Saturday, April 30, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 -- Review

Today is the last day of the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month -- April 2011 initiative.


For four weeks, the girls and I have sifted through CSA survivor accounts, discussed legalities we never knew before, cried over accounts that touched hidden pains and taken heart from ones that showed the way forward. For four weeks we have stayed up nights and woken up early to mediate comments, schedule posts, track down blogpost by other bloggers, conduct TwitChats and exchange information with NGOs and other organisations. Four weeks of putting our lives on hold (most of the time), putting our families second, explaining to husbands what we are doing -- and more importantly, what motivates us. We have received unexpected media support as well as support from many more people than we ever hoped for.

I wanted to thank you, every one of you, for talking about this, for showing the courage to share your stories and fearlessly stating opinions on this very controversial subject. As a lasting reminder of why this month has been an important one for us all, I post one last guest piece by a CSA survivor:

I was molested by a younger stepbrother when I was 16 (he was 14) -- it sounds weird but my family dynamics were so shitty at that point that I couldn't have talked to anyone about it even if I had been able to. I couldn't even face him about it. This is perhaps even more surprising because I'm generally a confident, gregarious, outgoing young person. The utter shock, nausea, horror and sense of disbelief is as strong as ever whenever I do recall the event, and the extended game of hide, seek and avoidance that followed. I have since talked to many people about it and used to think that I've come to terms with it.

However, I realised very recently that I started gaining obscene amounts of weight right after that event and that although I've believed for quite a few years that I'm over it, I don't think I fully am. It's a question of pattern recognition, really. I finally figured out a few months back that the pattern since then has been that no matter how healthy I try to be or how much I try to lose weight etc (and I am medically obese and need to, for health reasons), to this day, *whenever* I am attracted to a man or have someone of the opposite gender professing their interest in or attraction to me, I *immediately* start gaining obscene amounts of weight again. Every single time. Over the last ten years, bygod. This needs to stop. Maybe now that I've recognised this, I'll be able to break the cycle. I hope so anyway.

Two of my best friends were raped as kids, one of them by an elder cousin, the other by the household help. My brother was molested by a *very* close family member as a child. I know other instances too, and it seems like the horror stories don't end. Going through the CSA awareness month website brought all these flooding back full force and I'm distraught again.

I learnt last year (from my father) that my mother had been raped for years by both her uncle and her cousin when she was a teenager and used to stay with them. The scars those left, I'm sure, have never healed. This finally explained why she had never, when I was a kid, allowed me to stay over at people's places (friends, relatives, etc.) unless she was there with me. Also explains why I know *nothing* of her childhood--she's never talked about ANY of it.

I don't know what to do. I think she might need to talk. And I know that I need, on my own part, to know stories of who my mom is, where she came from, where she grew up so I can tell my kids (don't have any yet) some day about the amazing person that their grandma is.

But at the same time, I don't want to force the issue. I don't want to force her to remember and/or talk about something she's repressed for decades. I am *very* close to her but she's never told me about this, or even hinted at it. But I want to talk to her about this and figure out some way so she is able to share her stories.

What do I do? Someone, please help.

1 comment:

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

I don't know what to say. I feel like I've swallowed a lump of lead...I really don't know what to say, or how to help...

:-(