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.

safetalk

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Damaged doesn’t mean Destroyed


I write about many different things, in my writerly life, some of my writings are poetry, some prose, some online, some in books, on envelopes and other stray bits of paper, some in a newsletter I am the editor of. I write about a few different things, some serious, some silly, some in between. One common theme for me though seems to be the idea that Community is a Very Good Thing!

Another blog post I wrote today, on another of my blogs is this one, where I mention various things, but end up talking about the importance of community. As a person who has been damaged in my past, but am now more focussed on the good things in my own life, I am grateful, very grateful, for the better things I have happening in my life. I have strong connections with people who share various things I care about, and am involved with.

I have a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis, but it is manageable, and I am going well enough in my life. I know what I can do, but still push myself sometimes, to challenge my ideas about my capabilities. Some days I feel almost ‘normal’, other times I feel very much affected, but I know the damage my body has done to parts of me is helped both by my medication, and by my own body, healing itself too. I may be damaged, but I am far from being destroyed. I have family, friends, and organisations all happy to be helping me to live the healthiest and happiest life I can.

The idea of healing yourself when you are alone, is a sad one, to me, but many people try to do it that way, struggling, and feeling that is the best way to go. Strength for me, doesn’t mean fighting your way through to all that you achieve, strength can come from joint efforts, using the resources available, and working with others for a common good.

I have strong thoughts about abuse of women, and am also concerned with the awfully high number of people committing suicide. Others may call those who kill themselves cowards, but I am so sorry for anyone who thinks they have no other options available to them, but to end their life.

Can I, as an ordinary person, do anything to stop violence, and stop people from killing themselves? I don’t know. I do know that I am willing to listen to people who want to talk to me, because they are sad, lonely, feeling life can’t give them anything good. Sometimes, that can be enough to save a life.

clover burrs

Is that such a hard thing? To give a suffering person a little bit of your time, a non-judgemental ear, and some soothing words? That really can be enough. Life isn’t always sunshine and flowers, life can be weeds and gloom. But with a kindly attitude to life, and to people, the flowers and sunshine can win through.

bottle brush

 

 

 

Current Issues, Past Issues


Although the things that caused me hurt in my childhood are not directly relevant to the political hoo haa that’s eating up Twitter at the moment (Jamie Briggs – MP going way too far), the general idea of those in power doing the wrong thing to someone they have power over, is the same. The reason for the lapses in life’s niceties was the same – drunkenness. That wasn’t an excuse when I was a child, and it isn’t now. Drinking too much is a choice made by a person. No-one forced my abuser to drink too much and abuse me. He chose to get drunk, and did it.

No-one in these circumstances was forced to drink too much. There was the option to behave well instead of behaving like an animal. That option should always be the one adhered to especially when you are in a position of power over the one you are dealing with. And with sexual advances, overt acceptance is always required. If the other person isn’t obviously open to your advances, forget about it.

In my poetry collection “damaged children, Precious Gems”, I have a poem that looked at some of these themes. It is from the “Teenage Years” section of the collection, and the relevant poem is titled ‘bragging rights’, and it talks about the difference between how males and females are referred to by their peers where sex is concerned. The young men are heroes with their mates, the young women are labelled sluts by those same young men. Here are the relevant lines:

there’s a line between hero

and slut. It’s a fine line, a very fine line

and it’s gender specific

 

It certainly looks like the ‘hero’ label was placed on or sought by Briggs, in this instance, and I wonder whether the woman would have been labelled slut if the woman had done the same thing. Either way, it was inappropriate behaviour, and the most appropriate label for Briggs over this would be ‘zero not hero’. Let your brain do your thinking, and things will go much better. Dicks aren’t known for their thinking powers.

When I was a teenager, girls who ‘put out’ were labeled like this, and now, many years later they still are labeled in this way. The boys are heroes if they have a conquest, the girls sluts, and the issue of consent is largely irrelevant to some in society. Victim blaming is rampart, and abuse is ignored is down-played as ‘bad behaviour’.

This seems wrong to me, and is wrong in the law. Why are such things accepted by so many people? Is our society really that ignorant that sexual abuse can be accepted as ‘boys being boys’ and so is OK? I don’t think it is, and I think it should be treated as what it is, sexual abuse.

Thoughts from others on this matter are welcome, as always.

Sharing My Story, Helping to Heal


One of the reasons I wanted to publish this poetry collection, exploring my journey from victim to survivor, was to help others who have been abused like this. Sexual abuse is such a terrible and private thing, it is difficult to be able to speak out about it. I have found talking about it still helps me, even though the abuse happened many years ago.

