23 Aug 2016

An adult survivor of child sexual abuse seeks to find her voice


Jane shares the suffering she’s held in her heart for decades


I have the privilege of working with remarkable people. Among them are victims of child sexual abuse. As I listen to what they share, there are times I feel my insides opening and spilling outwards.

The statistics are painful even to read:

  • Every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted
  • The majority of victims are under 30
  • 1 of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime
  • Male college students are about 5 times more likely than non-students to be a victim of rape or assault

The list goes on.

Often a client comes to me having already processed some of the pain around their abuser whether family acquaintance, relative, brother or father. But largely they have not looked at their feelings towards their mom. Just this week I had a session with one such woman. For her privacy I’ll refer to her as Jane (as in Doe.) To say Jane is remarkable is an understatement. I’m inspired and humbled by her. And yes, I thoroughly enjoy our sessions however painful. Her wry sense of humor, commitment to life against many odds and depth born of years and years of suffering endear her to me. I am grateful to be a part of her healing journey.

This week we plunged into that icy pool of her feelings towards her mother. We had to go there. Not to vent but to become aware, release, let go, and heal. Remember this:

Depression is anger turned inwards.

When someone is depressed, I know there’s a shadow feeling that hasn’t been safe to express. As we probed…and explored…slowly…with encouragement, some of Jane’s feelings towards her mom emerged. When we closed the session, I gave her a writing assignment for homework. I wanted to ensure that she continued the release of what she’s been turning in against herself. I don’t think it was an hour before I saw an email from her in my inbox. The subject line was simply “Hw.” It contained a poem. Jane’s words were so evocative I asked her for permission to share it.

She said yes. Here then is her remarkable gift.

Where Were You?

How could you turn away
In the face of the bitter truth
How could you not take action
Wave the red flag

My flag is white
In surrender to the lies
My dreams dimmed
By your blindness

Where will I find
The strength you did not have
To create the life I never had
And build a future in mid air

I beat on me instead of you
Do all the things I shouldn’t do
I hate that I see you in my actions
When I’ve never been in yours

Where were you
When I needed you most
Where does love go
When it’s gone

You betrayed me
Your peace is my war
Your weapons my only defence
You knew your victory was my loss

The hands that smelled of onions
Have cut my soul
And the child you birthed
Is now a ghost

How do you sleep at night
The voice you didn’t have
Is gathering in my throat
An enormous silent scream

Won’t you join me in thanking Jane? Supporting her? If you’re a victim of abuse, share your experience. And even if not, do join the discussion.

Interested in being coached with me? Click here.

Statistics quoted from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.) It is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, y in partnership with more than 1,000 local  service providers across the country.

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