As a survivor of child abuse, and an advocate for child abuse prevention, I know that survivors of child abuse take different approaches to their handling of, or lack thereof, their personal experiences. Some survivors want to shut out their bad memories, and never talk about those experiences again. Some talk sporadically and still struggle with their current afflictions, which they likely have as a result of the child abuse they endured on a regular basis. And some of us feel an overwhelming need to somehow make sense of our abuse, and make it “mean” something.
I like the way Judith Herman M.D. author of Trauma and Recovery explains this group of survivors “a significant minority, as a result of the trauma, feel called upon to engage in a wider world. These survivors recognize a political or religious dimension in their misfortune and discover that they can transform the meaning of their personal tragedy by making it the basis for social action.”
I am definitely one of those survivors who thrives on finding a “survivor mission”. This past week, like so many others, I’ve had the chance to share my story with so many people, and even better than that, I’ve had the chance to serve so many children, women and families who are just beginning their healing road, after a life of abuse. The children who are surviving child abuse today, as we live our “normal” lives, and the adults who live as survivors beside me, are the reason I wrote my book two years ago.
I’ve been offered a second chance with my life story, and I’m so excited to share more about that with all of you, my loyal readers, very soon! Putting my childhood down in writing was so important to me because I remember so vividly those days and moments when it felt like literally no one cared about what was happening to me when I was a child. I know my book can reach those children.
When I meet the young people, as I speak around the state, I remember why I wrote the book in the first place. I remember how desperately those children need to hear that someone has gone through similar pain and survived it! I remember the young people who have told me that they are “done”. I remember the look in their eyes, the hollow pain they feel…and I know that I have to make my past serve a purpose to help the young people see that the sadness and fear will end…the pain dulls, and life can finally be a happy place for them.
It’s not always a joy to share my message, it’s never easy to serve. I am a busy Mama and my own “monkeys” (aka children) are my main priority, but I juggle that with the demands of running a non profit, in addition to all my volunteer work, and make sure I make time to speak about my past. I push through with my message to make sure my past suffering serves a greater plan. And most importantly the victims who are currently living in a world of violence, and the survivors who hold painful memories like I do, are the reason I share my experiences. I’ve seen the impact it makes and I’ll never stop sharing as long as I see the hope it provides.
There’s hope in your story too, share it with someone today, even if just a piece of it, and watch miracles unfold.