The person who first sexually abused me when I was a child has been dead for a long time now. The effects of that abuse still rattle around in the back of my mind though, coming out to the forefront of my thoughts occasionally. When a child has their confidence in the safety of their home, or home substitute is abused. they may find it difficult to feel safe anywhere again.

I am currently hearing stories about institutional abuse by teachers, preachers and others in positions of power over children. This abuse is appalling to hear about/read about, and I wish wasn’t having it put up there on the TV screen, on the radio or in the newspapers. But it’s happening, and having the stories taken out of my view, but still occurring would be an awful things still.

It’s necessary for society to hear about such things, and it’s necessary for offenders, when found, to be properly punished. This punishment cannot stop the event from having happened, but it can work toward building up trust again, and life can move toward a safer inner place, perhaps. When stories of abuse are told, and believed, it can hearten those abused, that their own story may begin to be believed to.

This telling of personal stories, and sharing them with people who truly understand, because they have a similar story, is an important thing. Women’s groups, where the abused people feel safe enough to share with others is a great thing. Dwelling on the pain is not going to help an abused person, but sharing stories, understanding the true one or ones to blame, these can lead to a better mind-set for a person.

picture jen 013_edited

(image by Pauline Edmunds from cover of my book, “damaged children, Precious Gems”)

I am not a counsellor. I don’t put myself forward as one who has looked into the causes and consequences of abuse in a broad ranging way. I am a survivor though, one who has moved from victim to survivor, and I want to help other people to do the same. Being a victim is not a good thing, but being a survivor is great!

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This Royal Commission is bringing out so many stories of abuse in Australia, and I hope there is healing for the now adults who were victims of Child Abuse in institutions. Schools and teachers would be the place where children learn the things they should know to move on in life, toward adulthood.

Learning about sex and self-hatred, abuse of office and the ripping up of usual cultural norms of protecting children, these are not things children should be learning at school. When those ‘in charge’ are involved in abuse, both physical abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse, then the lessons learned by students are not the lessons set out in the school curriculum.

It was a brave thing for the then Prime Minister of Australia to do, but Julia Gillard did it, and many victims are now able to gain a forum to finally tell their story and have actions taken against the ones who abused them. This ‘telling their story’ issue is an important one. Many children who have been abused have tried to tell of their abuse, but been ignored, or called liars. To finally be able to speak out, to those who will listen and take action when and if necessary can be a wonderful thing.

When an adult has had such terrible things done to them, things that those in charge should have a role in protecting them from, but in fact do the complete opposite thing, that can be an emotionally crippling thing. Speaking out is a fine thing, but there can be costs there too. Speaking out can bring back to mind things that have been hidden away, and these things can certainly hurt.

Speaking out or writing about these things can be the only thing that can help an abuse person. I have found the writing of poetry and ‘fiction’ has been useful to me. Being able to write down some of the many issues abuse can bring with it ways to ‘deal with’ things, when before, the one abused felt absolutely unable to do anything at all. The writing of my poetry collection ‘Damaged Children Precious Gems’ was a positive step for me from being a victim of child abuse, to being a survivor. Sharing this book with others has brought some relief and understanding for them too.

I hope there are adequate avenues for the further protection of all of these brave people who are stepping up and telling their stories. The website for the Royal Commission has links to appropriate groups. If you are suffering and need help because of these issues, please seek the help you need.

A first avenue for the seeking of help may be something as simple as talking to other people about it. This can be confronting, but I know from personal experience that the relief from finally talking about this abuse can have good and healing effects. Hiding dark things inside yourself is not a good thing to do. Please find ways to talk with others who care and can help you, whether simply by listening as you talk, or by helping you to take further action.

There are people in the world who care about you. Please always believe that.


http://www.theage.com.au/national/told-id-grow-out-of-it-sodomised-boy-punished-by-court-now-seeks-pardon-as-a-man-20120124-1qesc.html

 

In this case, a 14 year old boy in 1977 was charged with sodomy and dealt with in a way which makes me shudder with disbelief. When I read this story, I realised we may have become more thoughtful and caring, but we still have a long way to go.

I hope this case is dealt with in a healing way for the man involved, and I further hope the people who deal with such crimes never treat a child as this man was treated when he was so young.

The laws against sodomy have been repealed in all Australian states, with Tasmania being the last state to do so.  That is a step forward, and if it had been the case back in 1977, the young Tom Anderson would never have received such a stupid charge, but even so, the idea of charging the victim in a case such as this is terrible.

Victims of crimes are still being targeted and blamed for what happens to them. I hope our society may soon realise the stupidity and inhumanity of these actions.