Browsing Tag

Childhood Development

How Do I Tell My Child That They’re Adopted?

By March 22, 2016 2 Comments
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I have been asked to consider some of the issues regarding parenting in the context of adoption, either the adoption of a child or issues that might arise if a parent was adopted. To do this, I want to begin by carefully considering what a parent is.

I learned what a parent is from my daughter, my oldest child. One time when she was very little, and very angry at me, she told me in no uncertain terms what she thought of me!

She ended her thoughts by saying, “And another thing, I don’t belong to you. You belong to me!”

I realized then that she was absolutely right: emotionally, a parent belongs to a child more than a child ever belongs to a parent. It is that emotional bond, much more than the physical one, that truly defines parenthood. Whether you are a biological parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent, this is the bond you must work on developing with your child.

Current research suggests that it is important that adoption never be concealed from either from the child or from any other family member. This means that there needs to be a transparency about the difference between birth parents and adoptive parents. One of the greatest mistakes we make in dealing with any difficult situation with children is believing that they cannot understand a concept because of their age, and often this may lead to hesitancy in discussing adoption with a child. However, young children understand more than we think and are very good at picking up when adults are not being direct or honest.

To explain any difficult concept to a child (or anyone really), my advice is always the same:

  • Use simple words, making sure the child understands;
  • Be direct and honest;
  • Explain why your situation is different than the usual situation. In this case, you can explain to your child that they were born to parents who could not look after him/her;
  • Explain the reasons for your actions. Tell the child why you decided to adopt and the process you had to go through to become their parent;
  • Remind them that you care. Tell the child how much you love them;
  • If there are questions, answer these as honestly as you are able with the information you have.

A situation that may help parents explain adoption to a younger child is that many children today have more parents than their two biological parents, because their parents have divorced and remarried. When your children know someone who has stepparents, you can remind them that children can also be loved and cared for by adults who are not their biological parents. It helps anyone to adjust, especially a child, if they don’t feel alone.

Most children can accept situations that are explained to them in a straightforward manner when their questions are addressed simply, directly, and honestly. Accepting a child’s feelings about being adopted can be a challenge, but often it is not as much of a challenge as when the parent is struggling with their own feelings about adopting a child. A parent, especially a mother, can often feel inadequate if they are not physically able to bear a child. It is unfortunate that society and culture may also reinforce that negative point of view, so it is important for adoptive parents to have people to support them through their own conflicts and feelings.

To the point of a parent’s experience of it – if a parent is adopted, having a child of their own can cause them to wonder whether they were ever as much loved as they love their child. These individuals may not realize that all parents, once they have a child in their arms, wonder if they were ever loved that much. Stating this simple fact to a parent who was adopted themselves can be reassuring. If you were adopted and are wondering about this, please try to remember this.

Adoptive parents are accepting an important role, the role of caring for children whose birth parents love their children enough to realize that they are not able to care for them as they deserve. Both birth parents and adoptive parents deserve our support – after all, “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” – Dietrich Bonnhoeffer.

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, School-Aged Children, Toddlers + Preschoolers

Science Fair Projects: Lessons in Parental Torture

By December 9, 2015 2 Comments
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I was a science fair nerd from the 3rd to 10th grade, so I can say with certainty that I put my parents through seven years of unabridged science fair hell. Parents who are working on those projects now, can you imagine? Seven years of what you’re doing right now?

Hopefully this post offers you some solace, because your cursing of the science-fair-powers-that-be is not unique. In fact, I’ve been watching science fair rage trickle across my social media feeds all week, and hearing about it for decades (from, ahem…my mom). So if you’re one of these frustrated parents, just know that you’re not alone. There are many, many others trying to guide their children to success on this required and often exhausting homework project.

I do have mixed feelings about science fairs, because as a student I loved learning about science through my participation in the fair. However, I should be clear: that only happened AFTER I was being guided by actual scientists for my projects. We’ll get to that in a moment.

What you should know is that the frustration you’re feeling as a parent (or are about to feel) is normal and officially generations old. Parents or not, most of us understand this feeling since we also remember what it was like as kids to put these projects together. I’m going to go out on a limb here and hypothesize (oh-ho-ho!) that the whole process was nearly as ridiculous then, as it is today.

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Categories: School-Aged Children, Tweens + Teens

Santa and Elf on the Shelf: Inappropriate Lies or All in Good Fun?

By December 1, 2015 1 Comment
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As the winter holidays approach, Santa Claus and Elf on the Shelf are on the minds of many children who celebrate Christmas.

