Forget-Me-Knot Day


If you can, please go to this website, print or copy the flyer to help promote Forget-me-knot day – a National Day in support of survivors of all kinds of child abuse.

If we forget about these people and what they have suffered, we can never prevent it from happening again. Please do your part in helping.

 

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A Poem that May or May Not be Relevant


In Season

When a bitch is ready

she presents herself

tail twisted out of the way

legs braced

the male dog may sniff

snuffle sweet nothings

in her ears

sniff again, then mount

or he may snuffle some more

sniff some more

go pee somewhere

and try again from a different angle

the bitch may raise

metaphorical eyebrows

twist her tail further out of the way

and redirect the errant male

legs braced,

ready,

willing

and still waiting

for him to figure out

what she has known

from the very moment

her body said, ‘Now!’

I have been present and/or assisted at many dog matings, having been a dog breeder for many years. The process can be frustrating, fruitful, sweet, irritating, disturbing, fun, hilarious and many things in between. Animals though are more in tune with their bodies, girls and boys usually come to some kind of agreement, but there is still rape at times, even with dogs. On occasion I have felt like the accomplice.

Stop Child Abuse Now!


What is the size of the problem of child abuse?

Child abuse is one of the most critical social issues facing Australia today. According to the latest figures from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2008), the problem of child abuse in Australia is becoming more serious.
In 2006-2007, there were 309 517 reports of child abuse and neglect received across Australia. This equates to 850 new reports of child abuse per day.
Over the past seven years, the number of reported cases of child abuse and neglect has almost tripled in Australia. In 1999-2000, there were 107 134 reports.
Last year, there were more children living away from their family for their own protection than ever before. The number of children in care has more than doubled from 13 979 in 1996 to 28 441 in 2007.
The picture painted by these statistics is one of stolen childhoods disrupted by pain, trauma and betrayal.
from the Australian Childhood Foundation website http://www.stopchildabusenow.com.au/

Some sobering statistics


Figure 2. Percentage breakdown of primary substantiated maltreatment types in Australia in 2009-10: Emotional abuse 37%, Neglect 28.7%, Physical abuse 22%, Sexual abouse 12.7%

 

Boys in Australia are more likely than girls to be the victim of physical abuse, while in the Northern Territory and the ACT girls were three times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than boys, based on statistics from the 2009/10 year.

Notifications of child abuse most commonly comes from these bodies: police, hospitals and health centres, and school personnel. Workers in these organisations are required/mandated to report the abuse if they suspect it has occurred. This applies to all workers, whether paid or volunteers.

Also, anyone who sees or suspects child abuse can report this to the child protection authorities in their state, even if they don’t work in the mentioned occupations. It is or should be a requirement of all good members of society to do this.

Children can’t look after themselves, and if the people who should be looking after them aren’t doing it, it’s us to us to help them get the care they  need and deserve.

 

Tell your story and heal yourself


I’m currently reading a book about resilience and there are many words there about the importance of sharing stories. Hiding the truth from others and yourself causes a person inward damage. Telling your story legitimises it and is a healing thing. Denying the stories of sufferers is a long standing ploy by the powerful to keep down the weak. Take that how you will.

The book is titled Resilience and was written by Boris Cyrulnik, translated by David Macey. I’m getting an awful lot of good stuff from this book. It’s given me satisfaction that my idea that my creative writing and sharing my personal story of the bad things in my life has been good for me is true.

Keeping things shut away doesn’t help, nor does accepting the societal ideas on things. Society is often responsible for blocking people from the accepted discourse. Think about it yourself – we’re often handed uplifting stories of heroes when the actual story is kept in the dark. Nazi Germany did, Russia has done it, colonial history of many nations including Australia has done it.

How many sexually abused children are said to have been acting in a provocative manner and brought the abuse upon themselves and so in some way deserved what happened to them. If those children are never given the chance to tell their story to others they may never be able to find a place of acceptance for themselves, within themselves.

There are many stories of the disenfranchised that are never heard, because s0meone else has another story they want us to believe. Do yourself a favour, tell your story, share it with someone who is willing to believe what you say. Don’t be surprised though at not being believed. S0me people only want to hear what makes them feel comfortable. True life has many uncomfortable stories. Telling them and accepting them will help to make you more powerful inside.

The Joys of Self Promotion


The title of this blog post is double edged. There is certainly joy to be had when you connect with people and they want to buy their own copy of your book. When you have self-published your book it is even more important to get ‘out there’ and sell copies. Many poets though are quiet people, shy and unaccustomed to tooting their own horn. But these days, even if a publishing company has published your work, you will still be expected to do some book promotion.