I love to share my book with others, and to get responses back. Knowing my poetry has helped someone else, truly warms my heart and lets me know I’ve done a good thing. The most recent person who has my book is a woman who does foster care. I certainly hope my words will give hope to her and to the child/children she has in her life.

The life of a child who thinks no-one else could ever understand what they’re going through, or have gone through in the past can be so limiting. But when the harm can be talked about, it can let others know there are people there who really do understand what you’ve suffered. In numbers there is a kind of strength.

Sharing my poetry, and having it read by people who are healed in the sharing – that’s a wonderful reason to keep on writing, and to be willing to share personal things, this isn’t easy, but the honesty of it is the way to help. If I had never been able to face what happened to me, it may well have never have left me. I may well still be a victim of child sexual abuse, instead of being a survivor.

Vigilante Action, or Just Plain Murder?


I was reading today about the death of a South Australian man, one previously convicted of child sexual abuse charges. This issue touches me closely, have been a victim, many, many years ago, as a child. I have no idea how I would have felt if my abuser had been murdered. I do admit that I’m glad he’s now dead, and has been for many years.

Child abuse is such a sensitive issue. There are many people who have suffered from this terrible crime, many who have yet to find a peaceful place in their hearts and minds. These victims, quite rightly want to see justice for themselves. So often though there is no justice available.

So do I feel the murder of this man can be justified if it was done in response to his previous abuses? No, I don’t think that. The man was charged, and he did what our justice system said he had to do. He was on a good behaviour bond. I’m not sure about that, I don’t know enough about his case.

He’s dead now. I’m sorry for his family, particularly his sister who found him dead …

Rape, the Question of Fault, Again …


an interesting link for you

click on the link first, then read on here …

So, whose fault is it, when someone is raped? Does that question really need to be asked? An analogy for you. If I had an expensive watch and someone took it from me without my consent, would that be my fault?

If you say no, not my fault, what about if I was out at night and I was drunk? My fault then? I don’t think so. What if I was flashing my super expensive watch around so everyone could see it? Still not my fault if someone forcibly or without permission takes it. It’s still theft, surely. The only thing I’m guilty of is stupidity perhaps, because there will always be people who steal things, just as there will always be rapists.

We can’t all lock ourselves away though. We all have lives to live,and the right to make our own decision on the way we wish to live our lives. It makes as much sense to ban men from going out to prevent rape, as it does to ban women from doing it..

A Magistrate? Terrible news!


I heard/saw this story on the news today. 

Magistrate admits to sexually abusing boys in the 1980’s

It made me so sad that someone whose job in part is to help victims to find justice, would do this terrible thing.

I hope this man spends his time in prison thinking about his poor victims, and is ashamed and deeply sorry for what he has done. I can’t imagine how anyone could possible think this is something they should do. 

What hope is there in our world when a magistrate will do this terrible thing? The only hope is that there are many more people who can see the wrongness of this man’s actions, and speak out against it.

Let children be children.

Poetry Reading – from my poetry collection


Today I had the opportunity to read a few poems from, and talk about my poetry collection, ‘damaged children, Precious Gems. The event was at the Disability Information and Resource Centre, as part of their 30th birthday celebrations.

I was one of three writers who are clients of the SA Writers Centre Disability Writer in Residence program, who were asked to read some of their work. This program is funded by a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust. It helps people with disabilities with furthering their writing, and many of the clients have been able to publish books, when they may never have had chance to do that without the program.

I spoke with a person from the DIRC while I was there, and I hope it leads to something at the Centre next year. I am firmly of the opinion that creative writing can be therapeutic for people who’ve experience trauma in their lives. I feel my creative writing helped me to move on from being a ‘victim’ to being a ‘survivor’ from child sexual abuse. 

I would love to be able to assist others to make their own journey along that rocky path, from victim to survivor. Do you ever find help from writing down the crap from your life, and getting rid of it?

Finally, something big is going to happen


People living in Australia will have heard about the proposed Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse. I hope it works out well for the thousands of people who’ve been carrying the burden of what happened to them years and years ago.

As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, I too was sexually abused as a child. My abuser wasn’t a person who would fit the conditions for this governmental commission. My abuser was a person somewhat connected to my family, but was not a relative. He was in a position where he should have taken care of me though, not abuse me in the way he did.

He’s dead now, an old man when I knew him, an old and nasty man. I never liked ‘Uncle Les’ as he was named to the grandchildren he came into contact with. He’s gone now, and I’ve worked to feel better about what happened to me. I know it wasn’t my fault, I was a child, with little power. He was an adult with too much power, that he abused.

Children should always be able to feel safe with adults. Sadly, too many times, for too many children, that isn’t possible. I hope many damaged children can find solace from this Royal Commission, and can become the precious gems they should have the right to be.