Many parents’ thoughts also drift there, but for different reasons.

Parents of young children wonder whether they should promote the myth of the jolly old man in the red suit or that tiny, habitually rotating curious elf, while parents of older children wonder what they’re going to say when their child asks for the truth.

Underlying both of these questions is a larger one: Is it good for kids to believe in things like Santa Claus? As a developmental psychology researcher, I say yes, because there are benefits for cognitive and emotional development (as for Elf on the Shelf, I’ll get to that in a moment).

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Faith + Beliefs, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, School-Aged Children, Toddlers + Preschoolers

Potty Training Sucks. Here Are 8 Sanity Saving Tips.

By October 13, 2015 3 Comments
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In my first post here on The Scientific Parent, I’ll be discussing one of the least scientific areas of pediatric medicine — potty training. Pediatricians have a lot of scientific evidence to guide us towards appropriate treatment of ear infections, asthma, and a lot of other problems. But when it comes to advising parents about potty training, pediatricians are free to practice their recommendations — as one of my colleagues likes to say —“unencumbered by evidence.”

If you ask a preschool teacher when to potty train your child, the answer may be “before they start preschool” (because, while it’s not easy to herd a room full of 3-year-olds to the bathroom, it sure beats changing diapers). But ask the same question to a pediatrician, and you’ll probably get a far more nebulous answer like “wait until they’re ready.” I know it feels like we say that just to frustrate you (and it indeed, it leaves you frustrated), but the truth is that in this situation there’s not a single correct answer.

There’s a lot of variability in the ages at which children are potty trained. Girls tend to pick it up slightly faster than boys. Children from lower socioeconomic conditions, as well as those in African-American families, tend to potty train earlier. And if you compare American kids to those in many other countries, we’re way behind the curve, mostly due to vastly different definitions of “potty trained.”

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, Toddlers + Preschoolers

Tragic Events, News Coverage, and Talking to Your Kids. Where to Begin?

By July 27, 2015 7 Comments
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Have you ever been driving in the car or preparing dinner and heard a TV or radio report about a terrible event that’s just happened? What was your reaction to the news story? Was your child with you? Were you worried about their reaction and wondered how you could help them and protect them?  Supporting and protecting your children around traumatic events – that’s what I want to consider with you here.

This is an interesting but distressing topic, and I’ll begin by saying how much I wish that this could only be a theoretical problem. Unfortunately,  as we all know violent crimes are happening everywhere in the world, the news always reports on them and often in detail so it’s only a matter of time until a child hears or sees it. With the recent shooting in in a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, these concerns and challenges may be fresh in your mind. How do we explain this to our children? In our world, the best case scenario is that this will be a story about other families, families that you and your own family do not know.

In considering this topic, I thought about the many questions from families around the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks by terrorists on innocent American citizens, as well as about questions from families that have suffered a personal violent tragedy like the one in Lafayette. These are very different circumstances, but what I believe that what I have learned from these families and from my personal research can help us to help our children cope with such trauma.

All families are different and so are all the people in them, so some of my considerations will resonate for some readers, and not at all for others. In fact, this will be a successful article only if everyone likes some parts and hates others! The one universal truth is that each parent’s most honest response to a news story, given in the most gentle, respectful way possible is the response most likely to help a person of any age to begin to contemplate it. I will say that again, more summarized: gentle honesty is the best policy. This is true even if each of a child’s parents have entirely different responses to a story.

Think about this statement in relation to 9/11 – this was a terrible thing and some of us were more directly affected than others, but we were all affected. Helping a child grasp that an event of this magnitude would affect anyone enormously and everyone in different ways helps them to learn to trust their own feelings. It also helps children learn that you can’t have “wrong feelings.” Parents talking about their own feelings and reactions to this kind of event help children learn to express themselves effectively in difficult circumstances.

The same is true when a family suffers a violent event. A parent’s honest reaction, when fully understood, is what best helps a child to assimilate an event. As in any other situation, answering all of your children’s questions honestly is most helpful, even when you admit that you don’t know all the answers. A child also needs to learn as he or she grows that not knowing or understanding all of the answers is a part of the experience of being human.

Having said all of this, it is important to consider the imagery and audio that we are exposed to. Even the news media prepares us for exposure when it tells us that images or sounds may be disturbing to some viewers. Images and sound bites that are especially distressing need some filter or preface, usually in words, but, like the news media, I think you can say to a child something such like:

“The news is showing pictures of what happened, but I am still upset by them and I don’t think you should see them.”

