Is there anything good about being a survivor?
Well, except for the obvious? Damned straight. If you are one, yes. I'm talking about you. If you're a friend/supporter/significant
other of a survivor, I may be able to offer additional insights into the 'mysterious' person you've (quite lovingly, I'll
add. Thanks!) attached yourself to.
First and foremost, WE ARE NORMAL PEOPLE!
If you are a member of someone
who was sexually abused as a child's support system, try this experiment. If you are a survivor yourself, proceed with CAUTION!
(Beware of triggering materials, and this could be considered just that. If you become uncomfortable, move to the next column
and read "and The Ugly...", because it may be 'prettier' than this!)
Close your eyes (after you've
read this of course). Shut them tightly so it's dark. Remember a favorite event in your childhood. Savor it for a moment.
Now give it a good ol' Stephen King-ish twist. A significant adult in your life is about to turn it upsidedown. They told
you it was a game, or you were bad, or that it is 'LOVE'. That's the worst - when they tell you it's love, because you'll
be spending so much of your lifetime looking for it. All your little mind and body knows is that it hurts. You feel alone.
You are. No one knows because you are coached to lie.
You learn to live with lies. You become good at predicting moods.
Maybe if you are smarter, faster, and better, these things wouldn't happen. You learn to live on pins and needles. You learn
guilt, and shame. You learn to 'internalize', and to withdraw from others. You are confused. You feel powerless, and ever
so small. You'd rather be invisible...
But wait, there's more. You grow up.
Does the past affect life in the
present? If you were about to claim that it does NOT, please voluntarily seat yourself in a corner and don our DUNCE hat.
Is it a wonder that you have developed trust issues? You were taught as a child you have no boundaries that are to
be respected. You were taught 'lovers' are takers, so you find a few. You don't expect lovers to love. More often, you find
those who abuse you further and try calling that love. It probably feels much like the 'love' you were raised on (according
to ALL statistic sources, immediate family and caretakers abuse most often), so you're already conditioned to betrayal.
survivors are viewed as crazy, deserving, weak, or whiney. Besides, we should get on down the road with it, right? Let's see.
Crazy? Should be. Easier. Deserving? (Maybe YOU'VE got the problem! Get help.) Weak? Not a chance. We learned to bend in every
breeze. Our minds and our bodies are strong as we've needed them to be, simple as that. We learned to be resourceful instead.
If not, we'd simply be more dandelion fluff in the wind...
But we aren't. We go on.
As a matter of fact, lots
of us ARE down the road with it. Some of us even aspire to become parents ourselves, and do a great job. If we were better
whiners, maybe the rest of you guys wouldn't find it so hard to believe how many of us this happens to, and it wouldn't perpetuate
generation after generation. Maybe there would be more options available for helping those with fresh, or unconcealable 'scars'.
We do have scars. But only our unusual childhoods (which we responded to in an oh so normal fashion) were unique. There are
LOADS of us, out here in the mainstream, living life side by side with the rest of you guys, and you'd never be able to pick
Why not? Because we're NORMAL PEOPLE! We are one of you. You are one of us.
You can open your
Do you know who you're looking at?
A few cold hard
According to the US DEPT OF JUSTICE, 1990, one out of four children in America is abused.*
abuser abuses an average of seventeen times before they stop, or are stopped.*
The average time served for murder
in US is 8 years. (yes, you read that correctly. 8 yrs!)*
The average rape sentence in US is 5 & 1/2 years. The
average sentence for raping a child in the US is TIME SERVED to 4 YEARS! (what is wrong with this picture?)*
happens most often to children two years of age, or less. This is probably due to their language deficiencies. They are also
killed by their 'caretakers' more often than other aged children.**
In Texas (1998), deaths of abused children rose
71%. As of 2000, there are over 22,000 known sex offenders registered in the state of texas.**
* stats by
us dept of justice
**stats by tx dept of regulatory srvs
(most states have independent dept of reg srvs,
there is also a federal branch in DC.)
"...when we keep silent about things
that matter, we have begun to die..." -MLK
***add Taren's personal pages, &
THE WEEPERS by TDH to your favorites list!**
and The Ugly...
Children's Sexual Exploitation Underestimated, Study Finds
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ, The New York Times
Sept. 9 - A detailed study of child sexual exploitation in North America has concluded that the problem is far more widespread
than has been previously documented.
