I know you may cringe when I mention my child sexual abuse and I understand. The mere thought of an adult harming a child in any way should make you cringe. BUT . . . I will not stop talking about it, healing from it and helping others heal as well. I will keep talking about it because it may just be Your Child I Save! -Rev. Brian Dell Beckstead
There is something real ugly going on. I’m not speaking about the abuse in this case. It’s the silence society keeps regarding childhood sexual abuse. There is major denial and “I don’t want to talk about it” mentality. If you want to clear a room, just start talking about child sexual abuse!
Shaming the Survivors
I am going to strongly assume that you as well as I will do anything to protect a child from a predator that preys upon them. Agree? Yet, when the adults that experienced child sexual abuse begin to voice themselves, there is a sense of disbelief on the part of the listener. There is shaming toward the survivor, almost as though they are bestowing the cause of the sexual abuse to be their fault. Are they? Because the adults that have survived the ordeal of child sexual abuse are finally speaking out, they do not deserve your indifference. They deserve interest, empathy, and concern. They deserve to be listened to and heard clearly. However, because I, too, am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and neglect, I have experienced this with many people including my family.
“I Don’t Want to Hear About It!”
I remember when I told a sibling about the sexual abuse – the time when I finally spoke up about it “out loud.” The entire family knew about the childhood sexual abuse, but nobody talked about it; it was prohibited! Nonetheless, he said that he “didn’t want to hear about it; he didn’t want to hear about the gory details” and proceeded to shut me down and move onto a different topic. I don’t know why I was so surprised, though. Somehow, I thought that over the years, and as we all got older and more ‘mature,’ we would be able to talk more openly about the topic of child sexual abuse, but it was obvious I was wrong. I said to him, “Aren’t you concerned about your other siblings and why they have suffered so much?” He plainly wasn’t interested. Sad but true, he is not the only one that responds to sexual molestation of a child in this manner.
Survivors Lacking Recognition
Survivors of child sexual abuse are not getting enough recognition: recognition for the horror they endured; recognition for speaking the truth; and recognition for being able to survive the heinous crime and the consequences it tainted us with. At the same time, coming out – speaking up about the crime that was committed on you – can place us in a lonely and isolated corner with even family and friends abandoning, shaming, and blaspheming us.
A Paradigm Shift
There are various theories about how and why change happens, but the essence behind change is a complete paradigm shift in the way we think and what we accept as normal. We need a social norm shift! Many of us say that we do not accept child sexual (or other) abuse; yet, when confronted with a story, we turn our backs because we don’t want to hear it or the story is too gory to listen to. Survivors were silenced by the perpetrators during the crime, and, once again, the survivors are continually being silenced by society.
Sacrifice for A Cause
Being passive about a cause doesn’t make it go away; it only buries it deeper while the consequences surface like puss from a wound. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals,” not by passivity, ignorance, and denial.