Category Archives: abuse

Out of the Darkness


I have already registered for this year’s Out of the Darkness Walk.

From my page:

Join Me in Supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I’m walking in the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk to fight suicide and support AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

Please help me reach my goal by clicking the “Donate” button on this page. All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.

Thank you for your support!

https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/1904888

Josh Duggar and Respecting Survivors


Hand writing Hope concept with black marker on transparent wipe board. Hold On, Pain Ends.

**WARNING**Possibly triggering material (abuse/sexual assault)**WARNING**

I have been thinking a lot about Josh Duggar recently. If you follow my blog, you already know my thoughts on this issue from my post The Ignorance of Well Doers.

An author friend of mine brought up a good take on this media hailstorm. With everything being brought to light in the media, what is the impact on survivors? As I discussed in my previous posts, the anxiety, PTSD, triggers, and flashbacks associated with being a survivor can make daily functioning cumbersome and mentally/emotionally exhausting. With this in mind, I think it’s reasonable to assume that all of the media talk will trigger survivors even more.

Is the solution NOT talking about it in the media? As a survivors’ advocate, I cannot tolerate the idea of keeping “hush hush” about these issues. When we don’t talk about them, when we’re silent, the result of these hidden horrors is that no credence is given to a very serious social issue in our country. Out of sight, out of mind. We collectively stick our heads in the sand and go about life like there is no darkness shadowing the lives of many children and adults who live with these issues every day.

Does that mean that specific incidences, such as the case with Josh Duggar, should be publicly discussed? By doing this we’ve went from the realm of discussing a social issue to be very specific about a particular perpetrator, which in turn forces us to talk about particular survivors. My initial response to this is that survivors are living it every day regardless. And in my opinion, when you make the choice to live your life in the public eye as the Duggars have, you open yourselves up to very public scrutiny. Yes, your private lives and skeletons become fodder for the media and public opinion. Is this right? Quite frankly, as a consumer of various media, I want to know certain things – especially anything that is considered public record – because there are certain people that I refuse to support in any way. I do not believe that people such as child molesters should be given a public forum. These are not the people we should be rallying behind.

Many have said that we should be forgiving and that he made a “childhood mistake.” I’m all about forgiving mistakes. This is how I define mistake – if you do it once, realize the err of your ways, and don’t do it again, THAT’S a mistake. If you do it more than once, like five times, that’s BEHAVIOR, not a mistake. Note, this does NOT mean that I think someone who abuses only ONCE is off the hook – the impact to the survivor is the same regardless how many times a perp offends. I’m just outlining a very specific difference between incidental criminality and habitual offenses, a difference that the law also defines.

We still have the issue of triggering the survivors. I’m torn up about this issue. On the one side, I would never support doing anything that would purposefully or inadvertenly force a survivor to relive any trauma. At the same time, by remaining silent on these issues we begin to fool ourselves that there is a sexual assault problem in this country. Through talking about it, we can educate the public, and more importantly, provide survivors with needed resources to begin – and continue – the healing process. For me, I will continue to talk about these things – even scream at the top of my lungs about them. Out of respect for the survivor issues, I commit myself to always preface a post or video with a trigger warning. This way, survivors can make the decision to read/see the material. The media would do well to do the same.

For more information and resources on sexual violence, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

If you’re a parent dealing with the heartache helping your child heal, read When Your Child Has Been Molested: A Parents’ Guide to Healing and Recovery.

The Ignorance of Well Doers


**WARNING**Possibly triggering material (abuse/sexual assault)**WARNING**

A gentleman I know recently wrote an Opinion piece in the local newspaper back home in Huntington, WV. The column is entitled Is Cosby a Victim of Questionable Accusations?

I was stunned and hurt by what he wrote. I have blogged about my own struggles with sexual assault and how abuse in general results in psychological issues that can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Individuals who are truly informed about sexual abuse can be empathetic, yet it is distant to the understanding from someone who has survived it.

Just imagine….

Someone in the mall looks a little too similar for your comfort, so you avoid going into the store to buy those shoes you need.

Your boss says something to you, and your skin prickles, heart races, breath shallow, palms sweaty. You just need to get away as soon as possible.

A co-worker makes an inappropriate joke, and suddenly you feel that phantom hand caressing you there

A stranger compliments your appearance, and your defenses go up, waiting for when he will make his move.

Your lover touches you a certain way, and you cry and push to get away.

These things are similar to what survivors experience for years after the abuse; many times they experience it for the rest of their lives.

Yet we should expect them to report it right away? Sometimes it feels safer to hide from it as much as possible. When your subconscious forces you to relive feelings and responses in the most mundane activities in life, it becomes a blessing not to have to consciously think or talk about it. Survivors who report the abuse – regardless if it’s right after or years after – demonstrate a level of mental courage that many people cannot fathom. Hell, it takes an insurmountable amount of strength to live with this on a daily basis, regardless of whether the crime is reported (RAINN statistics suggest that more than 50% of survivors never report the abuse).

For Cosby, it’s unlikely that any criminal proceedings will occur because of the statute of limitations. To me, it’s an error in awareness to think that his accusers have suddenly come out of the woodwork. Cosby settled on similar allegations in 2006. They didn’t just come out of the woodwork – the murmurings of such despicable behavior have been around for years.

I was stunned and hurt by what he wrote. Unfortunately, I wasn’t stunned that someone would have these views. The knee-jerk reaction to distrust the accusers is an internalized by-product of the rape culture, even by people who are meaning to do well (“because Bill Cosby, in my wildest imagination, would never have had any reason to behave so irresponsibly and criminally”).

I was stunned because it came from someone that I thought cared about me and my experience. Given his responses to the comments people have made, I have to question just how aware that caring is.

Bless the survivors – those who report, and those who don’t.

If you’re a survivor or someone who wants to learn more to support the survivors in your life, you can find a wealth of information and resources at RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.