How are you seeking to find peace and even [...]
Holiday Seasons can be difficult. When you hear, “Secrets [...]
Own Your Destiny! I met Maggie Kanzki, fellow author [...]
At the beginning of the month we talked about how survivors of sexual abuse often create a comfort zone for themselves. Two different images were offered - that of wrapping yourself up with insulation like a blanket or forming a protective wall. It may also be a comfy nest that you don’t really want to leave, even when it’s time.
Let’s explore what a comfort zone might look like for you.
As sexual abuse survivors, we have had to create safety for ourselves. We experienced the unthinkable and now feeling vulnerable and/or out of control can be frightening and uncomfortable. For me, there were a number of layers I wrapped myself up to feel safe and secure.
I never thought my family would be a part of a statistic. The Center for Disease Control reports that 1 in 5 women have experienced completed or attempted rape in their lifetime. 1 in 3 female victims have experienced it between 11-17 years old. (1) I just didn’t think it would happen to my daughter. As the parent of a teenager who was raped, I thought I had taken all the precautions to safeguard her from sexual assault. Understanding the statistics, taking an active interest in her friends, and creating a safe space for important conversations, we discussed sex, intimacy, and safety. My daughter was encouraged to come to me with any concern. I was vigilant! I monitored relationships, supervised time with friends, all to protect her. Hell, I was the poster child for the helicopter mom.... and yet it happened. Right under my nose! She was silent about it for months, and the assault kept happening. When she finally worked up the courage to tell me about the ongoing rape and abuse from her church youth group boyfriend, I was shocked. Not only did it bring back vivid memories from my past, but as a sexual assault survivor myself, I was floored that I had failed to shield her from this horrific trauma. All my carefully crafted protective parenting didn’t shelter her from this terrible assault.
One common thread in my survivor story is feeling alone in my journey. I was told during my years of abuse that no one, even those closest to me, would ever believe my claims. Like many sexual abuse survivors, I have a community of people around me that love me and actively work to “support” me. Yet, the concept of support and people’s ability to provide that most loving of care is seldom understood. It is this lack of understanding at the level one might hope for, and require, that prevents proper exploration of the issue.
Currently, 2020 is acting as a magnifying glass in the sun towards communities seeking greater support from society. America is struggling with Covid-19 impacts that cause heightened levels of anxiety from coast-to-coast. In the wake of multiple murders by police, Black Lives Matters is demanding the world address systemic racism including America’s need for health and policing reform. In late June, an international movement exposing sexual assault in the wrestling industry (a global sport where men and women compete side-by-side) was created with the hashtag #speakingout. This newest sexual abuse movement is still evolving, but driving conversation about sexual abuse in the workplace, gender bias in sports, retaliation, lingering effects of trauma, and how words matter.
From listening to the news, interacting with loved ones and reading social media, I’ve noticed four types of supporters. There is also a type who is incapable of support, or ostrich, which consciously or subconsciously ignores an issue. By investigating each one, you may identify people in your life, what they are capable of handling, and how to maintain healthy engagement. The next blog will offer tips to improve communication and interactions with each group.