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’.