A young child will usually be satisfied with such an explanation. An older child may be more insistent and I have found that two responses can be helpful: one is to point out that, in the same way as some movies are too distressing and disturbing, so are the images and sounds from some events. This does make sense to many older children. The other response (for others approaching adolescence who may be harder to convince), is that parents may decide to watch the images with that young person. Good things to do in this circumstance are to point out the news media’s warning concerning the disturbing aspects of the report and to watch the young person’s reaction. If you can see them becoming disturbed or upset, you can ask them if they need to stop watching or listening, and you can even shut off the report.

Children & Tragedy: The Boston Bombing (Photo Via: Salzburg Academy of Media & Global Change)

Children & Tragedy: The Boston Bombing (Photo Via: Salzburg Academy of Media & Global Change)

For some guidance, this is a link to the Motion Picture Association of America’s film rating system.  This can support you in considering when you want to allow your child to see or hear disturbing imagery or sounds.

In relation to actually watching or listening to a news report, I have found that children and youth are most interested in this when they know someone who has been directly involved. This is related to that instinct to know exactly what happened to someone, in part because it helps some of us deal with the denial that we all have when something terrible is happening. A parent and a child can be of two different minds about this and, as a parent, one has to try to be sensitive to this. Letting a child know honestly, “I didn’t watch myself (or I wish I had not watched) because I don’t want to remember this about Jane.”

If a child or teen says they have to know, and you likely know people who feel that knowing what happened is a support to those affected or harmed, then you can find a trusted person to watch this with them. After some events, like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing, family resource centers are set up to help people and families deal with what is happening. For an event affecting fewer people such as the shooting in Lafayette, children’s hospitals and Community Health agencies have resources to help those of all ages who are dealing with a traumatic event.  For further resources of this nature, you can refer to the National Institute of Mental Health’s resource list here.

I have one final piece of advice, learned from a colleague many years ago: remember to look after yourself first before trying to assist your child. It’s difficult because it’s not your first instinct. But those who travel on airplanes have an easy way to be reminded. Every time you fly, the safety message tells you: remember to put on your own mask before trying to help somebody else. It’s a personal reminder to look after yourself first so that you are fully able to look after your children.

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Categories: Ages + Stages, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health, School-Aged Children, Toddlers + Preschoolers

I Had The Measles 48 Years Ago and I Still Suffer Its Effects

By June 15, 2015 4 Comments
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I have just finished reading a plea that went viral on Facebook from a Winnipeg, Manitoba father, Neal Cohen, whose five-month-old baby girl was just diagnosed with the measles. My heart and my thoughts go out to Neal, his wife, and their little girl. The rage this father expressed in his open letter is completely understandable. In a society that has more information at their fingertips than they have ever had, it amazes me that the opinion of a celebrity such as Jenny McCarthy or some selective information can sway people away from their common sense.

I am a mother of two and a grandmother of three (soon to be four) and I am not going to offer my opinion, only my experience. You see, I had the measles when I was a child. I am nearly 60 now, but the experience was so horrible that I still vividly remember it.

It was deep in the summer and very hot. For no reason I could think of, I just started feeling listless. Considering the time of year I thought it could be from the heat. It didn’t get better so I went to bed early that day.

The next morning was my 12th birthday. I woke up from a bad night’s sleep with a raging fever, my eyes felt like they were on fire, and I couldn’t see properly. My head was pounding out an anvil chorus so badly that I wanted to scream and every bone in my body ached. On the heels of that I realized I had developed a rash. It seemed like every time I checked, the rash was moving at record pace, soon covering my entire body from head to toe. I was very, very sick.

I remember my mother on the phone with the doctor and watching the rash come out on my brother. Yes, misery was going to have company. My mother was terrified that my brother and I were going to be left permanently disabled. She was terrified for my hearing; you see as an early 12th birthday present, she’d just let me get my ears pierced. Later as a mother myself I could understand her visceral fear for my life and my brother’s.

The doctor told my mother that for me it was going to be bad. Apparently 12 was somewhat old to have the measles, so the old style of treatment applied. I was to stay in bed nursing chills that rocked my body. My eyes were not to be strained under ANY circumstances; I was not allowed to read books, no TV, no daylight, nothing that could take my mind off the excruciating pain I was in. I had no energy for any of those activities anyways, I was in so much pain I wished I would die.

