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.

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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.

This is so true!

May 26, 2014


I read the most amazing thing on Twitter five minutes ago, and I want to share it on this blog, because it is so relevant. It dodn’t work how it should have though, so I’ll have to try again, later on tonight.


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 …


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..


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.


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?


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.


I did something this morning, something I’ve never done before – I had an interview by a student doing Film & Television at Uni. My name was suggested by the student’s father as being a suitable person. Fun – there were three of them, filming the hotel where we did the interview, and filming and me. These three young people were polite and respectful, and well as seeming to be knowledgeable in dealing with all of the equipment they used.

The interview has been edited and put on You Tube now – it’s here!

I answered questions about my poetry collection, ‘damaged children Precious Gems’, and talked about my current writing project, which is a memoir about my new life, living with MS (multiple sclerosis). I enjoyed doing this for a variety of reasons.

The first reason is I think it’s important to talk about these kinds of personal things. If I can reach out with my story, and get them to talk to others who understand, then they can be helped. Talking about bad things that have happened to you can help you to build strength in yourself. It can help you to build a network of others who can help to support you too.

I encourage people to reach out to victims and survivors and help them or let them to help you. People love to help people – it’s a human thing that should be encouraged and practised whenever possible. I encourage people to use creative writing too, whether it’s writing a journal, poetry, non fiction or anything else. Narrative therapy is a recognised method of assisting people to understand the importance of their own personal story.


When I ordered 100 copies of my poetry collection, that deals with my story of sexual abuse and other related issues, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find enough people who wanted a copy of the book.

When you self-publish your own book, you take on the responsibility for selling and or giving away the copies, so you don’t get stuck with boxes of books taking up space in your home. When I took possession of the first lot of books, I was pumped up ready to sell my book, and eager to talk to people about my story. I stayed that way throughout the year since the book first came out. I had a book launch, talked to people and found new homes for the books. Then a couple of months ago I checked my stocks of books left, and realised I only had a handful of copies left.

That’s when I decided it was time to bite the bullet and order another print run! Exciting stuff, and I’ll be looking for opportunities to talk with people about sex abuse. In a caring way, of course. There are so many people, both men and women, who have been holding onto stories of shame. When you think you’re the only ‘bad’ person this has happened to, it’s a terrible thing. But there are so many of us, all with our own secrets, that are eating into our happiness, leaving shame and despair.

I’m sharing my story, because I want people to know they’re not alone, and that there are people who know how it can be. Knowing you’re not the only one, and that it wasn’t your fault, can bring some inner peace to you. I found my inner peace by sharing my story, and I hope others can do the same.

My dream is to run creative writing workshops with people who have been hurt by these terrible things. I’m not a counsellor, but I’m a writer who knows how to listen with empathy.