My Damaged Child Story

October 22, 2011


I’m heartened by the kind regards from people who have read my poetry collection. I am glad they have been helped by reading my words.

I wish to eventually take my poetry to other troubled people in the hope of helping them find a more peaceful place to be. Being abused is a terrible thing, but being abused by people who should be taking care of you is surely one of the most awful things that can happen to a young person.

I’m lucky in that the man who abused me when I was a child wasn’t actually a relative. I called him uncle, as all of the children who knew him did, but he was simply a man who boarded with my grandmother. I found some peace when I first wrote a poem about my experience, and named him.

He is long gone now, and I certainly don’t mourn him. I suspect there was  no-one much at all who was sorry when this man died. He had been a drinker at his local hotel, but I think that was the extent of his socialising, apart from taking part in family things my grandmother held or attended.

I disliked the man, and I know my mother didn’t like him either. She told me recently that she thought my female cousins may have had something not nice happen with Les as well, but she wasn’t sure about the details.

I know this man was estranged from his family. He was a help to my grandmother, doing handyman type things when he wasn’t at the hotel drinking. I have no idea whether my grandmother had any idea about these nasty things her boarder did. It’s too late now, he’s dead, she’s dead.

I’m a survivor, and I wish the same for other victims of child sexual abuse. I firmly believe creative writing made all the difference for me. I am available to assist others who wish to explore this.

email me.   jeebers@bigpond.com

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I’m currently reading ‘Sex Offenders and Preventative Detention – Politics, Policy and Practice’ by Bernadette McSherry and Patrick Keyzer.

It’s been an interesting read so far, looking in particular at how these issues has been dealt with in three different jurisdictions. I’m interested to see what the final conclusions are. Reading is only going in slow sections though – I feel that not overdoing it will help me to stay OK with some of the things I’m reading.

I’m a person who doesn’t believe in simply locking people up, I believe society needs to do more than just that. Some people who commit crimes have problems that have caused them to not be able to see better ways of doing things. Maybe I’m a bit naïve about this, but the statistics on detention certainly don’t convince me otherwise.

Punishment without any other help is never going to show criminals better ways. I hope this book will show me ideas that can work or/and have worked. As one person, I can still be an advocate, we all can have that role, if we know better ways.

I’ll continue reading and report back on this site when I have more to say.

A New Friend

October 18, 2011


I’ve had a lovely time this morning, having coffee, nibble and chat with a new friend who is shaping up to being an important friend. I have my health issues, and K has her health issues, we spoke in passing about those, but Art and our own Art Therapy was the main topic for the morning.

K is a wonderful artist and shared some of her drawings with me. I’d never seen any of her drawing before and I was blown away by the gentle loveliness of her images. They were coloured with pencils and spoke of much talent. I wish I was able to so something similar, but visual arts aren’t my skill, I’m better with words.

I hope this friendship will continue, I feel the need to travel down roads that are new to me, and having coffee and chats with K will take me down that different road. We have things in common, but also each have new thoughts and ideas to offer the other. Surely, that is part of what a new friendship can/should be.

There is no way to know before time where this friendship may go, but I’m glad I took the chance and followed up on the coffee invitation. I know more about K, and I know more about K’s illness now than I knew before.

My health issues are physical ones mostly, relating to Multiple Sclerosis. K’s health issues are mental health ones mostly, relating to Schizophrenia, but the way we connected today was wonderful. I feel I was with someone who understood me. I hope K felt the same way about me.

Mental Health is a subject that can be frightening to many people, I want to know more and understand it better. The main thing I can take from my coffee and chat this morning is that K is a person, first and foremost, a person. I am a person, K is a person and that’s the most important thing.

We are just people, living our lives as best we can. We’re not scary or dangerous, we’re just people. Take that thought away and apply it to everyone you meet. The most important thing is that they are people, just like you and me.

 

Read it in the Paper

October 7, 2011


I read the letters section of the Advertiser recently. The Advertiser is the paper for people living in Adelaide and South Australia. On this particular day, there were some letters referring to child abuse and sex abuse. Some of the stories I read made me wish I could reach through the paper to give the writer a hug. These people knew the effects of these forms of abuse because they had lived through it.

It was obvious though that other letter writers just didn’t understand the issue. They felt the adults should have been able to ‘get over’ what happened to them years ago when they were children. But of course our childhood years are when we do most of our learning. When the things we are learning deal with abuse, sex and disrespect of our privacy, it’s difficult for the child to learn the best and most ways to behave.

If the child sees only abuse and twisted versions of love, what chance to they have of learning how to love properly? Fortunately, some of these  children meet people who may be able to help them better ways, but they may be terribly damaged before they get to that point in their life.

In prison, a significant proportion of the inmates have suffered various forms of abuse, often going all the way back to their childhood. When you don’t grow up with caring parents who are there to show you the proper forms of right and wrong, but show you a debased version instead, it can be almost impossible for a child to learn.

I’m not saying the abuse and criminal behaviour necessarily go hand in hand, but the statistics are there…

So if you ever hear of people still suffering from things that happened to them years ago, why not listen to their words and offer comfort to them, instead of telling them to ‘get over it’.


The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.– Mahatma Gandhi

 

This quote echoes my own feelings regarding forgiveness. I am happy to forgive people for their actions. I will do all I can to help them realise what they’ve done wrong, and how they can make up for their error. Forgiveness is held to be a good thing to do by most mental health experts for most things.

Certain transgressions are deemed to be different. For instance most experts would not encourage a person who was sexually abused to forgive the one who was their abuser and allow them back into their life. The safety of the victim should be paramount.

As a victim of child sexual abuse I didn’t think about these things. It’s only been in the years since as an adult that I’ve begun to think about these issues. The man who offended against me when I was quite young is dead now. I understand a little about why he may have felt the need to do what he did.

I certainly don’t think he did a good thing, and if things had been different, I believe he should have gone to jail for what he did. Death is the final thing in life though, and I’m satisfied that he can no longer harm anyone.

This man was living a sad life – he’d lost contact with his family for reasons unknown to me, and he relied on alcohol to help him through life to some extent. His life was certainly not a life anyone would wish for. But what happened to me wasn’t what anyone would wish for either.

Now I ask myself, do I forgive this man? I find I can’t actually say I would welcome him back into my life if he were still alive. But I can acknowledge that he was part of my learning about life, even though it took many years to learn the lessons of it.

I don’t know enough to know if people like this man can be rehabilitated and allowed back into the lives of vulnerable people. I hope that it is possible though, and if it is possible, then that rehabilitation should happen for the good of society, and for the good of the offender.

These are my thoughts, and I would love to read comments on this from other people.