I spent a week like this, and my mother spent a week fearing the worst, but I obviously survived. Even so, I have been living with the effects of the measles for nearly 48 years. While I had been the picture of health before, since the measles, I continue to suffer from blinding headaches and middle ear issues that have only gotten worse as I have gotten older. I’ve been told that each of these problems – which did not exist before the measles – is likely the result of the severity of the virus’ attack on my body.

Now as a grandmother knowing what the measles is like personally I don’t understand why anyone would think of putting their child through something like what my brother and I went through. A simple shot can prevent terrible illness and lifelong suffering. It bothers me when I hear antivaxxers say, “nobody dies from the measles.” While I survived, I did not survive unscathed. Even the word “antivaxxer” sounds like a new disease.

I now have two precious grandsons, a granddaughter and one more grandchild on the way. I cannot imagine them being endangered by someone who listened to a celebrity, or cherry-picked information on the internet instead of referring to their doctor. Please give your children a fighting chance and talk to your doctor about vaccines. Don’t let your child, or my grandchildren, suffer like I had to. – Edited by Leslie Waghorn

 

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Categories: Accidents, Injuries, + Abuse, Chronic Illnesses + Conditions, Infectious Disease + Vaccines, Policy, Politics, + Pop Health

The Other Side of Sexual Abuse Claims: Voices of Former Victims Continued…

By and May 28, 2015 4 Comments
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In this post, we posted several anonymous quotes from former victims of sexual abuse and assault, in response to the Josh Duggar story about childhood sexual abuse among children and teenagers. Here at The Scientific Parent, we strive to be empower parents and children to live their best lives, drawing on what we can factually point to as evidence. We were very surprised to hear the level of detail and recall many of our contributors had of their experiences, given how young some of them were at the times. It gave us a lot to think about as writers, public health nerds, child advocates, and people existing in this sometimes chaotic world. By midnight, the stories continued to roll in, so we chose to run several more today in this post.

The narratives we received that we chose to publish here (and some that we did not), were often gut-wrenching to read. But one thing became abundantly clear: most individuals did not want to be called victims or survivors. Why is that? We found it’s because they don’t relate to themselves by the crimes that happened against them. They are thrivers. In the face of adversity, these men and women have learned to set aside terrible experiences as just that. A terrible experience that is not a part of who they are, but something that happened to them. They are former victims.

We applaud you all.

For that and so much more, a huge thank you to all of you who reached out to contribute to these posts with their stories and experiences, and our deepest gratitude to anyone who considered doing so and didn’t for various reasons. You’re a brave lot, and we commend and honor you for your courage, authentic vulnerability, and commitment to empowering others who may be going through the same things.

Today’s stories below:

Victims are expected to “forgive and forget” and “move on,” but you never really do – you are forever changed. With many things I experienced in life, especially sexual developments and relationships – I always wonder – how would this be different if that didn’t happen to me?  As a very young victim (ages 4 -5) your mind has a way of locking things away to protect itself. Major life events – such as being involved in anti-rape rallies in college, and and having children even,  have unlocked some of those mental boxes – and it’s tough, and very real. To this renewed pain –  people say, but “that was 30 years ago”, “you are living in the past”,  “you hold grudges.” As a parent, my extended family thinks I’m overbearing, too protective of my children especially at family gatherings. But it was this same extended family that let this happen to me at family gatherings all those years ago. I feel that it is victims, not the perpetrators that are constantly judged. Judged on how they handle it, forgive, cope. But the perpetrator – no one tells him he’s living in the past. He has daughters! He was young like Josh Dugger, but his family denied it, so no one got help. My parents were the only ones who pressed charges. I got to “point to the doll” at the police station. But I was also told I couldn’t talk about it, making it my dirty secret from age 5. It divided my family. No one talks, and no one knows why.

When I was two and a half, my grandfather exposed himself and had me ”interact ” with his… well, anyway. I have no memories of this, at all, I’ve gotten the info third hand from therapists who also worked w my parents. I’ve been in therapy since I was 7, have a deep distrust of men, and hate to be touched, even by my husband sometimes. You don’t have to remember to be broken.