Some people are great at this sort of thing, some people do a reasonable job, some are terrible at it. I think I’m OK at it, but I certainly don’t know a lot about how to sell hundreds of copies of a book, when you don’t have lots of money to do it. My new and first poetry collection, ‘damaged children Precious Gems’, was written to a theme, and I feel that may be the thing that will help me to sell copies to people.

When you have a theme for your book, you can market your work to people with an interest in your theme. You can join relevant groups, either online or in the real world, and always be prepared to talk about your book. You must take care not to be too pushy though because that may turn people against you and your work.

One very important point to adhere to is this: always have copies of your book available for people to listen to, see, hold, and read. Once a person has connected with your book it can make it easier to sell them a copy. I will now always have a few copies of my book with me when I go out.

So far, for my book which I got from the printers one week ago, I have done a reasonable amount of marketing. Firstly, I started this blog, talking about the book and its them of child abuse, especially sexual abuse. I used the image that is on the front cover on my book on this blog.

I held a book launch for my book at a venue I am involved with and I invited lots of people I know to the launch. They didn’t all attend the launch, but lots of them did, and that added to the ambience of the event. I was fortunate to have Jenny Richards and Pauline Edmunds present at my book launch. Jenny wrote a wonderful foreword for my book and Pauline is the artist who did the painting that became my cover image. These lovely ladies added something extra special to the book launch.

I was able to sell a good number of books at the launch, and I also gave away some copies as I felt appropriate. Cash in hand is good, but so is having people out there who are able talk about your work in a many that might encourage others to get their own copy.

Making money wasn’t the main aim of putting together this poetry collection anyway. I have been concerned about child abuse for many years both on a personal level, but also on a broader societal level. I want to use this book to raise the profile about child abuse so that we all become more aware of the damage done to people to weak to protect themselves.

My aim is to go to various groups to talk about these issues, offering my thoughts and reading from my collection. I also want to offer my services in facilitating workshops, using creating writing as a form of personal therapy. I have been able to find a serene place in my life thr0ugh creative  writing, and I have the necessary skills to help people with process.

So there is my plan. If you have any thoughts on what I have done so far, or what I plan to do, or if you would like your own copy of my book, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Stages in the Journey


I’ve been thinking about stages in Life Journeys recently. Putting together my poetry collection, ‘damaged children Precious Gems’ was an exercise in plotting my linear journey, and writing the poems that make up the collection made me consider stages I was at before and where I was later.

I think this may be like the stages in grief – with grief you go through – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

This makes interesting reading, and if you’re facing the death of someone important to you, reading the words may help you. Each person goes through these stages if they are to reach some kind of peaceful place. We all go through the stages in our own way though and at our own pace.

The same could be said of dealing with any bad major life experience. Child abuse is certainly one of those. The thing that prompted this blog post was me thinking about two short stories I wrote many, many years ago. I wrote the first of these stories in a huge rush and once I was finished and re-read my words, I could hardly believe I had written the story. ‘Georgie Porgie’ is no sweet nursery rhyme, it’s a tale of child abuse and death. Not nice. Writing the words though, that was so cathartic!

I’d finally been able to write out words where the abused child gets revenge on the abuser. The child was the winner! The story outlines the price to be paid though, there’s always a price to be paid. In the story, the price was worth it.

The other story was written more recently, but still more than six years ago. In this story, ‘Real Life’, the protagonist is a teenager on the run from the law. She has dealt with her boss, a man who sexually abused her. The story doesn’t spell out exactly how she actually ‘dealt with’ the man, but it’s obvious it wasn’t pretty!

Thinking about the two stories now, I can see when I wrote them I was at a stage in my journey where I was playing with the idea of revenge. Both of the stories are about dealing with the ‘bad guy’ in quite vicious ways. I am not a vicious person, but writing the stories gave me a huge amount of joy. I think these two stories are good stories – one of them was awarded a prize in a short story competition, and the other one made a huge impression on the only person I’ve shared it with.

I wouldn’t write these stories now though. I am at a quite different stage now. I’ve gone past anger, bargaining, depression. I am now in the acceptance stage, acceptance and also reaching out to help others. My creative writing has been good for me, my life now is calm and I feel at peace with the things life has given to me.

I may publish these stories on this website it anyone indicates they would like to read them.

I hope people who read these words are able to make their own way through the stages, and arrive at a serene stage of their personal journey.

Statistics on sexual abuse experienced by women


It is said one in three women in Australia have experienced sexual abuse. Some people find it hard to believe that statistic, others have no trouble at all believing it. I’d like to know what other people think about it.

Please give your answer to my super short poll, and feel free to  leave a comment too.