Today thoughts about other survivors.
As a child and well into my 20s, I kept the secret of sexual abuse buried deep inside me. I believed I was alone. In this way, childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a perfect crime. The victim takes on the shame and guilt of the abuser, and protects the secret with every fiber of her/his being. No one can ever know.
In reality, statistics indicate that in the US 28% – 33% of women and 12% – 18% of men experienced CSA. These numbers may actually be higher due to widespread under-reporting. I consider this when I am in meetings at work or out-and-about doing daily errands.
Over the years I have spoken about being a CSA Survivor at work, at book group, and with colleagues and friends. The decision to speak out is informed by both the sobering statistics of the prevalence of CSA and my experience of living alone with the shame for years. Speaking up as a CSA Survivor creates a measure of safety for others to emerge from the isolating shame of CSA. Unfortunately, CSA is an all too common experience. Fortuntely, as CSA Survivors we can speak out and help others escape the isolating belief that they are alone.
- How can you be more compassionate with yourself and others, knowing that many have experienced CSA and other Adverse Childhood Experiences?
- How will the knowledge that you are not alone help you to step out of the shame?