He brought me over to the side of the house and made me give him a blow job. I was like, 6? He was like, 8 or 9? He threatened that he’d stab me with his pocket knife if I didn’t. It didn’t really dawn on me that it was a big deal at the time. I told my mom and she just kind of brushed it off and told me I shouldn’t go with him beside the house any more. His parents were messed up. They weren’t around, so he lived with his grandparents who lived two doors away from me. I remember i started, and his penis was gross, so I ran away. I don’t really feel it’s impacted me… I honestly probably wouldn’t have remembered it but for the fact it happened to two of my friends too and we talked about it. He independently at different times did the same thing to two other girls. He was probably victimized himself by someone. Or at least exposed to wildly age inappropriate stuff.

I was molested three different times as a boy: at summer church camp when I was about 9; by an older cousin when I was about 11; and by a “friend of my parents” when I was 17. Each of these occurred over a period of time, none was a single event. I disclosed none of these to my parents or anyone close to me at the time until the last one. I am now 50-something. These acts against me have affected me in different ways at different times in my life.

When it first happened at camp, I just wanted to make myself hide, I just wanted to forget about it. I wanted to go on and enjoy camp and enjoy my life the way it had been…but I felt different. I felt embarrassed. I felt like I had let down my parents who had told me not to let anyone touch me “down there.” But I think I forgot about it…until the next occurrence, with my cousin. I felt so many things then: shock, betrayal, numbness, sick to my stomach. I begin to wonder, “What was it about me?” that this had happened again. After the “family friend,” I felt major betrayal. I developed a deep distrust of older men. If someone older acted in a friendly manner toward me, I wondered what they were up to…and I found myself thinking how would I respond if they tried to touch me? And I really, really, really wondered, “What is wrong with me? Why me? Why again? Will this always keep happening to me?” I felt powerless. I was confused about my sexuality, too.

The saving grace was that I told my parents this time. And they reacted wonderfully! They reacted just the way I had always dreamed they would—if they had known about the other times. They were incredibly supportive and nurturing of me. They confronted the person who was molesting me. And it stopped! I think the way they reacted worked backward in time to begin healing the other occurrences. When I was in my mid-twenties, I sought out a therapist. It wasn’t because of the molestations on the face of it, but I disclosed those and a huge amount of healing took place then. I have entered therapy several times over the years, never about the molestations specifically, but they always come up. They are part of my life’s story—but they don’t define me.

So, what about me as an adult? In large part, I know these acts against me happened, but they just don’t have power over me, now. I think this is because of my parent’s support, the therapy I had, and because I had a lot of positive male role models. When I hear or read about an allegation of sexual abuse against a kid several things happen: I always think, “Oh no, not again. Will this never stop?” I want the alleged perpetrator to face justice, but I also feel for them and wonder how they came to molest someone, and want them to get help. Sometimes, my own experiences come back very vividly and I feel angry or depressed—other times I think about them and it is more like, “Yea, happened to me, too,” and I move own. Always, always my heart goes out to the person who was assaulted, and I want them to know they can heal from what happened.

And how else did all this affect me? I became a human sexuality counselor and educator. I received a MSW and I have counseled both victims and perpetrators. I was involved in setting up a treatment program in my state for adolescents convicted of sexual offenses. And I try to be a positive, healthy role model to all the kids in my life, so that they can feel strong and confident and secure, and have as much power as possible to say no, to fight back and to have a lovely, happy childhood without trauma.

 

As we said in the previous post, if you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault or abuse, remember, there are number of resources to assist you. In the United States, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) will put you in touch with local resources, plus you connect with certified specialists on their anonymous hotlines: call 1-800-656-HOPE, or click on the RAINN Online Hotline to speak to someone online. In Canada kids and teens can call The Kids Help Phone, toll-free 24 hours a day at 1-800-668-6868.

 

 

Resources:

DART Center for Journalism and Trauma. Reporting on Sexual Violence.  Columbia School of Journalism. July 15, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2015.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). RAINN Online Hotline.

The Kids Help Phone

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Categories: Accidents, Injuries, + Abuse, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health

The Other Side of the Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Claims: Voices of Former Victims

By and May 27, 2015 3 Comments
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 In this post, we said we were going to talk about the impact of Josh Duggar’s alleged offenses on his victims, and we are, but we’re not going to talk about his specific victims.  An important consequence of the release of the 12-year-old police report is the revictimization of the people Josh molested, specifically his sisters who are easily identifiable from the police report.  We feel strongly that they and others have the right to privacy and we’re saddened that they have been so easily identified and revictimized through the release of the police report.

While we feel strongly about their right to privacy, we also feel that the victims of sexual abuse need and deserve a voice. We can talk in generalities about how sexual abuse and assault impacts the abused, but these impacts vary widely based on the individual, their age at the time of the abuse, the type and duration of the abuse/assaults, their support network, and treatments received.  Writing about the victims of sexual abuse in generalities would do an injustice to the nuanced nature of their experiences.

