"Multiple stressors in the child’s family and community context, and social and cultural attitudes that shame and blame victims, can create environments in which disclosure is fraught with difficulty. The process of disclosure often involves behavioural and indirect cues, and accidental disclosures, as much or more often than a conscious decision to tell someone about the abuse.
Rolf Harris' offences took place between 1968 and 1986 – but only in 2014 was he jailed. EPA/Andy Rain
It is often assumed that disclosing abuse is naturally in the interest of victims. However, children may withhold disclosure because they accurately believe that the adults in their life will be angry with them or not support them.
Research with adult survivors has found that many did disclose in childhood only to experience blame and minimisation. Abuse may then continue in spite of the disclosure.
Negative and shaming reactions to sexual abuse disclosures have been shown to significantly increase the risk of mental illness and distress in the victim. Feeling betrayed is corrosive to mental wellbeing."
Great book review by Amy and Mel! The review itself makes for some interesting reading about how survivors are bonded to their abuser, and how it can be important to understand that the abuser is doing things because of their own problems, not because the child is deserving.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
It's always good to have programs that teach children how to be safe onoine or off, yet not scare them away from everything.
"There’s a common assumption that children subjected to abuse or trauma will have problematic emotions across the board, McLaughlin said, such as muted responses to positive situations and extreme reactions to negative ones. But the study’s findings suggest that maltreated children are perhaps more resilient and adaptable than previously thought.
“It seems that they are able to cope effectively, even in very stimulating emotional situations, if they’re taught strategies for doing so,” she said. “We think the findings are really promising.”"
Unfortunately, many survivors go their whole lives not realizing that there is hope, if only they can get the help necessary. This study shows that you can be taught the skills necessary to overcome abuse, but so many simply don't think there is any hope of that. If you've been one of them, please recognize that healing is possible!
I think Bobbi misses one of the reasons society continues to believe these myths. I've written about it elsewhere, our natural instinct to find a reason to believe that it won't happen to us, or won't be as damaging if it should happen. Thus, we keep our kids away from strange, anti-social, men, and we convince ourselves that our stability, our religion, or our wealth, will protect us from the really harmful abusers, and the kinds of abuse that might occur outside of those "stereotypes" aren't really that damaging.
None of which is true at all.
Like youth sports, boarding schools, or youth religious groups, anywhere you have the combination of adults with power and control over children, you're going to have predators attempting to use that power and control to abuse children. Add to it the money and glamour of Hollywood child actors, and there isn't even a question that some would try and take advantage of this.
This is why these groups need to be ever vigilant to protecting children, and parents who get their kids involved in these sorts of activities need to have open communication with their kids about what is really happening instead of letting their own ambitions for their kids dominate their decision making.
By all means, let your kids chase their dreams and engage in sports, acting, whatever, but don't lose sight of the fact that they are children.
Some of them apply to women as well, but I think it is vital to understand that men get depression, and that asking for help is not a sign of "weakness".
This is how we end up with a ridiculously high number of suicides among men, when society tells us it's not OK to ask for help, and your only choices are to deal with depression without any hope of recovery, or be mocked because you aren't a real man. It's easy to see why you'd opt for a way out of that choice, but that is not the truth.
This is profoundly sad, and somewhat shocking, because there simply are no resources available to treat mental illness.
Another youth sport infected by sexual abuse. It's sad that something that can do so much for teaching kids self-esteem, teamwork and confidence is, in fact, stripping that all away by victimizing them instead. We need to get this eradicated from all youth sports, whether it be hockey, swimming, tae kwon do, gymnastics or any other activity!
In my humble opinion, being able to use a profoundly negative experience like child abuse as a way to help others dealing with the same trauma is a great way of moving past the victim mentality. As you may know, my day job is in training, so you probably won't be surprised that I see a straight line path from learning something to sharing that knowledge. I truly believe that it's a sign of maturity and health to want to share what we know as we go through the healing process. Sometimes that can come across a little strong and overbearing, but I'd rather see survivors sharing, and learning how to more appropriately share through practice, than not trying to help other survivors.
So yeah, I think looking outside of your own experience is a strong sign of healing, as well as something that we, as a community, should strive to do.
How has helping others helped you in your healing? Or have you had the opposite experience?
As if we needed more proof that child abuse happens everywhere. It's not just one group in the US, UK, Ireland, etc. there are groups all over the world, in powerful positions who abuse children, while we continue to look for the "creepy", anti-social guy we've been led to belief should be the target of our fears.
The choice to share your story or not, and who to share it with, is an intensely personal one. This article points out some of the benefits of doing it, but doesn't really address the reasons why a survivor might not share. What do you think? What made you decide to share, or not share?
"Both Rohman and Miller share the message that most depression is treatable. Though hard to see when in the throes, there is hope."
This is such an important message. It can be so difficult to see hope when you're in the midst of depression, but there is always hope, and what you're dealing with is treatable. It does get better.
"Depression is selfish, narcissistic, and aggressively self-consuming.
Depression is selfish, and it affects 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. population and 350,000,000 people globally.
Depression is selfish, and it contributes to more than 41,000 suicide deaths in the United States every year.
Depression is selfish, and it’s a mental illness that shouldn’t be left untreated.
But know that you’re not alone. There are others out there with their own stories to share. And being able to bond over these darkest moments has honestly provided me with the greatest relief outside of anti-depressants and therapy. Because I know I’m not alone. And I will survive."
I would actually add one more to the list:
Don't be so serious all the time. Nothing makes me feel like more of a freak than having the people closest to me walking on eggshells around me. Remind me of the fun parts of life instead of worrying about upsetting me. If you were the type of person to carelessly do or say something that would upset me that much, I probably wouldn't be around you to start with.
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