Healing Sexual AbuseMar 03, 2021
Sexual abuse is one of the oldest censored topics of our society, and most people are afraid to speak about it.
It is time to open the topic and to show people they deserve help, and they have the right to be seen, to be heard, and to be protected.
By exposing themselves, they will recover the quality of their own lives, beautiful sexuality, healthy relationships, and confident boundaries.
Yes, it will require a commitment to their healing.
At this Awareness Meeting, we are opening the space to be by your side and giving you the tools for the deep healing journey.
For most of us, this is a big taboo. We are ashamed to bring this subject into the light of consciousness because we are afraid of projections, we are afraid of judgments, we are afraid that no one will understand, we are afraid that people don't believe us. And the families are afraid that the loved ones that suffered sexual abuse, they would be known as a victim of sexual abuse. And this is one of the most important subjects that we need to bring to the light of consciousness and the discussion in society. Why? Because most of the sexually abused people are children, and as children, they are our future. They are the most innocent part of society and we need to help them, and of course, anyone that suffers from that situation.
Normally, the ages where most people are sexually abused, are from 14 to 17 years old, and 79% are women, but the abuse in boys, number is growing fast compared with the past. And maybe the reason for that is because now boys and men are becoming more at ease to expose that.
In 52% of the cases, the abuser is inside of the families, and only 40% is extra family. And normally, 18.9, almost 20%, the abuser is the father or the mother.
Outside of the family, normally, 12.4% is a person that the child already knows. And only 7% is out of people that they don't know.
58% of the cases of sexual abuse endure over time. It's years after years, is what we say the continuation of sexual abuse.
One in five girls and one in 20 boys are a victim of sexual abuse and maybe you are one of them. I am one of them.
And normally 20% of adult females and five to 10% of adult males recall sexual abuse. This means that we have almost the 80% of adults that they don't remember.
Normally, the sexual abuse has such powerful energy on the nervous system of the child, that normally the nervous system shuts down, and the child or passed out, or she becomes frozen, or she numbs herself because she doesn't have the power to understand or have the cognitive understanding of what is happening and she doesn't have the power to end the situation. And what happens is the nervous system shuts down, so that child can survive the sexual abuse.
It's very common, that people arrive at us and say “something is wrong with me, I remember something that is with me since ever, but I don't understand what it is” normally, this kind of talk in the therapeutic environment, for me is a red sign is like a red bell to say "pay attention Satya to this person, because or there's a big violent trauma or a sexual abuse trauma". So normally, what happens to these children that they have long periods of sexual abuse, especially in the family, where they should feel safe with that family or friends or families, and they lost the sense of feeling trust and safety. Normally, they develop low self-esteem, they feel that they don't deserve to be worthy. And they normally have a distorted way to see and feel their sexuality.
It is very important to start really to call the attention that maybe some of you were victims of sexual abuse, but especially for our children, that they are still innocent. The more we can speak about it, the more we can pay attention, the more we will take care of our children, the more we will know to read the signs. So, what happens is that normally this kind of children will, in the future be drowned, they will be drawn to situations of abuse, that they will allow abusers to abuse them because they are trapped in this spiral of abused emotional and physical, they can become the abusers to most of them, they will use substances to numb themselves, like alcohol, drugs, pills to sleep. And a lot of them will have mental problems, post-traumatic stress, and they will have chronic illnesses. And a lot of women will have problems with obesity and eating disorders.
There are three big myths around sexual abuse. The first one is that normally this happens in families that are economic and socially very low. This is a lie. The numbers tell us that sexual abuse happens in any kind of social status or economic possibilities. And the second myth is that the abuse happens outside of families. The big number almost 60% happens inside of the family and friends of the family that they leave in our house or they go to our house. And the third myth is that the victim of abuse will remain a victim forever. And I want to tell you that all these myths are not true, as a victim of sexual abuse. And I would like for us to change the words from victim to SURVIVOR because, in the end, we are true survivors.
It was something that we didn't ask for and we were not responsible for what happened to us. But if we take the opportunity to work in ourselves - and work in ourselves is not easy - we will go through the layers of the pain, the layers of not being able to defend ourselves, the layers of doubts, "what did I do to deserve that?", the layers of not being able to trust other adults, or to trust other human beings, the layers to desire the trust... And at the same time, we have to work on the desire for healthy sexual life, of a real desire for intimacy. So the healing of sexual abuse is very deep, is going through layer by layer through the years. But I can tell you that if we look at ourselves as a survivor, what happened can bring us so much awareness, so much strength, through the healing of all these layers that I was expressing.
When the child is abused, the sense of safeness is lost.
And why? Because the boundaries of the physical body were broken. Because the boundaries of respect, of what the child desires at that moment, were broken, they were not even respected, not even asked, because the boundaries of the emotional body, were not even considered.
A child at that moment loses the connection with her integrity. And when we lose the sense of our integrity, what we memorize at that moment is the sense “I can't defend myself, I'm hopeless, they can do whatever they want with me”.
It a true act of bravery to ask for help. It's a true act of bravery to own that part of your life. And not being ashamed of it. Because shame will be something very powerful that will destroy you. That will sabotage you in ways that we are not even aware of.
You start perceiving yourself and life through the lens of the trauma, and you need someone by your side that at least knows what is that trauma, and already the lot of work in themselves to go through all these layers to give the hand and to say, you know, it's possible to recover your sexual life, you have the right and it's possible to recover your self-esteem, your power. And you will be step by step more conscious and more aware of when the trauma is acting out.
Have you got any suggestions on how to start a conversation about our experience of sexual abuse with close family?
I think each one of us needs to find our way. In my case, I was already a mother. It was maybe 11 or 12 years ago and the sexual abuse that I survived was when I was really young, I had around five, and happened till I was thirteen. I started to look for help when I was 16, but before I was looking for help in books and I was trying to meditate. One thing that saved me was riding big waves, so I could put a lot of anger there.
It was a very lonely and long road but, in the end, I couldn't come and tell to my family.
Why? Because telling is saying “I survived this, and honestly, you couldn't see! And honestly, you didn't even believe me. Honestly, you were not there for me! And I didn't know how to ask for help because I was young”. Do not put on them the responsibility but bring the issue up. You need to understand if you are ready to receive a no, to receive a judgment, to receive a critic, to receive desperation.
Families could find it so hard to deal that could say “no, it’s not possible!” and when this happens, all your wounds that you were healing for a long time, they open again, because there's this misunderstanding that if children didn't say before, maybe it's not true.
You need to understand if you need this, if it's important for you or if it's safer for you at this moment to stay with the work that you do with your therapist.
For me, when I felt safe on myself when I could speak about it no matter what other people’s reactions were, I came to my parents in the same week and I said look, this was happening to me in our house. And of course, it had open big wounds for them, that open a lot of questions about our family. And for me, it was not about asking for responsibility or to blame them. I need to put this out and I was putting this out from the most empowered place: this is my true story, no matter what you think.
Satya, what has been changed in you and your family once you've shared your story?
I always wanted to tell my mother what happened, but i didn't yet. I was abused by my older brother.
First, we need to check if the person is ready. You need to see if your mother is ready to accept that her son is an abuser. It's a big transformation in the family and you need to be ready to face many challenges because it's very delicate.
You need to do a lot of inner work with a person that you trust: a therapist, for example, because you need to have time to understand why you want to say this, and this is very important because sometimes you can destroy an entire family. For me it was important. And now I can tell you that the quality of the relationship with my parents it's different. It's beautiful, and they become closer to me and much more aware.
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