After that post went live, over the course of 24 hours we heard from a number of readers who wanted to share how sexual abuse had affected their lives. Julia and I also heard from a number of our friends who wanted to tell us about the abuse they experienced in their youth.  It has made us realize that everybody knows somebody who has experienced sexual abuse, you just may not know who they are right now.

Five of those who wrote in have agreed to anonymously share how the abuse they experienced has affected their lives as adults, to help give a voice to those who may be suffering in silence:

“I was very young, but it was obviously very confusing and detrimental to my emotional state and I was also suicidal by the time I was 11. I was not a confident young woman and eventually at the age of 25 left my hometown with the major goal of finally getting a handle on my life. I relay my story whenever someone tells me they were raped or sexually abused. Sadly, about once a year. I think it’s a surprise to most folks that I was also abused and I tell them so they know they aren’t alone. So they know it doesn’t define them as a person, that it is their choice and within their power to make their life decisions. The experience can make a person feel as though they can’t control anything in life, which can spiral into a wasted life when decisions are made for them. Once I decided I wasn’t a victim and being molested would not define me, I took action. And once I took action, I realized the hardest part was already behind me. It was very liberating to understand how resilient I am. I am also a more compassionate person given my history. I feel that everyone has a sad story, we should be kind to each other. Human to human.”

“As a 40+ year survivor of multiple sexual abusers … my life has been irreparably altered. Cumulatively all this trauma, (plus other life experience) has destroyed my natural responses to typical events.  Hard truth: I will never see the world without the combined lens of betrayal, loss of childhood innocence, physically damaging sexual experiences, and unrelenting terror.  However,  despite those layers of horror, and with full understanding that I am a product of my history, I wholeheartedly refuse to be a victim to it.”

“I get angry about this stuff [sexual abuse in the news] easily now. I wasn’t taken seriously when it happened to me so I feel like I over compensate and be super outspoken when something like [the allegations against Josh Duggar] hit the news. I feel like people still don’t understand it and it makes me so mad because it’s like it’s happening all over again. People don’t realize how much language matters to people like me, I literally had the same thing happen to me [as the allegations against Josh Duggar] and when people say he was “just experimenting” what does that make me some kind of lab rat or plant or something? How [messed] up is that?”

“Honestly,  I don’t feel that it affects me in any way at this point in my life except in two ways.  I don’t like strangers touching me which I think is also pretty standard.  The other thing is I am trying to be hyper aware and proactive with my own children because I know how easily and often it happens and goes undisclosed and unpunished.  For some reason, with [my son], I’ve made a point from an early age to call his anatomy what it is.  He knows were his penis is.  I tell him that only mommy, daddy, and grandmas should touch him.”  

“Being raped left me feeling less worthy of help and understanding than others, as though someone else’s decision to assault my body at will was somehow more my fault than theirs. The amount of scrutiny I faced and still face about how it happened and if I misunderstood the violent act against me still surprises me. Though I have worked through it, truly the worst thing I have had to deal with in recovery is not the rape. It’s the judgement and blame that comes laced around every supportive statement from family and friends. That’s what keeps many of us silent – because we often really need to talk about it with those who love us most. Unfortunately some of those very same people are so upset with the entire experience we’ve gone through that they inadvertently deflect the discomfort back on us. I was only a victim in those moments, I am not one now. But the language people use to describe me, it, all of it, that’s what creates a constant revictimization”

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault or abuse, remember, there are number of resources to assist you. In the United States, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) will put you in touch with local resources, plus you can call or message with certified specialists on their anonymous hotlines:you can call 1-800-656-HOPE, or click on the RAINN Online Hotline. In Canada kids and teens can call The Kids Help Phone, toll-free 24 hours a day at 1-800-668-6868.

 

NOTE: At time of publication (11pm 5/26/15) we were still receiving stories from the former victims of childhood sexual abuse for inclusion on this post.  Due to the number of survivors who want to share their stories, we will dedicate Thursday’s post to the former victims of child sexual abuse as well.

 

Resources:

DART Center for Journalism and Trauma. Reporting on Sexual Violence.  Columbia School of Journalism. July 15, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2015.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). RAINN Online Hotline.

The Kids Help Phone

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Categories: Accidents, Injuries, + Abuse, Mental, Emotional, + Behavioral Health