the words or not.


So Much Abuse, There’s No Excuse!

The more I wander around the online world, the more I see stories of abuse of children. Today there was a news post on the television too, talking about the amount of abuse of children in the Northern Territory. On the TV, on Facebook, on Twitter, in conversations between friends, the stories of these horrendous cases of abuse are there, it’s impossible to keep away from them, unless one puts their head in the sand and refuses to look at the truth.

Telling me the offender had bad things happen to them too, as a child though, that may make me a little more inclined to give an offender some sympathy. But any adult of moderate intelligence at least, should understand the basic fact that sexually abusing children is not only an awful and disgusting thing to do, it is also against the law.

So a bad upbringing might impact on a person, in terms of what they may be willing to do. A person may have not been taught good behaviour, by the adults in their lives, but surely the education system, the media, and their peers should give them lessons in living a morally good life. If you think of children, and see them as possible sex objects, then you are not thinking the correct way about children.

Children learn their own behaviour from every thing they see and do. Adults in a child’s world all have a role in helping that child to learn. I hope all children only have good adults in their lives, teaching them good things, things that will help the child to become a good person, one who tries to do the correct and moral thing. Choices are ours to make, be a good person, be kind, help instead of hindering. It shouldn’t be that difficult to follow those guidelines.