Post originally published on Resplendent by Design by Bobbi Parish-Logie. Reposted with permission.
Twitter Chat for Survivors of Sexual Abuse is every Tuesday evening at 6 pm Pacific Time. Use the hashtag #sexabusechat to follow along and participate.
One in every five girls and one in every twenty boys is sexually abused. For both genders, this abuse most often occurs between the ages of seven and thirteen. The majority of the time children are abused by someone they know: a father, a brother, a neighbor or babysitter. It can be a one-time incident or it can be repetitive over the course of years.
The consequences of these assaults are physical, emotional and developmental damage. Sometimes it’s temporary. Sometimes it’s permanent. Sometimes it’s lethal. Research has shown that children traumatized by sexual assault are more likely to develop mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. They are more likely to suffer from addiction. Prolonged exposure to sexual assault can result in brain damage similar to what we see in those with a traumatic brain injury.
Children who are sexually assaulted lose time they should be focusing on learning and developing to the need to cope with the after-effects of the assault. They isolate from their peers due to the shame they feel over the abuse. Their perceptions of healthy romantic relationships become contorted and damaged due to things their abuser may have shown or told them. This leads to their being at risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence as an adult.
The shame of being sexually abused does not abate as victims grow up. Many victims continue to isolate as adults. They are almost certain to keep the history of their assault a secret, even if they seek treatment for a mental illness or substance abuse. If they do share their story they are often told “That happened years ago. Why aren’t you over it?”
Because of these long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, Rachel Thompson and I started hosting a Twitter Chat for survivors and their family members in early 2014 at 6 pm PST. This chat provides survivors a place to share, find support and gain a greater understanding of the effects of their assault in a safe and comfortable environment. There is no judgment, no shaming, no “Why aren’t you over that already?” Instead, you will find understanding, friendship, and comfort.
Rachel is a survivor herself. She has written the bestselling, award-winning books Broken Pieces and Broken Places about her experiences enduring and recovering from her childhood assault. As a Social Media strategist, she is widely recognized as an expert in the field of Social Media. The author of three other books, Mancode Exposed, A Walk in the Snark, and the newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge, she brings honesty and humor to every situation she encounters.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty of working with adults and child trauma survivors. As a survivor of years of sexual assault in my childhood, I have a unique position of being both in trauma recovery myself and providing trauma recovery services to my clients. I like to call it being familiar with “both sides of the desk”. I am also an author. My first book, Create Your Personal Sacred Text, is about spirituality and writing your truth. I have two works in progress, a novel entitled Above the Undercurrent and a non-fiction book about how to choose a therapist, that are scheduled for publication this year.
Both of us understand what it’s like to endure and cope with childhood sexual assault. We want to help other survivors by providing a safe place to discuss their experience. Hopefully, in the process of doing that we can also help educate the loved ones of survivors who want to understand what it’s like to experience and recover from childhood sexual abuse.
If you don’t know how to participate in a Twitter chat these pages will help:
It’s important to note that the Twitter chats are not therapeutic and are not intended to constitute or replace a therapeutic relationship you might need to have in real life. Nor are the chats meant to provide diagnosis and treatment for the effects of childhood sexual assault. If you need help locating a therapist here are several good resources:
Please follow the @SexAbuseChat Twitter account for news about the chats. We use the hashtag #SexAbuseChat during our chats. If you have specific questions or concerns feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
If you’d like to connect with Bobbi you can find her on her blog, Twitter, or Amazon.
Janie Junebug saysJanuary 16, 2014 at 5:08 pm
Why don’t you just forget about it? Stop thinking about it. Move on. Arrrrrrrgh!
RachelintheOC saysJanuary 16, 2014 at 8:19 pm
Exactly. People don’t want to talk about it because it makes THEM uncomfortable. I just experienced this the other day with a good friend. Men, in particular, have a difficult time — both survivors and spouses/family members. They feel responsible — they’re not, but there’s always that hanging.
thanks for reading and commenting, sweetie.
jerry bradford saysFebruary 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Men are fixers. If we encounter something or someone we care about and can’t fix, we oft times try to collate mentally and therefore put away in the event we can isolate a more acceptable resolution as they may arise.
Conversely, there are also the men who want to think of their wives and lovers as being that in many ways have no histrionic baggage. Men who for all intent and purpose want women who in their minds came into existence when they met them and sadly at times for the express purpose of giving them pleasure. Any deviation from this notion or anything to potentially sully that ideation is bluntly avoided or dispelled.
I personally believe this is why closet misogynist lose interest in their wives after they bear them children. Instead of being more attracted to their wives, who thru the miracle of childbirth are now at the height of their feminity, they shun them sexually because their image of a sex object has been corrupted.
Dr. Olivia saysMarch 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm
The trauma inflicted on children by adults who choose to sexual assault can never be underestimated. It is a sad commentary that a victim would be told to “get over it” or that she should be “past that by now.” The long term emotional effects are carried for a lifetime, regardless of how long ago it happened. It is wonderful to see a spot where survivors can chat and gain support from one another. Especially in this digital age, it could be that younger or teenage victims might feel comfortable sharing and coming forward in a format that is anonymous and electronic. As you state, many victims fail to report even when in therapy – so this service is desperately needed.