The study, to be released on Monday by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania,
relied on interviews with victims, child welfare workers and law enforcement officials in 28 cities in United States, Mexico
and Canada from January 1999 through last March.
It also relied on the latest public and private estimates on the
number of runaway and homeless youths in the three countries and on estimates by law enforcement officials and child welfare
authorities of the number of these children sexually exploited.
The study estimated that in the United States 325,000
children a year were subjected to sexual exploitation, including prostitution, use in pornography, and molestation. The study's
authors said the number of abused children was much higher than was previously thought.
"The magnitude of the problem
is really something that is not understood," said Richard J. Estes, one of the main authors of the report and a professor
at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
The study estimated that among the sexually exploited children
in the United States, 121,911 ran away from home; 6,793 fled mental hospitals, foster homes or other institutions; and 51,602
were thrown out of their home by a parent or guardian. It said that about 11,500 were foreign-born children who came into
the United States either legally or illegally.
The study found that 47 percent of sexual assaults on children were
committed by relatives; 49 percent by acquaintances, such as a teacher, a coach or a neighbor; and only 4 percent by strangers.
The researchers also reported that about 20 percent of sexually exploited children who were interviewed were involved
in prostitution rings that worked across state
lines. The study found that 95 percent of the commercial sex involving
boys was with men, and it found that at least 25 percent of girls in gangs had had sex with other members as part of the gang
rites. The report provides a profile of people who engage in sex with minors: nearly all men and about a quarter of them married
with children. The profile was compiled from interviews with victims and arrest records.
The study's authors said
official reports seriously underestimated the problem. The study found gaps in policies and services to combat sexual exploitation
and help the victims. The researchers' recommendations for dealing with the problem, included increasing penalties, enforcing
existing laws more vigorously and expanding
the federal government's role in combating abuse.
The data from Mexico
Canada were not available today.
exerpt from The Price Of Child Abuse - Hidden
Lifelong Costs, by SAMANTHA LEVINE, US News & World Report, Apr 2001
From the costs of fixing broken arms to the
tab for healing broken psyches, the nation's price tag for helping and protecting abused children is staggering. And the bills
keep rolling in long after the kids have grown up, as society pays for the cops, judges, rehab nurses, and others who must
deal with the enduring scars of childhood maltreatment.
All told, child abuse costs this country upward up $94 billion
every year, or $258 million a day. That's a $1,462 annual toll for every American family, according to a first-of-its-kind
analysis released this week by a Chicago-based group, Prevent Child Abuse America. And this analysis only shows "the bare
minimum of what is happening out there", according to PCAA spokesperson Kevin Kirkpatrick, because no agency is systematically
tallying the nation's actual costs...
The daily cost of
abuse and neglect in the
United States is almost
$258 million. Some major
sources of spending:
mental health and healthcare $12.7mil
child welfare $39.5mil
adult criminality $152mil
(Ms Levine notes that statistics & data
are scanty because given the intense competition for severely limited resources, monies spent obtaining data lessens monies
available for programs.)
THERE ARE ADDITIIONAL ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED AS WELL. FIRST AND FOREMOST, ACCURATE
STATISTICS ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN FOR SEVERAL REASONS. AGE PREVENTS MANY ABUSES FROM BEING RECORDED, SIMPLY BECAUSE INFANT
VICTIMS LACK LANGUAGE SKILLS, AND THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS AS WELL, TO DO SO. A GREAT PORTION OF CHILDREN WHO ARE SEXUALLY
ABUSED SUFFER THE CRIMES DURING PRESCHOOL YEARS, WHEN THEY ARE EASILY CONTROLLABLE IN SIZE, EASILY MANIPULATED, AND EASILY
DISCOUNTED (DISREGARDED) AS WELL.
FEAR, MANIPULATION BY OR LACK OF SUPPORT SYSTEMS, FEELINGS OF GUILT, SHAME, AND
POWERLESSNESS RETARD THE NUMBERS AS WELL.
ADD THE SEEMING DISCONCERN BY SOCIETY, AS WELL AS OUR LEGAL SYSTEMS, AND
THE REASONING TO DIVULGE ABUSE SHRINKS TO ALMOST NIL. VICTIMS ARE LEFT FEELING VOID OF HOPE...
THE UGLIEST PART OF
IT ALL IS OUR NUMBERS,
ACKNOWLEDGEABLE OR NOT.
feel free to email me anytime!